Friday, October 31, 2008

There is never enough gravy!

Not for me anyway, Thanksgiving is almost here and Christmas is just around the corner! It's about this time of year when everyone is trying to get in gear and get things done . So today I'm going to give you a boost up on the holidays. What takes a lot of time in the kitchen are those last minute finishing touches we all try to make as quickly as we can so we can get that beautifuly cooked turkey and dressing and all the side dishes on the table and dig in.
Here's a recipe that is going to make your day in the kitchen a lot easier and take care of that problem we all sometimes have. It seems there is never enough gravy! This is a way to have as much gravy as you want and still have enough to make dressing too. It's called................
drum roll please........................................

It can be made in advance and be kept in the freezer until you need it. Then all you have to do is put it in the fridge a couple of days before you need it to thaw out and warm it up on Thanksgiving day.

You'll need about 4 big turkey wings ( I use Purdue Farms poultry)
2 onions, chopped

8 cups chicken broth ( I only use Knorr's boullion cubes to make the broth so you'll need 4, since 1 cube makes 2cups broth) You can also use canned broth but for me it's not as strong flavored as the Knorr is.
2 or 3 carrots , chopped
3-4 ribs of celery, chopped
3/4 cup flour
2-4 Tablespoons Land O Lakes butter ( or margarine)
Pepper to taste (I like Telicherry pepper so that's what I use)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. and spread the turkey wings in a single layer in a large roasting pan. Spread the chopped onion over them and roast about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or as long as it takes to get the wings browned nicely. Wings are done as soon as the internal temperature of the thickest part of the meat reaches at least 165 degrees F.

I use my Hamilton Beach 7 qt. slow cookers for the next step but you can use a large pot on top of the stove if you like. A stock pot works well.
Put the cooked wings and onions and all the scrapings along with the carrots and celery into the pot and add 6 cups of the broth. (put the remainder of the broth in the fridge to get cold) Bring everything to a boil and simmer for about 2 hours.

Next, remove the wings from the pot and save them on the side so you can take off the skin and collect all the meat. Once you have done that, save the meat for another use.
I, make Turkey salad with mine.

Next, strain the broth and get as much of the juice out of the vegetables as you can. Then put it in the fridge and leave overnight if you want to get all of the fat out.

Next day, the fat will lift right off the gelled broth and you can scrap off any unwanted residue from the bottom that settled as it cooled. Now you have some of the best tasting clear broth, with which to make gravy, you have ever tasted!

Next, put about half a stick of butter into a saucepan, melt it and add the 3/4 cup of flour. Turn the heat to low and while stirring constantly, cook it slowly until it's just a light golden tan. ( this is called a blond roux)
Then take the 2 cups of cold broth you had put in the fridge and add it to the roux, stirring constantly. as soon as you have that mixed well, add the rest of the broth and cook on low until it thickens. Stir in pepper. to taste.

Pour into freezer containers and freeze for up to 6 months.
Now you have about 8 cups of delicious gravy ready to use on Thanksgiving Day already made and only needing to be thawed out, warmed up and served.
When the turkey is done, if you have cooked the giblets also, you can slice them and add add them to your gravy when it is heated up along with about 4 sliced hard-boiled eggs.
I doubt you'll need any extra salt as the Knorr boullion cubes are salty enough, but if not, add salt to taste now.

Tomorrow I'll post another time saving recipe.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


THE 1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking .
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because......
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem .
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, Or Wii! No video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no T-Mobile cell phones, no personal Dell computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!
The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned
And YOU are one of them!
You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good. And while you are at it, mention it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!
Hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane, I did.

Do you wish you had saved your grandma's recipes?

I did! and now I am going to share them, and some new ones, with you. But first, let me tell you a bit about myself.I learned to cook standing in a chair next to my Bigmother's kitchen table scrutenizing every move she made and begging to "lick the bowl" when she was through mixing up whatever she was cooking. Especially when what she was cooking was a cake, or a pie or some other delectable sweet I loved. It always seemed to me that she scraped that bowl out wayyyy too good and I feared nothing would be left in it for me.I questioned every move she made and every ingredient she added with, "Why're you doing that Bigmother"? and "What's that for"? By the time I was 11 years old I had learned enough to cook my first meal, under her supervision of course. Back then, we're talking "40" here folks, I don't think they even made canned spaghetti sauce and if they did, we never bought any. Everything was made fresh, from "scratch" as we say now, right from our garden. Even though my Bigdaddy raised hogs and tobacco, he still planted a garden every year and the only things we bought from the Kroger grocery store were the staples like flour, sugar, stone-ground cornmeal and canned milk even though we had a cow. My spaghetti dinner turned out great, even though I cooked the pasta to a mush LOL But she let me make that mistake to teach me the importance of cooking all the dishes at the right time so that they were done together. And I think that was when my love affair with food and cooking began. So if you have any funny stories about cooking you'd like to share with me, I'll share a few of mine with you and we'll take a walk down memory lane together. It should be a blast!