How to expend almost no energy but still contribute to Thanksgiving.
If you’re going home for Thanksgiving, your two most important jobs on the big day are 1) resisting the urge to eat anything too filling before dinner (this includes being your mom’s “tester”), and 2) offering to make one of the side dishes.
True, it’s a bummer to have to leave the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for even a moment (those marching bands are the best synchronized entertainment until the next Winter Olympics’ doubles figure skating competition) but as I’m sure you’re aware it’s entirely unacceptable to spend the whole day on the couch while your mom makes the feast. Turkey with stuffing, green bean casserole, chunky mashed potatoes, gravy and pies are enough dishes to make even the most experienced Turkey-Day host have a nervous breakdown.
If you’re averse to missing any of the parade but are too guilty to do nothing, I recommend offering to take responsibility for one of these two sides, or possibly even both.
When my friend first suggested I make Jiffy cornbread, I thought he was referring to a type of cornbread which calls for several heaping scoops of Jiffy peanut butter. I still plan to try this at some point—it sounds like a good culinary experiment for a stoned Sunday afternoon—but for Thanksgiving it’s probably best to serve the Jiffy Cornbread he was referring to: cornbread made from Jiffy Muffin Mix. The reason it’s called Jiffy is because that’s how long it takes to make.
Here’s the best recipe I know of for the stuff. It’s from Food.com (which may or may not have ganked it from the back of the Jiffy box):
2 (8 ounce) boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 (8 ounce) can creamed corn
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
Mix cornbread as directed on package.
Add in corn and cheese.
Bake 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Stuff the cheesy goodness into your face until you’re gasping for air (this is the only proper way to eat cornbread).
While it’s technically easier to make regular candied yams, I recommend making the pineapple variation. It only has one more step, which goes a long way at making the dish even sweeter and more impressive to family members who haven’t yet tried it this way. Think of it as maximizing your effort to pay-off ratio. Once again, the best version goes to Food.com.
3 (15 2/3 ounce) cans yams
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 (10 1/2 ounce) package miniature marshmallows
1 (19 ounce) can chunk pineapple, packed in its own juice
Drain yams and pineapple (save the pineapple juice)
In a pot, add pineapple juice, sugar, and ’10′ marshmallows.
Put yams in a 9×13-inch casserole dish and pour mixture over top.
Top with pineapple chunks.
Put into a 300°F oven for 40 minutes
Top with remaining marshmallows (or amount you prefer).
Put casserole back into oven for 10 minutes to soften and slightly melt marshmallows.
Watch closely because marshmallows puff up quickly and may burn.
(For dessert ideas check out Laziest Thanksgiving Recipes Part One: Lemon Icebox Pie and Donut Hot Chocolate and for what to make the day after see Laziest Thanksgiving Recipes Part 3: The Aftermath)