Holidays are a big deal to me. I love all the chaos of cooking a huge Thanksgiving dinner. I string lights on my house in early October (who wants to stand on a ladder on the ice in December?), and I put the Christmas tree up in early November (obviously the cats need time to get used to it, right). I always want to go all out!
I had a vague notion spending the holidays in the RV, but didn’t think about it much beyond tossing a few strands of lights behind the overhead bunk mattress when my husband was looking.
A few days before Thanksgiving I took stock of my very, very, very small kitchen. The max height on my oven is roughly four inches. Obviously I wasn’t going to cook a huge turkey like years past. Nor did I have space for 6 or 7 sides, at least half a dozen appetizers, and a few desserts.
And then there was cookware. A very, very, very small kitchen comes with a very, very, very small amount of storage. I have a medium saucepan, a medium stock pot, a 3 qt dutch oven, a medium frying pan, an 8″x8″ square pan, and a small cookie sheet. I have one mixing bowl, and it is practically microscopic. I needed a plan. It had to be simple. And most of all, it had to involve my Instant Pot (two minutes ago is the first time I looked at their website…holy cow, recipes galore!), because the 4″ tall oven can’t fit everything.
The menu was simple: a turkey breast, mashed potatoes and gravy (my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal!), stuffing, green bean casserole (I swear my husband would die if that wasn’t on the table), and rolls. I chose easy and remade where I could. Gravy from a jar (sacrilege, I know, and I wanted to cry), Stove Top Stuffing (say what you will, but the Savory Herb style is like crack!), and rolls and pie from the grocery store bakery. I used the standard cream of mushroom soup and french fried onions recipe for the green bean casserole. Every year we are required to have it, and every year, I have to toss the leftovers.
All I had left was the mashed potatoes and the turkey breast. There would be no compromise on either of those. For one thing, potatoes are the most wonderful food, and should never come in a box marked instant. Just no. We can’t be friends if you like instant mashed potatoes. And the turkey – the star of the show. How was I going to cook the turkey?
Thanksgiving morning dawned bight and early, and…who am I kidding? No giant bird to cook, no appetizers, just 3 sides? I didn’t have to get up early at all. Instead I crawled out of bed around 7:30, enjoyed a leisurely hour drinking coffee, and joined my husband on a 3.1 mile walk to earn our Thanksgiving Apple Watch activity badge.
Finally it was time to cook. I peeled 4 medium potatoes instead of 10 pounds. Crazy, right? I cooked them in the Instant Pot, which I’ve done a couple of times before, and then mashed them and added the good stuff…cream cheese, tons of butter, milk since I forgot heavy cream. It was so much harder to whip them with a silicone spoon thingy than a potato masher. I wish I would have packed that. I put them into a foil pan from the dollar store with plans to reheat them in the oven when I cooked the green bean casserole.
I found a recipe on Pinterest for an Instant Pot turkey breast from Earth Mama’s World. I have to admit to be a little nervous. We only cook turkey in the oven or on our Traeger. Plus I’m a little scared of my Instant Pot still. I’m not ashamed (ok, maybe a little) to admit that I put an oven mitt all the way to my elbow, grab the longest spoon I have, and stand as far away as possible to release pressure by moving the little knobby thing with the spoon. It turned out amazing!
We ate until even my old, stretched out legging were uncomfortably tight. Totally okay since I walked a 5K earlier, right?
I accidentally had pie for breakfast the next morning. Oops!