Update: 2021 — I can’t believe I did all this back in 2010. These days I make one or two things and leave the other items for people to bring. We’ve even ordered the turkey on occasion. Maybe this will be inspiration for the upcoming holiday. I just don’t get that excited about making turkey anymore :(. Still love making pies and breads, though!!
Old Thanksgiving Dish Rundown Post
Our Thanksgiving was the best yet, despite the fact we returned from vacation the night before. As usual, I cooked the whole meal, but this year I enjoyed it more than ever and had fun with the logistics of getting everything to the table hot.
When planning, I looked back on some of the Thanksgiving dishes from last year for inspiration. While the menu remained the same, some of the recipes changed and I’m posting them here for when I look back next year.
First off, the turkey. I’ve made all kinds of turkeys, the best one being Alton Brown’s. But this year I didn’t have time to brine and decided to go with a plain old 6 pound turkey breast which I rubbed with poultry seasoning and butter. It was delicious and I hardly did anything to it. For the gravy, I cheated and used the gravy packet that came with the turkey, then added vegetable broth and a whole lot of other spices. It was the easiest gravy I’ve ever made and everyone liked it.
Cranberry sauce was 12 oz of cranberries cooked in 1 cup orange juice mixed with 1 cup of sugar. I like the idea of cranberry sauce and make it for the table, but only one person ate any. Now I have a couple of cups of leftover cranberry sauce I need to use.
The sweet potato casserole was good too, but like the cranberry sauce, only my mom eats it. Usually I make Cooking Light’s Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole, but this year I tried a recipe which had marshmallows and cornflakes on top. While my mom likes the Cooking Light recipe, I think she liked this marshmallow topped version better.
This was the first Thanksgiving in our new house and I now that I have a double-oven, I don’t have to make stuffing in the slow cooker. Not that we didn’t like the slow cooker stuffing, but this stuffing recipe was even better. I left out the sausage and added pecans. Do you add sausage to your stuffing? I’d never heard of people doing that until I was an adult.
Mashed potatoes were make-ahead mashed potatoes. This recipe is such a lifesaver.
And for some extra bulk, we had hot rolls, steamed corn and steamed green beans.
I wish I’d made more desserts so we’d have more leftovers, but who knows — I may feel like baking something again. I’ve been known to do that. But for yesterday, we had we had Best Ever Pecan Pie and Mom’s Chocolate Cake from Food & Wine.
This one is actually an after Thanksgiving dish. I used the leftover turkey in turkey poblano soup and will post that recipe next. I think I liked the soup almost as much as the turkey!
Traci, thanks!! I’ll try it next year.
If you haven’t already, you should try this scrumptious sweet potato recipe that I do every year. It’s called Mama Lane’s Sweet Potato Pudding (it’s nothing like pudding) and you can find the recipe on http://www.foodnetwork.com. I gave the recipe to my MIL years ago and now the family requests it for every family dinner all year long. It is very sweet so the kids like it too. One recipe is made in a bread pan so it’s a different pan then you might normally be using. It takes 1 1/2 hours to bake though, but it’s at 350 like lots of other things and the bread pan is small. Hope you try it.
If you ate your sweet potatoes, you would not need the extra bulk of hot rolls, steamed corn and steamed green beans. 🙂 Hot rolls are one of the “token” foods that appear at our holiday table that no one eats because they are gobbling up the stuffing and sweet potatoes. We love “real” mashed potatoes but don’t usually include them with the holiday food, probably because we occasionally have Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Filling. Similar to http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pennsylvania-dutch-potato-and-bread-filling-recipe/index.html except don’t add milk to the bread. Saute the bread cubes in butter, then add to potato mixture. And there’s a special seasoning called Bell’s that’s used instead of poultry seasoning. I’ve made Paula Deen’s Mashed Baked http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/mashed-baked-recipe/index.html My brother-in-law always insisted on Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage, but my recipe uses a whole pound for the quantity of stuffing compared to your AllRecipes one. We generally have two stuffings. I’ve made this Spinach & Artichoke Bread Pudding several times and it’s always a hit. It makes a lot so I make a half recipe and have used brie, gruyere, or even mozzarella. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/savory-spinach-and-artichoke-bread-pudding-recipe/index.html We love homemade Cranberry Sauce and I generally make two bags, just so there’s leftover. I’ve gotten away from the recipes that have apples, etc. as it seems like there is too much going on. We love this Baked Cranberry Sauce http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bbq-with-bobby-flay/baked-cranberry-sauce-recipe/index.html but I cut the sugar to half of what’s called for and about 2 T. bourbon. Oh, and we always have brussel sprouts. These are great, but so are roasted ones with bacon & pecans. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-brussels-sprouts-recipe2/index.html And we also have to have Cream of Squash Soup.
I could go on and on. I love these holiday foods and start making variations of them in mid-November and continue probably until the end of February.
Yeah, we hardly ever eat mashed potatoes either. It’s funny how everyone has their “thing” that they must have at Thanksgiving!
I also meant to mention how nice your piping looked on your Mom’s cake. Decorative touches are not something I excel at. Yours doesn’t belong on Cake Wrecks!!
Wish I could have had a slice of your pecan pie. I always want that and always give in to other people’s wishes. I might have to figure out a mini version just for me. 🙂
Anna- looks great! Check out Sunset’s recipe for cranberry thumbprints for your leftover sauce, that’s what I plan to do.
Carrie, thanks! I’m trying to make my own muffins right at this very moment.
Sue, with so much other food on the table I don’t think anyone noticed the mashed potatoes were the make-ahead kind. Then again, we hardly ever eat mashed potatoes so we’re not that picky about them. We usually eat baked potatoes.
Katrina, every time I try to decorate a cake I think about how my work belongs on Cake Wrecks. Still, I try…
Oh and very nice piping job on that cake. I so stink at writing with icing.
My husband made Alton Brown’s turkey last year, but I think it was underdone. (That’s husband error, not Alton.)
Food Network has on their site (I get the magazine, so it’s there, too), 50 different stuffing recipes. I don’t like sausage, but made one last year and this year that had bacon and jalapeno and used cornbread and regular bread. I really liked it. It’s also cheesy. I knew my FIL would be making his usual traditional stuffing which I don’t care for, so I like finding different recipes. My husband would love the sausage though.
My favorite part of T-day dinner is the sweet potatoes. I like the streusel topped ones best.
Nice round up. I think we had at least 25 pies for our group of 60 yesterday! My favorite thing there was someone’s cheesecake with a layer of plain cheesecake, then pumpkin cheesecake and topped with caramel. It was de-lish!
I saw a muffin recipe on Serious Eats the other day that used leftover cranberry sauce…might be worth checking out. (I can’t dig up the link right now but it should be easy to find on their site.)
I made Alton Brown’s turkey this year! I hadn’t made it before and I’m glad I finally tried it. It’s very moist and not difficult to make. I did have a lot of smoking from those first 30 min. at 500 degrees.
My family really likes this recipe too: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/maple-glazed-turkey-cornbread-stuffing-bourbon-gravy.aspx It has better flavor than Alton’s recipe but it isn’t as moist. The Wild Rice & Cornbread stuffing with cranberries is the only stuffing I’ve ever had that I like. I’m just not a soggy bread kind of girl. 🙂
The one year I tried make ahead mashed potatoes my family balked a little. They like traditional mashed potatoes, but I think next year, or maybe even for Christmas this year I may spring them on them again. There’s so much to do that anything you can make ahead is a bonus! And, the comments suggest you can reheat them in the crock pot! Bonus!
Corinne, that stuffing looks great! I usually make my stuffing with big chunks of sourdough or crusty bread too, but this year I wanted to try the kind that started with biscuits. The one with the biscuits was softer and more like my grandmother’s, but I actually like stuffing with big chunks in it a little better. I may have to try Jenny’s next year. I’d leave out the sausage, though.
I’d never had stuffing with sausage until I made it yesterday, using this recipe: http://picky-palate.com/2010/11/11/the-best-stuffing-ever-sourdough-cornbread-and-sausage-stuffing/
It was great, even though for no good reason I cut the bread in really massive cubes.