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How to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas in a country style?

Elvis Elvis

What about country holidays if you live in the city? No problem, just remember what country is all about-relaxed, simple comfort with lots of friends and family. It may take some planning to pull off a relaxed holiday season, but it can be done. Don’t you think shopping on line makes sense for that country holiday spirit?

In my family, I have cooked the Thanksgiving dinner for about 25 years or more. My mom does the Christmas dinner. I have learned some tricks though, and it involves preparing some dishes the day before, and going to the grocery store with a list, checked against all the recipes I plan to use. When I start cooking, I HATE to stop to run back to the store for one small, but important ingredient that I have forgotten. It is important to not try to do too much, know your limitations, time-wise, financial or your cooking experience and work within them.

Generally, my husband will peel and cut up the potatoes and we cook them the day before. See the recipe below. This has been a real time-saver and the potatoes are reheated in a slow cooker so that leaves a stove burner free.

I never seem to have enough burners on Thanksgiving. I also use an electric roaster to roast my turkey in. My mom has always used one, and I just followed her lead. This way, the oven is free to bake other items in or to warm the rolls. No, my rolls are not homemade. The local grocery store bakery generally has better ones than I can bake.

My mom has always brought the pies, so that saves me time. My sister usually brings a salad. If you are preparing dinner for a number of adults, they will probably offer to bring something, so let them. Now adults can be a problem too, at least they always seem to be in the kitchen when the hectic race of getting the dinner ready for serving starts. In fact, in my family, the adults are worse than the children! I try to have the coffee ready, so anyone who wants coffee can have it before dinner or they can have a soft drink if they prefer.

How to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas in a country style?

I used to think that I had to do everything, but I have learned it is a lot more fun if everyone shares in the dinner, and it certainly is more relaxed if one person doesn’t have to do all the cooking as well as purchasing all the ingredients. The most important considerations for country holidays is your family and friends and the fellowship everyone will have when they can get together and visit.

Children get bored and hungry before the holiday dinner is ready for serving. Have on hand games, coloring books, sticker books, toys, or videos for the children to entertain themselves with. You can always ask each family with a child to bring toys or games too. If at all possible, make a place for the children to play.

My Thanksgiving dinner is served buffet style, simply because I do not have a large enough dining room that would allow everyone to sit around the table. I have an extra table that we move into the family room and I let everyone serve themselves before being seated. My mom still seats everyone around the dining table at her house for Christmas, but it is a very tight squeeze anymore!!

Everything will work out okay if you just relax. Country holidays are about family and friends, not about how fancy a meal you can prepare. I have learned that too. I have tried to fix fancy salads and the like, only to have tons of leftovers; so I have simplified my meals to what my guests really prefer. In the interest of saving time, I tried having just the turkey breast, but that was not popular, so back to the old stand-by, the whole roasted turkey!

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

  • 5 pound potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 6 ounces light cream cheese
  • 1 C light sour cream
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbs. margarine

Cook potatoes until done, drain;mash until there are no lumps. Add all ingredients and blend well. Can be refrigerated for up to 7 days. Re-heat in slow-cooker. Start 3 hours before serving. Slow cook on low for three hours, stirring two or three times. This is a great time-saver.

Quick Old-fashioned Stuffing

Note: You may vary ingredients and amounts depending on the number of people you are serving.

  • 3 pkgs of prepared stuffing(Stove Top is one brand)
  • 1 Lg. onion chopped
  • several stalks of celery
  • 2 Lbs. ground sausage
  • can add nuts, raisins, mushrooms or family favorites.

Fry sausage, drain and put aside. Saute onion and celery and mix with sausage, add any other ingredients you want to include. Prepare the packaged dressing mix according to directions for stuffing a turkey and add all extra ingredients. Refrigerate until time to stuff turkey. Put the extra stuffing in a casserole dish and heat in 350 degree oven for about an hour before serving.

Lime Jello Salad

  • Lg pkg. lime jello
  • 2 C boiling liquid(water and juice from pineapple)
  • 1 lb. pkg of miniature marshmallows
  • Lg can crushed pineapple drained
  • 1 C chopped nuts
  • 2 C finely chopped cabbage
  • 1 C mayo
  • 2 C whipped cream-whipped.

Dissolve jello in boiling liquid & add marshamllows and stir until melted. Let partially set and fold in pineapple, nuts, cabbage, mayo and whipped cream. Pour all into bowl and refrigerate.