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Old 11-13-2008, 12:46 AM   #16
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This year I'm making the feast and we're going all out with the fattening stuff. I've never tried any of these recipes before, but they were all highly rated.

Here's our menu:
Brined, Herb Roasted Turkey
Glazed Carrots
Savory Spinach and Artichoke Stuffing
Apple Gorgonzola Salad with Italian Vinaigrette
Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Pie
Pistachio Petit-Four Cake

I've allowed myself approximately two days to do the cooking and I hope that'll be enough. It's quite the undertaking. The cake I'm planning on making the first night I get into town, which will be that Tuesday. I'll freeze the layers and then decorate it maybe on Wednesday. As far as the sides, I'm planning on doing as much ahead of time as I can. Probably just the cranberry sauce and the stuffing will be okay prepared ahead and then just heated the day of. I'm just happy my mom has two ovens so that I can bake the turkey in one and other stuff in the second.
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Old 11-13-2008, 12:53 AM   #17
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Here is a question for everyone....how to do an awesome gravy when one isn't cooking a turkey?
You could buy a pack of turkey necks from the store - I can find them for about $1.30 each. One pack gives you three necks, and you can simmer one in water with some onion, celery, carrots, and spices. Use that to make your gravy and it is divine, as well as being pretty cheap.
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Old 11-13-2008, 10:29 AM   #18
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Lindseylouwho - pumpkin pies freeze well. I've already made 3
Also, the mac and cheese might freeze as well - or at least you should be able to make it a day ahead of time and just bake it off Thursday.

Thanks for the gravy tips, guys. I don't know why Louisiananians aren't gravy people...I'm definitely a gravy person.

I sent off an order to Williams Sonoma today - they have some BEAUTIFUL serving platters.

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Jenny - about the counter, I think the rules are no pictures in signatures until you've been here for 20 days and 20 posts....someone correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 11-13-2008, 11:20 AM   #19
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Hm, I never thought about freezing the pumpkin pie. I'll have to see how much room there is in my mom's freezer. It's usually insanely full.

As far as the mac and cheese, I just remember from last year when I made one that it dried out the next day and got a little bit gritty, but was velvety smooth and plenty saucy when it was fresh. I'm not sure if that was a problem created after baking, but I don't want anyone complaining that they wish I would have made my aunt's recipe which doesn't really have much real cheese at all... it's some concoction involving condensed cream of cheddar soup and other things.
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Old 11-13-2008, 12:12 PM   #20
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Lindsey - as long as you don't bake it, it should be fine. My son loves mac and cheese and I make him homemade ones all the time. I put them into small ramekins and whenever he wants one, I pull it out of the fridge and pop it in the oven to bake. Tastes perfectly fresh.
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Old 11-13-2008, 05:14 PM   #21
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Zeffryn, thanks for the reassurance. Hopefully I'll be able to get that prepared the day before in that case.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:06 AM   #22
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As far as the mac and cheese, I just remember from last year when I made one that it dried out the next day and got a little bit gritty, but was velvety smooth and plenty saucy when it was fresh. I'm not sure if that was a problem created after baking,
Cheese is like chocolate; the temperature differences can make it sort of curdle. Did it cool all the way before you refrigerated it?
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Old 11-14-2008, 01:04 AM   #23
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Definitely. I made it at my apartment and then transported it to my mom's house that was then 45 minutes away. It then sat out on the counter for a while until dinner. I actually think that when we ate it it was lukewarm at best... haha. Buffet items during our holidays never seem to all be hot when we actually sit down to eat... Hmm... maybe we should work on our timing. I'm using a different recipe this year, though, so maybe that will make all of the difference. I think the biggest issue I have is that when reheated, mac and cheese never seems to have enough sauce. I guess it sort of solidifies when it cools and never really melts back down when reheated?
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Old 11-14-2008, 11:42 AM   #24
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Lindsey - you may want to add a little milk or cream when baking if you've made the sauce ahead of time. The baking usually causes the sauce to congeal a bit which makes it harder to really distribute well again. As long as you only bake it once - no reheating afterwards! it should be fine. If you need to make it at your house, just make it and let the sauce cool. Cover and bake at your mom's.

I forgot to tell you to let it cool completely before putting it in the fridge, I'm glad someone else brought that up.
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Old 11-14-2008, 11:46 AM   #25
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Thanks Zeffryn and Wolf Goddess for your suggestions! I'll give them a whirl and see how it goes.
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Old 11-14-2008, 06:44 PM   #26
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I think the biggest issue I have is that when reheated, mac and cheese never seems to have enough sauce. I guess it sort of solidifies when it cools and never really melts back down when reheated?
Once boiled, pasta will keep absorbing more liquid until it's saturated - at which point the noodles disintegrate. Even when it's just in the fridge or room temperature, cooked noodles will sponge up moisture.
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Old 11-15-2008, 01:08 PM   #27
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Hi Zeffryn, I'm from Louisiana and cannot live without gravy!! My biggest challenge is the gravy as I am on Sugar Busters and cannot find any of their bread locally. I used to clean my plate at every dinner with some kind of bread....oh how I miss that. I've ordered turduckens before and usually they offer a few types of gravy as well but the recipes here will make wonderful gravy!!

I'm off to gather some recipes!!
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Old 11-15-2008, 06:36 PM   #28
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crayphish - I tried to order a turducken....I guess I was late on that decision. I haven't found a place yet within a 50 mile radius that isn't all booked up for turkey day.

I sincerely hope that my sister in law is willing to do either the turkey or the roast - I don't think I want to undertake both of them!
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Old 11-19-2008, 02:26 PM   #29
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ok...I'm an idiot.

I was going to order the WS Turkey Gravy base a week ago, completely forgot and now am going to have to pay $37 for a jar to be delivered before Turkey Day. I don't have a WS anywhere close.

OR....anybody else know of any suitable replacements? Does any place offer boxed turkey stock?

I guess worse case scenario, I could go to a specialty meat shop that does turduckens and boneless turkeys and see if they have any carcasses. Make a stock and then make the gravy...

me thinks that is a lot of work for Thanksgiving day.
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Old 11-19-2008, 02:28 PM   #30
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Oh no!

What stores do you have there? Is there a Whole Foods? If so, the turkey demi-glace is very close to the WS stuff.

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