Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What you can do NOW for Thanksgiving next week!

Yep, Thanksgiving is a week away (give or take a day), and so at least my next 3 posts will be dedicated to holiday entertaining. Today we start with beginning to prep food for the feast! Yum Yum!

Have you read my post about homemade cranberry sauce? If so, but you haven't made it yet, then I suggest doing so now and either freezing it, or running it through a water-bath canning process to get it done. I got my quart ready, so all I will have to do on 'Turkey Day' is pour it into a pretty bowl and add a serving spoon. Voila! One side-dish done!

Now, right before I sat down to write this, I got part of my Thanksgiving breakfast out of the way along with my dinner rolls for the afternoon. Here's how I did it:

I really love the recipe for Pumpkin Dinner Rolls at Tammy's Recipes. The first time I made them, however, I didn't pay attention to the yield. 48 dinner rolls?! I ended up rolling some of them into dinner rolls, and making a lot of them big enough to be hamburger buns. They did work well for that, but this time I got a little more intentional with my dough.

After making the dough, letting it rise for an hour, and punching it down, I sprayed a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and filled it with mounds roughly the size of golfballs. Before they could begin to rise again, I hurriedly put them in the chest freezer to get hardened. When they're rocks, I'll throw them in a ziploc for smaller storage. You see, when I worked at the commercial bakery down south, we received boxes of these little frozen dough balls from companies like Pillsbury. The night before baking, we would place them on a lined/sprayed baking sheet and put them in the cooler (fridge) to defrost and proof (rise) overnight. In the morning we would roll out the cart of trays and plug it in the ol' Hobart oven to bake. I will use the same process here. Thanksgiving eve, I'll get that baking tray back out, and line it with rows of my frozen dough to rise overnight in the fridge and bake the next day. Yay! Now I have two side dishes done!

As to the other half of the dough, I will use a similar concept, but instead of rolling into balls, I rolled it into a big rectangle on the counter (probably18"x 12" or so), and spread with 1/4c melted butter. Next I spread a good layer of brown sugar and topped that with an even sprinkling of cinnamon. Yep, you guessed it. I rolled it up into a log and made 'Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls' with it. Then they were sliced (using dental floss) and laid on another baking sheet before joining the dinner rolls in the freezer. Now they will be all ready to defrost, rise, and bake for Thanksgiving morning. Honestly, if we weren't having company for this Thanksgiving, I would probably have enough to split into two batches and save half for Christmas morning, but oh well...

On Wednesday I plan to bake my 3 pies, assemble my green bean casserole, sausage dressing, and brine my turkey. That way on Thursday everything can go in the oven (and roaster), and I should have minimal time in the kitchen. Hooray! Now. what about you? If you haven't already, can you take a few minutes and look over your menus to see what you can prep now to spare your sanity next week?

Aside from food, I've been getting my kitchen organized for the onslaught of holiday baking to come, as well as designing my table-scape for next week. I will post my ideas about that tomorrow, Lord willing! Until then...

Hillary At Home

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