Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Plans and Menus, Plus

I really want to write this morning--it's my Saturday morning time of solitude at Panera--but I also really need to think about my grocery store trip after this, so I can spend some time this afternoon cooking ahead.  So I'm mixing menus into this post. Thank God my stomach is nearly normal again--it makes it much easier to get excited about cooking and menu planning!

Tomorrow, after church we have friends coming over for lunch, and I've been racking my brain for what to serve them.  It's always hard to have a hot lunch ready after church, and we often do sandwiches or bagels, but we're tired of those, and my friend needs to eat low-carb.  I think I'll make taco meat this afternoon and put in in the crockpot in the morning.  I can have the tomatoes chopped up ahead of time too, and I'll have extra lettuce so my friend can make a taco salad.  Perfect.

If they're still around for dinner, or even if they aren't, we'll probably just throw in some frozen pizza.  That's usually the game plan for Sunday nights--a Sabbath rest for the cook (me), easily expanded for guests, and always a kid-pleaser.

Monday lunch will be a get-your-own affair for me and the Bantams, and Papa Rooster if he's working at home;  Chicklet8 and B6 will be at school.  Monday night we have piano lessons after school, right into the dinner hour, so I either need to have something in the crockpot or the oven...or make a quick stove-top something when I get home. I know--we haven't had my sister-in-law's Baked Potato Soup yet this fall, and I have potatoes we need to eat up.  I'll put that in the crockpot and add a salad and those sweet multigrain rolls I have in the freezer.  (49 cents a package on clearance last week at Aldi, and they were so yummy!)

Okay, Tuesday, same as Monday's lunch plan...but on Tuesday evening, I'm picking up Blondechick and her stuff from college, and then we'll keep on going into Chicago.  It's her birthday, and all she wants is a mother-daughter shopping spree at the big Forever 21, and dinner out--maybe at the Cheesecake Factory, I think she said.  I'm sure the Bantams will have finished off any taco leftovers already, but hopefully there will be leftover soup for the gang at home. Then when Blondechick and I get home, we'll all have birthday brownies and ice cream together.  Can't believe she will be 19!!

On Wednesday, I have parent-teacher conferences in the morning, and I'm eager to hear from C8's and B6's teachers!  It seems like they are doing well.  The kids will all be off school, and Blondechick will be there too, so to celebrate, we'll have French toast, sausages, and o.j. for lunch.  For some reason, my kids think French toast is just the greatest thing, and I love it too.  It takes time to make the quantities we require, however, so we don't have it that often. My parents arrive that afternoon, and I will have one of our eternal favorites waiting in the crockpot, beef stroganoff (beef stew meat, cream of mushroom soup--salt, pepper and onion powder to taste--add sour cream and mushrooms at the end), along with Butternut Squash Soup and a salad.

Then on Thanksgiving Day, I'm not sure if my in-laws will arrive before or after brunch, but I'll make enough Sausage-Egg Brunch Casserole for everyone.  I have panettone and stollen to go with that (one of the Aldi advantages is their great European baked goods), and y'know those bags of frozen fruit they have at Aldi?  They're equivalent in price to fresh fruit, but already cut up for you, and we like it kind of half-thawed. So cool and refreshing.

We are NOT having turkey, we are having ham, because we love ham, and nobody...really...likes...turkey.  (I bought a turkey, for 48 cents a pound, because where can you get meat that cheap?  But we will have it some other time, and I will turn most of it into turkey enchiladas and barbecued turkey sandwiches.)  I will also make sweet potato casserole, because my kids just can't get enough of it--not the marshmallow one, but the one with brown sugar and pecan topping.  Yum.  We'll have a green salad with goat cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries and a sweetish balsamic vinaigrette that I make from scratch.  I suppose we'll make regular mashed potatoes too, because both grandfathers love them, and I'll also make "red apples" which was my grandmother's name for cinnamon candied apples (just peel and boil apples slices in sugar, water and cinnamon candies--lots, to give it a deep red color--oh, and a spoonful of instant tapioca for thickening).  My in-laws are bringing dessert and appetizers, and my parents are bringing pumpkin bread, Amish Friendship Bread, and sparkling grape we will have quite the feast!

I have two more days of lunches and dinners still to plan, with my parents and all the family home, but I don't think I need to buy those groceries today...this post is long enough...and I need to go shopping and get cooking!

What are YOUR Thanksgiving plans and menus?  What super-easy crowd-pleasing recipes do you turn to when you'd rather spend time with guests than be in the kitchen?


Janice Skivington said...

i enjoyed reading this post because...I hate cooking. I would rather not be in the kitchen but, as with you, I have a family that needs to be fed and they look to me for that nourishment. I should be so grateful, and I am. My husband must eat a very lo carb diet because he is diebetic- but skinny! I can't tell you how many days I can't come up with a single idea for dinner. Potatoes, rice, pasta are out of the equation and I have a hard time planning without those staples now. Also, he eats eggs for breakfast most days so i can't serve eggs again for dinner (which I love to do, so easy). So if you come across lo carb dishes-let me know please.

Amy @ Experience Imagination said...

Jeanne, you do know frozen pizza's not low carb, right? ;)

Janice, we've been low carb here for about six months, and more recently have gone "primal" (LC, plus no/low grains, dairy, and legumes). If you send me an e-mail, I'd be happy to pass along my favorite LC recipe blogs.

At A Hen's Pace said...

Just to be clear, no one in my family is eating's just my friend who's coming for lunch tomorrow! And she knows her way around my kitchen. :)