by Morgan Lawson
Turkey: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Pull the peck and giblets out of the cavity. Save the giblets (but not the liver) for gravy. Dry the turkey with paper towels, then add salt and pepper to the outside. Stuff the turkey with things like chopped onions, carrots, apples, and herbs. Place the turkey breast side up in a roasting pan. Brush the turkey with melted butter. Cover with foil and roast for two hours. (for 10-12 pound turkeys, add 15 minutes per pound.) After it’s done, remove the foil, and baste it with more melted butter. (and herbs if you’d like.) Turn the oven up to 435 degrees and roast for another hour until the meat registers of 165 degrees.
Rolls: Stir one tablespoon active-dry yeast, and ½ cup warm water into a mixing bowl, and let sit until dissolved. In a separate bowl, whisk together ½ cup milk, 1 large egg, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt into a large mixing bowl. Add 3 cups flour and stir until it forms a shaggy dough. Knead the dough at a low speed, or by hand against the counter for 8-10 minutes, until smooth but slightly tacky. It should spring back when poked. Cover the mixing bowl and let the dough rise until it’s doubled in bulk in a warm spot. Dust your work surface with a little flour and turn the risen dough out on top. Divide the dough into 12 pieces. To shape into rolls, tuck the edges underneath to form a plump little package, then roll the dough against the counter or between your palms until round. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment and spray with nonstick coating. Arrange the rolls inside the pan spaced a little apart. Let the rolls rise until they look pillowy and fill the pan roughly 30-40 minutes. While the rolls are rising, pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and brush it over the risen dinner rolls. This helps the tops to brown and keeps the crust soft. Bake 15-18 minutes. Lift the rolls from the pan using the parchment and let the rolls cool on a wire rack until cool enough to handle. They are best if eaten within a day or two, but will keep in an airtight container on the counter for up to a week. Rolls can also be frozen for up to 3 months and reheated in a warm oven.
Macaroni and Cheese: Boil 8 ounces of macaroni shells until tender. Drain. Add ¼ cup butter, ½ teaspoon salt, black pepper, 2 cups milk, and two cups shredded cheddar (or melting cheese like velveeta.) Mix until cheese is melted and stirred in.
Mashed Potatoes: Warm 1 cup heavy cream with 4 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts, and set it aside. Put the 3 large potatoes in a medium saucepan with cold water. Boil them and add one teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Potatoes should be very tender. Drain. Either use a food processor, or a potato masher to mash the potatoes. Stir the warm cream and butter mixture into the potatoes until the cream is absorbed and the potatoes are smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and ¼ cup olive oil.
Broccoli: Buy a pre-packaged bag of broccoli and boil about ten minutes until tender, then add salt and pepper.
Pumpkin Pie: Mix ¾ cups sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves in a small bowl. Beat 2 large eggs into a large bowl. Stir in 1 can pure pumpkin and the sugar-spice mixture. Stir in evaporated milk. Pour into an unbaked 9 inch pie shell. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for fifteen minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 40-50 minutes. Let cool. Refrigerate for two hours and add whipped cream to serve.
Glazed Ham: Preheat oven to 275 degrees and put the ham in a pan, then pour four cups of water until it’s about an inch high. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Bake for 6-8 hours. Take it out of the oven, adn drain the drippings (to keep.) Debone the ham, removing excess fat, and put it back in the pan. Skim the fat from the drippings, and throw it away. In a small bowl, mix one cup of the drippings with ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup honey, 2 tablespoons liquid smoke flavoring, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, and 1 pinch ground cloves. Pour it on the ham and bake for 30-40 minutes. Let it cool about ten minutes before serving.
Deviled Eggs: Hard boil a dozen eggs. Crack and peel the shells off and discard the shells. Slice each egg in half lengthwise. Remove the yolk halves and place in a mixing bowl. Arrange the white halves on a serving platter. Mash up the yolks, add 2 teaspoons dijon mustard, ⅓ cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon minced onion, 1/4 teaspoon tabasco, salt, and pepper. Spoon the yolk mixture into the white halves. Dust lightly with paprika.
Egg Noodles: In a large bowl, stir 2 ½ cups flour, 1 pinch salt, and add a beaten egg, ½ cup milk, and 1 tablespoon butter. Knead dough about five minutes, then let it rest in a covered bowl for ten minutes. Flour a surface, then roll out dough to about ¼ inch thickness, and cut into strips. Let them air dry. Cook in a pot with boiling water and salt until tender.
Eclair Cake: Blend 2 instant pudding mixes in a medium bowl along with 1 container whipped topping, and 3 cups milk. Arrange a layer of graham cracker squares into a baking pan. Spread half the pudding mixture on the graham crackers. Add another layer of graham crackers, then add the other half of the pudding mixture. Spread prepared chocolate frosting over the whole cake to the edge of the pan. Cover and chill 4 hours before serving.
Justine Christian’s Christmas Sugar Cookies: Take regular sugar cookie batter, divide into two sections, and add red or green food coloring to one side. Roll them out on top of each other and swirl them together. Cut into ½ inch pieces. Bake on whatever temperature the recipe for the sugar cookies says for the amount of time specified. Decorate as you like.
Justine Christian’s Hot Chocolate: Take your choice of hot chocolate mix, and add vanilla almond milk, and then put a few chocolate chips in. Put a candy cane on the side of the cup, hanging inside. Microwave for about two minutes.
* Most vegetables including corn, green beans, peas, broccoli, and carrots only require opening a can and cooking on a stove-top oven on medium heat for 7-10 minutes, possibly adding butter, salt, pepper, and desired seasonings.