I love food. Every aspect of it. There is something about good food that just feels like home, especially around the holidays. Being the youngest of 8, even when we have a small gathering it's still big. So to feed alot of people there needs to be alot of food. It also helps that we are all good cooks :)
I have only made a Thanksgiving dinner myself once. The key is in the timing. You need to be organized and plan ahead to have everything arrive to the table still warm and fully cooked yet not over cooked. You definitely need to pace yourself and not get frazzled either. I learned a long time ago that rushing good food RUINS it!! On that note I sooooo miss cooking, but I've gotten used to being single and I can't stand wasting food. So I really don't cook as much as I used to.
My one tip for turkey is a paste I make with olive oil and butter and assorted seasonings. Depending on the mood I might vary the seasoning on chicken but for turkey I use poultry seasonings. For fun if there is time I will make butter pats ahead in candy molds. Little turkeys. They're so cute!
So here's my recipes for my Mom's stuffing and my signature white chocolate cheesecake.
2 loaves of King white bread
2 lbs of sausage
1/2 lb margarine
1 whole bunch celery
4 lg onions
3 T poultry seasonings
2 t thyme
2 T parsley
4 beaten eggs
1 T garlic powder
2 t salt
1 t pepper
1 qt chicken broth
2 weeks ahead dice 2 loaves of bread and put in 2 brown bags to dry. Shake bags daily. Take the skin off of the sausage and cut up into pan and brown slowly. Take out and chop coarsely in food processor. Leave fat in pan and add maragarine and allow to melt. Chop celery and onions coarsely in food processor and saute til clear. Add sausage and broth then suate 10 minutes. Add onions, celery and sausage to bread cubes in large roasting pan. Add eggs and half of soup then seasonings and mix. If bread is dry add soup until wet. Can freeze in foil or bake right away next to turkey never inside. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
White Chocolate Cheesecake
I love vanilla and sweets, so I always add extra vanilla to this and my cut out cookies. A sign of a good recipe is when the paper is stained with the foods and it's aromas like this one is. reminds me of my childrens books growing up and how they always wound up in the kitchen stained with vanilla when I would steal the beaters to lick after my mom was done with them.
4 packages cream cheese softened to room temperature
1 c sugar
1/2 c sour cream
6 large eggs
1/3 c whipping cream
8 oz white chocolate
1 T vanilla extract
Allow all ingredients to sit to come to room temperature. Get quality white chocolate if you can. Giardelli is always good. Melt until there are still a few chunks and sit aside to cool down but not harden it will continue to melt further and you may want some small chunks of chocolate in the cheesecake. Chocolate can be melted in double boiler, or microwave. Be careful to melt slowly 30 seconds at a time in microwave. If you don't have a double boiler use a small pot for chocolate over a large pot of boiling water, just be absolutely carfeul not to allow any water at all into the chocolate!
Heat oven to 350 and wrap the exterior of a 10 inch springform pan with double thickness alunminum foil. This step is to allow the cheesecake to bake in a water bath, so the foil is to keep any water from seeping into it while it bakes. The water bath keeps it from cracking, a very common occurence with cheesecakes. Have a large lasagna pan with water ready to fit the springform pan into later when ready to bake.
Beat cream cheese until soft. Add sugar and beat until smooth. Add sour cream and mix until smoooth again. Beat in eggs 2 at a time. Add cream and mix well. Beat in chocolate add vanilla and mix well. Be careful with modern mixers, they tend to overbeat and be too powerful, so stop the mixer in between steps. Place mixture into springform pan, then place pan in water bath with enough water to come up the sides about a 1/8 inch. Bake until set but still wiggles in center alittle bit about 1hour and 35 minutes. I always find I need alot more time than that but stoves vary. Be very careful when removing from oven because of the hot water. Remove from bath right away and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Then refrigerate til cold.
And don't forget to be thankful! There is always always always something to be thankful for.