Thanksgiving Dinner and Christmas Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner - Christmas Dinner

Preparing Your Thanksgiving Dinner and Christmas Dinner

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Thanksgiving dinner normally tends to include all the most traditional dishes: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberries, green beans, and pumpkin pie.

This time of year always stresses me out somewhat.  Unfortunately, I am not one of those who loves to cook. In fact, the only time I actually kind of enjoy cooking (even just a tiny bit) is for the Holidays. Other than that, I pretty much HATE to cook!

Nevertheless, I do have a kitchen full of every imaginable tool, various pieces of equipment and assorted paraphernalia.  I guess my thinking has been if I have enough tools to make the job easier.. maybe I won’t dread cooking as much as I do.  So far that is not working.

In spite of having a convection oven as well as all the best mixers, blenders, food processors, various pots, pans, steamers, electric griddles, Panini and Belgian waffle makers and you name it.. I still HATE to cook!

I envy people like Rachael Ray.. who can just go into the pantry and pluck out an armful of ingredients, spices, etc. and throw it all together and not only make an amazing dinner in record time.. but make the whole thing look so easy.. UGH!

THANKSGIVING DINNER – ALL THE PROPER TOOLS FOR THE JOB:

Of all my kitchen essentials.. I love my Calphalon Roasting Pan.  Maybe I have formed a closer bond with this particular piece of equipment since I use it three times a year.. at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I doubt there is anything else in my kitchen that I use on a more regular basis.. LOL

I really like that the rack has a flat bottom.  This allows the turkey to sit lower than with the racks that are in a deep V shape.  When the turkey sits lower in the rack it takes up less space in the oven 🙂

I also like that Calphalon hs a lifetime warranty. I don’t like wasting money buying the same thing over and over again because they keep breaking. With a lifetime warranty I can be assurred the item will hold up.

Thanksgiving Dinner Turkey Roasting Pan

Calphalon Nonstick Roasting Pan

  • Dimensions: 16″ L x 13″ W
  • Manufacturer’s lifetime limited warranty

I also love my Corningware French White set.  They are attractive enough to go from the oven to the table.

At Christmas time I use my Spode.. but for Thanksgiving Dinner, I normally use my Corningware French White as serving bowls.

I personally use the 2.5 qt. for my mashed potatoes and the 1.5 qt. for my sweet potatoes.. taking them right from the oven to the table.. (placing them on trivets of course).

I also like to add a grated carrot or two in with my potatoes while they are boiling.  This lends a little color to the otherwise boring looking mashed potatoes. After they have been mashed and whipped to perfection, I put them in the large 2.5 qt. baking dish and put them in the oven until everything else is on the table.

I have a few easy peasy variations for my sweet potatoes as well.  I have added them below.

CorningWare® French White Baking Set

  • Fluted design lends classic flair
  • Nonporous surface won’t absorb stains
  • Plastic lids and glass covers offer convenience
  • Ceramic construction for long-lasting use
  • Ceramic dishes are oven safe up to 500°F
  • Dishwasher and microwave safe
  • 2.5-qt. covered round baking dish
  • 1.5-qt. covered round baking dish
  • Two 16-oz. round bowls
  • 7-oz. ramekin
  • Four plastic lids
Corningware French White

Three of My Favorite Sweet Potato Variations

Sweet Potatoes

I am not going to call these sweet potato “recipes”.. as a recipe normally suggests there is an actual list of ingredients involved.  And, if anything has more than a few ingredients.. I’m out!

In previous posts, we have already established that I am most definitely not a world-class cook.. not even close.  In fact, I literally HATE cooking.  I don’t think you can ever be really good at something you hate.

I am definitely not someone who lives to eat.  However, since we all have to eat to live.. I have managed to get by finding simple recipes that don’t have a long list of ingredients and that won’t keep me in the kitchen any longer than necessary.  If I find a package that says “simply add water”.. that’s my kind of cooking! LOL

I really don’t understand the mindset of women like Martha Stewart and Paula Deen who absolutely love to cook!  To me, that is just a totally foreign thought process, like.. maybe they’re from another planet?

I would definitely like to be a next-door neighbor to one of them and be the official “tester” of recipes.  But, please don’t ask me to get involved and help out in the kitchen with all the slicing, dicing, boiling, broiling, braising, searing, sauteing, and whatever else it is these alien culinary goddesses do.

Easy Peasy Sweet Potato Variations for Your Thanksgiving Dinner:

I love sweet potatoes and often times just zap one up in the microwave for lunch. With a dollop of butter and a sprinkling of cinnamon, they are delicious! They are also one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat.

About the only time I really commit to spending any time in the kitchen is during the Holidays.  I love a nice Honey Glazed Ham for Easter, Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner, and Prime Rib for Christmas.

Fortunately, my BFF is from Germany and loves to cook! We take turns hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas. She has shared many of her simplest recipes over the years, which has been a great help to me.

My favorite sweet potato variations below have been suggested to me either by my friend, my sister or my mother-in-law.  These ladies are always coming to my rescue as they are all aware of my aversion to cooking.

If you dislike cooking as much as I do.. you will love these easy peasy variations for your sweet potatoes. If you are one who likes them super sweet.. feel free to add mini-marshmallows to the top of any of them  🙂

* NOTE: In all 3 recipes, baking time may vary depending on how big you cut your potato pieces

Variation Number 1 – Sweet Potatoes with Pineapple

4-5 large sweet potatoes
1 – 8 oz. can Dole crushed pineapple

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into small pieces
Place them into a 1.5 qt. baking dish
Preheat oven to 350°F
Add the can of crushed pineapple to the baking dish and mix
Bake 50-60 minutes

 

Variation Number 2 – Sweet Potatoes with Apples

4-5 large sweet potatoes
2 Granny Smith apples
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. dark brown sugar

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into small pieces
Boil them in a large pot of water until they begin to soften slightly
Preheat oven to 350°F
Peel and dice the Granny Smith apples
Drain the sweet potatoes and place them into a 1.5 qt. baking dish
Drizzle with the melted butter and add the cut up apples
Mix in the brown sugar and stir to combine
Bake 25-30 minutes

 

Variation Number 3 – Roasted Sweet Potatoes

4 large sweet potatoes
6 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
Cinnamon to taste

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into small pieces
Put the pieces into a large gallon size Ziploc bag
Add the honey, oil, and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon to the bag
Close the bag tightly and begin smooshing the ingredients around inside the bag
Make sure to get all of the potato pieces thoroughly covered in the honey & cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400°F

Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray
Using tongs (or fingers) to remove the potato pieces and place them on a baking sheet
Mase sure they are spread out in a single layer
Bake 20-25 minutes

Remove from oven and turn the potatoes over with tongs
At this point I normally transfer them to my 1.5 qt. baking dish as well
Drizzle the remaining honey and oil mixture over the potatoes
Sprinkle with additional cinnamon if desired
Return to the oven for another 20 minutes or so until fork-tender

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