Cook It Forward

Two weeks before . . .

This week’s cooking will be even easier than last week’s. By the end, you’ll have the sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, spinach gratin, and fruit salad added to your freezer. Start by heating the oven to 375° F and placing a tray of 6 turkey wings on the bottom rack of the oven, and the potatoes and sweet potatoes on the top rack for about for 1 – 1-1/2 hours (see recipes below). While those are baking, prepare the Creamed Spinach Gratin and then the Frozen Cranberry Raspberry Salad. When the wings are finished, prepare the gravy and let simmer while preparing the potatoes and sweet potatoes. Finish the gravy, throw everything in the freezer, and you’re done for another week! Here are the recipes you’ll need:

Creamed Spinach Gratin

— 1 clove garlic, halved
— 2 tbsp unsalted butter
— 5 shallots, thinly sliced crosswise
— 5 (10 oz.) bags frozen spinach, thawed
— 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
— 1 cup heavy cream
— 1 cup whole milk
— 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
— 1 tsp kosher salt
— 1/2 tsp black pepper
— 1 tsp ground nutmeg

Rub the sides and bottom of an 8-inch greased baking dish with garlic. In a skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened (approximately 5 – 7 minutes). Set aside. Drain spinach well, squeezing to remove any excess liquid. In a large bowl, combine spinach, cream cheese, heavy cream, milk, Swiss cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and shallots. Transfer gratin to baking dish and freeze.

ON THE DAY BEFORE, move the dish to the refrigerator to thaw. THE DAY OF, bake uncovered at 375° F for about 1 hour, or until lightly golden.

Frozen Cranberry Raspberry Salad

— 1/2 cup boiling water
— 1 (3 oz.) package raspberry gelatin
— 1 (10 oz.) package frozen raspberries (with sugar), thawed
— 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
— 1 cup sour cream
— 1 (16 oz.) can whole berry cranberry sauce
— green lettuce leaves for presentation

Pour boiling water on gelatin in large bowl. Stir in raspberries (with syrup). Mix remaining ingredients. Stir into gelatin mixture. (Mixture may be lumpy.) Pour into a 9 x 13-inch dish or divide into a 12-cup muffin pan (without paper baking cups). Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze up to 2 months.

To serve, cut into squares or remove from muffin pan (with the bottom of the pan dipped in a little hot water) and place frozen on green lettuce leaves.

Turkey Gravy

— 6 turkey wings
— 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
— 1 cup water
— 2 quarts chicken broth, divided
— 1/2 tsp dr ied thyme
— 3/4 cups chopped carrots
— 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
— 2 tbsp butter
— 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°  F. Place a single layer of turkey wings in a large roasting pan. Spread onions on top of the wings. Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until wings are brown. Remove and place in a large pot. Add water to the roasting pan and stir, scraping up the juices on the bottom of the pan. Pour the water from the pan into the pot with the wings and onions. Stir 6 cups broth, carrots, and thyme into the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 1-1/2 hours.

Remove wings. When cooled, pull off the skin and meat. (Meat can be used for lunches or dinners.) Strain the contents of the pot into a 3-quart saucepan. Discard the vegetables
and skim the fat off the liquid. Bring the contents of the pot to a gentle boil. In a medium bowl, whisk flour into the remaining 2 cups chicken broth until smooth. Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the simmering turkey broth. Simmer 3 – 4 minutes or until the gravy has thickened. Pour into containers and freeze. Reheat when ready to serve.

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