A million years ago, in my other life, The Dead End Guy and I had already broken up, but we were still living together.
My parents had moved to California. My brother was spending Thanksgiving with his then girlfriend/now wife. She was really sick and he ended up having pizza for Thanksgiving dinner. Festive!
I got strong-armed into going to Dead End Guy's parent's house for Thanksgiving.
Be patient, I am getting to the funny part.
No one knew we had broken up.
Including his parents.
So I got to sit there and pretend that I wasn't filled with rage and desperately fighting the urge to run out the front door screaming.
It was bitter cold and I worked for an asshole, so I had to work the following day. I got the high honor of sleeping on the fold out couch in the UNHEATED family room.
The next morning, in the bitter cold of the house, I got ready for work. I crept out of the house as quietly as possible because it was well before dawn and everyone else in the world had the day off. I walked down the slightly snowy, slippery hill to the trolley stop and froze while I waited for the
trolley into Pittsburgh.
I was the only person in the office. There were two phone calls. One from my asshole boss to make sure I actually came into work. One from my brother to check on me.
I watched Christmas movies and specials on VHS and took a nap.
It was most definitely NOT a happy Thanksgiving.
For obvious reasons, the following year I made other plans.
I drove with my kitten, Ruby Tuesday, to my Mom away from Mom. My Aunt Maureen was my safe haven that Thanksgiving.
My cousin Denise (Maureen's middle child and second daughter) has very definite opinions about what is served with Thanksgiving. Rolls, good soft dinner rolls, are NOT optional. If you don't have dinner rolls you are phoning in your Thanksgiving feast. Period.
I never realized it, but she is right.
To that end, I have been trying for years to find the right recipe.
Big Batch Quick Dinner Rolls
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 cups warm milk (100-110° F)
3 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
2 1/2 Tablespoons yeast, instant preferred
6 to 7 cups flour
1) Combine the water, milk, butter, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir well and let sit for 6 to 8 minutes, or until you see the yeast begin to foam.
2) Add 5 cups of flour and mix by hand or with the paddle attachment until the dough forms a rough, shaggy mass. The dough will not form a ball at this point, but will be just shy of coming together.
3) Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time and blend with the dough hook until a smooth ball begins to form. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes, or by machine for 4 to 5 minutes until a soft, smooth ball of dough is formed. The dough should feel elastic and slightly tacky to the touch.
4) Lightly spray your work bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Spritz the top of the dough with spray as well and cover lightly with plastic wrap or a shower cap. Let rise for 20 minutes at room temperature or until the dough is full and puffy.
5) Gently deflate the dough and pat out to a rough rectangle about 8 inches by 12 inches. Cut the dough into 4 long strips, then cut each strip into 6 portions for a total of 24 dough balls. Shape into round balls as you would shape meatballs, using your cupped hands to roll the dough. Spritz your hands with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
6) You can place the rolls into any of the following pans, well greased or lined with parchment paper: One half-sheet baking pan or 2 quarter-sheet pans. Two 13" x 9" x 2" pans. Four 8" or 9" round baking pans OR a combination of any of these pans.
7) After the rolls are in the pans, cover again with your plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until well rounded and full looking. If you are baking now, preheat the oven to 350°F.
8) Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and an internal thermometer reads 190°F. You can brush the baked rolls with melted butter if desired. Serve warm, store leftovers in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.
9) If you want to freeze the unbaked buns, place in the pans as described in step 6 and allow to rise for 10 minutes. Wrap airtight and freeze for up to 4 weeks. To bake, thaw overnight in the fridge, then unwrap and bake as directed.
P.S. If you are feeling like the old squash recipe is a little blah...please check this one out. It is completely different and soooooo amazing. Adding it to our menu this year for sure!