Well Christmas has come and passed, all that planning, prepping, cooking, stressing is over and I am almost at a loss without so many people inside my tiny little house. We had 18 people on Christmas day and what a day it was. I was SUPER stressed however for the first Christmas in my life I DIDN’t have a melt down. (Call the guinness book of world records, it is a date in history!!) I had a lot of help from hubs, my sister in law, my kids, thier kids, mom, dad, and probably even the cat!
It. was. amazing.
I am so grateful to have a great and supportive family and what made it even more awesome is I don’t think I said “Oh Sh*t!” once while cooking dinner…. but don’t quote me on that one. 🙂
Not all of it went down as smooth as ice however it went over pretty good. What helped was a few days before company arrived I cooked my “Clint Eastwood Style Chili (which mom aptly named “Chili for wimps” <– mom I have changed the recipe) and for the FIRST time ever it did not burn my face off. (Are you calling Guinness yet? There is another one for the history books)
Secondly ALL the help I had: My sister in law helping me cut, chop, prep, season, stir, mix, advise, check, double check, fix, refix everything I was doing. It saved my life. My mom doing Christmas baking so I would have enough cookies to go around, she even blessed us with her butter tarts AND melt in your mouth shortbread (I love you mom). My dad bringing over the extra stuff I decided I needed on Christmas day ON Christmas Day (a toaster oven, meat thermometer). Both my folks for helping me with the vegetarian dishes, turns out we had LOTS with what I added to it. The kids for helping stir, sort, organise, clean, check and recheck & smash things for baking. As well as clean up like taking out the gabages and dishes and so forth.
Thirdly and most importantly: The whole family having balls (and stomachs) of steel for being willing to eat something I had never attempted before.
For those about to rock (eat) we salute you.
So what did I make??
December 24 after dinner myself, my S.I.L. and kids from all families helped me do my Christmas baking…. 5 hours of it. (I am a slow one in the kitchen, mom will never let me forget!)
- Gingerbread CupCakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Double Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate chips
- Apple Pie
- Pumpkin Pie (x2) made with ice cream
December 25 (the big day for the 18!)
- Hors ‘d’ouvres –>Vegetarian Samosas, vegetarian spring rolls, spinach & feta spanakopia, mini meat balls, sausage rolls, chips and dip, veggies and dip, crackers with cream cheese and spicy red pepper jelly, assorted cookies and treats (homemade and store bought) Artichoke & Asiago cheese puffs (care of my sister)
- Turkey – approx 7.6 kg. Cooked over root vegetables, fresh herbs and some broth. I also put an onion and more fresh herbs up its bum to add more flavor.
- Stuffing – not from scratch. From a box.
- Mashed potatoes
- Corn, Carrots, Peas, beans.
- Broccoli Casserole (Care of mom)
- Roasted Veggies (Care of mom)
- Fresh Gravy (made from the broth and drippings (not droppings!) from the bird)
- Cranberry jelly
- Pumpkin Pies (x2)
- Apple Pie
- Gingerbread Snaps (care of Sister)
- Sugar Cookies (Care of Mom)
- Gingerbread Cupcakes
- Double Chocolate Brownies
- Ice Cream – Vanilla and Stawberry
And that is how you stuff 18 people like a Christmas turkey!!!!
There were plenty of leftovers, so we could have fit about 4 more people at our table and had them well fed as well. I should mention 4 of the people at our table are older teens/young adults (male) with hearty appetites as well as all the members of the families having healthy appetites. So having left-overs and in the quantities there were is amazing.
We had a big setback, we planned dinner for about 230 pm however I don’t think we ended up eating until past 4 due to the bird. Not sure what went wrong as everyone said they had never seen it happen before: One leg and part of one side of the bird did not cook on time so we had to keep taking it out and putting it back in again. We don’t know if it was an element, the way I cooked/positioned it in the oven, or if it was the oven itself (its not convection). Luckily we had enough nibbles to keep the hungry monsters at bay. A lot of patience and several people inside who knew a lot about cooking turkeys. A good back up plan is to get the Barbeque ready. Speaking of BBQ the one thing I defrosted and prepped for turkey dinner were ribs and cornbread however time and oven space dictated they be removed from the menu. Good thing we did or we would have been screwed for table and stomach space.
Other things I learned: I learned what a turkey baster was, what it does and how to use it. Yes I am 28 years old and had NO idea what that was. I also learned what the neck, heart and giblets look like from inside the turkey (I nearly fainted, I have an aversion to birds…cooking them… mostly because all I can see are them strutting around outside when I am trying to cook them). I also learned how to get the most out of your turkey thanks to advise from mom, the S.I.L and the people over at Stirr for posting on thier facebook page how to make Turkey Soup. But it was a big thanks to HUBs for making it. I don’t think I could have made it as the carcass was grossing me out.
This is what he did (I helped with the veggies):
What you will need:
- leftover turkey carcass, GIGANTIC pot, stove, water. Anything you want to toss into the soup for flavoring.
He put the carcass in a HUGE pot of boiling water and just boil the meat off the bones. He had it on there for hours (I am pretty sure) remove the carcass and any fallen off bones.
Next add what you like for flavoring here is what we did:
- leftover roasted root vegetables (carrots, celery, parsnips, onions)
- leftover regular vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, green beans)
- leftover gravy
- added 4 more carrots, 1 parsnip, a turnip, and an onion
- One outside Rind of Fresh Parmesan Cheese
- a sprig of fresh rosemary (just toss it in, the leaves will fall off in the cooking process)
- a sprig of fresh thyme (again, toss it in the leaves will fall off and you can pull the stick out later)
- one bay leaf (remove before consuming)
- a sprinkling of Montreal Vegetable seasoning
- a squished clove of garlic
Let this bubble for a while (30-40 minutes or until the veggies soften) then you can serve (this makes TONS OF SOUP) or what I did was I put aside a HUGE container of the soup for a healthy meal in the future and then put some in single serving dishes and froze for lunches. With a lot still left over I reserved the rest in a smaller soup pot and placed in the fridge which has given us several lunches and dinners of turkey soup.
What is great is there was no loss of nutritional value as everything was cooked with itself, nothing was strained or drained (granted the saturated fats are probably up there but so is the value of the good stuff) and it made the dollar value of Christmas dinner become VERY economical. So really it is an all around win.
Now with all the visiting relatives gone, I am missing everyone DEARLY. It is like the house (as small as it is) is empty. It really made me see how much I love and care about my family members.
I hope all your Christmas’s, holidays, festivities and food adventures are full of wonderful things.
From my table to yours, happy eating.