Beth at Beth Fish Reads hosts this fun cooking meme every weekend – a time to blog about anything vaguely foodie in nature.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but about two weeks before Thanksgiving I start craving stuffing, roasted poultry, squash, yams and pie. I think it is just thinking of Thanksgiving that starts my mouth watering.
Yesterday I decided to kick off the Thanksgiving season with some pre-Thanksgiving fare. I stuffed a 5.5 pound chicken and roasted it; made a bit of acorn squash and gave the plate a bit of green with steamed broccoli.
My very first cookbook I ever owned was Betty Crocker’s Cookbook which my mother gave me. For many years this was my sole inspiration and reference to cooking…until I became more adventuresome. But I still use this cookbook – primarily for reference. And so when I roasted my chicken yesterday, I dragged my dog-eared, food splattered copy of Betty Crocker’s Cookbook off the shelf and looked up the time-frame for roasting a chicken. What I love is that any basic food information you could want can be found inside this simple cookbook (their pie crust recipe comes out perfectly). I looked up chicken, and referenced the roasting schedule (which is conveniently divided up into the SIZE poultry and whether it is stuffed or not). For my chicken, I planned on 2.5 hours of roasting time at 325 degrees.
I don’t reference a cookbook for making stuffing because I mostly improvise when it comes to that. Stuffing is one of my favorite foodie things to make at this time of year and yesterday I pretty much used what I had on hand to create it. Here it is just in case you want to give it a try (sorry about the lack of exact measurements for some ingredients…I tend to just add a little of this and a little of that as I go):
To stuff a 4-5 pound chicken…
- 4 cups of dried, cubed bread
- diced up celery (at least 1/2 cup)
- diced up sweet onion (at least 1/2 cup)
- diced up fresh mushrooms (I used about 5 large ones)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/4 cup to 1 cup of liquid (I use canned chicken broth…but you can use water or homemade chicken broth instead)
- pepper to taste
- currants or dried cranberries to taste
- pecans – crumbled into bite sized pieces to taste
- chopped up fresh parsley to taste
Melt the butter in a fry pan, add the vegetables and saute until the celery and onions are clear or just tender. Dump the butter and vegetables into a large bowl and add the bread cubes, currants (or dried cranberries), pecans, pepper, and parsley. Mix well. Add in the liquid a little at a time until you have the right level of moisture (this is completely up to you…some people like very moist stuffing, other people like their stuffing a bit drier). Taste and adjust seasonings or ingredients as needed. Then stuff that bird and pop it in the oven. The left over stuffing I add to a buttered casserole dish and bake it for about an hour at 350 degrees or until the top of the stuffing is brown and crunchy.
To make acorn squash:
Chop your squash into halves and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash upside down in a casserole dish and then add water until it comes about 1/2 way up the sides of the squash halves. Bake in a 400 degree oven until the squash are easily pierced with a fork (about 45 minutes depending on the size of your squash). Remove from the oven; drain the water and flip the squash right side up (be careful..they are very hot!). Add a dollop of butter and brown sugar into the squash halves and place under a broiler (set on high) until the sugar and butter are bubbling (they actually begin to caramelize a bit). Remove from the oven and cut into serving sized pieces. Serve hot. These also taste great leftover – just heat them up in the microwave.
Today Kip and I are enjoying leftovers. Yum!!!
What are you making this weekend? Are you already anticipating a Thanksgiving feast? Do you have a favorite cookbook for reference or basic recipes?
To read more Weekend Cooking posts, visit Beth’s blog today and check out Mr. Linky!