Hey “Baby Doll,” What’s Cookin’?
Drivewyze User Offers Thanksgiving Dinner Preparation Tips
Earlier this week, we provided you some ideas on making a Thanksgiving meal on the road. While cooking a Thanksgiving meal in an on-highway truck with a sleeper may sound a bit far-fetched, but Cheryl Pollard knows it can be done. Particularly since she’s already done it.
Earlier this month, Cheryl cooked a full Thanksgiving dinner in the 72-inch sleeper of her 2017 Freightliner Cascade for herself and her fiancé – Jeffrey Scales. Cheryl plans to share her holiday dinner preparation tips with listeners of her podcast on the Trucking’ Roundup Show – www.truckinroundup.com when it airs between 7 and 10 p.m. Central Standard Time on Thursday, Dec. 1. Cheryl’s handle on the show is “Baby Doll.”
“This year we knew we weren’t going to be able to be together for Thanksgiving, so I made plans to have our dinner when we spent some time together on the road,” says Cheryl, an owner-operator based out of Ootlewah, Tennessee. Cheryl hauls for Murrey, Kentucky-based Rudolph Freight.
There’s No Shame in Taking Shortcuts
After a few weeks of planning and gathering the ingredients she needed, she made the dinner on Saturday, Nov. 12. At the rest area off of U.S. Interstate 74 near Greensburg, Illinois, Cheryl cooked up a full dinner with turkey, ham, stuffing and semi-homemade relish. Cheryl says the trick to cooking a big Thanksgiving dinner on the road is taking full advantage of shortcuts that grocery store delis can offer. Cheryl says she bought the precooked cornbread stuffing, a fully-cooked boneless ham and a boneless turkey from Wal-Mart.
She used her microwave to heat up the stuffing. She sliced the ham and cooked the ham slices covered with cherries in her NuWave induction cooktop – http://www.nuwavepic.com/. She also sliced the turkey and heated that on the induction cooktop in a separate pan. She layered frozen green beans in a casserole dish, covered them with cream of mushroom soup and heated that up in her microwave. Then covered the casserole with crispy onions. She also heated up fresh yams in the microwave.
Fresh Ingredients Can Liven Things Up
For the cranberry relish, she heated up a can of cranberry sauce on the cooktop the night before and doctored it with the contents of a bag of fresh cranberries. She added equal amounts of sugar and brown sugar to sweeten the fresh cranberries and to help break them down. After reducing the liquid, she cooled the mixture and then placed it overnight in the freezer to allow the gelatin in the sauce from the can to firm up again.
Then on Saturday, she cooked the rest of the dinner and placed the dishes she finished in coolers and insulated bags to keep them warm. For dessert, she bought several pumpkin, pecan and apple mini-pies to give themselves a variety to enjoy.
“For about what it would have cost us per person to have Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant, I was able to put together an entire meal that we could share. Plus, I was able to share some of the food with dock workers, who absolutely loved it. And we still had plenty of leftovers for us to have sandwiches for the next few days,” she says. “It was just like we would have had at home.”
Inverters Are Key For Thanksgiving Dinner DIYers
Cheryl says she plans and cooks most of her meals on the road so that she can save money and know exactly what she’s eating. The important thing to remember in cooking successful meals on the road is planning and having all the right equipment, Cheryl stresses. A good inverter/charger is absolutely essential. Cheryl says she went for the 1,800-watt Xantrex Freedom HF inverter/charger, the biggest and best available on the market.
When you have the right cooking equipment, it’s pretty amazing what you can make on the road, she adds.
“It’s also important not to take on too much,” he advises. “It’s good to be adventurous and try new things. But don’t go hog-wild. The important thing is to only do as much as you think you can handle. And try to use as many short cuts as you can.”