easter dinner

here are some fantastic photos from our easter dinner. originally we had hoped to return home to visit family and friends for easter. it seems that the Lord had some other plans for us, so we made the most of it and were able to try some new recipes and enjoy our own easter family dinner.

matt was the master chef in charge of the turkey and dressing, while i made sure the potato salad, lettuce salad, vinaigrette, and deviled eggs were done! overall it was very much a team effort, and we had a lot of fun trying out new recipes and we really enjoyed our first easter together.

i’ve already posted about the vinaigrette, and honestly, that is the only true “recipe” i used for the foods that i was master chef over. my potato salad, lettuce salad, and deviled eggs come from years of helping my mother in the kitchen and a lot of taste testing to make sure everything is “just right”. the best part of the potato salad though…the bacon! i love to add crispy bacon and celery to it for some added crunch! enjoy the photos of our handiwork!

again, matt proved just how much he loves me by being in charge of handling the turkey. i wasn’t super crazy about touching the bird, but he took on the challenge like a champ and emerged victorious. the turkey was delicious, very moist and juicy, which made our first turkey roasting a huge success! here is the recipe! (Matt: after doing this, i definitely had a greater appreciation for all those who have cooked me turkey over the years and how much love they had to put into the process for the finished product. One of the hardest things was definitely lifting up the skin on the breast to put all the herbs, spices and garlic into. but with just a little finesse i was able to work all those special seasoning into the cavity. it definitely made a huge difference as the turkey was full of flavor with each bite. one thing we did a touch different is that we put the turkey breast side down after looking at many different recipes and theories. to each his own and we may try putting the breast side up next time to see the difference. only the last 15 minutes or so of cooking did we have the turkey cooking breast side up just to get a little crisper skin. we can’t wait to try some more turkey but it will be a while after getting way too close to this turkey. overall, as rachel said, we are really happy with our first attempt at a roasted turkey and couldn’t have asked for a better result. praise the Lord for that! and i knocked off another recipe)

the dressing recipe was also a huge success, although i think because we used a box mix for the cornbread (instead of making it as the recipe suggests), we had a little too much liquid. the recipe calls for 7 cups of chicken stock, but we probably could have gone with 5-5 1/2 since we didn’t have as much of the breading. still, it was a big success for both of us since we also had never made dressing(matt: one more recipe down).

courtesy of paula deen, southern cornbread stuffing:

cornbread (recipe follows)

7 slices oven-dried white bread

1 sleeve saltine crackers

8 T. butter

2 C. celery, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

7 C. chicken stock

1 t. salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 t. sage (optional)

1`T. poultry seasoning

5 eggs, beaten

preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

in a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, dried white bread slices, and saltines; set aside.

melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. add the celery and onion and cook until transparent, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. pour the vegetable mixture over cornbread mixture. add the stock, mix well, taste, and add salt, pepper to taste, sage, and poultry seasoning. add beaten eggs and mix well. reserve 2 heaping tablespoons of this mixture for the giblet gravy. pour mixture into a greased pan and bake until dressing is cooked through, about 45 minutes. serve with turkey as a side dish.

cornbread:

1 C. self-rising cornmeal

1/2 C. self-rising flour

3/4 C. buttermilk

2 eggs

2 T. vegetable oil

preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

combine all ingredients and mix well. pour batter into a greased shallow baking dish. bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. remove from oven and let cool.

while it was a pretty intense day of cooking, and kind of tiring after awhile, overall, it was a really great dinner. we had some great new recipes, the chance to cook together,  we could help each other out, and the food ended up being really great!

best part: leftovers! commence all manner of dinners that we can have with turkey!

cooking up a storm,

matt & rachel

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