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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Prepping For Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving (US) dinner coming up soon, it's time to plan ahead. This year I'd like to have company for dinner, so I'll have to make sure everything is perfect.

Turkey: Have you checked the prices at Wal Mart lately? They were selling turkeys for 33 cents a pound. I bought two good sized birds and I'm trying to make room in my freezer for another one. I usually spend 60 cents a pound for chicken thighs and legs when I cook for the dogs. 33 cents is a whole lot better than 60. I can chop off the legs for Greg (which is a treat for him) and cook the rest for the dogs.

Don't forget that most stores will start dropping prices on key ingredients the week of Thanksgiving. STOCK UP. You won't see that value again on that many items for the rest of the year. They drop some prices down around Christmas, but around here, Thanksgiving is the best time of the year for food value.

The best values I've seen this week was on chicken broth, canned vegetables and nuts. Every store is different, so it pays to browse their flyers and see what their loss leaders are. If you're in the vicinity, stop in and stock up.

What am I doing to prepare for company?

• Deep clean my house five days before company comes. That means windows, bathrooms, ovens and spare bedrooms.

• Put the frozen bird in the fridge four days before roasting.

• The day before Gobble Day, marinate the bird in salt water for at least six hours.

• Start saving my leftover bread pieces and add it to a pan of cornbread that has been cubed and frozen.

• Side dishes: This year, I'm having mashed potatoes, asparagus, herbed cauliflower, and baby peas and pearl onions. I will wait until the day before to get fresh asparagus, but peas I buy frozen, and the potatoes and cauliflower I can buy ahead.

• Salads: Salads are my specialty, but since I will have a lot to do that day, I will rely on already prepared salad greens with which I can add cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumber, carrots and feta and then toss with a special dressing.

• Desserts: I get a reprieve! I'm having my guests bring a desert each. I will have Blue Bell vanilla bean ice cream as an accompaniment though.

Speaking of guests, don't be afraid to ask them to do something or help with the vittles. I don't know of anyone who wouldn't want to chip in where they can.

Our last summer party was so hectic, I didn't get a chance to visit with any one person for very long. For this dinner, I want to be able to talk to my guests and enjoy my dinner.

What do you do to prep for a big day? Any tips?


Jennifer Shirk said...

33 cents a pound? Wow!

I have Thanksgiving off this year. Yay! My brother is cooking. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Lucky you! I had it off last year, so I'm it this year.

Ref: 33 cents
The funny thing about this is that Wal Mart was advertising it for 40 cents a pound, but when I got there, the turkeys were 33 cents a pound.

I don't look a gift turkey in the mouth. :o)

Heather B. Moore said...

My advice is to not wait until the last minute to purchase your food. Even items such as potatoes will sell out fast :)

Maria Zannini said...

This is an excellent tip, Heather. I am holding out on the asparagus because I have a thing about rubbery spears--but I always have a backup side dish in case the one I'm holding up on is gone.

Great point!

Marianne Arkins said...

LOL... I already have five turkeys in my freezer. The bad thing is: My DH finally got his deer this week and it's BIG and we're butchering it this weekend, and ... uh... I don't know where I"m going to put it (and I'm still trying to find room for more turkeys -- for the same reason as you. I can use them for Dakota's food).

I wish I had another freezer.

I also stock up on EVERYTHING. I bought jars of gravy for .89/each (they're usually $1.59) at Target last week. The lady gave me a weird look because I had two dozen, lol. But, heck, I have five turkeys... I'm going to need some gravy *G*

Maria Zannini said...

I saw a lady with a cart full of pie crusts, stuffing and gravy. Full. Completely full.

Even to me it looked weird.

I had Greg buy a couple of turkeys for his house. I can make dog food there as well as here.

But here's what I did to make more room in my freezer. I had several large hunks of beef without much marbling. I am making beef jerky out of them. They come out half the size and you can munch on them anywhere.

Hey, that might make for a good future post.

Shelley Munro said...

Many hands make light work. We all take things to add to our family meals so that one person isn't stressed by making the entire meal.

Because we don't have Thanksgiving in NZ, turkey isn't common here in supermarkets. My father used to have lots of turkeys on the farm when we were kids. People used to steal them all the time. I think turkey is quite expensive here.

Maria Zannini said...

There is a big market for it here, and most of them are eaten at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We raised a turkey one year. Meanest, toughest bird I ever knew. *g*

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

I'm hosting the event at my house this year, so I'm mentally preparing myself for the chaos. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Hi Roni,

I won't be having the barbarian horde over, just a few adults, so it should be relatively chaos-free. --I hope.