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Menu Plan for Fall II: Week 12, Thursday

Cream of Pumpkin Soup
Roast Turkey with Balsamic Glaze
Sage, (Giblet) and Celery Stuffing
Sweet and White Pommes Anna
Ginger Cranberry Sauce

Cooking time:  4 - 5 hours for menu      Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

       This menu is for a small group, 2 - 4 but there will be leftover turkey and dressing.  If you increase the soup, stuffing and add some of the side dishes, it could easily serve 6 - 8 - 10.   Everything expands easily...   
You could serve the soup in coffee mugs for your guests (or you) to sip while standing around chatting rather than a proper sit-down first course if you are feeling cramped for either space or time!
    I've added several recipes after the 'instructions': Spinach Gratin, Pumpkin Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting and Cranberry Cheesecake Pie.  All can or should be made ahead. 

Cream of Pumpkin Soup

Total time: 30 minutes
     You can use fresh pumpkin for this, or the ' Libby's Pie Pumpkin', which is (or used to be) pure pumpkin... Check the label.

Cream of Pumpkin Soup Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Glazed Roast Turkey with Sage Stuffing

Total time: 5 hours
    A stuffed 8 - 10 pound turkey will take 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours to took.  You need a meat thermometer so you don't over cook it.  It is overcooking that causes dryness.  BTW, I checked some of my many cookbooks for roasting times and they ranged from 2 1/2 hours to 4 hours for an 8 lb bird... that's a big range - get a thermometer. 

Glazed Roast Turkey  Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Sage, Prosciutto, (Giblet) and Celery Stuffing
          Lay the bread out the night before to let it dry.  It, doesn't have to be perfectly, evenly dried.  If you are using the giblets add 4 more slices of bread.

Sage, Prosciutto, (Giblet) and Celery Stuffing Ingredients:

 Instructions:

To Finish:

Potatoes Anna

Total time: 80 minutes   60 minutes baking time
     'Pommes Anna' with Sweet Potatoes added... This serve 4 - 6  I didn't peel the potatoes - I like both the appearance and the taste (and it's healthier).  

Potatoes Anna Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Ginger Cranberry Sauce

Total time: 30 minutes

Ginger Cranberry Sauce Ingredients:

 Instructions:

This will get very thick when cool and will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

Cooking schedule: Time: 4 - 5 hours
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
small, medium and large saucepans, lids, blender,
whisk or mixer, roasting pan for turkey, small,
medium and large bowls, baking dish for potatoes,
baking dish for stuffing, foil

Evening before: 
Lay out bread to dry
Earlier in the day or the day/night before:
Heat juice, sugar, ginger for cranberries
Pick through cranberries, rinse, drain
Add cranberries to juice, cook
Mash cranberries, lightly, add ginger, refrigerate
Put stock, onion, celery tops, carrot, neck in pan
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer, skim
Set table, arrange centerpiece
Tear bread
Add gizzard and heart to stock, skim
Add liver, skim
Tidy kitchen, do whatever
Drain stock and cool
Dinner time:
Chop onion, celery, (trim and chop mushrooms)
Sauté onion and celery (and mushrooms)
Chop Prosciutto and add to onion/celery
Chop giblets and neck meat if using
Make stuffing
Mix herbs, butter and mustard
Prepare turkey, spread butter under skin
Stuff turkey, truss and start to roast
Put unused stuffing in fridge
Reduce heat on turkey
Mix soy sauce and Balsamic vinegar
Relax for an hour or 2 - just remember to baste

80 minutes before dinner:
Clarify butter
Slice potatoes
Layer Pommes Anna
Cover with foil, bake
Baste turkey
45 minutes before dinner: Turkey temp should be about 20 degrees from desired finish
Start to bake stuffing
Clean and slice leek, sauté
Add pumpkin, stock, sage, nutmeg to leeks
Cover soup and simmer
Sauté walnuts
Baste the turkey some more
Heat the reserved stock for the gravy
Dissolve cornstarch in cold stock or water
Remove turkey (when done), tent
Turn oven to 400F (200C)
Purée soup, finish and serve
Relax and enjoy
Done? Uncover stuffing, potatoes
Put turkey on carving board
Drain pan juices, skim fat, scrape brown bits
Add leftover stock, wine
Heat pan juices for gravy
Untie turkey and remove stuffing
Hand the knife to someone else to carve
Remove stuffing from oven and mix
Finish gravy
Remove potatoes, let rest
Finish gravy
Turn potatoes out onto serving dish
Serve and enjoy  
Happy Thanksgiving!

Fresh Spinach Gratin with Ricotta

Total time: 45 minutes
   This is a bit decadent for such a healthy vegetable as spinach, but it will please even those who don't normally like spinach. 

Fresh Spinach Gratin with Ricotta Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Cranberry Cheesecake   

Time: 15 minutes plus 2 hours chilling
    We've had enough pumpkin and need some cranberries to round out our dinner.  This is a no-bake pie and goes together quickly.  And it's yummy!  Or you could buy one... then you wouldn't have leftovers.... Based on a recipe from 'My Great Recipes'

1  8 - 9 inch (20cm) graham cracker or cookie pie shell
8oz (250gr) cream cheese, softened    should be removed from fridge for 30 - 60 minutes
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whipping cream, or heavy cream, whipped
1 can cranberry sauce, 16oz (500gr)
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Whip the cream, using whisk or electric mixer, until you have soft peaks.  Stir together the soft cream cheese, sugar, milk and vanilla.  It should be well blended, soft and creamy.  Carefully fold in whipped cream (Stir very gently from the bottom up through the top and only until blended.  You don't want to deflate the whipped cream.)  Spread mixture into pie shell.  Mix cranberry sauce, marmalade and walnuts.  Spread on top.  Chill for at least 2 hours to set.

Pumpkin Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

Time: 2 hours, inc. 1 hour baking time 350 F (175C)

1/2 cup soft butter - room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin - see techniques on how to prepare or buy 'Libby's Pumpkin Pie Filling'
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Chop the walnuts if needed.  Butter a 9 inch cake pan, then line the bottom with wax paper and butter the paper.  In medium bowl measure flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.  Gently stir to combine.  In another bowl combine pumpkin, milk and baking soda.  Now you are ready to start:  Cream butter and sugar.  (Using a hand or stand mixer beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light, fluffy and a pale yellow.)  Add eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium.  Add half of the pumpkin and the flour, mix well at low speed then add the rest.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in the nuts.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes.  It is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and dry.  Test it at 50 minutes - oven temperatures may vary.  When done remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Then, putting a wire rack on top of the cake, flip it over, remove pan and paper from bottom and allow to cool completely.  When cool flip over so the top is up again and frost.  I serve it with Praline Ice Cream on the side.

Brown Sugar Frosting

1/2 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup warm milk
2 - 3 cups powdered sugar - confectioners' sugar, icing sugar,...

Melt butter in medium sauce pan.  Add brown sugar and, stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.  Add milk and stir vigorously.  Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time stirring well after each addition.  Add just enough to make it thick but spreadable (and frosting like), not runny.  I used 2 1/4 cups.

Note: I didn't quite use all the frosting on the Pumpkin Cake (if you have graham crackers you can make sandwich "cookies" with any leftovers).