Thursday, October 25, 2012

My "EXPRESS THANKS"-giving Dinner

A lot of things have happened the past few months, most of which I am thankful for.  Just about two weeks after my husband lost his job our oven quit working.  Thankfully, only the oven quit working -- the burners still work fine!  For the past four months we have managed to feed our family with just the stove top, crock pot, microwave, and a counter top convection toaster oven given to us by a family that had culled it from their yard sale items. 

Since we have hosted our family Thanksgiving dinner the past few years, understandably I have been a little concerned about whether or not we would be able to feed our parents-in-law, an elderly widower and his son, and other family members this year.  So I decided to have a "rehearsal dinner" of sorts and see what I could put together without a full-size oven.  Amazingly, I pulled off a traditional scaled-down but tasty Thanksgiving dinner and did it in just over an hour!

Drum roll, please......feast your eyes on my EXPRESS THANKS-giving dinner!  (Did you catch that play on words?  Not just "express" as in fast, but a dinner to express thanks for all God's blessings!)  Not only was this a quick and easy meal to prepare, but it didn't cost more than about $20, including the turkey!

Here's how I did it:
Step One:  I purchased the products I would need for a traditional meal of turkey, dressing, gravy, sweet potato casserole, green beans, and rolls.  (Not pictured are the 7.75 lb. Honeysuckle White Turkey breast with gravy packet that fit perfectly in my crock pot, the Hawaiian rolls that I served in place of my traditional homemade yeast rolls, or the marshmallows that topped the sweet potato casserole.)   I used some store-brand products as well as brand-name ones and the result was a delicious meal that I was able to prepare in just over an hour.


Step Two:  Before going to work, I took ten minutes (max) to rinse the turkey breast, brush it with vegetable oil, and put it on to cook in the crock pot.  I set the dial on the Auto Shift setting and let the crock do the cooking!  The only thing I did before I came home from work was baste the turkey on my lunch hour.  The turkey cooked all day -- from about 6:45 a.m. until 5:15 p.m.

Step Three:  After work, I prepared the other dishes as follows:
Green beans -- cooked two cans of cut green beans on med-high heat with onions, salt, pepper, butter, and a little bit of sugar, none of which I measured.  Although I prefer to simmer them gently for a little longer, canned beans cook up nicely with the lid on over med-high heat.  Just don't let the beans boil dry and burn! 
Sweet potato casserole -- cooked a large can of Bruce's Yams by spooning the yams and pouring about two-thirds of the juice into a saucepan, then adding a stick of butter, 3/4 c. brown sugar, and some cinnamon (to taste).  I cooked the yams on med-high heat for several minutes, stirring often until the potatoes were essentially mashed.  Next I transferred them to a Pyrex casserole (sprayed with cooking spray) that would fit in the convection oven (pan was a little smaller than 9x13) and baked them at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Then I layered mini marshmallows on top and baked another 7-10 minutes until the marshmallows were soft and golden. 
Dressing -- I cheated and used Stove Top cornbread stuffing mix but made it with chicken broth instead of water.  Lots of good flavor without any fuss! 
Gravy -- I used the packet that came with the turkey breast, adding 1/4 c. of turkey drippings from the crock pot.  (My original plan was to use turkey gravy in a jar, again mixed with turkey drippings. )
Cranberry sauce -- no one in my family but me likes it, but a turkey dinner isn't complete without it.  I used Great Value brand from Walmart.

Rolls -- I chose Hawaiian rolls you can purchase from the supermarket.  They are soft, sweet, and can easily be microwaved or warmed in the toaster oven.  They'll never replace my homemade rolls, but in a pinch they are priceless!
Missing from the table were mashed potatoes and sweet tea with lemon, as well as my usual apple pie with vanilla ice cream.  Those are easy enough to prepare and will be added to the lineup when the official day arrives!

The beauty of this meal was that I literally had it ready to go on the table one hour after I arrived home from work.  This Thanksgiving I will be able to enjoy all the blessings without all the stressing!

 Be blessed, y'all!


Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.


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1 comment:

  1. DeeDee...I feel your pain. We have been without a stove for months now. I have been cooking in a little microwave, a crock pot and a one burger George Foreman grill. Recently my sister let me borrow her electric griddle. When we got it, we were so excited about how many menu ideas that would open for us! LOL We've only had a regular size refrigerator for a month or so now. What a blessing. I tell you, being without sure makes you appreciate what you do have!