So I got a call from our younger daughter and her husband the other night, asking if they can come for Thanksgiving dinner.
This is both embarrassing and heartening. Didn’t November just begin? Bottom line: I am very glad they felt free to call. Of course, we want them. I just hadn’t paused long enough to pick up the phone and ask.
Then they gave me the complete menu they’re hoping for. I consider this a compliment. And a relief. First, they apparently like dishes I’ve made through the years. Second, this saves me rooting through my stash of recipes, looking for something amazing.
But let me quickly add that with the menu they proposed came their suggestions about who should make what. This was clearly not simply a call-in order for a Thanksgiving meal.
Here’s the line-up they proposed:
● Amish Roast with Gravy (you’ll find this recipe below). This is the main dish served at Amish weddings in our community. And, remember, Amish weddings and the gargantuan meal that follows, take place completely in the bride’s home. We’re talking as many as 250 guests! This recipe is beloved and practical for groups. In other words, about as stress-free for the cook as one could imagine, while still holiday-tasty.
Rebecca and Rob wondered if I would make this—on one condition: that I not skimp on the butter in this dish. I promised not to.
● Mashed Potatoes—Rob’s job.
● Popovers—Rebecca’s job. I didn’t know she made these.
● Baked Corn—Kate’s job. Yes, I called Kate immediately after my conversation with Rebecca and Rob to make sure she hadn’t already promised away her holiday. Whew, she hadn’t. Merle intervened at this point to ask if we couldn’t please have baked corn with the meal. Kate happily agreed to sacrifice some of her home-frozen corn for the good of us all.
● Lima Beans—This will be Merle’s contribution from his Christmas gift cache, but he’s a very willing share-r.
● Cranberry Salad—Kate’s job.
● Dessert—Rebecca’s job. As she routinely says, “I just looovvvee to make desserts.”
There was one more thing. Rob asked if he could come to cook with me on Thanksgiving morning. He’s done this before—and it is one of the sweetest offers I’ve ever gotten. He moves efficiently; he takes orders without argument; he’s great to talk with. Plus he thinks he overcooked the lima beans when he made them during the summer for a friend, so he’s hoping for a little light instruction! I’ll get both entertainment and help.
If you want a happy surprise, ask your kids or siblings, or whomever you traditionally share Thanksgiving dinner with, what they’d like you to make this year. I bet they’ll ask for things you didn’t know they especially enjoyed, or that you’ve forgotten about. Then invite them to help by bringing the dishes, or by arriving early enough to put in some honest work in the kitchen by your side.
(aka “Amish Roast”)
Fix-It and Forget-It Christmas Cookbook: 600 Slow Cooker Holiday Recipes
Makes 8 servings
Prep Time: 30-45 minutes
Cooking Time: 3-4 hours
Ideal slow cooker size: 4- or 5-quart
¾ stick (6 Tbsp.) butter
½ cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 Tbsp. parsley flakes
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1¾-2 cups chicken, or turkey, broth
6-7 cups dried bread cubes
2 cups cut-up, cooked chicken, or turkey
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp. baking powder
1. Saute onion and celery in butter in skillet.
2. Combine seasonings and broth in large bowl. Mix in bread cubes.
3. Fold in chicken and sautéed onions and celery.
4. Add egg and baking powder.
5. Lightly pack into slow cooker.
6. Cover. Cook on Low 2-3 hours.
Tip: The longer the dressing cooks, the drier it will become. Keep that in mind if you do not care for moist stuffing.