I can’t believe Thanksgiving is less than a week away. I pretty much live for Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite day of the year and there’s nothing I love more than cooking a bunch of food for people I love. I wanted to share my menu and some of the recipes that I use. Honestly, it’s quite boring so don’t be disappointed! I make the same things every year, but I’m a basic girl and I like to stick with what works.
I don’t do much with appetizers because I want my guests hungry for the big meal! I usually make a small cheese platter to pick on.
For the turkey, I go super basic with this. No brining, no frying, nothing fancy. First things first and probably the most important part is to take the turkey out of the fridge 2 hours before it goes into the oven. I take it out, remove the giblets, clean it and pat it dry and then let it sit. When it’s ready to go in, I rub it with a compound butter, stuff it with some herbs, lemon wedges, half an onion and some garlic gloves and that’s pretty much it. Throw it in the oven, baste it on occasion and it’s perfect every time.
Will you hate me if I told you that I use the pepperidge farm classic stuffing bag? You know what? Its the best! Yes I could easily make it myself with some stale bread but I really love this stuff. I pretty much follow the directions on the bag. I cook it in onion, celery and butter and I always use chicken broth, never water.
I usually leave this up to my mom, because she just knows how to make the perfect mashed potatoes. But it’s nothing crazy, she just adds some milk and butter and they’re the best classic mashed potatoes you’ve ever had.
Sweet Potato Casserole-
This has become a favorite for everyone. I use this recipe. I leave out the nuts and coconut and add extra marshmallows:)
You know I never liked cranberry sauce until I made my own. That cranberry sauce in a can just gross. I’m sorry if you like it, I know some people do. But try making it and I promise you will never look back. It’s so incredibly easy. Here’s what I do-
Add 1lb of fresh cranberries (washed and dried) and 1/3 cup water to a medium saucepan. Add in 1 1/2 cups of sugar (less if you like more tart, more if you like it sweet). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add in 1 cinnamon stick, 1/4 teaspoon of allspice and a small pinch of nutmeg. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the juice of 1 orange and stir. I also add just a little bit of orange zest. Let cool and then refrigerate until ready to serve.
The best part! Every single year, I buy a jar of back up gravy at the store incase mine doesn’t turn out right. I’ve never had to use it but I still insist on buying that jar. Have I no faith in my gravy making skills? Here’s what I do.
In the morning when I prep the turkey I take out the giblets (ew!) and throw them in a pot. I don’t use the liver though. To the pot I add 5 cups of water and a chicken stock cube. I throw in some carrots, celery and onion. I let it simmer on the stove all day. When the turkey is done and resting, I take the roasting pan that it was in and set it on the burner. I deglaze the pan with 1 cup of chicken broth then I transfer this mixture into a fat seperator. I discard the fat on the top and then pour the remaining into the the turkey stock. I then make a slurry of water and flour and slowy whisk it into the pot. You can also add some gravy master for color. That’s it!
However this year I’m doing things differently. I am going to try a roux instead of a slurry. A roux, which is just equal parts butter and flour, is supposed to make for a richer gravy. So this time, I still will do the same for the turkey stock. But after I delglaze the pan drippings from the turkey, I am going to make the roux in a separate pot. I’ll just melt 1/4 cup butter and whisk in 1/4 cup of flour. After its thickened and bubbly I will slowly pour in the pan drippings. Then I will add the turkey stock, a little at a time, letting it thicken. We’ll see how the results differ! How do you make your gravy?
Some of the other sides I usually serve are-
Roasted Green Beans
Bacon Roasted Brussel Sprouts
My favorite part:) Every single year I always do a pumpkin pie and then either apple crisp, apple pie or apple crumb pie. If my brother is here, I always make apple crisp because it’s his favorite. For a few years, I used to make one just for him! I’m definitly doing my usual pumpkin pie because that’s everyone’s favorite, and I’m really craving an apple crumb pie so I think that’s my pick for this year! Here’s the recipe for the apple crumb pie, and apple crisp if you’re interested in that. The pumpkin pie recipe that I use is the one right on the back of the Libby’s canned pumpkin. When I started making pumpkin pie years ago I used that recipe and never looked back! I’m also debating a pecan pie but since I have a small group this year I don’t want too many desserts because I’ll end up eating it all!