What’s for supper? Vol. 61: Mango Unchained

According to tradition, I didn’t do a food post last Friday, because it was the day after Thanksgiving and you already know the drill.

For the record, here was our menu:

Turkey with stuffing and gravy
Cheesy mashed potatoes
Sweet potatoes stuffed with dates, bleu cheese, and walnuts
Roasted brussels sprouts and butternut squash with a honey balsamic dressing
Hobbit bread
Cranberry walnut bread
Hot rolls (from frozen)
Cranberry sauce
Apple pie, pumpkin pie, salted bourbon pecan pie, and chocolate cream pie with ice cream and fresh whipped cream
Wine and apple cider
Very nice meal, and the house was packed to the gills with family. We began with a prayer:
I wasn’t on the ball enough to send people home with leftovers much, but my father did score a loaf of Hobbit bread, which pleased him:
A few cooking tips from this year:

You can make the gravy ahead of time and keep it warm in the crock pot, but don’t count on the crock pot to heat up cold gravy in a few hours! Heat it up first.

My mezzaluna knife justifies its existence through cranberry bread alone. The mixing bowl from my KitchenAid (it’s narrow and has a handle) and this knife keep the nuts and cranberries from bouncing and rolling all over the place.

Also, I can never get zesters to work, so I zested the orange using the fine side of the cheese grater, and then got the zest off by using a pastry brush. Fine, I couldn’t find my pastry brush, so I used a paint brush.

To make light, supple pie dough, freeze the sticks of butter and then grate them into the flour using a cheese grater. It’s so much easier to lightly incorporate it into the flour mixture this way.

I’ve never made chocolate cream pie before, and I’m not a fan of slopping chocolate pudding into a crust, but this recipe was very different: immensely rich, thick, and wonderful. The stirring part takes some patience, but is worth it.

I can’t find the pics I took of our lovely pies, but my daughter made a very pretty effect. For one, she cut out dozens and dozens of simple leaf shapes and laid them out overlapping in concentric circles, so the pie looked like a chrysanthemum. For another, she used a flower cookie cutter and covered the pie with flowers, leaving a few gaps. For the pecan pie, I left a wide lip with the bottom crust, which she snipped into strips with scissors; then she folded the strips over each other in pairs, so they made little x’s all around the pie, like a basket. Here’s a short video with 20 ideas for pie crust:

Before baking the pies, I brushed the crusts with beaten egg yolks, for extra color and shine, and then sprinkled them with coarse sugar.

People with tiny kitchens and no storage space can always have recourse to the dryer.

I guarantee you, this is more sanitary than the kitchen of a typical four-star restaurant, which yes I have worked in.
My husband, who is usually the Thanksgiving turkey man, had to work part of the day. I hate having to baste the damn thing every half hour when I’m busy running around moaning, “I need another oven! I need another oven!” so I assigned the job to my sons, who are at the perfect age to be . . .
 . . . natural master basters.
As you can see, I cook the turkey breast down for 3/4 of the time, then flip it over and finish cooking it that way. You still get nice, pretty skin, but it’s jucier overall if you let it cook mostly upside down. It does have an “executed frog” look in the oven, though.
I can offer zero “what to do with all that leftover turkey” recipes, because I only bought a 21-pounder, ::shame shame::, so we only had enough leftovers for sandwiches the next day; and then I did what I always do with the meaty carcass: I lost track of it. I think it’s still lurking in the back of the fridge. That’s the smell of Advent in our house: Fresh pine boughs, candles burning gently, and somewhere, somewhere, hidden sheltered in the night, a rancid turkey carcass.
The rest of the week was our normal crazy schedule plus what I can only describe as an extended crisis in my extended family, so we didn’t try anything fancy in the kitchen. I would appreciate any prayers you could spare for resolution! It’s been a very tough year.
Here’s what we had this week:

Aldi pizza

Thank God for Aldi.

Korean beef bowl, rice, chopped salad

Korean beef bowl from Damn Delicious is such a reliably yummy recipe, and so simple.

Aldi had these chopped salad kits on sale for 75 cents, so I bought three. It had a bag with various chopped-up greens and cabbage, and separate packets of some kind of zesty citrus dressing, plus crunchy noodles and maybe almonds, I forget.


Very flavorful, and a nice change from the usual broccoli or string beans that I usually make for a side with this dish.

Pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, frozen french fries

Once again, the crock pots are worth the purchase price and counter space just for pulled pork alone. Chuck it in the pot with a can of beer and some salt and pepper and garlic powder, and just walk away.


I made about 4.5 pounds of pork in two crock pots, and let the kids add BBQ sauce if they wanted.

My cole slaw recipe is here.

HAM NITE!!!!!!! Also mashed potatoes (we ate ten pounds of potatoes without batting an eye), spinach AND peas

You know what makes an easy meal even easier? Slice up the cooked ham before you heat it up.


It warms up faster and you can just throw ham at people without them hounding you while you slice it. And then they go ahead and make Food Santa anyway.


His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow.
It’s made from a slab of ham fat, you know.

Giant pancake! Sausages, and mangoes.

To cut up mangoes! Here is how you do it: Make your best guess which way the pit is situated, and cut off the “cheeks,” getting as close to the pit as you can. Then take a glass or a metal cup with a thin edge, and use it to scoop the flesh out of the skin, rather than trying to get the skin off the flesh. Then you can trim the skin away from the rest and use a paring knife to cut the rest of the flesh off the pit. You get much more intact fruit this way.

Giant pancake is not something I’m proud of, but it’s an okay  meal in a pinch. Mix up one full box of pancake mix. Dump it into a greased pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes or so. You can add whatever you want: cut-up apples, raisins, chocolate chips, honey, cinnamon, etc. You could even stir in some jam, or maybe even sausage bits. Cut into wedges and call it a meal.

Chicken burgers, chips, carrots and hummus

Every time I make chicken burgers, I remember when I used to remove the breading from chicken burgers because I didn’t need the extra calories. Well, now I do. Winter is coming. It is nature’s way. I need chips, too.

Ravioli and salad

I intend to boil the ravioli in a big pot of water. Bon appwhatever to you.







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12 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 61: Mango Unchained”

  1. Cut mangoes like they do in Africa! First part like you said, then take knife & cut through flesh, but not skin, in first vierical, then horizontal lines to make a grid pattern, then push up the back of the skin so that the flesh comes out. You can then eat it off the skin, or cut it off the skin with a knife

  2. A delayed thank you: Some time ago, I read your advice about cooking meatballs in the oven instead of browning them in a pan. I can’t thank you enough because my family loves meatballs but I always dreaded putting them on the menu because it meant getting up at dawn and putting raw meat in sauce to cook all day long (and hoping they really were cooked enough) or standing at the oven for hours before adding to the sauce. Thank you!!

  3. We didn’t do much to our turkey, just cooked it in the oven however Butterball’s website said to (I think husband said he just rubbed it with oil and stuck it in and that was pretty much that). It turned out great, just like Butterball said it would. The turkey breast and ham that we did in the smoker were also excellent. Had all the other usual stuff: cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato souffle, crescent rolls, green bean casserole, pretzel salad (it says salad right in the name so you can eat it with dinner. Pretzel crust, layer of cream cheese/cool whip/sugar topping [only legit use of cool whip], layer of strawberries/jello or mandarin oranges/jello. So good.), pecan and pumpkin pies. Had our Kenyan assistant pastor over. We learned that they don’t eat turkey in Kenya, but sometimes eat peacock. He learned that if you go to one parishoner’s house at noon and another’s at 5 on Thanksgiving, you will eat all the same food both times. We would have taken this for granted, but he was surprised when he recounted it to us the next day.
    Friday we had spinach quiche, thanks to my sil.
    Sat. was pizza at my aunt’s house.
    Sun: Thanksgiving leftovers.
    Mon: taco casserole.
    Tues: ham and bean soup from the Thanksgiving ham bone. Also lemon pecan muffins.
    Wed: leftover soup and casserole.
    Thurs: gee, it wasn’t that long ago, but I can’t remember what I made except for the triumph of my week, which was roasting broccoli in the oven and everyone suddenly liked broccoli. The twins were super-excited to eat trees and shoveled in more than anyone.

  4. My husband loves chocolate pie, but I do not love custard pies. So I made it like this: shortbread pie crust (essentially shortbread cookie) from Joy of Cooking. Then I filled it with chocolate ganache: hot cream poured over chopped chocolate, then stirred together to make a very thick, smooth, chocolate, uh, filling. I think I used 12 oz of bittersweet and 1.5 cups of cream. Served with whipped cream. It was easy and crazy yum.

  5. Thanksgiving: Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, applesauce, macaroni, corn, carrots, apple pie, cinnamon cake, mini cupcakes, grocery store cookies, homemade kolaches
    Friday: Leftovers
    Saturday: Went out to Portillo’s with family
    Sunday: More leftovers
    Monday: Even more leftovers
    Tuesday: Orange chicken, egg noodles, broccoli, rice
    Wednesday: Kirkland frozen pizza, fries. The particular pizza we cooked on Wednesday didn’t have any sauce on it. We are looking into other brands.
    Thursday: Tortelloni

  6. I cook my turkey in one of those bags. No need to baste. Normally, I have about 20 or so for Thanksgiving, and that’s what I had bought for. But we ended up only having 10 for dinner but I prepared all the food I’d bought anyway – that meant I cooked both a turkey and a breast so we had a fair amount leftover. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, we had the onset of some horrible stomach virus. Anyone healthy enough to eat after Saturday had leftovers. When I finally felt well enough to eat, for some reason I wanted beef so I made a roast beef, but with so many people still sick, the roast beef lasted 3 nights – 2nd night was hot roast beef sandwiches on kaiser rolls, 3rd night cold roast beef, cheddar and tomato sandwiches on whole wheat or rye. And here we are, it’s already Friday. I think I only have one or two kids home tonight so I’ll probably serve them mac and cheese. I’m having a cheesecake craving so I may call that my dinner. 🙂

  7. For next year’s turkey–don’t baste. Opening the oven every 30 minutes just reduces the oven temperature and the turkey takes longer. We started using oven bags to cook our turkeys (and hams) and haven’t looked back. Does the skin get crispy? No, but I don’t have to baste, EVER, and the white meat is so NOT dry that is is well worth it.

    This year we learned the oven in our new rental must be colder than our old oven, because it took our puny 15 pound turkey nearly twice what the box said it would take. Hmph. We also had our secret family recipe stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli slaw (Smitten Kitchen), homemade cranberry sauce, corn because my teenager insists it’s a vegetable, crescent rolls, and pies: one pumpkin and one chocolate.

    Then we all went into mini comas until it was time to eat leftovers the next day. And now I’m planning St Nicholas Day dinner, which will probably be a festive version of HAM NITE! and a chocolate cake, per my husband’s request. And the next week is a birthday, and then it’s Christmas, and then Epiphany…I may need to go lay down with a cold cloth on my head.

    1. Funny you should mention the browning (or lack thereof) in the bag. Normally, we don’t eat the skin and since we slice the turkey and put it on a platter before serving I’ve never paid much attention to whether or not the skin was browning. This year, I was (more or less) doing Atkins and was planning on eating some skin. I did what I always do – I softened a stick of butter and took a paper towel and rubbed butter all over the turkey and hoped the bird would brown. It absolutely did! And I wolfed down nice crispy turkey skin while my husband was carving. I don’t know if I was just lucky or if it was something I did.

      1. Same thing here! Deliciously crispy skin! I dry brined mine. Shoved butter under the skin in several spots, and tied it up in an oven bag. It was the best turkey I have ever cooked, and I think I make pretty good turkeys! Moist meat,crispy skin, and it fell off the bone. I cannot wait to do it again!

  8. Get a microplane zester — the best zester ever. It does a good job of getting just the peel, not the pith, most of it falls off the blade by itself, and you can get the rest off by just rapping it lightly on the edge of the bowl/pot. Plus it works well for parmesan, nutmeg, and ginger. https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=microplane+zester+premium&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=61713900444&hvpos=1t1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=15613541419267334567&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9004424&hvtargid=kwd-23271522808&ref=pd_sl_4ywwisi91t_b

    Mr. Beadgirl grills the turkey every year, even in snow, so that solves our not-enough-oven-space issue. Plus the turkey acquires a lovely smoky flavor.

  9. I was cooking only for myself, husband, and one friend (toddler had a quesadilla for Thanksgiving, so festive!) so I only did a turkey breast instead of a full turkey. There was still enough leftover that I was able to use some in Friday’s meal, which was a very good turkey and leek spaghetti from Food and Wine. Simple, too.
    Saturday: I think we just had a frozen pizza for dinner?
    Sunday: Mac and cheese using leftover dark green part of leeks sauteed, with bacon and mushrooms. It was so good!
    Monday: Something with smoked sausage that I can’t quite remember now.
    Tuesday: chicken in an herbed mushroom sauce over penne pasta.
    Wednesday: Chicken tinga tostadas, side of corn (I was very proud I actually got a veggie on the table)
    Thursday:cooked up breakfast sausage,mushrooms, and garlic in some olive oil and white wine with salt and red pepper, put in two small square dishes and cracked two eggs on top per dish, baked 8 minutes, added provolone, baked 5 more minutes. Quite good.
    Friday: tostadas with refried beans, melted cheese, salsa, sour cream.

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