Wrap-Up, and Countdown (and Turkey Hotdish, and a Sandwich)

Thanksgiving was wonderful!  Such a good day with family and friends.  We ended up with 18 for dinner, ages 3-84, and then a couple extra folks came for dessert and games.  Husband and teen son did all the dishes and left the kitchen in tip-top order.

The meal was, I must say, mighty fine.  The true stars were the salad, green beans (mmmmmm, bacon), and the potatoes.  Frankly, the stuffing was rather dry, but had good flavor.  The turkey turned out nice and moist and everyone seemed happy with the different twists on the menu.  I was too full for dessert, but managed to force down some of the chocolate cherry bread pudding late in the evening.  Bliss.  All in all it was a great day, and we all feel truly blessed.

We spent yesterday eating leftovers, listening to Christmas music, and enjoying Nana and Papa, who have to leave today.  I actually did he crazy get-up-early-and-shop thing!  Woke at 5, laid there contemplating my choice for an hour, then hit the shower and got out the door by 6:30.  I drove a whopping half-mile to my local Target, loaded up, and then went to our terrific local toy store, and kept them in business for another day.  You can imagine how much shopping Santa has to do for 6 kids and a husband who have all been more nice than naughty all year.

Guess what it's time for?  COOKIE BAKING!  I make an obscene amount of Christmas cookies, at least a batch every other day.  Many go in the freezer, some to the neighborhood cookie exchange, and the rest get devoured by my skinny and starving children.  They are all hollering "What are you making first, Mom?"  Yesterday the votes were Rum Balls, Peanut Butter Balls, and Brown-Eyed Susans.  Apparently, I need to make a trip to the store for supplies, because the season is upon us and we obviously didn't get enough to eat this weekend.

So stay tuned.  I'll be posting all my favorite cookie recipes, plus a Stollen I'll be making for Christmas Eve, various appetizers and treats, and in between, some healthy and delicious dinners I'm making for my family.

What in the world is HOTDISH, you ask?  It's what you eat in Minnesota.  The rest of the country calls it "casserole" but the Scandinavian-German-Farmer-Simple folks here in the Northern Plains have their own name for this phenomenon. 

When you have a bunch of leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and cranberries, you simply must make hotdish.  Or hot turkey sandwiches, or turkey-wild-rice soup.  Or put it all in the freezer and order pizza.

This is neither Sassy nor Gourmet, but your family will love it.

Turkey Hotdish
Vegetables (corn, peas, you know)
Mashed potatoes
Grated cheese, optional

Get out at least a 9x13 baking dish.  Butter the bottom and sides, and lay down a layer of stuffing.  Next comes a layer of turkey, then any vegetables that didn't get eaten.  Pour a thick layer of gravy over all of this.  For the cranberries, you have two choices - either add a layer to the dish here, or serve them on the side.  I don't like them mixed, but you might.  Now you can get fancy and thin out your mashed potatoes a bit, spoon them into a bag, and pipe them into pretty designs on top of your dish.  OR, you can spread them like frosting.  Whatever does the job.  Sprinkle on a bit of cheese if you are in the mood, and pop the whole thing into a 350 degree oven for at least 30 minutes until it's piping hot and the potatoes are starting to get golden and crispy on top.  That, my friends, is HOTDISH!

If you're feeling rather full and a tad more civilized, try this sandwich:

Turkey Cranberry Sandwich with Dill Cream Cheese
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon dill
pinch of salt and pepper
Milk or cream
Leftover turkey, thinly sliced
Romaine lettuce
2 slices whole grain bread, or 1 whole wheat tortilla

Blend cream cheese, dill, salt and pepper with a few drops of milk, until smooth and creamy.  Spread on both slices of bread, or all over the tortilla.  Layer the turkey, cranberries and romaine lettuce.  If using a tortilla, roll it up, secure with two toothpicks, and slice in half.  Serve with chips and a tart dill pickle.