Thanksgiving is tomorrow. As usual that means lots of turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, biscuits or corn bread, gravy, sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie. In my house it also means tons of yucca, plantains, black beans and rice and flan.
Whew, did I miss anything? Oh yeah — football.
How does football fit into Thanksgiving? Uh — how doesn’t it?
Seriously, think back to nearly every family gathering you’ve had for Thanksgiving and I’m willing to bet you’ll remember that one relative who rushed through the meal just to get back to the TV for football.
Heck, I bet there are some of you who pull out TV trays to sit right in front of your 70-inch flat screen and cheer on that touchdown by waving a turkey leg high above your head.
Guilty as charged minus the 70-inch flat screen. (Santa, you listening?)
Honestly, I’ve been around for five decades now. And as far back as I can recall every Thanksgiving there’s been a game featuring the Dallas Cowboys or the Detroit Lions or both. This year is no exception. We even get a third game. Football all day long!
Tomorrow, the Lions play the Minnesota Vikings in Detroit at 12:30 p.m. That game is followed up by all-time favorite Cowboys (Suck it up haters. You’re just mad because they’re winning this year. They’ve been my team since the 1970s.). They are hosting lifelong rival Washington Redskins at 4:30. The evening entertainment continues at 8:30 when the Indianapolis Colts host the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Such great games!
So how do we balance a family Thanksgiving get-together with some football tail-gating? Deep fried turkey, stuffing and mashed potato balls, that’s how!
It is an entire Thanksgiving meal rolled into a meatball, deep fried and served with cranberry sauce or gravy. It’s tailgating 101 meets turkey day.
The recipe comes from my favorite TV show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives."
I saw it, I craved it, I made it, I ate it, all of it!!
I gave it a try last year and they’re on my menu again.
The gist of it is this.
Take some of your roasted turkey and dice it into pieces. Mix the turkey with some stuffing and mash potatoes.
The recipe uses the food you already made for Thanksgiving. Sneak into the kitchen and get them made while the non-football watchers are still gossiping about you, and how you watch football instead of sitting with them.
Once mixed well, form those into bite sized meat-balls.
Make a simple batter: mixing ¾ cups of all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon of black pepper and ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and a bottle or can of beer. Whisk the dry ingredients as you slowly pour in the beer and keep whisking until smooth.
Roll the turkey balls in some of the dry all-purpose flour then coat them in the beer batter, making sure the batter covers the meatball.
Drop those babies in a deep-fryer until they are golden brown. They are ready to be served.
Top them with the cranberry sauce or dip them in gravy.
You can get as creative as you wish with it. For example the recipe on TV used cheesy mash potatoes. You may add your favorite spices.
And while you have the beer batter and deep fryer going here is another thing to deep fry using the same batter mix (although make sure it’s a separate bowl from the one you dunked the meat balls in).
Take Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, or bite size Snickers bar or even Twinkies and place them in the freezer the night before.
Get the deep-fryer ready, take the candy out and poke it with a bamboo skewer. Dip into the batter and coat evenly. Then deep fry until golden brown.
Blissful dessert touchdown of joy in each bite.
Speaking of touchdowns I say the Vikings, Cowboys and Steelers will win on Thanksgiving. Who do you pick?
If you plan to travel for the holidays, I wish you safe travels. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.