Thanksgiving is my day to shine! I spend months prepping and planning and slaving, and worrying! How many can relate?
And, the whole time you’re thinking, is anyone even going to appreciate it?
My Dad understood the importance of this. I remember my Grandmother Stella standing over that hot ass stove EVERY YEAR, and Dad telling me to go help her. I would shrug my shoulders and go up to her, “Grandma, do you need any help?’ She would smile and say, “No, baby. I’m fine.”
I have always loved Thanksgiving! It is that one hoiday where you see people all year long that you want to see, but sometimes you just don’t have the time! Thanksgiving, is the day that we have been socialized and taught that it is the day you HAVE to see them!
And you get to eat as MUCH food without one person DARING to say anything about your weight!
So, if you will give me the chance I will teach you how to have the perfect Thanksgiving, and how to prep, budget, and plan accordingly!
So, first you need to figure out where you are going to have Thanksgiving, My husband and I live in a one bedroom walk up, so if we want to have get together, it is nearly impossible. Actually, having more that Trent and myself in the apartment makes me feel like someone is setting on my chest. It’s a tight fit.
We typically go to My Father in-law, Mike’s house. However, with Travis being sick, Mike went to the hospital this year and spent the day with Travis. My family is kind of out there, but I figured this would give me a chance to see my brother Dirk who I never get to see, and let me show off my cooking talents to them.
Decide on a time. This year we decided to eat around dinner time. I told everyone that I wanted to shoot for 5:00pm. We typically have it at noon, but I figured a dinner would be lovely.
I gave myself a budget of 200.00. 200.00 is actually a lot for me to spend, and it was my entire take home pay, but I desperately need to feel in control on Thanksgiving, and if it takes almost my entire pay check to feel thay way, then I’ll do it!
I made a menu: Appetizers: Bitch Dip Crab Rangoon Shrimp, (There’s a reason behind this, I’ll get back to that!) Veggie Platter
Main Course Deep Fried Cajun Turkey
Desserts Pecan Pie Pumpkin Pie
So, I go to the store and I get all of the ingredients. I actually was only able to buy the ingredient the day before because I got paid on Wednesday, but, it worked out PERFECTFLY! When I went to the store I actually had it in my mind that this year I am going to focus on help with my appetizers so I can give ALL my attention to the Turkey. Because lets be honest-the turkey can make or break your entire meal. Last year we chose to do a Turducken, and it was very expensive, but if you are like me you enjoy the challenge of it all and you love the bragging rights! Last year the Turducken was beautiful and it made for some great dinner conversations!
This year I had A LOT to live up to. I wanted to do something I had never done before, I wanted to deep fry a turkey!
With the help of Kroger I bought a few of my appetizers. I bought a veggie platter and a Shrimp platter. The shrimp platter was for my husband Trent. He loves shrimp, and every year I go through an epic battle with him to leave the food alone. By the end of the day I,’ve done everything short of asking for a divorce just to get him away from the food. I made Bitch Dip and Crab Rangoon this year. Now, what is Bitch Dip? Bitch Dip is really easy and you have probably already eatten it once in your life. I call it Bitch Dip because a bitch taught me how to make it, AND, it is something that when you are hungry you pop it in your mouth and you stop bitching.
Bitch Dip 1 block of velveeta cheese 1 can of Rotel 2 packages of sausage
Directions: Fry up sausage and make sure you chop it up. If you want to save money, hamburger is actually a pretty good substitution and it gives you more. While you are frying up the Sausage or Hamburger you cut up and entire block of cheese and put it in a microwavable safe dish. Open the can of Rotel and put on top. You then put the sausage on top and microwave for three minutes. This will save you time so please take advantage. You then put in a crock pot and just let it sit over night. Remember this is made the night BEFORE Thanksgiving, when you will be doing the most prep work.
This is one of the more loved dishes in my house, please feel free to tweak it and let me know other ways of making it better. We usually eat half of it the night before Thanksgiving and its something that keeps our bellies full!
The next dish that can be done the night before is the Crab Rangoon. This was my first time making them, so I was TERRIFIED I was going to screw them up!
Crab Rangoon 1 package of wonton wraps 1 package of cream cheese 2 green onions finely chopped 1 tbsp soy sauce dash of garlic powder 1 immitation crab meat
Okay, so you can USE real crab meat but its really expensive, and I didnt want to buy it for something that i didnt even know if anyone was going to like. So, like I said I bought the immitation crab meat for 2.50 and I couldn’t stand the smell so I threw it out! And after reading tons of user boards, many people said the same thing, you can use it, but it really isn’t necessary.
You take the ingredients listed above and you mix them all together and you take the wonton wrapper and put a dab of it on the inside. You then proceed to wrap it like a flower. Once again, this is prep work done the night before. You do this and you put it on a platter and wrap it up with seran wrap to be made the next day. This dish can be baked or fried, but I practiced baking it, and it was REALLY good EITHER way!
So, something I go back and forth with every year is whether or not I should do my casserole the night before. This year I chose to mix up the casseroles the night before.
Corn Casserole 1 can of regular sweet corn 1 can of cream style corn 1tub of sour cream 1 box of Jiffy 1 stick of unsalted butter 1 bag of casserole cheese
This casserole is typically a favorite in my house hold. I usually double up the ingredients because it is so cheap to make! This was a dish made by my grandmother so this is usually a favorite of everyone’s because they associate it with my Grandma Stella. You throw all of the ingredients listed above together, with the exception of the cheese, amd you toss it in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes. You then put the casserole cheese on top and bake for another 15 minutes. Its simple and easy to make!
I then moved on to my Rachael Ray, It’s Not Easy Being Green-Bean Casserole Simply put, it’s like the regular old Green Bean Casserole, with the exception of you use real mushrooms and shallots.
It’s Not Easy Being Green-Bean Casserole 1 can of cream of mushroom 1 handful of mushrooms shallots 2 cans of french stye cut green beans 1 can of Durkees French French Fried Onions 3/4 a cup of milk
Sautee your mushrooms and shallots and then throw together everything listed above, including the fench fried onions, (with the exception of 1/4 th of them,). Bake at 350 for 45 minutes and then you throw the rest of the french fried onions on top and you are finished.
For the yams and the brocolli and rice casserole i really cut corners this year and I’ll get back to that in a second. I actuallly went ahead and I saw this already made deal in Kroger’s deli, and it is not good AT ALL. I will never cut corners in that aspect again.
Everything for both came freshly made, the yams came with a bag of cranberries, walnuts, marshmellows and yams that were very beautiful and cut fine. It also came with a tiny thing of syrup. The directions SAID to Take the yams and syrup and mix them in a bowl together. The only thing the directions said for me to add were 2 tbsp of butter. It then said to add foil to the top of the container it came in and place it on a baking sheet and in the oven for 45 minutes. Okay, so I did so, and 45 minutes later how pissed was I when I took it out of the oven, and not only did the yams NOT get done AT ALL, but I realized I had wasted 45 minutes on a work, he threw those in a pan of boilng water and let them boil for about 45 minutes. He took them out, drained them, but syrup we magically found in the cubby, along with honey, and butter and we threw the cranberries, walnuts, and marshmellow’s on top.
The Brocolli Rice Casserole was EVEN worse! The pre made dish came with brocolli, onions, rice, cheese, and cream of mushroom. The directions SAID to take the brocolli and onions in sautee them in vegetable oil for five minutes. For some reason it the brocollli didn’t want to cook! It was the oddest thing! I don’t know if I was getting tired but it just kept getting worse from there! I threw in the rice and cream of mushroom thinking, its fine, the brocolli will just get done when I put it in the oven. It did not work! Thee rice tasted doughy? IT WAS FUCKING WEIRD! And it is Trent’s favorite dish so I felt SUPER bad! I ended up throwing it out!
That was Wednesday night, I finished with enough time to watch American Horror Story: Asylum, and I tried relaxing but I really couldn’t! Lol, I just kept thinking, I’m going to screw up the Turkey, none of the sides are going to be hot by the time I get the turkey done, what if the Crab Rangoon falls apart when I’m frying them? Should I have gotten the dog neutered with this pay check instead of buying all of this food everyone may or may not eat? IS THERE A BETTER FUCKING WAY TO KEEP THIS SHIT HOT?
After googling what seemed to be a million different things on ways to keep the sides warm I finally passed out at Midnight. I woke up at Eight to hear Trent talking on the phone to Dirk. He said he was in Yankeetown and he was almost here. I rushed to the bathroom and started taking a shower. I got out and dried off just in time to greet Dirk at the door, to which I discovered that Trent had gotten the veggie and the shrimp tray out and ate almost 60 pieces of shrimp BY HIS SELF! Okay, so that actually was part of my plan. I wanted him to get into the shrimp and eat himself stupid until he passed out, beause every year he gets and pokes around at everything I’m making. Well, I like to take pictures of my food after I’ve made it, but I can’t take pictures if he has bitten into almost everything I’ve made!
But, it looked like he had picked over the appetizers! Dirk looked totally disappointed! I started to laugh when I saw Dirk’s face. “Did you mother fucker’s decide to eat without me?” I started to laugh and I gave him a hug. I love my brother Dirk. He has had a really rough life, and he really just wants to take care of his son, Justin. I gave him and Justin an even longer hug and told them to to get the fuck out of the kitchen, because I had a turkey to make!
Cajun Deep Fried Turkey 2 cups of melted butter 1/4 a cup of onion juice 1/4 a cup of garlic juice 1/4 a cup of louisiana style hot sauce 1/4 a cup of worshister sauce 2 tbsp of ground black pepper 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper 7 fluid ounces of beer 3 gallons of peanut frying oil 1 12 lb turkey
So, you begin with melting the butter, and mixing in the onion juice, garlic sauce, worchester sauce, hot sauce, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and beer. This recipe is really ALL about the seasoning. You take a baster and use it to put ALL the mixture over and in the turkey. After the turkey has all of the nasty stuff pulled out its okay to put a stick of butter on the inside. I have found over the years that this makes the turket EXTREMELY moist. To the point where it falls apart in your mouth. This was put in a turkey bag the night before so it was allowed time for all the juices to soak up the seasonings.
All right so, its Thursday, and as I told you, I worry every year that everything is going to go wrong. I’m outside and Sheena comes out there. I have the friar and I lowered the turkey in the pan and poured the oil in the the friar to the point where it was going to cover the entire turkey.
Sheena has started crying. A vital part of the story is that, the reason why I had to do this for dinner is because Sheena and Brent had to go with Sheena’s mom to Shoney’s for lunch. Well, I had used Sheena’s phone the night before because my phone was dead and I was still looking up tips for Thanksgiving. I had put the phone on the charger and I guess her mom had been calling her all morning. When Sheena finally answered her mother was screaming at the top of her lungs at her. “Where the hell are you?!?” She screamed. “You’ve slept half of the day away!” She screeched. It’s also important to note that it was ten o’clock when she said that to Sheena and also, Sheena has worked the day before from 7 am until 11 pm. So, she was exausted! I gave her a hug and told her to do as we had already planned. Go see her mom, say hello, and happy Thanksgiving, and then come home, and we will make our own memories and have our own Thanksgiving. She left and I got the oil heated up to 365 degree’s. I then submerged the turkey completely in the oil and I sat out there for about twenty minutes. It was supposed to be done for about 40 minutes, BUT we weren’t going to be eating until five. So, I decided to roast the rest of the turkey at noon after everyone had gotten home. So, I go inside and I pop all of the casserole in. Bam! Bam! Bam! I’m knocking it out right and left. I have put the appetizer’s back in the fridge so they can all be cold when everyone went to eat. It’s about two, so I decide to put the turkey in the oven. I put it in a roasting pan and baisted it in butter. I can’t explain to you HOW MUCH BUTTER IS THE KEY WITH TURKEY’S! IT WILL MAKE OR BREAK YOUR ENTIRE MEAL! Nobody wants a dry turkey!
So, I put the oven on 350 and I put the timer on 350. While that is going on I put the oil in a pan on top of the stove and I start to heat it up.
Sheena and Brent are back home trying to recover from her mother, but everyone is there. Trent has snuck off to the back and has passed out after eating all the shrimp, (as predicted!) I then throw in the Crab Rangoon in the oil. It actually heated up in a matter of twenty seconds. I only did five at a time and I didn’t crowd them in the pan, which really helped! I put them on top of paper towels and I knock out about fifty of them. I set them to the side. I start on the potatos. At this point, people are starting to complain that they are hungry. Fuck that! You got time to bitch in my kitchen, you got time, to cook! Trent got to work on the Cheddar Bay Biscuits and Sheena started peeling potatoes. As Sheena was peeling potatoes I ran to her neighbors and asked if I could borrow a mixer for the potatoes. They said sure! Well, they follow me back over, and we are chit chatting. Well, I can’t tell this to people enough, the things people wonder about me and worry about me, are things I’m already concerned I’ve fucked up! I wish I could explain that enough! Well her neighbors see the brocolli rice casserole and say, “What is this?” With a look of disgust on their face. It’s nothing. It’s from a corner I was trying to cut, I’m about to throw it out. They hear the timer go off in the oven, I pull open the door and they see that I didnt have aluminum foil on the turkey. Well, most of you probably know, you only have to have foil on the turkey the first few hours you are making it. The last few hours is for it to become a golden brown. And they said, “Maegan, you should’ve put aluminum foil on it to seal in the moisture. It’s probably not going to be tender now.” Well, my nerves started getting the best of me and I started to cry.
I thought about all of the work I had put into it, and how much I wanted everyone to like it, and ALL of the MONEY I DON’T HAVE! And, maybe we should’ve just gone to Shoney’s? Trent grabbed me, “Mae.” I’m not responding. “Mae!” He shouts and shakes me. Everyone is looking. “What’s wrong?” Trent makes everyone leave and get out of the kitchen.
My brother Brent comes in. “Maegan, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” I shake my head. “I’ll be fine.”
“She had a panic attack. She’s fine now.” Trent says relieved.
The turkey is done at this point, I pull it out of the oven and put foil on it. I throw all of the casseroles in the oven to heat them up and I start cutting the potatoes. The next thing I know Trent goes over to the turkey and starts picking at it. He starts picking at it after he ate all those expensive Shrimp. Something in me at that moment snapped. I was holding the knife, and I put it to Trent’s chest, “Trent, if you touch that Turkey one more time, you’re gonna lose a hand!” Trent starts to laugh and then I started to laugh and I needed it! Sometimes, I really feel unappreciated! So, Brent comes in the kitchen as we are finishing up the potatos and gravy and shells and cheese. Brent asked if there was anything he could do. I started to laugh and I just said to hell with it! I am not my Grandma Stella! She could’ve fixed a feast without any help at all but I just can’t! “I need you to finish up the potatos.” I said, completely exasberated. I’m throwing everything on the table, one by one and Brent doesn’t really know what to say. I’m slicing the cranberries and he says, “Wow, you really went out! This a real fiest!” I start to chuckle, “It better be, I’ve been planning it for months now. ” “I’m really proud of you, Maegan. You’ve become a real Susie Homemaker.” “Rachael Ray!” Sheena chimes in. I roll my eyes, “Yeah, well I don’t feel like it, Grandma used to do all of this with NO ONE’S help!” Brent stops what he’s doing, “Maegan. Grandma did it for a million years. She also had people that brought their own casseroles over, and she had two ovens. Look at this fiest you cooked, ALL by yourself. We’re proud of you. And you got us all together, which isn’t the easiest thing to do since Dad died.” I finish placing all of the food on the table. Brent picks up his camera and starts taking pictures. “I just can’t get over this.” He says.
So, everyone comes in and we hol hand and Trent says grace and then he carves the turkey and everyone eats! There were things that I didn’t think of that I will have learned a lesson from this year. The Crab Rangoon was impeccable, and it was the best part of the meal. The turkey was FUCKING AMAZING! However, it is more of a dish that would be better for only adults.
Because I am extremely self depricating I would like to take the next part to talk about all of the things that coul’dve gone better and critique myself so I have something to remember for next year. With the turkey the adults seemed to like it, but the kids had A LOT of complaints about it being hot! A LOT! So, next year I’m probabluy going on the lighter side. I also will probably request that people bring their own side dishes. It is hard keeping them warm without burning them. Especially with one oven! Also, next year I want to focus on less dishes with cheese. I didn’t realize but pretty much every dish had cheese in it or on it! Maybe a little more diverity next year? What are your thoughts? This girl is open for suggestions!
After everyone had ate I couldn’t find Trent, I thought he was in the back passed out from eating all the turkey, He was in the back writing this,
“Been a good drama free day with my in-law’s. Besides the part where Mae threatened to stab me if I touched her Turkey until it was finished. I mean I saw the turkey, and I wanted to pick at it, and one thing led to another, and she just happened to be slicing the potatoes, and she held a knife to me and said, “If you touch this turkey one more time your gonna lose a hand!” I can’t help it, this woman knows her way around the kitchen! And those Crab Rangoon was GOOOOOOD! They were just like at a restaurant! My wife is crazy and cool and I love our lives together. She worried for six weeks about this meal, and it can get really stressful when she worries so much, but I get it. She worries so no body else has to and there’s something beautiful about that. I’m so thankful for my wife. Love you boo.”