Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Peel and cut up 10 cups potatoes (about 4-5 pounds), add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and enough water to show, but not cover potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and simmer until tender (about 20-30 minutes). Drain liquid into a measure cup – use liquid for gravy, as desired. Add 8 oz. cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/3 to 1/2 cup milk; beat with mixer on medium speed until potatoes are smooth and creamy. As needed, gradually whip in up to 1/2 cup more milk to create desired consistency; salt and pepper to taste.
Keep potatoes hot for up to 2 hours, by placing in slow cooker on low heat. Heat slow cooker prior to adding potatoes by filling with boiling water and turn on high. Drain water from cooker, add potatoes, cover; stir potatoes occasionally. Makes approximately 8 cups whipped potatoes; serves approximately 15
Rule of thumb – 2 tablespoons drippings, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, and 2 cups liquid makes 2 cups gravy and will serve 5 to 8. Double ingredients as needed to make enough gravy for all dinner guests.
Add 2 tablespoons drippings or butter and 2 cups liquid (chicken broth, liquid from potatoes, or water) to turkey roasting pan. Bring to a boil, stirring to loosen drippings from bottom of pan. Stir 2 tablespoons cornstarch into 1/4 cup cold water. Gradually stir/whisk cornstarch into broth. Stirring, bring gravy to a boil; boil 1 minute. (NOTE: if roasting bag is used for turkey, follow same procedure making gravy above, but place ingredients in saucepan using juices from roasting bag or chicken broth for liquid). NOTE: If all else fails and lumps form in gravy, force gravy through wirer strainer; discard lumps.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Combine 3 cups fresh cranberries (12 oz. bag), 1 1/2 cups sugar, and 1 1/2 cups water in saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and boil gently 10-15 minutes or until all skins pop and sauce reaches desired consistency. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature (if desired, may strain by mashing and forcing cooked berries through a strainer). Makes about 3 1/2 cups
Thawing Frozen Turkey
Best to thaw turkey in refrigerator – but if needed you may speed thaw by wrapping turkey securely; place in large deep pan; cover turkey completely with cold tap water; change water every 30 minutes. Allow 30 minutes thawing time per pound of turkey. USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-674-6854 http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Lets_Talk_Turkey/index.asp
Food Safety Reminders
Keep hot foods hot (above 140 F); keep cold foods cold (below 40 F); and, do not leave food at room temperature longer than 2 hours (between 40 F and 140 F).