Let us give thanks…for our families; for our friends, for our schools and their teachers; for our churches and synagogues, where we can worship freely; for the service men and women who are fighting to keep our country a free place; for the fact that we live in a country that is still free; and last, but by no means least, that we have lived to celebrate another Thanksgiving. Just as HE is the “reason for the season”, at Christmas, THANKS is the first word in the name of the feast we are celebrating this week!
For many of us, there may be fewer around the table than there were last year. For these families, we pray that they have the strength and courage to make it through the holidays with a little lessening of the pain in their hearts. We also pray for the ones who have family members that are ill; with cancer, Alzheimers Disease, heart disease, or indeed, any disease at all; that their burden of caring for their loved ones may be lightened. For all who live away from their families for any reason will get a phone call or card from the ones they love. For all who will be on the highways going to and from their families, may they have a safe trip.
By the time most of you are reading this, you should have that turkey thawed and ready for the oven. Now, after that bird is done, take it out of the oven and allow to “rest” for about 15 minutes. This will make meat firmer and easier to slice. Are you ready to carve it? First and foremost, you’ll need a sharp knife. Sharp knives are not only safer, they will help you smoothly cut thin, even slices without shredding the meat. An electric knife is great, if you have one. If you stuffed the turkey, remove the stuffing and place it in a serving bowl, and keep warm.
Remove and set aside the turkey legs and last joint of each wing. Make a long, deep, (to the bone) horizontal “base cut” into the breast just above the wing joint. Slice down vertically through the breast along the breast bone until you hit the original cut. This will release one portion of the breast. Place this on a cutting board and slice it, repeat with the other side of the breast, next, slice the thighs and the legs.
When the meal is done, de-bone the rest of the turkey and place all the meat in the fridge. Place the carcass into a large pot, add a couple of ribs of celery cut into chunks, an onion, cut into quarters, cover with water, bring to a boil, turn heat down, cover and cook for several hours. This will make a pot of broth that you can use later for soup. Remove the bones, strain the broth through a colander lined with several thicknesses of damp cheesecloth. Place in smaller containers and refrigerate overnight. When the fat has risen to the top and hardened, remove it, place the broth into suitable containers and freeze for future use. This makes an awesome broth to make into soup. All you have to do is thaw some of the broth, add mixed vegetables, (I like the type called “vegetables for soup” as this contains all sorts of vegetables). Or, if desired, all you have to do is add noodles to the broth and you have noodle soup. This does not work quite as well when you have a fried or smoked turkey, as it will have a different taste.
I know you already have your menu planned and most of your food ready to serve, but in case you don’t and still need ideas, here are a few recipes. All are simple, taking less than 15-20 minutes prep time.
2 to 3 cans sliced beets
1 to 1½ cups sugar
1 to 1½ cups vinegar
1 to 1½ cups liquid from beets
Drain beets, reserving liquid. Pour beets into bowl and set aside. Heat sugar, vinegar and liquid from beets until sugar is dissolved and mixture boils. Pour over beets. Chill thoroughly before serving. (If you do this when you first put the turkey in the oven, it will be chilled by mealtime).
Jo’s Cherry Delight
1 can lite cherry pie filling
1 can (8-oz) crushed pineapple in juice
1 can low-fat condensed milk (not evaporated!)
12-oz carton whipped topping, thawed
Mix all ingredients together and chill before serving. Weight watchers – 2 points per 1/2 cup.
Death by Chocolate
1 box fudgy brownie mix, baked according to package directions and cooled*
1 large box instant chocolate pudding, made according to package directions
1 container (8-oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
6 Skor or Heath bars or bag of Heath bits
Break the candy bars into small pieces by tapping the packages with the handle of a knife, set aside. Into a large serving bowl, break 1/2 of the brownies into small pieces. Cover with 1/2 of the pudding, top with 1/2 of the candy, top with 1/2 of the thawed whipped topping. Repeat a second time. *You can use the individually wrapped brownies if desired. (i.e. Little Debbie Snack Cakes® or the store brand equivalent).
If everything does not turn out to be perfect, don’t worry about it! Enjoy your family and have a wonderful and truly blessed day!