Monday, November 19

Quick Weeknight Thanksgiving Dinner

Let me tell you how my day went last Thursday. I worked all day as usual, went straight to the gym, ran home to shower and then cooked Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, Thanksgiving dinner on a weeknight at 6:00pm. It can be done. Maybe you have to work on the holiday this year, or just don't feel like spending hours in the kitchen. Or maybe you are like my husband, who loves Thanksgiving, and these tips allow me to recreate his favorite meal year round.
First tip: Don't cook an entire bird. Larger supermarkets often carry Turkey cutlets, breasts or thighs all year long. The cutlets are boneless, skinless and thinly sliced, all qualities that equal quick cooking. Maybe you don't get the wishbone, but you also don't have to wait 3 hours.
Second tip: Use the same pan to cook different dishes. For example, I used the same saucepan to steam my veggies as I did to boil my sweet potatoes and I didn't even need to rinse in between. There's no reason to use multiple pans if you don't have to. Less pans equals less mess and less time spent cleaning up. I also used the same skillet to brown my veggies for stuffing as I did to pan fry my turkey cutlets.

Third tip: Fire up the oven. But not for cooking, just for keeping everything warm as you cook each side in batches. I prepped the stuffing, put it in a casserole dish and stuck it in the oven to keep hot while I cooked the turkey.
Finally: Keep it simple. We all know what the classic flavors of Thanksgiving are; Turkey, Stuffing, Cranberry sauce, etc. To speed things up, focus on making the ingredients you want to use stand out by paring down what you add to them. Guess what? Green Beans are pretty delicious with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a dash of mustard and butter.
I hope you have a fantastic, relaxing Holiday whether you decide to spend the day cooking or just use these tips to get your meal on the table in no time.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite Cranberry Sauce recipes that will make your house smell amazing.

1 Bag Fresh Cranberries
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C fresh Orange Juice
1/4 C water
1/2 an apple, peeled and diced small
1 tsp. grated orange zest
1-2 T sweet vermouth or brandy
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp each ground nutmeg, ground clove, ground allspice and ground cinnamon

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer, mixing occasionally. The cranberries will burst as they cook down. Continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the mixture resembles jam. Remove from heat and place in the refrigerator to cool. This sauce will get better with time, so if you have a minute to make it a day or two ahead, go for it.

And don't forget, the best part of making these dishes is the sandwich you can make with the leftovers the next day! 

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