Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Review

We had a lovely Thanksgiving at our house.  I hope the same was true for all of you.  The boys managed to play quietly, and I don't think the television was on for more than an hour today.  Quite remarkable, really.

In an attempt to make the holiday season more manageable this year, DH and I ordered a full turkey dinner from Nob Hill for just $59.  It was a moderate success.  There was a handy hour-by-hour guide to remind you when each item needed to go into the oven.  There was certainly a lot less prep work required, but still plenty to do in terms of reheating, and almost as many tools to wash as if we had cooked from scratch.  Below is a list of all the dishes, and our rating of each:
  • Turkey: Good size bird, precooked.  However, I didn't anticipate that it would be precooked but frozen.  It must have thawed some in the local store's refrigerator, but this required the usual large roasting pan, and 2.5 hours to warm back up for eating.  Lots faster than from scratch--A+
  • Stuffing:  This was not precooked--they provided a tin, breadcrumbs, and turkey broth vegetable mix.  I am sure this would have been adequate, but I realized I am picky about my stuffing--I have to have sausage! And celery! and onion!  And raisin bread!  So, I basically ended up making it myself after all, except for the seasoned broth they provided.  Grade: B for effort.
  • Mashed Potatoes: OK, these were fine, and nice to have already mixed, just had to reheat. Grade = A
  • Broccoli, Cheese, Rice Casserole: With all the other starch in the meal (potatoes, stuffing, bread), I don't really get why they put rice in the bottom?  We realized after we cooked it that we actually like our broccoli just plain and steamed.  B for effort--not really their fault we are picky.
  • Rolls: These were tasty, but we also could have bought these easily, so it didn't really save us much cooking time. Grade = A
  • Gravy: Again, adequate.  Nothing wrong with this the way it was...but my pan gravy tastes better.  Probably because I use most of the drippings instead of just a few tablespoons.  My gravy will kill you faster, but you'll enjoy the experience.  Grade = B.
  • Pumpkin Pie: This was perfect.  Only Teddy and I will eat it though, but can't blame them for my family's pickiness.  Grade = A
  • Cranberry Sauce: This was also fine, but we preferred the canned stuff.  B for effort. 
Our own additions to the menu:
  • I made my sister-in-laws mapled sweet potatoes--YUM!  Sadly, I learned my sons don't care for this dish.  Oh well, more for me and DH!
  • Pumpkin Bread, of course!
  • Homemade apple pie was touch-and-go whether it would happen or not, but Teddy's enthusiasm swayed his father into action.  It didn't hurt that Teddy peeled and chopped all the apples, and the crust was store-bought.
Overall, would I buy the Nob Hill Thanksgiving Dinner again?  Probably not. Other than the turkey, the parts of the meal that were spot-on for my family's palate were the easier dishes, which we would likely just buy anyway.  It was certainly less work, though almost as many pots and pans.  However, with a whole day to do the cooking, and one son who willingly helps, I think we'll just take it from scratch next year.

The one part that was more than just adequate, was the feeling of gratitude, and the cooperation we had all day.  DH and I partnered well in the kitchen, Teddy helped by making breakfast, and eating enthusiastically, and Barley had not a cross word for anyone all day.  Give Thanks indeed.

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