The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: Thanksgiving (page 1 of 2)

Thanksgiving Pot Pie

You’ve probably already gobbled up all of your Thanksgiving leftovers by now. But on the odd chance that you have a few left and are sick of turkey sandwiches, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite ways to squeeze one or two more delicious (and ridiculously easy) meals out of all that hard labor you did last week.

We call it Thanksgiving Pot Pie, and it couldn’t be easier…or trashier. As if most Thanksgiving casserole side dishes aren’t trashy enough, let’s mix ’em together and bake ’em in a pie! Yeee-haw!

This is one of those simple things I assume everyone knows how to do, but when I told my Mom about it on the phone the other day she acted like I had just invented the world’s first combination blood sugar monitor & chip-clip. She then encouraged me to put the recipe on my blog because she didn’t think she’d remember the steps. (Bless her heart.)

So this one’s for you Mom. 

Here’s what you do:

1.) Chop up some leftover turkey into bite sized pieces and throw it in a big bowl.

2.) Add spoonfuls of all your leftover casseroles (except the mashed potatoes…that’s for the topping), and gently fold it all together. I used leftover green bean casserole, sausage & mushroom stuffing, and sweet potatoes this year (along with the chopped up turkey).

3.) Spoon it all into a pie shell (I used frozen, but whatevs).

4.) Top the pie with your leftover mashed potatoes.

5.) Cover with foil and bake in the oven at 375° (or so) for about 35 minutes (or so), then take off the foil so the edges of the crust can brown up and the mashed potatoes can get a little golden brown (about 10-15 minutes more). You want this baby to be piping hot.

If you have any leftover gravy, warm that up on the stove and spoon it over each piece of pot pie as you serve it.

thanksgiving pot pie by the bearded iris

We had this last night with leftover cranberry jelly, corn casserole, and gravy. I even had enough to make a second pot pie and stick it in my freezer for later. Haters gonna hate.

Note: this meal doesn’t bode well with picky kids who segregate their foods like little side dish supremacists. “RACIST!” I cry. “Let your side dishes mingle!” But Bucket Head won’t hear of it. He said this meal “looks like vomit pie.” The nerve. Someday he’ll come around and then he’ll thank me for exposing him to new things.

Or he’ll get a neck tattoo espousing his deep rooted devotion to casserole purity. And I’ll sit around crying in my ambrosia and wondering what I did wrong to raise such a fucking monster.

And that concludes the Thanksgiving portion of our blogging calendar year. Coming soon: the return of Dobbie, our prize winning Inappropriate Elf on the Shelf!

Wishing you abundance and good cheer today and always,

-Leslie

The art of making perfect turkey gravy

I’m reaching into the archives today for my world* famous gravy recipe! You can thank me later.

*and by world, I mean family, and by family, I mean the handful of my husband’s voracious kin whom I can’t seem to scare off with my questionable housekeeping skills.

how to make awesome turkey gravy for thanksgiving by The Bearded Iris.com

My turkey gravy rocks. Ask anyone.

Follow this recipe and yours will too.*

May I present, The Art of Making Perfect Turkey Gravy, in four parts:

1.) The Turkey Stock

Sure, you could use store bought stock, but why would you when it is so easy to make it at home for pennies?

Early Thanksgiving morning, as soon as you are done chasing your little brother around while pretending the turkey’s neck is a big floppy penis, get out an 8 quart saucepan and fill it with the following ingredients:

  • the turkey’s neck and giblets
  • a halved yellow onion with the skin still on
  • a celery heart (keep the leaves!)
  • 1 scrubbed carrot (not peeled)
  • about 12 whole black peppercorns (give ’em a good whack first for more flavor)
  • one (yes, just one) whole clove (the spice that looks like a pushpin)
  • about 6 cups of water (you may need to add more)

Put it on the back burner and slowly simmer that mofo all day. Just before the turkey’s done, remove all the stuff out of the stock with a slotted-spoon and taste the stock for seasoning. Add some salt, to taste. Keep it warm on the stove near the burner where you are going to make the gravy.

If you like a meaty gravy, like I do, pick the meat off that turkey neck and chop it finely. Or, for funsies, hand it to your Mother-in-Law and watch her suck the meat off it while you and your sisters crack all kinds of inappropriate jokes. Chop up the giblets too. You can add all of that nastiness to the gravy and it will make it taste even more turkeyriffic.

2.) Preparation G

Now that your stock is simmering, get the rest of the gravy ingredients measured into separate lidded prep bowls. The French call this cooking technique mise en place. You see TV chefs doing it all the time because it is easier to chit chat while you toss premeasured ingredients into the pot. Trust me, when your kitchen is a flurry of chaos 30 minutes before dinner is served, you’ll be so glad you don’t have to stop, think, and measure the ingredients for your roux, which are:

  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. dry sherry

If you are serving a huge crowd like my family (22+ people), you will want to double this. Trust me. Better to have too much than not enough.

Next, assemble all the special gravy making tools you’ll need (see below) and just put them on the counter until gravy time. You may need your anal-retentive husband to sign a waiver indicating that he supports the new temporary pile of gadgets in plain view and that he promises not to put everything away where it really belongs the minute you leave the kitchen to do a shot of Sambuca.

3.) Harvest the Drippings


As soon as the turkey is done, pour all the drippings from the roasting pan into your handy-dandy fat separator (keep the spout stopper IN while you do this…it will keep the fat at the top so you can pour off the good juices from the hole in the bottom). Don’t have a fat separator? Sorry, you’re fucked. Kidding. Just skim off as much fat as you can. But seriously, buy a fat separator for next year, m’kay?

Now pour the defatted drippings back into the empty roasting pan and add 3/4 cup of water. Heat it up on top of your stove over medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom and sides of the roasting pan. Then transfer that juicy brown awesomesauce to a bowl. You’ll need it in a few minutes.

4.) Roux, roux, roux your boat.

Now’s the time you will need those premeasured ingredients I mentioned above. Hopefully you took my advice and they are all sitting in their own little lidded prep bowls, patiently waiting for you. If not, pray you’re not too drunk by now to measure things correctly.

Slowly melt your butter in your saucier or sauce pan. Pay attention and don’t let it burn, Missy! Now add your flour. Stir rapidly with a whisk to cook the gumminess out of the flour. Do this for a couple of minutes until the roux is golden and bubbly.

Rapidly whisk in your reserved juicy awesomesauce and about two cups of your homemade turkey stock (or 4 cups if you doubled the recipe).

Now cook and whisk until the gravy is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 5 minutes or so…I have no sense of time while I’m whisking…or buzzed).

Stir in the dry sherry and season with salt and pepper. Add in the chopped giblet and neck meat if desired.

Pour the gravy into a warmed sauceboat. Makes 2 to 2 1/2 cups (4-5 cups if doubled). And don’t be surprised if you catch your Uncle Cleofus licking the gravy boat at some point in the evening.

Now, even if your cousin Earline clogs your toilet and Aunt Patty teaches your kids new racial slurs, you’ll still have the best gravy in town. And after all, it’s all gravy.

Oh, like you’ve never chased someone with a turkey neck,

-Iris (aka Leslie)

*Disclaimer: I totally stole this recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen years ago, so you can trust it. But listen, beeyotch, I’m a comedy writer, not a chef. This is how I make my gravy every damn year. If it doesn’t work for you, I will not be held personally responsible. Follow this recipe and my tips at your own risk. Also, this post contains affiliate links. 

© Copyright 2011 and 2012, The Bearded Iris.

Originally published at The Bearded Iris November 17, 2011


 

Pushy Preschool Paparazzi and The Power of Prayer

T’is the season for school parties and pageants. Or as I like to call them, Court Ordered Anger Management Practice Scenarios.

I have things to do, folks. Why must I be forced to change out of my flannel pajayjays and mingle with these people?

For all my complaining, I actually couldn’t wait to see Bucket Head in his little Indian costume at the Preschool Thanksgiving Feast singing the very un-PC songs he’d been practicing for weeks.

I got there early and found my assigned seat at a table full of very busily texting parents.

{Sigh.}

Oh look! Here he comes!

Me: “Hey Bucket Head! Pssssst. Over here! Right here honey! SMILE FOR MOMMY!

Him: “Shhhhhhhhhh”

What a good boy, shushing his loud Mama like that. Check out the ‘fro spilling forth from his headband! He kinda looks like a young Greg Brady when he went through that beaded-curtain-hanging-in-the-groovy-attic-doorway phase, doesn’t he? (Back off, Florence Skankerson. He’s only four.)

I snapped a few more (blurry) pics while the children were silently guided past me toward the “stage” (a bare patch of floor in front of the buffet table). And by the time I turned around to face the kids, it was too late. All the other parents had pounced onto ALL the good spots for photographing their ridiculously adorable offspring.

Oh. My. GOD.

Really? This is my view?

Oh HAYLE no. This is my last baby y’all. I’mma just have to move.

So I bobbed to the left:

Crap. Can’t see my kid.

Let me try the other side…

Seriously?

All I can see is his lone little feather framed by a sea of Stay-at-Home-Ass. This will not do.

Maybe if I just stand up on a chair…

Dammit! He’s in the back row, totally obscured by feathers. Where is the justice?

I still can’t get a clear shot of my kid.

I could feel my temper starting to rise.

Deep breaths. Deep breaths. Deep breaths. “Do not cause a scene,” I repeated in my head.

Fearing the worst, I began to pray.

“Dear Heavenly Father, have mercy. Please…help me to not lose my shit and embarrass myself or my child!

Oh, and God? If you could find it in your heart to part the crowd like you did for Moses with that whole Red Sea thing and let me get ONE good shot of my kid…I’d really appreciate it. Tell you what, one good shot and I’ll cut back on the cussing. Please God. Help a sister out. Amen.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I now present: the power of prayer…

Fuck.

I guess I should have been more specific, God.

Oh well. Pick a winner, honey.

Two more weeks ’till the Christmas party. I’m going to bring a ladder, a telephoto lens, some pepper spray, and a flask. Wanna come?

-Iris

Dysfunctional Family Fun: Bad Behavior Bingo

Well here we are, Thanksgiving Day.

A few more hours and we’ll be sitting down for the most anticipated meal of the year. Hopefully your extensive Turkey Day preparations are paying off and you aren’t too stressed out. Maybe you even have a minute to relax before your crazy Uncle Boom-Boom arrives and that’s why you’re scanning the Internetz for a last minute chuckle to pull you through.

You’re in the right place, darlin’.

I just have one thing to say about your crazy relatives: if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Seriously, this much I know. Life is so much easier if you can just laugh at the situations that used to frustrate the hell out of you. We have NO control over anyone else, and if you’re like me, only somewhat limited control over yourself; so pour a drink and yuck it up, Amigo.

One of the readers of my weekly column In the Powder Room gave me this great idea a couple weeks ago: Bad Behavior Bingo. I thought it was BRILLIANT. After 41 years of Thanksgiving shenanigans, I can pretty safely predict some of the egregious behavior we’ll be seeing here today…why not turn it into a fun game?

The link below is a free printable I created so my Aunt and I could giggle about all our guests today and not let the crazy get us down. It’s a Google document…hopefully you can open it and print it out. This is my first time doing a printable, so cut me a frickin’ break if it doesn’t work, m’kay?

Just mark off the squares as you witness any of the listed bad behaviors. Don’t cheat and tell any of your guests about the game in advance! It’s a secret! You certainly don’t want Cousin Jeb purposefully starting a fist fight just to help you get an extra square marked off.

Bad Behavior Bingo

Quick disclaimer so my husband’s family doesn’t disown me, I have never seen, nor do I ever expect to see, a member of his family ignite their farts. That one came from one of my kin. Fine, several of my kin. We’re classy like that.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris. All rights reserved.

Carla’s Corn Casserole

Are you looking for a rich, buttery, holiday side dish that people will be talking about (in a good way) for years to come?

Well, look no further.

I have the world’s easiest, most scrumptious, stick to your ribs casserole right here.

It’s called Corn Casserole, not to be confused with Cornhole Casserole (Trish!), which is prison-speak for a damaged posterior region. So I’ve been told. {Ahem.}

My first exposure to Corn Casserole came at a school pot-luck holiday feast about 8 years ago. It was so good, I asked around to find out who had brought it, and then sent that lady an email which went a little something like this:

“Hello. My name is Iris. I’m new here and your Corn Casserole rocked my world. I know you don’t know me, but would you please share your recipe? I promise I’ll never bring this dish to an event where you will be. Nor will I do like my MIL and bastardize your recipe beyond all recognition and then say, ‘Oh, It’s Carla’s recipe!’ If you have it in your heart to share, I vow to always follow your recipe to the letter and to give you credit until the day I die. Please. I’m a good person. Let’s be friends.”

Miraculously, Carla didn’t call for a psych consult. Instead, she emailed me her family recipe. Who says southern hospitality is dead? (I do. But this is an exception.)

Here is Carla’s recipe. Respect it. It’s perfect the way it is.

I know my BFF Tammy is going to throw in a cup or two of cheddar cheese as soon as she gets her paws on this recipe because she seems to enjoy constipating her son and then sending him to my house to clog my toilet as a joke. But I’m here to tell Tammy you that sometimes less is more. Carla’s Corn Casserole is one of those times.

Also, word of warning, pay attention when you’re in the baking aisle at the grocery store. The Jiffy corn muffin mix looks almost exactly like the Jiffy biscuit mix. I’ve made this mistake before and it just isn’t as good. Moral of the story, friends don’t let friends grocery shop drunk, m’kay.

Don't buy this one...


...buy THIS one.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick (aka: 1/2 C or 8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 can sweet corn, undrained (15 oz. can)
  • 1 can creamed corn (15 oz. can)
  • 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Mix everything together in a large bowl.
  3. Transfer to lightly greased 9×13” baking dish.
  4. Bake uncovered, on middle rack, for one hour or until golden brown on top.

Can be baked ahead and reheated.  Cut into 2″ x 2″ squares and serve warm.

This casserole is not just for Thanksgiving. We also make it on New Year’s Day to go with our baked ham. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do!

Oh, by the way, I don’t know anything about how to cook turkey. True story.

That’s The Gatekeeper’s job. And when it comes to turkey, I’m a “don’t ask, don’t tell” kind of gal. I’m in charge of all the other food, decorations, and entertainment. More on that tomorrow.

But never fear! My friend Julie over at Mamamash.com has put together a fabulous litany of turkey dos and don’ts. Check it out. She knows her stuff, and her writing is divine.

 

Wishing you luck, serenity, and not too much family drama as you prepare for Thanksgiving this week!

Your friend,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

It’s all gravy.

My turkey gravy rocks. Ask anyone.

Follow this recipe and yours will too.*

May I present, The Art of Making Perfect Turkey Gravy, in four parts:

1.) The Turkey Stock

Sure, you could use store bought stock, but why would you when it is so easy to make it at home for pennies?

Early Thanksgiving morning, as soon as you are done chasing your little brother around while pretending the turkey’s neck is a big floppy penis, get out an 8 quart saucepan and fill it with the following ingredients:

  • the turkey’s neck and giblets
  • a halved yellow onion with the skin still on
  • a celery heart (keep the leaves!)
  • 1 scrubbed carrot (not peeled)
  • about 12 whole cracked black peppercorns
  • one clove
  • about 6 cups of water (you may need to add more)

Put it on the back burner and slowly simmer that mofo all day. Just before the turkey’s done, remove all the stuff out of the stock with a slotted-spoon and taste the stock for seasoning. Add some salt, to taste. Keep it warm on the stove near the burner where you are going to make the gravy.

If you like a meaty gravy, like I do, pick the meat off that turkey neck and chop it finely. Or, for funsies, hand it to your Mother-in-Law and watch her suck the meat off it while you and your sisters crack all kinds of inappropriate jokes. Chop up the giblets too. You can add all of that nastiness to the gravy and it will make it taste even more turkeyriffic.

2.) Preparation G

Now that your stock is simmering, get the rest of the gravy ingredients measured into separate lidded prep bowls. The French call this cooking technique mise en place. You see TV chefs doing it all the time because it is easier to chit chat while you toss premeasured ingredients into the pot. Trust me, when your kitchen is a flurry of chaos 30 minutes before dinner is served, you’ll be so glad you don’t have to stop, think, and measure the ingredients for your roux, which are:

  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. dry sherry

If you are serving a huge crowd like my family (22+ people), you will want to double this. Trust me. Better to have too much than not enough.

Next, assemble all the special gravy making tools you’ll need (see below) and just put them on the counter until gravy time. You may need your anal-retentive husband to sign a waiver indicating that he supports the new temporary pile of gadgets in plain view and that he promises not to put everything away where it really belongs the minute you leave the kitchen to do a shot of Sambuca.

3.) Harvest the Drippings

As soon as the turkey is done, pour all the drippings from the roasting pan into your handy-dandy fat separator (keep the spout stopper IN while you do this…it will keep the fat at the top so you can pour off the good juices from the hole in the bottom). Don’t have a fat separator? Sorry, you’re fucked. Kidding. Just skim off as much fat as you can. But seriously, buy a fat separator for next year, m’kay?

Now pour the defatted drippings back into the empty roasting pan and add 3/4 cup of water. Heat it up on top of your stove over medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom and sides of the roasting pan. Then transfer that juicy brown awesomesauce to a bowl. You’ll need it in a few minutes.

4.) Roux, roux, roux your boat.

Now’s the time you will need those premeasured ingredients I mentioned above. Hopefully you took my advice and they are all sitting in their own little lidded prep bowls, patiently waiting for you. If not, pray you’re not too drunk by now to measure things correctly.

Slowly melt your butter in your saucier or sauce pan. Pay attention and don’t let it burn, Missy! Now add your flour. Stir rapidly with a whisk to cook the gumminess out of the flour. Do this for a couple of minutes until the roux is golden and bubbly.

Rapidly whisk in your reserved juicy awesomesauce and about two cups of your homemade turkey stock (or 4 cups if you doubled the recipe).

Now cook and whisk until the gravy is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 5 minutes or so…I have no sense of time while I’m whisking…or buzzed).

Stir in the dry sherry and season with salt and pepper. Add in the chopped giblet and neck meat if desired.

Pour the gravy into a warmed sauceboat. Makes 2 to 2 1/2 cups (4-5 cups if doubled). And don’t be surprised if you catch your Uncle Cleofus licking the gravy boat at some point in the evening.

Now, even if your cousin Earline clogs your toilet and Aunt Patty teaches your kids new racial slurs, you’ll still have the best gravy in town. And after all, it’s all gravy.

*Disclaimer: I totally stole this recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen years ago, so you can trust it. But listen, beeyotch, I’m a comedy writer, not a chef. This is how I make my gravy every damn year. If it doesn’t work for you, I will not be held personally responsible. Follow this recipe and my tips at your own risk. 

Oh, like you’ve never chased someone with a turkey neck,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

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