We are hosting a small gathering of family for Thanksgiving. My father is nervous about me doing too much given the current state of my health. So, I have embraced the concern rather than fight it. We will not have a beautiful table festooned with painted gourds and gold chargers under our plates. Oh no, we shall have placemats from the dollar store and paper plates adorned with a Thanksgiving motif. I did let my inner-Martha out by buying matching napkins and paper cups. I also have a box of mini gourds generously given to me by Nikki, my neighbor. They may make a guest appearance, sans the gold spray paint.
As for the food, I have chosen to heed my father’s advice and not “cook all that stuff.” I will roast a double turkey breast because pre-cooked turkey is not an option. I do have a spiral sliced ham from the grocery store that will be served. My Dad is bringing pre-baked rolls from the grocery store and a can of jellied cranberry sauce. (This is just a secret between you and me, but I love that stuff, especially on a turkey sandwich the next day.) My sister is bringing pies made by her neighbor. I will combine my love of eating and blogging this Thanksgiving when it comes to the side dishes. I will prepare each dish and then report back after we try it.
I have chosen frozen entrees by Marie Callenders and Huxtables for my side dishes. Marie will be providing us with a Sweet Potato Casserole of “sweet potatoes topped with a brown sugar streusel.”
POST THANKSGIVING REVIEW: Marie Callender’s Sweet Potato Casserole was very good. My father said they were the best sweet potaotes he has ever eaten. They stayed nice and firm instead of getting mushy when heated. The taste and texture were much more like scratch than canned yams. I would not hestoate to serve these agin. My sister said if we had put them in a different dish she wouldn’t have known they were a frozen side dish. The finished dish did not resemble the mouthwatering picture on the cover at all. I have long ago learned not to expect it to so I wasn’t surprised. Here is the cooked dish in front of the box.
Marie will also be providing the Green Bean Casserole dubbed “green beans in a creamy mushroom sauce topped with crispy fried onions.” I got a little nervous on this one and bought a can of Durkee’s onions just in case they were needed. That’s the best part of green bean casserole, isn’t it
POST THANKSGIVING REVIEW: While not as successful as the sweet potato casserole the green bean casserole was good. It tasted surprisingly like the home made version except for mine, which is exceptionally good with fresh green beans and scratch made mushroom soup. As we suspected there were not enough fried onions so we added some canned Durkee’s onions after the picture was taken. I think the extra onions may have accounted for why the dish was a little salty. I would probably make this again although maybe not for a holiday meal. The picture on the box bore no resemblance to the finished dish.
Lastly, whoever the Huxtables are, they will be providing the Savory Stuffing comprised of savory bread blended with margarine, fresh celery, onion, poultry stock, herbs and spices. I did buy two boxes of Stovetop stuffing as an emergency back-up for this dish. If Michael reads this and sees the celery I may have to break out a Stovetop.
POST THANKSGIVING REVIEW: For me, this dish out of the three came closest to home made. It had good flavor and the bread cubes were intact abut still moist. I don’t care for stuffing where the bread is more like crumbs. I enjoyed the celey chunks but did have to make Stovetop for Michael and Matt. I probably won’t make this agin until another holiday because I can’t eat it all by myself but I wouldn’t hesitate to serve it to guests. Of the three holiday side dishes this one also came the closest to looking like the picture on the box. I appreciated that.
All three Special Holiday Side Dishes have directions for heating in the microwave or a conventional oven. Rest assured mine will all be coming out of a conventional oven. It is Thanksgiving for crying out loud. Can’t have Thanksgiving with trying to cram too much stuff in a conventional oven.
What really irks me, besides the taste of many frozen foods, is the vastly different appearance of the actual food versus the picture on the box. I am going to hold Marie and the Huxtables accountable by photographing the prepared dishes directly in front of the picture on the box. My guests will just have to get used to eating cold food like Michael has. Nothing gets eaten in this house until after it’s close-up.
So come back after Thanksgiving for my candid reviews of these holiday side dishes. I will eat dinner with a pad and paper handy to jot down comments. Oh yeah, I can just write them on my dinner napkin.
p.s. If you look closely at the pictures you’ll get a preview of the dollar store placemats. Nice, huh?