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Thanksgiving Tips from the Best Cook in the World: My Mom

cranberry sauce recipe, stuffing recipe, how to cook a turkey

A photo from our family meal last Thanksgiving.

Like Paula, I am admittedly undomestic.  It’s not that I don’t like to cook, I don’t even know how to cook.  I can boil water and cook the various things associated with a pot of hot H20, like spaghetti and Ramen noodles, and I can make scrambled eggs and saute vegetables, but that’s about it.  Fortunately for me, however, I spend every holiday with the best cook in the world, my mom.  Here are her tips for cooking the perfect bird, along with her recipes for scrumptious stuffing, chunky mashed potatoes and citrusy, homemade cranberry sauce.

GRANDMA’S STUFFING (Serves 8 people)

One package of bread cubes (might also be called stuffing cubes, or you can buy bread crumbs, or cube a bread ball yourself)

One 48 oz. box of chicken broth

Stick of butter

One onion, finely chopped

6 or 7 celery stalks, finely chopped

2 potatoes, dice, then boil ’til tender

Cup of chopped walnuts

4 apples, peeled and diced

1 1/2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning, salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion and celery until soft.  Mix all ingredients except chicken broth, melt butter and pour over mixture.  Mix in poultry seasoning and salt and pepper.  Warm chicken broth, add until dressing is moist.  Press mixture into a casserole dish, bake in oven at 350 for 45 minutes, or fill turkey carcass with stuffing.

MASHED POTATOES (Serves 8 people)

Peel and boil 8 large potatoes, when fork tender, drain, place potatoes back in pan

Add a stick of butter, start to mash.  Add milk til you’ve reached a desired consistency.  (Leave a few lumps for extra texture.)  Add salt and pepper to taste.  If you like, add one cup of sour cream.

CRANBERRY SAUCE (Serves 8 people)

1 cup sugar

1 cup orange juice

1 12-ounce package cranberries

Half cup chopped walnuts

1 orange – cut into small pieces

Zest of one orange

Boil orange juice and sugar.  Add cranberries, bring to boil briefly ’til the cranberries pop open.  Add walnuts and orange pieces along with orange zest, heating on med to low for another three minutes.  Put mixture in serving bowl, chill.

TURKEY TIPS

My mother’s best advice for making the perfect Thanksgiving turkey is to “buy a Butterball and follow the directions on the wrapping.”  However, the key to a terrific turkey, she says, is to let it rest for 30 minutes before you cut into it.  That way, the meat absorbs all the juice before you carve it, and you’re guaranteed a nice, moist slice.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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