Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cooking for a crowd: My first turkey ever!

I hope all you moms had a wonderful Mother's Day this past weekend. I enjoyed being able to host two Mother's day dinners. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun!

Between 18 people we managed to go through entire 10lb bag of potatoes. Both my mom and my mother-in-law happen to be gluten-free so I had to plan meals accordingly, which really wasn't hard at all.

On Friday we had corn, green beans, and shepherd's pie along with a wonderful mint chocolate brownie topped with mint chocolate icecream that my sister-in-law made! That was my favorite part of the meal! I made one 9x13 pan and one smaller pan of shepherd's pie. I mixed sour cream, bits of cream cheese, and milk into the mashed potatoes and learned that if I use more milk the farther the potatoes will stretch. I used just one 1lb of cooked ground beef and 1 1/2 jars of sauce in my shepherd's pies.

On Sunday, we had mashed potatoes, green beans, homemade rolls (made by my brother-which were so good!), turkey and gravy. We also had a gluten-free blueberry pie-type dessert made by my sister topped with whip cream!

This was my very first time to bake a turkey and I felt quite intimitated over the whole idea - especially since I was going to be letting it cook while we were in church. I got up at 7:30am to prepare the turkey. It had been frozen and been thawing since Thursday morning. This 15lb fellow was quite a dandy. I worked hard at "gutting" it and pulling out all the inners. I recuited my wonderful husband to help me because I had no idea what I was suppose to pull out and/or leave in the lil fellow. After we accomplished pulling everything out, I put the turkey in one of those plastic turkey bags and pulled out all my spices. I thawed about 3/4-1/2 amount stick of butter to pour over the turkey and then sprinkled all the spices I could think of that might taste good on a turkey - rosemary, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, sage, and anything else that smelled and looked like it would taste good. I then tied the bag, placed six little slits in the bag and placed in the roasting pan and into the preheated oven. By the time I placed the turkey in the oven it was quarter 'til 9am! I was hoping that it would be cooked by time we got home from church.

We hurried home from church and as we walked in the door we were greeted by a wonderful smell of a non-burned turkey that had actually cooked and turned out very well! I was so happy! I must admit that I'm in no hurry to go cook a turkey again, but at least now I know I can manage to cook one if the need arises again.

Here is a picture of the cooked bird just removed from the oven:

Friday & Sunday weren't the only days that we entertained guests. We also enjoyed a cookout with siblings & friends and roasted hotdogs (that had been in the freezer waiting to come out for such a time as this). I did end up spending some extra $$ on buns, chips, and ice cream (which we didn't eat - but it freezes quite well and lasts for a long will be used later - trust me!) but overall I think I managed to stay under $170 this month.

This afternoon, I'm going to make several quiches to freeze and also freeze the turkey and put it in a casserole. Tonight for supper we are having baked ham, peas, and hmmm.......haven't decided whatelse yet or I might just wait until Sunday to cook the ham and instead have turkey tonight. We're going out of town next week, so I'm making sure all my foods line up to leave us no leftovers, because I don't want to be cleaning out the fridge when we get home!

Well, I'm off to bake and while everything is in the oven, I'm going to suprise my husband by mowing the yard!

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