Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sharing our Thanksgiving Dinner menus

Emily's menu:

We'll be hosting 7 international students in our little home here in Northern Indiana.  All three children (20 year-old son, 18 year-old daughter, and of course our 13 year-old daughter) will be here too, yay!  So that's 12 of us total.  Should be fun!
  • Roast Turkey w/ Homemade Gravy (HINT: use Reynolds Oven Bags for better-tasting turkey and shorter cooking time)
  • Smithfield "Spiral" Ham
  • Traditional Bread Stuffing (I might have to try Laura's version, below)
  • Mashed Potatoes (HINT: make in the morning and keep warm in a crockpot)
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes (recipe below)
  • Green Bean Casserole (Yup.  Beans + cream-of-mushroom-soup + french fried onions.)
  • Heavenly Carrots (recipe below)
  • Sr. Schubert’s Parker House Rolls (as good as homemade and um, much easier!)
  • Cranberry sauce (from a can...)
  • Pumpkin pie with Whipped Cream (I always use the recipe on the Libby's can of pumpkin)
  • Pecan pie with Whipped Cream (Pioneer Woman's recipe is really really good.)
  • Apple pie with Vanilla Ice Crea
  • Coffee, Tea, Apple Cider, Sparkling Water
(Oh, at this point in my life I use boughten pie crusts.  I'll get back to crusts-from-scratch some day, but not now.  Just keepin' it real.)

Heavenly Carrots (a family favorite)
Click here for Printable
  • 4 c thinly sliced and cooked carrots (I usually steam them for about 8 minutes)
  • 1 ½ c plain or herb croutons
  • 1 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ c half & half
  • ¼ c butter, melted & slightly cooled
  • 1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
While the carrots are steaming/cooking, mix all the remaining ingredients together well in a large bowl.  Add the cooked carrots and stir together well.  Pour into a casserole dish and bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes or so, until the mixture is set (you want to make sure the egg is cooked through) and the top is bubbly & lightly browned.  Yum!!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Click here for Printable
  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 2 T unsalted butter (I never have this so I use regular and cut back on the salt)
  • ½ tsp orange zest
  • ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Roast sweet potatoes until soft (about 30 minutes in 350 oven or however long it takes for them to get nice and soft).  Let sweet potatoes cool slightly, remove skins and mash the sweet potatoes in a bowl.

Put the rest of the ingredients (except for black pepper) into a small saucepan and heat just to boiling.  Remove from heat and add the mixture to the mashed sweet potatoes.  Stir together well.  Add freshly ground black pepper, to taste.  Serve immediately.

This is a nice alternative to the super-sweet sweet potato casseroles that often get served at holiday meals.

Natalie & Laura's menu:

Not much to add here... we are going pretty traditional. We will be sharing our Thanksgiving meal (two families makes 10 people!) together this year in Natalie's cozy little house. We plan to round out our early afternoon of eating with a rousing game of RISK (for the boys) and snuggling the preschooler and baby (for the girls) or a LOUD game of Catch Phrase... finishing off with turkey sandwiches later in the evening if we are hungry again! (family tradition) As always in our house, there will be an everflowing pot of Hot Apple Cider available...
  • Roast Turkey with Homemade Gravy (Laura makes THE BEST gravy!)
  • Laura's Stuffing (recipe below)
  • Mashed Red Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes with Crispy Bacon (trying this recipe for the first time)
  • Broccoli with Almonds
  • Heavenly Carrots (recipe above)
  • Homemade "3-Bumped Rolls" (what our family calls Cloverleaf-style dinner rolls)
  • Homemade Applesauce (sprinkled with cinnamon)
  • Hot Apple Cider (recipe below)
  • Various Celebratory Beverages both for adults and young people
  • Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream
  • Berry Pie with Whipped Cream
Excited to use quite a bit from our garden, canning and the Bountiful Basket this year!!! Very little actual grocery shopping had to be done... And the best part--our turkey was FREE! Whoo hoo!!!

Laura's Stuffing, or The Yummiest Stuffing Ever
Click here for Printable
  • 1/2 bulk pork sausage, Italian or sage, whichever you like
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • a few stalks celery, chopped (I like to add in the leafy ends, too)
  • 8-10 mushrooms, chopped, if your family likes them
  • dried herbs -- sage, rosemary and thyme, to taste
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups, give or take, of sourdough bread, cut into chunky cubes, about 1"
  • 2 cups of chicken stock (for best results, use homemade stock; see below)
  • about 1 cup roasted chestnuts, chopped (or another kind of nuts)
Prepare bread, place in large bowl, set aside.  Brown the sausage with the onions, celery (and optional mushrooms) until meat is cooked and veggies are soft.  Stir in seasonings.  Dump the meat mixture into the bowl with the cut up bread, stir.  Pour in stock until bread is evenly moistened.  You may or may not use all of the stock, you may even need more.  Just play it by ear; it's not an exact science. =)  Stir in nuts of your choice; whatever nuts you like.  Chestnuts are really, really yummy in this recipe. [Read here about how to roast chestnuts.]  Whatever nuts you choose -- pecans, almonds, walnuts -- make sure they're roasted.  Now dump everything into a large casserole dish, that's been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Put in a 350 oven for about 20-30 minutes, until the stuffing is all toasty brown and crusty.

Hot Apple Cider
Click here for Printable
  • 1 apple
  • 2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 gallon apple cider (choose a local or seasonal brand, not the in-store stuff that is available all year)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
Stud the apple with the cloves. Dump everything into your crockpot and let it simmer all morning... when it's hot and steamy, ladle into mugs and enjoy!  

What to do with your Turkey when you are done with it.

Make stock.  Put the turkey carcass and any other leftover bits in a large pot and cover with water. Roughly cut some onions, carrots, celery (with skins and ends) and add to the pot along with some dried sage, rosemary and thyme and bring to boil.  Let it simmer for a good long while -- maybe 30 minutes to an hour; until the veggies are soft.  Pour the stock through a strainer and discard the solids.  Store stock in the fridge for use in the next few days or put it in freezer containers for later.

No comments: