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Home Cooking 79

Christmas Dinner: in charge of turkey and ham and mashed potato -- but traveling 5 hours to get there, arriving just 2 hours before scheduled dinner time

cookinglisa | Dec 15, 201409:10 PM

Need your suggestions and thoughts please.

My family travels 250 miles (4 hours) to my sister's house for Christmas dinner for 18 - 20 people every year -- and we (my two sisters and I) rotate each year who is in charge of what.

I come 250 miles from S calif to central Calif and my other sister travels about 180 miles from SF area to central Calif. My sister from SF usually arrives the day before, but my family travel the day of Christmas every year because we celebrate Christmas Eve dinner with my husband's side of the family locally.

Traveling 4 hours and arriving just 2 hours ahead of dinner isn't a problem if I am in charge of dessert or appetizers/side dishes . . .but this year, I am in charge of main entree (I've chosen to roast a 17 lb turkey and either roast or crock pot a 10 lb ham),and am also making mashed potatoes and gravy (or potato au gratin) and green salad.

I am planning to Roast the turkey the day before on Christmas Eve: should I fully roast (eg until done) and reheat the next day -- dont want the turkey to be dry-- or slightly undercook the turkey?

I generally like to slow roast my turkey at 275 for about 6 hours rather than doing a faster roasting time at a higher temp of 350. (I assume traveling with cooked turkey and ham in car should be fine with outside temp around 40 F). Once at my sister's, I will put in oven at 275(?) for how long -- one hour?

With the ham, I think I'll slow cook in crock pot at home (have done that before and the ham stays very juicy and not dried out) and then reheat in my sister's oven with my apricot glaze.

With mashed potatoes, planing to boil /steam the potatoes the day before and then bring to my sister and mash them there. Any tips on best way to add liquid (probably will use chicken broth and some milk) to the potatoes without making the potatoes "gluey"? Do I need to heat the potatoes first and add the liquid hot? (have never made mashed potatoes 1 day ahead before, so doing it this way is new to me) . .or should I just make scalloped potatos or potato au gratin instead and reheat the large casserole dish in the oven for an hour before dinner?

Also, I dont know if my sister's oven can hold a whole turkey, ham and potato casserole all at one time. Another thought: Should I carve the turkey and ham first before re--heating? Again, my biggest concern is having the meat be "dried out"

FYI: the other dishes will be: "sticky" rice stuffing, yam casserole, appetizers, 2 desserts, and drinks.

Other considerations to throw in the mix is that I need to do all my prep and cooking by 2 pm Christmas eve . . .as from 3 - 11pm, we will be going to my husband's side of the family for Christmas eve dinner and celebrations (and I'm in charge of the two desserts for that).

On Christmas morning, my immediate family of 6 will be celebrating our own Christmas and having breakfast (another reason why everything for Fresno has to be done ahead of time) -- and then everything will need to be packed and loaded in the van (clothes, food, presents, etc) by 10 am to head to Fresno for our 4 day visit.

We will arrive to my sister's house around 2:30pm and dinner is scheduled 2 hours later, at 4:30pm.

Thanks for your tips and suggestions.

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