My Thanksgiving Menu

{This is for you, Nat!}

By now you know that I love trying new recipes, cooking good food, and entertaining family and friends.  There’s no better time to indulge in all three than the holidays. Which is why I’ve been poring over my food magazines and surfing the web to compile our Thanksgiving spread this week.  I’ve yet to go shopping, which has me a little stressed since I work tomorrow and Wednesday, but I’ll manage somehow.  Here’s the plan:

The Bird

I am vacillating between roasting a traditional turkey or just doing a turkey breast.  My family is a breast family (though I got shortchanged in that category, ahem), so it would make sense to do a breast.  It would also cut the roasting time significantly.  But will that just be sacrilege? A lazy excuse for a Thanksgiving meal? How many breasts would I need? Either way, I am planning to go with the:

Salt-Roasted Turkey with Lemon and Oregano recipe, courtesy of Bon Appetit.

I love salt so this recipe just sounds lovely to me, and the prospect of crisp skin with juicy meat is definitely a winner.

Next up, the dressing.  This one is tricky.  We’re having some people over that are vegetarian, so stuffing with pancetta or sausage is out.  Unless I make two types, and who has time for that? And I am not particularly a fan of having a lot of “stuff” in my stuffing, like most of the recipes out there.  Chances are that I will end up going with

My Mother-in-Law’s Cornbread Dressing

Ingredients:

2 cups self-rising cornmeal
2 eggs beaten
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons bacon drippings, melted
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
12 slices day old bread, crumbled
2 to 2 1/2 cups turkey or chicken broth
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Combine cornmeal, 2 eggs, buttermilk, and melted bacon drippings, stirring well.  Place a well-greased 10-inch cast iron skillet in a 450 degree oven for 4 minutes or until hot. Remove skillet from oven; spoon batter into skillet.  Bake at 450 for 35 minutes or until cornbread is lightly browned.  Cool; crumble cornbread into a large bowl. Sauté celery and onion in butter until tender. Add sautéed vegetables and remaining ingredients to crumbled cornbread, stirring well. Spoon dressing into a lightly greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes. Yield: 8 servings.

HINT One (10-3/4 ounce ) can of chicken broth and 1 cup of water may be substituted for homemade chicken broth. (It’s best to use the broth from your turkey/chicken). Dressing may be spooned into turkey/chicken cavity. Spoon any remaining dressing into a lightly greased 2-quart casserole; bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes.

Moving on to…Da Gravy.

Mixed-Mushroon and Tarragon Gravy, courtesy of Bon Appetit

The culinary rebel in me is really asking for trouble seeing how no one in my family likes mushrooms. Except for me. And that’s what counts. They can pick them out, no?

Sides! Sides! Glorious Sides!

After all, it’s really all about the sides isn’t it? Here are my picks for this year’s dinner:

Paula Deen’s Loaded Mashed Potatoes

And yes, I realize this recipe calls for bacon.  I can’t cook entirely for my guests, can I??

Onto the veggies:

Paula’s Green Bean Casserole

Let’s face it – there’s no denying her recipes. The lady knows how to cook.  Which is why I’m also doing:

Mama’s Fried Corn

Alright fine. I might hold the bacon on this one.

Now it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without some sort of sweet potato dish, right? But is it weird to have 2 starches? Whatever, weird has never stopped me before. Check out these babies:

Tyler’s Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Pecan and Marshmallow Streusel

Yum.

I would be remiss not to have some sort of roll.  Now, I take my bread very seriously.  For this particular menu item, nothing but the best will do. And so:

Ree’s Parker House Rolls

I don’t think you’re appreciating the seriousness of these rolls.

Maybe if I show you this photo of them dunked in butter before going into the oven:

There! That’s better. Now you feel me.

And last but not least…


DESSERT!

Hubby is a die-hard bread pudding fan.  But I just can’t do it most times – I think it’s the texture.  To mushy and whatnot.  But a couple of years ago, I stumbled across the recipe for a croissant bread pudding and was promptly hooked. The crispness and lightness of the croissant was right up my alley.  I haven’t made a croissant bread pudding in awhile so I will be making this:

Nigella’s Caramel Croissant Pudding

I love Nigella. Unpretentious. Isn’t afraid to eat. Sharp humor. Real woman curves. What’s not to love? I’ll serve it with some sort of liqueur-inspired ice cream.

And that’s the menu! My sister may or may not make one of her famous apple pies. {No Pressure.} Justice Ny is in charge of drinks.

And me? I’m in charge of finding and extra 24 hours in between Wednesday after work and dinnertime on Thursday to pull all of this off. Wish me luck.

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20 Responses to “My Thanksgiving Menu”

  1. Your vegeterian guests won’t be able to eat your mother-in-law’s stuffing either :( it has bacon grease and chicken broth in it. You’d have to skip the grease (use extra butter?) and use vegetable broth.

    I am doing a bread pudding for dessert this year, the same one Bobby Flay made on Throwdown with Ree. I already made the pumpkin bread and it is TO DIE FOR.

  2. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and your cooking went as planned. Did you do breast or whole turkey? I like the dark meat better myself. Cooks Illustrated December issue had a similar salt recipe which I used, and I butterflied my 16-pound turkey which meant it roasted in double quick time.

    Now on to Christmas. I am definitely shopping on the internet and staying out of the stores.

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