How I saved Christmas dinner when the oven broke

The holiday season begins with the preparations for Thanksgiving dinner and I typically begin cooking for Thanksgiving dinner the Monday prior.

I love cooking. I love the science of cooking. I love the art of cooking. I love the traditions and memories all wrapped up in the food.

Holiday cooking and baking is the highlight of my year.

So imagine my distress when on Thanksgiving the oven starts having issues. Weird, turning itself off issues. It came back and Thanksgiving dinner was the wonderful feast it always is. And the oven seemed fine for almost a week after Thanksgiving.

And then it just died. It would take the temperature setting and heat up and then die – lose the temperature setting and turn itself off with beeps and error codes.

The repairman was called; the diagnosis was a faulty control board. That would have to be replaced. I was sad to be without an oven for what I thought would be a week. Then two weeks. Then, finally, I get the word that the part will not be available until after Christmas and that once the repairman has the part he will call me to schedule the actual repair.

I was devastated and beside myself. My holiday baking now cancelled. My Christmas dinner in jeopardy, I needed options and I needed them fast.

A quick google search informed me that you can prepare ham in a slow cooker. Ok, the ham is still a go with a couple of modifications. I won’t be able to make the candied sweet potatoes, but I can do something delicious with sweet potatoes on the stove top. Other veggies and wild rice can be prepared on the stovetop as well. The dinner is looking to be saved.

What about the homemade rolls? That might be an issue. It occurred to me that maybe loaf bread would be an adequate replacement for rolls. I read a couple of reviews, logged on to Amazon and in a couple of days I had a brand new bread maker. The first loaf of yeast bread proved that this would be fine.

And now for dessert. Ugh. I normally make at least two pies and often much more. I take requests so everyone gets their favorite pie. Well, no oven, no pie. Now what?

I scan through the recipe book that accompanied the bread maker. Anything for quick breads (like banana bread)? Nothing. Google is my friend, what does the internet say? There are recipes for banana bread in a bread maker. I don’t have any bananas and I don’t really want to make banana bread, but I do want to try gingerbread (I have an award winning recipe). So, I try it. What’s the worst that could happen? It took a little tweaking with the timing and the bread maker setting and I think I need to do all the mixing of the batter myself rather than let the bread maker do it, but it worked. Hooray! It isn’t pie, but it is a homemade dessert for Christmas dinner. And topped with whipped cream it is amazing.

The last thing to salvage is Christmas breakfast. Usually I buy the refrigerated cinnamon rolls and bake those for breakfast Christmas morning. Now I need another plan. This Christmas morning will feature homemade cinnamon raisin bread made the day before in the bread maker. Sliced and toasted and slathered with butter, this will be a fine replacement for cinnamon rolls.

I still do not get to bake the usual six different types of cookies, or any of the pies. There is no baked pineapple to celebrate Winter Solstice. But there will be a warm, homemade, and delicious Christmas dinner in spite of the broke oven. And when the oven is finally repaired we will have a delayed cookies and pies celebration.

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