Thanksgiving Dinner: A Sneak Peak of My Menu

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It’s finally Turkey Time!

I’m sure many of you who are hosting Thanksgiving this year are busy at work preparing the final menu, running to the grocery store and finalizing the home decor.

Because I am hosting Thanksgiving this year, similar to the past few years, I have been hard at work placing the finishing touches on my Thanksgiving menu. I always try to make each year better than the last! I can’t wait to jump out of bed tomorrow to start the inevitable day of cooking!

Welcome to my Thanksgiving table…pull up a seat and enjoy!

Turkey

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut plastic wrapping around the turkey. Remove the neck and package of gizzards from inside the turkey; set aside for turkey stock.
  3. Wash the turkey thoroughly inside and out with cold water.
  4. Place the turkey on a cutting board with the legs up — If your turkey has a pop-up thermometer, it should be on top. Bend the two wings back under the rear of the turkey.
  5. If you want to use fresh herbs such as thyme or sage, push your hands underneath the turkey skin to loosen. Place herbs under the skin prior to cooking for added flavor.
  6. Spray roasting pan and rack with cooking spray before putting the turkey on the pan.
  7. Cover the entire surface of the turkey with butter or olive oil, salt and pepper. Then cover with aluminum foil, making an airtight seam.
  8. Cook the turkey for 3 hours before checking the temperature of the meat. Baste the turkey with butter or olive oil throughout the entire cooking time. Remove the foil during the last 30 minutes of cooking time to allow the skin to brown.
  9. Allow the cooked turkey to sit for 30 minutes, allowing enough time to use the pan juices to make gravy.

Recommended cooking times:

  • 8-12 lb Turkey: 3-3.5 hours
  • 12-14 lb Turkey: 3.5-4 hours
  • 14-18 lb Turkey: 4 -4.5 hours
  • 18-20 lb Turkey: 4..5-4.75 hours
  • 20-24 lb Turkey: 4.75-5.25 hours

Turkey Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of day old French bread, cut into 3/4 inch cubes (about 10-12 cups)
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 cups each, chopped onion and celery
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 green apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 3/4 cup of raisins
  • 5 to 10 green olives (the ones with the pimento)
  • Stock from the turkey giblets (1-2 cups) (can substitute with chicken stock)
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning or ground sage, to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Put the turkey giblets (heart and gizzard) in a small saucepan, cover with water and add a little salt. Bring to a simmer and simmer for about an hour, uncovered. Strain the stock into a container for use with the stuffing. Alternatively, you can use chicken stock or water with this recipe.
  2. Toast the walnuts by heating them in a frying pan on medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring until they are slightly browned. Allow to cool.
  3. In a large saute pan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter, add the bread crumbs and stir to coat the bread pieces with the melted butter. Allow them to toast; only turn them when they have become a little browned on a side.
  4. In a dutch oven, saute chopped onions and celery on medium heat with 3 tablespoons of butter (about 5-10 minutes). Add the bread. Add cooked chopped walnuts, green apple, raisins, olives and parsley. Add one cup of the stock, sage, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.
  5. Cover, turn heat to low and cook for one hour or until the apples are cooked through. Check every 10 minutes or so and add water or stock as needed while cooking to keep the stuffing moist and from sticking to the pan.

Turkey Gravy

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups turkey stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the turkey stock to a boil.
  2. Gradually dissolve flour in water. Slowly stir in the flour mixture into the turkey stock. Stir in poultry seasoning, pepper, celery salt and regular salt. Boil to desired consistency.

Garlic, Red Skin Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds red skin potatoes, chopped
  • Fresh garlic, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • Splash of milk
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon basil

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add chopped potatoes and cook until tender; drain.
  3. Bring chopped potatoes back to the large pot and add the remaining ingredients; mash until creamy.

Green Bean Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Dash ground black pepper
  • 4 cups green beans, cooked and cut
  • 1 1/3 cups French’s French Fried Onions

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 35o degrees.
  2. Stir the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir the bean mixture.
  4. Sprinkle with remaining onions. Bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.

Caramelized Squash

Ingredients:

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Split squash lengthwise then scoop out seeds and place cut side up in shallow baking pan.
  2. Add 1/4 inch water than sprinkle each half with sugars, nutmeg and salt; drizzle with butter.
  3. Bake for 1 hour (checking after 30 minutes) or until squash halves are tender. If it browns too rapidly, cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh cranberries, washed and dried
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot, combine the cranberries, sugar and water. Stir to blend.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and add the cinnamon stick, allspice and nutmeg. Stir to blend and simmer for an additional 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add the orange zest and juice and simmer until the cranberries burst.
  4. Stir and allow to cool before serving.

Buttermilk Biscuits
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 cup chilled buttermilk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like crumbs.
  3. Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough come together.
  4. Turn dough onto a flour surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round.
  5. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough.
  6. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch.
  7. Re-form scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they are tall with a light gold top.

Pumpkin Pie
Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 ounce) Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 fl. ounce) Nestle Carnation Evaporated Milk
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture together. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
  3. Place pie shell in a 9-inch round pie dish. Pour mixture onto pie shell.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 40 minutes to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.
  5. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.
  6. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving that’s filled with family and friends!

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