Gentlemen, call your Moms and invite them over for Thanksgiving
Dinner - or Christmas for that matter. You're going to
show them something!
It is my intention to walk you through the process of
creating a magic meal for your kids; we won't sauté,
flambeau, dice, simmer or do any other thing you won't
immediately recognize. Can you follow a Chilton's Manual
and do your brakes? This will be a piece of cake.
I am also going to show you how to make ice cream - the
single most useful item in the parents arsenal of tools
to impress children is an electric ice cream maker. They
don't cost much. I would advise you to get the big one
(6 qts); you can make 2 quarts in a six quart machine
but, if you have a party and need 6 quarts, you will be
at it all day with the small one. They cost about the
If you master the making of ice cream, you'll be having
lots of parties - your children will become VERY popular!
You will need a turkey - get a big one, twenty pounds
or so. You will need an oven and a few pots and pans and
a couple of other things you should have on hand anyway.
If you don't have them, it might be nice to go out and
pay for a decent looking set of plates, glasses and silverware
but I can tell you for sure that the food will be just
fine using paper and plastic if you have to.
If you want to impress Mom, go first class.
Here's your shopping list:
It's not cheap to do, but making a grand dinner is a memory
money won't buy.
Turkey - fresh, never frozen. I buy
the Butterball ones (Maybe they'll pay me thousands
of dollars to say that! LOL)
Flour - All purpose
- Cream - Heavy Whipping Cream - 4 Pints
- Half n Half - 4 Pints
- Frozen Corn or Mixed Vegetables- Family Size Bag
- Fresh bread
- Cranberry Sauce
Oranges - 6, I like the big seedless
Lemons - 2
Limes - 2
Onions - 2 big ones will do
Polish Kielbasa - (2) 1 pound each
- Chicken Broth - about 14 oz
Celery - 1 bunch
Big Bag of Malted Milk Balls or Whoppers
- Box of Rock Salt
4 Boxes of Andes Dinner Mints
Bottle of Chocolate Syrup - I used
Hershey's Choc-Malt 16oz
2 Cans Sweetened Condensed Milk
Eggs - a dozen (you need 8)
Stuffing Mix - (2) 1 lb. bags. I use
Pepperridge Farm, 1 bag regular and one bag of cubes
Two bottles of wine - Optional
Aluminum Foil Roasting Pan - large
Roasting Bag - large
- 2 Bags of Ice (minimum)
- A hand held blender - these are cheap and great to
- Large glass measuring cup (2 cup size)
- Spice List
Pure Vanilla Extract - NOT Imitation
Brown Gravy Mix - I buy the big container that hold
about a pint of the powder
|For the ice cream (yes, you can buy it cheaper),
you will need a machine (about $30), the ingredients and some
time. In return, you get to convince your children that you
are magic! I bought this machine two years ago and I am sure
it has made more than twenty gallons of ice cream.
OK, you have every thing in the ingredient list, tomorrow's
Thanksgiving Day - set your alarm to get you up by 8 AM.
That bird is going to take 5 hrs to cook once you have it
ready to put in the oven. If you start at 8AM, you might
have dinner at 4PM - it's a lot of work.
|First, we begin by washing the
bird. Put the bird in the CLEAN sink. Fill the sink with warm
water as you carefully pull the tips of the legs from the
flap of skin that secures them (on a Butterball). Open the
big body cavity and remove the package inside. Some birds
will have two packages - the smaller one in the small cavity
on the other end of the bird where the neck was. Wash the
bird inside and out.
|While the bird soaks in warm water,you are going
to start making the dressing. Your Mom doesn't make it this
way - but she'll hound you for the recipe once she's had yours.
I kid you not - this is nothing experimental, I make this
every year this way.
||Get out two average onions or one really big
one. Peel the skin off them and slice them then chop up the
slices to make little cubes. It doesn't matter one bit how
you get it done so long as you take off that outside skin
first. You should have enough to cover the bottom of a large
Put that skillet on the stove at a low to
medium temperature, add 2 sticks of butter, cover with a
lid and let it cook. Tell Momma you began by "dicing"
the onions and "sautéing" them in butter.
|Cut each of the two kielbasas in half and then
split them long ways. Put them in a big glass or Pyrex bowl
and nuke them in the microwave for about 5 minutes. Check
them and if they don't look cooked, nuke them for a couple
more. They should shrivel up a bit and get a little brown
on the tips.
|Do NOT overcook the kielbasa. The object of
taking it for the stroll down atomic beach is to make some
of the fat melt out of it. You will find a lot of fat in your
bowl when you take it out. DON'T wash it down the drain -
it will clog your pipes. Put it in a coffee can with some
used paper towels or something and throw it in the garbage.
|Remember how you chopped up the
onions, we want celery chopped up to look just like it. Separate
the stalks, wash them carefully in warm water, split them
long ways and chop them up until you have about the same amount
as you had of the onions. We started the onions cooking first
because they cook slower.
|Chop up the kielbasa and add it to the skillet
along with the chopped celery. Sprinkle it liberally with
the garlic salt. Stir it up, cover it with the lid and turn
the heat down to low. Just so you know how to explain it to
Momma, you are now "simmering" your "sautéed"
onions with celery and kielbasa. Turn your oven on to 325
degrees so it can start warming up.
|Now, take two large oranges, two lemons and
two limes. Quarter them - in other words, cut them in half
from top to bottom and cut each half in half. Take a sharp
knife and cut the skins away. Then remove the seeds. Cut each
piece into three or four pieces - we want big chunks, not
ground up fruit.
In a 13 inch by nine inch nonstick pan (if you don't have
one, you need one - we'll be baking your brownies in it
in another article), put BOTH bags of stuffing mix (2 pounds)
and add 1 cup of chopped parsley, 1 tablespoon of thyme,
1 tablespoon of rosemary, 1 tablespoon of sage, 1/2 tablespoon
of pepper and 1/2 tablespoon of salt.
A "tablespoon" is not a precise measurement when
I cook - it is about a goodsize spoon full - we are talking
about seasoning about four pounds of stuffing so a little
more/less is no big deal one way or the other.
Put the dry stuffing and seasoning in a large pot (or any
other large clean container) and add the stuff you have
been simmering in your skillet. Add two cups of chicken
broth. Crack four eggs, put them in your 2 cup measuring
cup, stir them up good with a fork and dump them into your
pot. Add a cup of fresh orange juice to your pot and stir
this whole thing up good with a big spoon or a spatula (that
thing you flip an egg with).
Once it is well mixed, add the fruit you
cut up and take all those skins you cut off the fruit and
squeeze them (one at a time) so the juice falls on your
mixture in the pot. GENTLY stir it up just enough to distribute
the fruit throughout the mix. Again, we want big chunks
when this is done, not ground up fruit.
Now, taste it - if it doesn't taste terrific, go back and
try to figure out what you did wrong. It should be delicious.
|Now we get ready to prepare our bird - the one
that is still sitting in that sink full of water that is now
cold. Drain the water from the sink, tilt the bird up so that
big cavity drains and fill the sink/bird with warm water again.
Let it set there while we make our baste for the turkey -
the stuff we are going to smear all over the outside of the
bird before we cook it.
Take 4 of those orange peel quarters, two lemon peel quarters
and two lime peel quarters and cut them up into very small
pieces - the smaller the better. Put them in something -
your 2 cup measuring cup will do - add a 2 tablespoons of
minced garlic, and a tablespoon EACH of salt, pepper, rosemary,
sage and thyme. Add enough olive oil to cover everything
completely and then start blending it with your hand blender
until it is a creamy mix. If it is too thick to blend, add
a little more olive oil.
Drain the water that the bird has been soaking
in and use your sink sprayer to flush out the cavities with
hot water. Dry the bird inside and out with paper towels
making sure that you don't leave any bits of paper towel
inside the bird.
Fill the bird with your stuffing - use your
nice clean hands. You'll have lots of stuffing left over.
Carefully tuck the tips of the legs back into that flap
of skin that was used to hold them. If you cannot figure
out how to do it, just tie them together across the big
hole with a piece of string. Coat the bird with your mix
that you blended - coat it liberally (use it all) and slide
the bird into the baking bag - DO NOT TRY AND PICK YOUR
TURKEY UP BY THE BAG - it isn't made for that and won't
||Tie off the end of the bag with the ties they
provided and set the bagged bird on that string thing that
should have come with it. Use the string to lift the bird
and set it in your roasting pan. An aluminum foil pan is not
meant to hold the weight of that bird - it just holds the
liquids that come out of the bird as it cooks. Support the
Put your bird in the oven that is set to 325 degrees. It
should take about 15 minutes per pound to cook. In other
words, divide the weight of your bird by 4 and cook it for
that many hours. Be sure and note the time when you put
it in or set your timer.
Put the rest of your dressing in your 13x9 pan and set
it aside with a towel over it. Don't put it on the oven
until the bird is almost cooked. I cook mine after the bird
is done while I prepare everything else.
Assuming you have a twenty pound bird, you have 5 hours
to kill - start cleaning up and put your wine in to be chilling.
Get everything you have used thus far cleaned and put away.
You're going to be back in 4 hours to make everything else
but, before that, we'll be making the ice cream since it
takes some time to "cure."
|In your nice clean kitchen, assemble all the
ice cream ingredients. You will be using that hand operated
blender a lot; it is good to have everything blended together
before you put it in the ice cream maker tank. You will also
need a good supply of ice and rock salt.
Mr. Mom's Chocolate Chip
Malt Ice Cream Recipe
2 Cans Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 oz ea.)
2 Pints Half-n-Half
2 Pints Heavy Cream
5 Table Spoons Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Bag Malted Milk Balls
1 16 oz Bottle Hershey's Chocolate Malt Syrup
4 boxes of Andes Dinner Mints
To start, put one of the 14 ounce cans of sweetened condensed
milk in a big container - I used a huge car cup - add the
16 oz bottle of Hershey's chocolate malt syrup and a pint
of Half-n-Half, blend completely with the hand blender and
dump in your tank (the aluminum cylinder on the counter
in the left hand picture below).
Put the malted milk balls (I prefer them but I used Whoppers)
in a food processor and powderize them. Put the powder,
the second 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk and
the second pint of half-n-half in the big container, blend
well and add to your tank.
Put 1 cup sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 5 Tablespoons of pure
vanilla extract, 4 raw eggs and 2 pints of Heavy Whipping
Cream in your container, blend and add to your tank.
Follow the directions that came with your machine. Put
the agitator in the ice cream, cap it, put it in the bucket,
surround with layers of ice and rock salt, plug it in and
it should be about time to get back to making dinner while
your ice cream maker does the work. It makes a lot of noise.
Be sure and read the directions that came with it. You need
to periodically pour off the water and add more ice and
||Take a dozen of your potatoes, peel them, cut
them into quarters and put them in a big pot of water with
salt to keep them from turning brown as you cut them up. This
makes enough to feed a small army - you might want to use
6-8 potatoes for a smaller pot. Put them on the stove at a
med-hi heat and let them cook.
|Cooking the potatoes is a no-brainer; just let
them cook while you take care of other things. Take your bag
of mixed vegetables, put them in a microwaveable bowl and
have them standing by. By this time, you should be ready to
take the bird out of the oven - be careful. I slid the rack
out, and then slid the bird and roasting pan off onto that
big black cutting board to support it. Remember, DO NOT try
to pick it up by picking up the pan - it isn't strong enough.
|Now, bearing in mind that the bag we cooked
the bird in is now full of cooked bird and the liquid drippings
(about a half gallon of drippings), let's remove the bagged
bird but leave the drippings by poking holes in the bottom
of the bag and lifting the bird out of the pan using that
|Next, we start in on the giblet gravy and the
orange sauce. Take the stuff out of the packages that you
pulled from the cavity of the bird, There will be a neck,
heart, liver and gizzard. The neck is the long thing and the
gizzard is so tough you can hardly cut it - throw them away.
Cut the heart and liver into small pieces and nuke them for
about 5 minutes. The will turn grayish -- all the red will
go away when they are done
||For the turkey gravy, put three cups of the
drippings in a sauce pan (small pot) and let it sit for a
while. Use a spoon to carefully spoon off the fat (oil that
rises to the top) but don't worry about getting it all. Add
three tablespoons of brown gravy mix and use your hand blender.
Set it on the stove on a low heat.
|Put three cups of drippings in another sauce
pan and spoon off the fat. Add two table spoons of flour and
blend with your blender. Put it on the stove on low heat and
cook it slowly. Stir both of your sauce pans until they begin
to bubble/boil. To the second one, add a cup and a half of
orange juice and a cup of heavy cream.
Now, the thing about the gravy and the sauce that is different
is they require adjustments to make them taste the way you
want them to. The gravy will be a lot thicker than the orange
They should both be sitting on the stove, slowly bubbling
- taste them. Add about half a tablespoon of salt and pepper
to each and taste them again - keep doing that until they
taste right - you should have more seasoning in the gravy
than the orange sauce.
If your gravy isn't thick enough, add more brown gravy
mix BUT remember that this will make it taste stronger too.
Once it tastes strong enough, if you need to make it thicker,
add a tablespoon of flour, blend it and slowly boil it again.
Note that you should blend it and bring to a boil with each
table spoon of flour you add - the boiling makes it thicken.
Once the gravy is thick enough and tastes just right, add
your giblets and turn the heat as low as possible.
Your orange sauce does not taste very strong and is not
thick like the gravy is. Do not try and thicken it to match
the gravy. It is supposed to be a thin sauce with a light
orangey taste. Leave it warming on the lowest setting just
like the gravy.
Put your pan of dressing in the 325 degree oven UNCOVERED
and set your timer to 40 minutes. Remember to keep adding
ice and salt to your ice cream maker.
|By now, your potatoes should be
well cooked. They have probably been boiling for about 45
minutes or more. Drain off all the water and add two sticks
of butter (one if you used fewer potatoes). Just push the
butter down into the hot potatoes and leave the pot sit somewhere
off the stove while the butter melts. Stir your sauces.
Put that big bowl of mixed veggies in the microwave for
about 5 minutes. Take them out and stir them up and nuke
them again. Keep doing it until they are steamy hot. Keep
an eye on those sauces - they are supposed to be on warm,
not sitting there boiling.
To your pot of potatoes, add 2 cups of Half n Half (one
if you used less potatoes) and a Tablespoon of salt. Use
a hand mixer on a low speed to whip them up. Add more Half
n Half as needed but be careful not to add too much. If
you get them too watery, you have a problem. Whip them until
they are they way you want them.
Open your cranberry sauce and put it on a small plate.
Put your sauce in a large bowl and your gravy in another
large bowl. Put them as well as a large bowl of mixed veggies
and a larger bowl of mashed potatoes on the table.
|By now, somewhere along the line, your ice cream
maker should have stopped - pour the ice cream into some large
Tupperware containers or a coffee can and put it in the freezer
to cure. The ice cream will taste great at this point but
will be softer than we'd like. Also, we have yet to add the
If your ice cream machine is still grinding away, keep
adding ice and salt. You can feel free to unplug it and
move it into another room while you eat.
At my house, we "Say Grace" or ask a "Blessing"
before dinner - the kids take turns with that, except on
special occasions, when I prefer to ask the Blessing myself.
How you handle things at your house is your business, but
if you choose to follow this tradition, I think it is very
important to make it a point to mention everyone
in your prayer, and be sure that you leave no one out.
After dinner, you and the kids can open all the dinner
mints and layer them on top of the ice cream which should
still be pretty soft. Once you have the ice cream covered
with a layer of mints, push them down into the ice cream
and put it back into the freezer to get hard.
It is better to serve it once everyone has gotten over
that stuffed feeling. It is really, REALLY rich stuff!
You can do this, and it will turn out to be delicious
but, even if you make some mistakes, so what? You will
have made a grand dinner no matter how many mistakes you
made and the memory will taste better and better in the
minds of your children as the years go by, while you get
better and better at making it happen.
From my family to yours, Good Luck
& God Bless