First; the Turkey!
I have a 20lb bird my mother bought and dropped off last week. I took him out and put him in a sink full of cold water last night. He should be defrosted by tomorrow morning.
Tomorrow I have a 5 gallon bucket with Mr. Gobbles name on it!
The Brine:Heat in stock pot 6 cups of water
1 cup kosher salt
2 cups of sugar
4 fresh branches of rosemary
4 bay leaves
When that has dissolved add to bucket w/ 4 cups of cold water & 4 cups of ice. As soon as that's nice and cool add the turkey and up to 6 quarts of water more. It should just cover your turkey (which may need to be held down with a plate and heavy crock pot or weight).
I do my brine for up to 48 hours before.
Ok, so what else can I do EARLY!
Well if you look back here: The Thanksgiving Bread Recipe
You will see I have my stuffing almost done. I will finish putting that together the night before by mixing my ingredients, stuffing in a casserole dish and then putting in the fridge until I pull the turkey out of the oven on Thursday.
My recipe for this load of bread:I cube it up, toast it for 5-6 minutes in 325 oven. Then in a big boil mix the bread with any additional seasoning you may like. I like more sage myself. I then mix in chunks of skin on granny smith apples and dried sweet cranberries. (If my dad isn't going to be here I add some celery I heated in a pan with some olive oil on the stove top, you can add that part to the bread recipe above actually, but I don't have it up as my dad is going to be here this year, and he hates celery.)
Now add chicken or veggie stock to your mix, 1/2 a cup at a time until you get a moist consistancy... a bowl of mush! :) Add to a casserole dish and bake 350 for 30-35 minutes.
Night Before Crockpot meatballs:
Now I used ground turkey, its just what I do. I don't eat pork or beef, and once I recreate turkey or chicken, everyone doesn't mind I don't offer red meat.
1 pound lean ground turkey
1/4 bread crumbs
1/4 cup grape jelly (I do muscadine or scuppernog both available from Fogl's Kitchen)
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 Tbsp Worstecher sauce
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
To the turkey mash together bread crumbs, 2 tbsp tomato paste, oregano, salt & pepper, form into appetizer size small balls. Cover & Fridge.
In a separate bowl whisk together warmed jelly (microwave for 20 seconds), Worstecher sauce & Vinegar (you can always add a bit more salt and pepper here). Cover and put in the fridge to add over the meat balls in the crock pot in the morning. I put this in the crockpot on high for 2 hours and then turn to low. Should be ready in 4 hours at most. Perfect to leave in the crockpot to serve in a room FAR away from where you are trying to work! :)
Though I don't know if I am going to have time to whip this up Wednesday night or not, I MIGHT try it... so I'm going to share it.
Rachel Ray's Carrot Ginger Soup
The directions are on the site and its VERY simple. A good thing to do the night before, and reheat as a starter for Thursday.
Shrimp Dip w/ Sundried Tomatoes:
This is my own creation. Believe it or not, for me, this is me being CHEAP! As I couldn't afford one of those huge shrimp rings my brother and dad love so much. The 2 of them could eat 1 to themselves... and I want to spread out the shrimp a little further. So I found some lovely jumbo shrimp, I bought 1 lb for the dip.
I know sundried tomatoes can be pricey, but if you go back here: Sun drying tomatoes in my car
You can see I am well stocked from my own garden this year.
So, the dip!
1 lb peeled, cooked, chopped jumbo shrimp
Room temp light cream cheese, 8 oz
1/4 cup light mayo
1 tbsp fresh chopped chives
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsely
2 tbsp white wine
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes chopped
1/2 tsp of olive oil
salt & pepper
I mix this all in my mixer with the paddle attachment. I'll make it now, and put in the fridge. I will take it out in the morning to get back to room temp and serve with some toasted italian bread slices.
**note, I'm on a diet... so I do things with light and low fat options so I can at least have a taste too! Which means you can use the regular stuff, light is just a suggestion!**
Ok, that's it for all my item I will get set BEFORE Thursday. I will post later my day of recipes AND what the whole menu will be.