Savvy Search Our Blog

Massive Messes to Savvy Successes

• I, Jo, sent my husband to buy beef stew meat for the stroganoff I was preparing for a dinner party that night (mistake #1). I was in such a hurry when he returned that I just threw it into the crock pot without even really looking at it (mistake #2). An hour before everyone was set to arrive, I opened the lid to stir the pot. Something was not quite right. It didn't look right, it didn't smell right, and it didn't taste right! It turns out that my darling husband (DH) picked up pork and not beef. The dish was ruined. I was in a panic! I sent DH down to our favorite restaurant to pick up 5 orders of their famous chicken tortellini. The Savvy Success and lesson learned was: since we were only ordering the main dish (not the side dish, salad, bread, and other fixin's), it turned out to be a budget savvy decision as well as a savvy save. He came home with the tortellini, and I tossed it into a crock pot, and no one was the wiser (I guess you are now, right Heather and Cindy?). It was such a hit, in fact, that I eventually developed my own version of the recipe and serve it at parties several times a year.

TIP FOR YOU, the Savvy Mom: If you find yourself in a pinch, out of a clever dinner plan, or just don't cook, call up your favorite restaurant, have them prepare the needed dish. Let them do the cooking and you take the credit. Also, keep in mind the proportions restaurants serve. Most of the time, you can split one entree between 2 adults; especially if you have other sides. Think about it. How many times have you gone to your favorite place and thought "I should have split this?" Now you can...for your dinner party of 10, order 5 entrées! Make sure to tell them that you want only the entrée and ask if they will give you a discount.

• I, Shelley, made my famous Spiced Turkey for Thanksgiving one year. Not only does this turkey recipe produce a very moist and delicious bird, but because of its secret ingredient, while deglazing the drippings, it produces succulent gravy. What is this secret ingredient? Apple cider. The year my first son was born, I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for my family and 3 other families. As many of you have discovered (or will discover) as the hostess, you are usually last to sit down to eat. This was the first time these guests would taste this recipe. All I could talk about was the amazing gravy that is produced and how they would never forget this dinner. I soon discovered, I was right, but not for the reason I boasted about. All the guests sat down to enjoy the meal, slathered their plates with the famous gravy (turkey, potatoes, stuffing) and dug in. From the kitchen, I yelled, "How is it?" . . . "Great!" "Fantastic!" and "Delicious!" I finished in the kitchen, sat down, made my plate, and poured the gravy. As I take my first bite, I couldn't help but spit it out. I take all the plates away, and ask, "How could you eat this?" What was the fatal mistake? (FYI, I blame mommy brain, as my son was not quite 2 months yet.) I used apple cider vinegar and not apple cider. In a panic I call up my southern sister and this was her tip (and now our tip to you)...

TIP FOR YOU, the Savvy Mom: As Jo explained to me, in the south "we fry our turkeys, so there are no drippin's" (hear her accent?). Jo (and now I) always has a packet of turkey gravy mix on hand (99¢ at Kroger). But don't just follow the directions on the back, use Jo's tip, and no one will know the difference! The packet calls for 1 cup of water. Here is your substitute: cook 1/2 cup of white wine until it reduces to 1/4 cup. Combine the 1/4 cup of reduced wine with 3/4 cup of chicken broth (canned works perfect). Then follow the packet directions. So whether you fry your turkey, ruin your gravy, or have turkey takeout left over from the restaurant (don't laugh, our mom did this our entire life) you will have a succulent gravy, from an envelope.

    1 comment:

    1. Shelly,
      I love your turkey story. What home chef hasn't had a massive failure? Thankfully mine was just for two - my husand and I. I too was saved by a "plan B" only unlike your creative thinking, mine came from the freezer.


    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...