Thursday, November 20, 2008

Choosing Simplicity: Holiday Meals

Holiday Meals:

Thanksgiving is just a week away..... Christmas is just around the corner, but you can be READY and you can ENJOY the holiday meals by following these simple steps!

Keep the stress level down by following these few simple tips:

1) Start early. Decide what you are preparing and what you want your guests to bring. (Ask guests to bring something… make it a family affair!) Write it down (If I don't have it written down it isn't going to happen... just ask my 4 year old about why he tells me to "write it on your list, Mommy"). Don’t forget to plan drinks. Also, remember, everything does not have to be made from scratch! It is about the family time, not about “perfect” food!

2) Shop ahead of time with a list. Know what you need so you don’t have to make any last minute trips to the store. Stores are much less busy the week before a holiday. Do you need anything (linens, decorations, serving dishes) other than food items?

3) Spread out the preparation. If it is possible to prepare any of your dishes ahead of time (a day or two earlier or to freeze) DO IT! Any thing you can do ahead of time will reduce your stress. Remember to thaw out the turkey.

4) The day before…. Set out all of the serving dishes and utensils, prepare the table (linens, decorations, etc) and set the table the day before the big event. (You can cover the table with a sheet if you want to.) Get as much done as possible BEFORE the big day!

5) Baby steps! One thing at a time! Clean up the kitchen as you go so you don’t end up with a big mess to clean up. Fill the sink with hot soapy water and wash as you go. Then you won’t be frantically cleaning up the kitchen before guests arrive.

6) ENJOY the holidays; focus on building memories with your family rather than creating a “perfect” holiday! Kids won’t remember all the details, but they will remember our attitudes! A simple meal with a joyful, happy Mom is far better than any feast with a stressed out, grumpy Mom!

Turkey Talk! Happy Thanksgiving!

You DON’T need to be afraid of baking a turkey! You can do it with the simple recipe and instructions I am giving you. Enjoy the turkey left overs … aka: “Fast Track”. This is the way my Grandmother taught me to roast a turkey and hers (and mine) always turn out wonderful!

EASY Roasted Turkey Breast


*****THAW turkey breast in advance******


1 turkey breast (bone in or boneless)

Onion powder


Roasting bag

2 TBL flour


1) Place roasting bag in a 9x13 baking pan. Sprinkle 2 TBL flour in bottom of bag, (this is important).

2) Wash and dry turkey breast. Sprinkle with onion powder, rub in. Sprinkle with paprika. Put turkey in roasting bag.

3) Close roasting bag and poke a few holes in bag according to bag directions. (IMPORTANT)

4) Bake at 350 for 20 minutes per pound of meat. (refer to the roasting bag instructions)

5) After baking allow turkey to rest for 15 minutes before removing from bag. Slice.

*** you can prepare a whole turkey the same way… if preparing a whole turkey you can stuff the cavity with sliced onions and celery***

This is a good recipe to use some of the left over turkey... aka... Fast Track!

Crunchy Turkey Bake

**Fast Track: Use left over turkey!**



2 cups “fast track” turkey, shredded

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed (thaw by running under hot water)

1 can (10 ¾ oz) cream of chicken soup, undiluted

Optional: 2 cups shredded cheese

1 package (6 oz) instant chicken flavored stuffing mix

Oven Directions:

1) Prepare stuffing mix according to package directions. Set aside.

2) In a bowl combine the soup, vegetables and fast track meat. Pour into a greased 2 qt baking dish. Top with optional cheese.

3) Spread stuffing mixture over the meat. Bake un-covered 25-35 minutes or until heated through and stuffing is golden brown.

Side Suggestions:


These are some simple desserts that will get rave reviews! ENJOY!!!!

Pumpkin Pie Cake


1 (29 oz) can pumpkin pie FILLING

4 eggs

1 (13 oz) can evaporated milk

1 box dry yellow cake mix (or you can try other flavors)

1 cup melted butter or margarine

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)


1) Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with non stick cooking spray.

2) In a bowl whisk together the pumpkin pie filling, milk and eggs. Pour into greased pan.

3) Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Melt butter and drizzle over cake mix.

4) Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes until set in middle.

No Bake Cherry Cheese Cake


2(8 oz) pkgs cream cheese

1 cup white sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups frozen whipped topping

1 (9 in) prepared graham cracker crust

1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling


1) Beat cream cheese and sugar with a mixer on high until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla.

2) Fold in cool whip.

3) Pour cream cheese mixture into pie crust. Top with cherry pie filling.

4) Chill for at least 1-2 hours.

*** You can try other types of pie filling! I really like blueberry and strawberry, too!***

These recipes were included in the November Simple Family Supper menu.

If you have any questions please free to ask!



Sharon said...

These are all really great tips. Some of them were on my to do list for today. I normally prepare any casseroles a day ahead and refrigerate them, simply reheat on Thanksgiving. All of our desserts are made the day before as well. Thanks for the tips!

On Purpose said...

Heather I am praying for you, and I know the courage and humility it takes to ask our questions. But God is so loving and gentle with us...and He just can't contain His love for us and is waiting with an answer!!

Hey I am snaggin the turkey breast recipe and I have tried the pumpkin cake before...yummy!!!

Love to you my friend and prayers up to Him!