The Best Turkey

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is A WEEK AWAY! How did this happen? It was basically summer five minutes ago, and now we’re getting so close to the holidays that I’m making Christmas shopping lists, and planning out New Year’s Eve.

But, before all of that, Ryan and I had are annual – we cooked Thanksgiving Dinner at the beginning of November – meal.

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We typically spend Thanksgiving with Ryan’s family (except last year when we were in DISNEY WORLD!).

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, we like to cook our own Thanksgiving dinner. I think we started doing this because we hosted Thanksgiving a few years ago, and wanted to perfect our turkey cooking skills. Since then, we’ll be in the supermarket and see the abundance of turkeys and just buy one. It’s almost become a tradition. And, we’ve gotten pretty good at making a delicious turkey.

We mostly follow Tyler Florence’s oven roasted turkey with sage butter recipe.

Where our spin on the recipe differs is that we don’t make a stuffing. Instead, we stuff the cavity with quartered lemons, carrots, onions, and celery. We put the remaining vegetables in the bottom of the roasting pan, and pour in a few cups of chicken stock, white wine, and fresh squeezed lemon juice so that the whole pan is covered.

As the turkey cooks, we had more chicken stock, to keep the bottom from burning. We also baste the turkey about every 30 minutes.

Once the turkey is cooked, we use the drippings, additional chicken stock and lemon juice as needed, to create a gravy. We bring the drippings to the stove top, add in some butter and flour to create a roux – and that’s it. It’s simple, and so good.

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If I had my choice, every Thanksgiving meal would include crispy roasted brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes, but I’ll post about that another time.

Plated Review

We love eating and cooking. Usually a big portion of our Sundays is dedicated to meal planning, grocery shopping (Whole Foods, Stop and Shop, and Trader Joe’s) and then cooking a few meals to get ahead on the week.  If you asked either of us, we would tell you that Sunday afternoon cooking is one of our favorite times of the week – especially when it’s cold outside. Picture a cozy house, crackling fire, music in the background, a bottle of wine and spending a few hours hanging out and cooking – it’s really a great time.

Sometimes, though, we’d rather have a fun Sunday out of the house and not dedicated to chores. The other problem is that we usually will need to cook again later in the week, which is tough since we often get home from work around 8pm.

We’ve brainstormed ways to limit the time we spend on grocery shopping and meal planning, and tried making quick frozen meals over the week when we don’t have time to really cook, but neither have been a solution.

So finally we decided to try one of the cooking subscriptions and see if it made a big change for us. We started with Hello Fresh, which was JUST OK. I’ll compare the strengths of Hello Fresh as it compared to my review of Plated below.

Last week we tried Plated, and we’re actually getting a second Plated box this week. img_5996

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The first meal we tried through Plated was chicken marsala, and it really was delicious. We also tried the Korean Beef Tacos, which I liked but didn’t love.  With both recipes, the ingredients were all high quality, and fresh. There were a lot of meal choices that should appeal to most people, even picky eaters like me. I would say he Hellp Fresh meals were maybe a little more health conscious? But they didn’t taste as good, and there were strange choices to pick from that weren’t appealing to me. 

Here’s where Plated fell a little short – the packaging was not as nice as Hello Fresh which has a separate box for each meal. The packaging in Plated were a lot of plastic bags, and they were less clearly labeled. Additionally, the Plated meals are more complicated and time consuming (30-45 minutes) – you’ll have to pound chicken, you’ll need to have your own eggs, you’ll need to be doing multiple things at once such as baking potatoes in the oven and sauteing chicken on the stove.  That was totally fine for us, but it’s more work if you want something that’s truly simple.  Finally, the biggest shortcoming for us is that we like to eat a lot of vegetables at dinner, and Plated doesn’t rule out our need to go to the supermarket.

Why are we doing a second week of Plated? Because the meals were really good and still a time saver. I can’t see us doing it every week, but it’s perfect on a short week (like Thanksgiving), or if you know you’re not going to have time to shop and cook.