Thursday, November 21, 2019


I am proudly wearing my Chef's hat again, retrieved from the corner of the kitchen and standing tall.  You can't hardly make a mistake when you are only opening cans and packages.

The turkeys were already in the oven when I arrived.  These aren't your normal turkeys.  These beasts are about fifteen pounds each of breast meat only, deboned.  You may remember I ordered one last year.  It came in a box of two and cost me $75.00.  I have to admit though, it's the best turkey I've ever eaten.

MY job at this function is to whip up potatoes, dressing, gravy and that all time favorite, green been casserole.  You really need one of those huge stand mixers for this, but instead we always go the hard route and do all the mixing by hand in those large flimsy aluminum pans.  It's an experience you shouldn't miss.
First up, find the four largest pots you can and measure out the water according to the package.  From past experience, add in an extra 1/2 cup for evaporation.  Yes, that's a REAL problem.  Then spread the Idahoan potatoes in a pan, following by a sprinkling of dry Ranch Dressing mix.  It adds SO much flavor and masks the phony potato taste.

Once boiling, add the 8 quarts of water to the pans and call your buddy Mark (on the left) to stir like you're paddling to shore with a shark hot on your tail.  Yes, water goes everywhere ... on the counter, on you, on your cowboy boots ... but it's actually the most efficient way to make two huge pans.  Put them in the warmer.

Next up the dressing.  Add two pounds of butter to the water, along with the seasoning packets.  Don't watch the men watch the pot boil over.  Jump in and turn the flame down BEFORE you lose half the ingredients down the eight burner stove.  Again, have Mark stir like his life depends on it.  Put them in the warmer.

We opened (the hard part) three huge cans of sweet potatoes and used a potato masher to smash them into oblivion.  I sprinkled in cinnamon, maple syrup and milk before dumping it into another two pans.  

Are we done yet?  Of course not!  We still have the green bean casserole.  Milk and mushroom soup were stirred together and dumped over the not-so-well-drained beans.  It takes a little patience working with five men.  It takes THEIR patience to work with me.  In the oven they go to bake with the sweet potatoes.  On to the gravy!!

There's nothing worse than gravy from a bag.  I always insist we take all the turkey juice we can scrape up and dump it in THAT pot of boiling water.  This time there was no juice because of how they cooked the turkeys.  Lucky for the eaters of this dinner, I was able to salvage the aluminum foil from underneath the turkeys just as it hit the trash can.  Dry as a bone it was.

I placed it back on a sheet pan, dumped a couple cups of water on top and set it on the stove, scraping up the tiny bits from the bottom.  VOILA!!  Turkey juice ... and THAT my friends is how I got my Chef's hat back!!!

With ten minutes until take off, I mixed up the dry gravy mix in a pot of cold water (only because the real Elks Chef told me to), then dumped it in the boiling water.  Instant gravy with not a lump in sight!!  I was so proud!

With everything loaded in the back seat of my truck, we made it to the Senior Living Facility in record time.  We filled up 40 to-go boxes for those who couldn't make it to the dining room, all of which were delivered by our local Boy Scout Troop.  

Once that was done, the Boy Scouts took filled plates to every senior sitting in the dining room.  Best servers ever!!  At long last, we picked up all our utensils, leaving all the food, and headed back to the Lodge.  

I was tired, but smiling as I got back home, my Chef Hat proudly on my head.  I am redeemed!!!  Until next time!


  1. Congrats Chef Nancy! And a bonus is how tall that chef's hat would make you! xo

    1. Why thank you Patsy!!! It was nice to feel good about cooking dinner for over 100 seniors. Some day I might be in their place.

  2. Never thought to add ranch to dry potatoes. Genuis.

    1. It really works. Gets rid of that "not real" taste!

  3. Glad you found your redemption and are now back at the top of you game.
    Be Safe and Enjoy the limelight.

    It's about time.