Friday, November 25, 2022

The Day Val Was Happy She Turned Down Thanksgiving at the Casino

Last week, Hick offered me a way out of preparing Thanksgiving dinner. He said we could take The Pony to the casino that day, and eat their special meal, saving me much effort in the kitchen. At first I considered it. Hick had already told The Pony, who said he was fine with it. However, as much as I am stressed over holiday meal preparations... I did not want to steal Thanksgiving from The Pony. Val is NOT going to be the Thanksgiving Grinch. 

The Pony works hard, and then has to find himself something to eat in the evening after not taking a lunch break. Surely he would enjoy some of Val's home-cooked vittles, rather than just a restaurant meal of items he might not like. The menu at the casino was Cajun Turkey, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Green Beans, Corn, Roll, and a tiny cup of cranberry something. The Pony would eat turkey, mashed potatoes, and the roll. 

Nor did I want to rob The Pony of a casino visit, since Hick had already mentioned it. So I decreed a casino trip for Tuesday, The Pony's day off. And our regular Thanksgiving meal on Thursday. I did cut back on a few sides, and bought my desserts at the store.

I'm really happy I made that decision!

The Pony showed up at noon to help me with last-minute stuff like setting the table, baking the Sister Schubert's Rolls, and making the generic Stove-Top Stuffing. He also said he'd set out all the side dishes on the counter so I didn't have to get up.

Not gonna lie. I was seconds away from saying we might just eat off (the good) paper plates this year. Seconds! As a prelude, I said,

"I think I'll just drink my soda out of the can this year, and put it in my cooler cup."

"I'll put ice in the glasses for everybody. Here, I'll get out the fancy plates."

So cheery was the usually droll Pony that I didn't have the heart to go low-rent on the table settings. I was SO HAPPY that I had spent 2 hours preparing The Pony's favorite, deviled eggs, and not subjected him to a casino holiday meal.

Hick poured his bottle of sparkling Wild Cherry water into a glass of ice, The Pony had a can of Coke, and I had my new favorite, Shasta Diet Cola. I didn't subject everybody to a photo of their plate, but here's mine:

The turkey breast turned out to be FABULOUS! I even got the top skin roasted to a golden brown. There's a generous portion on my plate, along with the special deviled egg, the roasted vegetables also loved by The Pony, a couple rolls, and the boxed stuffing. Plus olives, of course. I gotta have olives with turkey. My freshly-poured Shasta is bubbling, and a bowl of 7 Layer Salad awaits my fork. The pack of Pepper Jack cheese in the background was for Hick and The Pony. The Pony makes little sandwiches of his turkey and rolls. In fact, The Pony had a pan of rolls all to himself, and Hick and I shared. We like ours darker on top, while The Pony prefers his almost doughy.

The Pony and Hick had cheesecake for dessert. I waited until later in the evening to have some chocolate cake. Hick carried his own plate to the kitchen counter, and The Pony cleared the rest, scraped them of tiny scraps onto a dog plate, and helped me get things put away.

I had already prepared Chinese Tupperware with deviled eggs and roasted vegetables for The Pony to take home. He gathered some turkey, wrapped up his pan of rolls, and took the pizza-shaped slice of chocolate chip pan cookie that I had bought for him.

The Pony is such a good-hearted fellow, for being one whom testing showed doesn't really care about helping people. No shade to Genius, who remained in Pittsburgh, and made a cornbread casserole and Green Bean Bundles, his own favorite. He and Friend had Thanksgiving dinner last weekend with people they hang out with there.

A much better time was had at our own kitchen table than at a casino. The Pony even showed me a picture of his new furnace filter.


  1. Sounds like you provided a satisfying Thanksgiving dinner for everyone. I, too, was fortunate with my free turkey and got it cooked just right. Very moist and tender (even the white meat, which does not always happen) and everything actually turned out good, to the point, that I even thought it tasted good. I usually have more of a "it's okay" opinion of my cooking of big meals, but this one did taste pretty darn good. Lots of leftovers and the carcass has been simmered to a lovely stock, the bones picked clean, to provide the basis of a good turkey soup, in the future. I do have to say I envy your deviled eggs. My MIL always made them for Thanksgiving but sadly, she is no longer with us, and she is missed for many more reasons than her deviled eggs. Ranee (MN)

    1. Congrats on your excellent turkeywomanship! Now remember how you did it for next year!

      I just had a giant turkey breast. I consulted my estranged BFF Google, who led me astray last year. Forget baking it breast side down for moisture. That didn't work.

      This year I placed it breast side up, after I rinsed, patted dry, and rubbed with vegetable oil. 1 hour at 450, then turned down to 350 for remainder, with a loose foil tent over the top. In total, it baked for 20 minutes per pound. Crispy brown skin, meat still moist.

      The drawback was that Hick had to remove the smoke detector from the kitchen. He couldn't get the battery out, and apparently my cooking is cause for alarm! It was the juices hitting the bottom of the pan at 450 that started smoking.

      I put a bit of water in the bottom of the pan last year, and it didn't smoke, but the meat was not as delicious. I read that using water steams the meat rather than roasting. I suppose a layer of celery might catch the juices and prevent the smoke.

      My deviled eggs were a hit at our school Thanksgiving potlucks. Don't tell anybody, but the secret is adding a bit of dill pickle juice to the filling.

    2. I always have my husband take down the smoke detector in the kitchen as steam from the tea kettle can set it off. Very sensitive and in a not great location considering what goes on in a kitchen on a daily basis. I normally keep a large wooden spoon handy, as it is the only way I can reach and stop the smoke detector from telling me to evacuate the building. I did actually, sort of, utilize a recipe that was in the only magazine that I am still subscribed to. I cheated a bit, but the concept was still the same and had great results. (instead of oil, it said to use butter at room temperature, which is not easy to achieve in our chilly kitchen, mixed with parsley, thyme and rosemary. Not being a fan of rosemary, opted out, but added a wee bit of garlic powder and onion powder. Rubbed all over the turkey, again, not easy despite being dried off as much as possible, so in the end, I nuked the balance of the butter and poured it over the turkey.) Still came out nice and tender and ignored the pop up button that came up after only 3 hours of cooking. Started out at 375 degrees but lowered it to 350 for the last hour and a half and had good results. My husband carves it but this year, he mostly just tore it apart, as it was so tender. Yum. I'm getting hungry just thinking about the leftovers that we will be warming up in a couple of hours. Thanks for the deviled egg tip. Should I ever give it a shot, I will remember this tip. I like my deviled eggs with a bit of zing. Ranee

    3. I tried the butter for a couple years, but the skin would not get crispy and brown. The vegetable oil (or the hour at 450 degrees) did the trick! Garlic powder would be good. Maybe next year. I just sprinkled pepper and salt in the cavity. A kid who works at Country Mart said his mother stuffed the turkey with lemons and spices, and it came out delicious.

      Hick poked the smoke detector with the broom handle, which usually turns if off, but not this time!

      In my deviled egg filling, I use the yolks, dill pickle juice, fresh-ground black pepper, yellow mustard, and a tiny bit of mayo. Sometimes I keep adding mustard for the right kick. It's kind of a dry filling, not too wet. I have to scrape it off the fork to fill the eggs. My family loves the olives on top, but some people pick them off.

    4. Your dinner looks delicious! I used to buy Coles brand "Bake-it-at-home" dinner rolls but haven't been able to find them in years. Probably I'm not looking hard enough...
      My ex-the first used to LOVE devilled eggs, we devilled them with garlic powder, hot chilli powder and a little mayonnaise. But then I had to go the "extra mile" and pipe the filling back into the halves with the swirl fitting on the icing pipe. I haven't made a devilled egg since he drove away in 1993.

    5. Thank you! It was very tasty, as were the leftovers tonight, which we'll be having two more days.

      I don't do anything fancy with my deviled eggs. Hope you're not depriving yourself if you like deviled eggs. But something tells me you don't!

      We love these little rolls. They sell out fast at Walmart around the holidays, but I can usually find them at Country Mart.

  2. I like them if someone else has done the work!

    1. I am a deviled-egg snob, and only like my own creation!

  3. We didn't have deviled eggs at our dinner, but we had plenty of other sides that were delicious. My neice always hosts the event at her house. We all sit outside near the pool where she has three banquet tables set up for us. We had green beans with almonds, brocoli casserole, sweet potatoe casserole, collard greens, dressing, gravy, two fried turkeys, one cajun. I raosted turkey and a spiral cut ham, three kinds of cranberry sauce, my cranberry salad, rolls and pecan pie, chocolate pecan pie, pumkpin pie, Hummingbird cake, my gingerbread pumpkin cake and I am sure I have forgotton some things. Way too much food, in any event! The fried turkey won the best taste. It was perfect.

    1. Ooh! I wish I'd had some broccoli/rice casserole! I've never cared much for sweet potatoes or cranberry sauce or pecan pie. I'd have some hummingbird cake and gingerbread pumpkin cake, though! I'm surprised three banquet tables were enough for that spread!