Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Parting is such sweet sorrow

I'm a little blue from having to say goodbye to my parents at the airport. They were visiting from Texas. We had a great time visiting so it was hard to see them go home.

When my mom comes to visit, she always bring some goodies for me to enjoy. This visit was no exception...what with some bargain silver shoes she found in my size, an elegant black scarf with velvet trim for those "dress up nights" and a nice big Christmas check to help with the holiday budget...I was feeling pretty darned loved. But what delighted me most was another gift she brought me that I initially thought was pretty mundane: a cookbook. "Great", I thought at first, "another cookbook that will sit on my shelf and collect dust". I have many un-used cookbooks in my house reminding me of how bad a cook I am and I tend to resent each one for different reasons. This one is too gourmet, that one includes ingredients found only in the remote parts of Taiwan, this one is endorsed by a skinny celebrity cook (never trust a skinny cook, right?), that one has only bland 1950's food, this one serves a family of 4 (is that all?), and that one recommends using Splenda for everything...yuck! But most have complicated recipes that take too much time and wayyy too much effort. However, I will resort to the cookbooks if I am looking for that "something special" to impress my friends; but all too often I just return to an 'ol classic dish that I know will pass muster.

One lazy afternoon while my parents and I were lounging in the den, I opened up the cookbook and browsed through its glossy pages and beautiful photos. I was still skeptical. My mom encouraged me to look closely, "Look, Georgie! Many of the dishes only require 15 minutes of prep!" Yeah, I thought, 15 minutes if you are a professional chef!

But I did look closer. There were some easy recipes in the book as well as some that required a bit more effort...but they all seemed possible to recreate! There were 3-ingredient biscuits, basic gravy recipes, beloved favorites, chocolate cakes using a mix, easy soups and yummy holiday treats to give as gifts. Wow! But one recipe in particular made me run out immediately to buy ingredients. It was a recipe for Slow-Cooker turkey and stuffing. The directions for cooking were straight forward, the pictures made the dish look delicious, make things more intriguing, there were step-by-step picture instructions. I threw all the ingredients in the crock pot and 6 hours later Viola! Turkey and stuffing...and it tasted really, really good! My kids loved it and we we had the left-overs the next day. ( 2 dinners in the bag! Bam!)

Here is the recipe:

Prep:10 minutes Cook: 7 hours

1 (8 ounce) pkg herb-seasoned stuffing mix (we tested with Pepperidge Farm). 1 onion, chopped 2 celery ribs, chopped 1 c dried cranberries 3/4 c chicken broth 3 Tbspn butter or marg, melted 1 (3-pound) frozen boneless turkey breast, thawed 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 1/4 dried thyme 1 (0.88 ounce ) pkg turkey gravy mix Coat inside of a 4-quart electric slow cooker with cooking spray. Add stuffing mix, onion, celery, and cranberries. Combine broth and melted butter. Pour over stuffing, and stir gently. Remove string from turkey breast. Rinse turkey breast. Place turkey in slow cooker on top of stuffing. Combing salt, pepper, and thyme; sprinkle over turkey,. Cover and coot at HIGH 1 hour. Reduce to LOW, and cook 5-6 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted in turkey registers 170. Remove turkey to a serving platter. Stir stuffing gently in slow cooker; cover and let stand 3-4 minutes. Prepare gravy. Spoon stuffing around turkey on platter. Yield: 5-6 servings

In case you are interested in purchasing this cookbook for yourself, you can find it at any
Dillard's Store for only $10. It's called the Southern Living Christmas Cookbook. Dillard's has teamed up with Southern Living to offer this cookbook to benefit Ronald McDonald House charities.

No comments: