Thanksgiving Dinner ideas
Hello all. I'm starting this thread with my first pass thanksgiving dinner menu. I'd like everyone to chime in with either their menu, with references for recipes, or recipes they have followed with the best results for items on my menu. If it gets too long(I hope!!) I'll split it out into two topics.
Also, what is your 'must have' side on Thanksgiving? Mine is a plate mix of mashed potatoes, corn, and gravy.
My menu with -- recipe places for some items
-Cheeses (sharp cheddar, irish cheddar, one other – longmont cheese shop)
-Shrimp & cocktail sauce - Costco
-Brined Smoked Turkey(~12lbs) -- epicurious for brine
-Oven Roasted Turkey(~15-20lbs) -- open roaster w/lift out
-Corn(frozen, warmed w/salt, pepper, little garlic)
-Greens(collard, little mustard)
-green beans w/ almonds
-Salad with cranberries, oranges
-YAM-bilee w/ marsha mellows – maybe just fluff
-Corn Bread(one traditional, one chile’s and corn) -- betty crocker cb
-Mac n Cheese(homemade)
-Homemade Cranberry dressing -- back of cranberry package, less lemon
-Cider – hot apple or Sparkling cider
-Egg nogg – rum yum yum
-Pecan Pie --
-Ice Cream & Whipped cream – homemade fresh
-Champagne(White Star, need flutes)
-Riesling/Sauv B(have, might want one more Kim Crawford)
-Chardonnay(have 1 devils lair, 1 Indian Wells, might want to get more madfish)
-Pinot Noir(Have Williams Selyem, Sharecropper)
-Case fat tire
Wow! What a menu for your first Thanksgiving - I'm impressed, can I come?
Here's my changing menu (about 10 people). Having a postage-size galley kitchen in downtown Boston, I really have to plan ahead. Trying to figure out if I should add that Sweet Potato Gratin with Chipotles. Questions: Has anyone tried keeping mashed potatoes warm in a crockpot? Also will be trying my first deep-fried turkey with a new electric turkey fryer. How important is brining and type of turkey with this method? And what's a good injection flavoring recipe?
Baked Brie en croute with cranberry compote
Blue cheese and caramelized shallots dip with rosemary chips (Epi)
Herbed Marinated Jumbo Cocktail Shrimp
Deep Fried Turkey
Grand Marnier, Apricot, and Chestnut Stuffing (Silver Palate)
Mashed potatoes with caramelized leeks and fresh thyme
Braised Carrots with Parmesan (Hazan)
Peas and Pearl Onions Au Gratin (adapted F&W p.257)
Jellied cranberry sauce
Cranberry sauce with Marsala, Rosemary, and Cherries (FunwithFood)
Cream Cheese Biscuits (frozen Meetinghouse 72-layer)
Brandied Pumpkin pie (Epi)
Anybody have a favorite cheesecake recipe that can be adapted to mini-cheesecakes?
If you're in Co, sure :-) Not first thanksgiving, but first pass at the menu. I'm a shameless thief of good ideas for dishes or recipes, which is the reason I started this thread.
And I'm going to steal your Brandied pumpkin pie idea, because it sounds more interesting than the recipe I've followed before.
Yes! Thanks for starting this thread!! Although I went ahead and posted my menu before I checked everyone elses... but I have to ask RUBEE--
Is this the recipe you are modifying? I think this would be another perfect dish with the prime rib because SO loves pearl onion dishes. :) (With peas instead of edamame)
Hi Dommy!. Ooh, that recipe sounds great, but no, this WAS the recipe I was going to make (especially because Barbara Lynch is the chef at my favorite restaurant in Boston)
but my husband looked at my menu and said "gratin? what happened to my plain old creamed peas and onions".
HA. Every year he wants it simple and I try to doctor it up so I like it. So now am contemplating doing a basic recipe and just adding some caramelized shallots. Though I'm quite intrigued by Gardencub's Nana's creamed onions with brandied cream sauce.
this thread will be very helpful for me since i'm doing thankgiving for 25. yikes! have done it the last few years but never for so many.
also, being a shameless recipe thief - i'm totally stealing your blue cheese dip idea. anything that can be made ahead is key.
some thoughts about desserts - last year i made sweet potato pie and i thought it was better than pumpkin (sweet potatoes are way more manageable than fresh pumpkin and have a way better texture than canned pumpkin). just a thought.
also, i made this cheesecake for a christmas party last year and it was fabulous and very easy. i substituted red currants for the strawberries. it was nice to look at too:
Thanks for the cheesecake recipe! I just bought this mini-cheesecake pan because it was half-price, and wondering what I can do with it that isn't pumpkin.
And that blue cheese dip is great - one that quickly became a crowd favorite. Dad even requested it for both his birthday and anniversary this year. It's even better two days ahead.
I made an interesting cheesecake last T'giving, called pecan pie cheesecake. You buy a frozen already cooked pecan pie- slice it
in 6 slices. Place the slices onto the cheesecake crust inside to spriing pan. Then you pour the cheesecake stuff over the slices of pie, covering it. I made a rum sauce with pecans, butter, and brown sugar to spoon over the served slices.
It's important that you don't brine a turkey you're going to fry. The added moisture could cause the fat to boil over and besides, it's unnecessary. By injecting and frying, you're going to have a really juicy bird. My favorite injection is olive oil flavored with fines herbs. It's subtle and won't overpower the rest of your thanksgiving flavors the way that most of the spicy/garlicy injections will.
I was just given one of those tabletop Sabrett hot dog carts with 4 steamer inserts and am planning on using it Thanksgiving to keep my mashed potatoes and stuffing and 2 of the veggies warm while I make the gravy and carve the turkey (unfortunately good help is hard to find around here). I expect it to work out great, and I could see a crock pot working here too. It lowers my stress level just thinking about it.
I'm also planning on trying the Chipotle Sweet Potato recipe, and since I just got back from upstate with a bushel of beautiful Winesapp apples, was thinking of putting some quarters of that in it too. Anyone who's already made it, do you think that would work out?
I linked to a recipe below for the gravy that is basically what I do( though instead of butter, I usually have schmaltz or rendered chicken fat on hand). I started doing it when I bought a deep-fried turkey, but now I always make it beforehand. If I roast a turkey, I just add the pan juices to the gravy.
I missed this - sorry for the late answer. I've actually made it weeks ahead and froze it. Yes, you can freeze gravy (I just found this out in the last couple of years!). This year, I made the stock last weekend and froze it. Defrosted this weekend, and am making the gravy tomorrow.
Here is our Thanksgiving menu: appertizers - cocktail meatballs in chili/BBQ sauce (freeze and cook overnight in crockpot!), shrimp w/ cocktail sauce Salad - frisee/radiccio lettuce with blue cheese, toasted pecans & sliced pears w/ balsamic mustard vinaigrette, main - brined roasted turkey, do ahead mashed potatoes with cream cheese, sour cream & chives, roasted root vegetables (sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, turnips, onion) with maple syrup glaze, stuffing with corn bread, celery & mushrooms, carmelized brussels sprouts with shallots, and dinner rolls. this year I decided to "outsource" dessert (bakery): pumpkin pie, pear frangipangi tart and choclate chambord mousse cake. Then we retire to the family room, unzip our pants and watch football!
Wow, that's a feast! I really like Cook's Illustrated Pecan Recipe. I have the problem they tried to solve that when you cut the pie, the pecan pieces don't cut but get pressed into the pie. They have you chop the pecans first. Doesn't look the same but it tastes great. As corn bread goes, I really like spoon bread. It's easier to eat and not as dry. For corn, I love Trader Joe's frozen roasted corn. I've baked it, too, and it's really good. For shrimp and cocktail sauce, I like Costco's big shrimp (if you aren't planning on making it, they have a frozen precooked-- I can't remember the number per pound, maybe 12?) but I don't like their cocktail sauce. I have a recipe for a cranberry salad-ish that's made with whipping cream, cranberries, pecans (can't remember what else). If anyone wants,I can post that or the C.I. pecan pie recipe.
As for what we're having, my SIL is hosting this year so that means queso dip for appetizer (can of cheese whiz, can of chili dumped in a crock pot) with nachos, dry turkey, Stove top stuffing, green bean casserole, potatoes au gratin (sliced potatoes, cream on top--that's it), gravy from a jar, oh, but there will probably be mashed potatoes from scratch!
I change my menu every year. Well, I should say, for turkey day, most of the recipes are experiments. This year is no exception. The only repeat will be the garlic rosemary mashed potatoes. I am going to change the technique though. I will try Marcella's potato cooking method, ricer and all, with my way of making potatoes. I usually boil the potatoes in chicken broth with the garlic. I warm the rosemary with half and half, then toss it in after the butter.
The only thing I haven't quite decided on is which turkey, stuffing and gravy recipe to use. If I get more than 10 guests, I am going with JK Grence the Comic Jester's link below:
Butternut squash and apple bisque (I may change this, I'm not enamored with it, but it looks pretty good).
Rosemary garlic mashed potatoes
Roasted sweet potato wedges with bacon vinaigrette
Cauliflower with mustard lemon butter
Brussel sprouts with shallots and wild mushrooms
Banana cream pie
Chocolate pistachio torte with chocolate ganache
My mother-in-law (on my husband's recommendation) made Tyler Florence's turkey for about 22 people last year and it was a huge hit! Here's a link to the recipe: <a href=http://www.topcomments.com><img src=http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r1... title="MySpace Comments" border=0></a><br><left><a href='http://www.topcomments.com'>&l... size="2">MySpace Comments</font></a></left>
It's a maple-roasted turkey with sage and smoked bacon. I would not be lying when I say that it was one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten!
We go traditional, for the most part. There will be about 20 of us. I do the desserts and meal, my family guests supply the appetizers. As you can see, we are vegatable lovers!
Appetizers: Mexican dip, shrimp cocktail, deviled eggs, clam chowder, chips, cheese, dips and stuffed mushrooms
Creamed Cauliflower and Onions
Moms Cabbage Salad
Asparagus (added to please my 5 yo nephew)
Cranberry sauce - both homemade and canned
Lemon Meringue pie
Pumpkin or squash pie
Am also toying with some kind of chocolaty thing. Love these boards for ideas
Here's what I made last year for 12 of us, and it was lovely. I will tweak it a bit this year, just to avoid my own boredom, but I think it's great as is. Most recipes can be found on epicurious.
Tete de Moin (a cheese)
Endive with Smoked Trout and Herbed Cream Cheese
Butternut Squash Soup with Cider Cream
Roast Turkey (from Silver Palatte, works everytime)
Maple and Tangerine-Glazed Carrots
Brussels Sprouts with Marjoram and Pine Nuts
Wild Mushrooms with Chestnuts and Thyme
Winter Fruit and Nut Stuffing
Cranberry Sauce with Roasted Shallots and Port
Tiramisu Trifle with Toasted Almonds
All can be made ahead (a must....I don't know how people cook while guests are there. I have ultimate respect for that....way beyond my comfort zone).
Hi Zook: My eldest son, now in college, would not forgive me if I didn't make the carrots. The tangerine sauce is sensational. The stuffing is sophisticated and delicious. If you make one or both, let me know what you think.
I see that the winter fruit and nut stuffing didn't get copied for me to paste (I guess I don't know how to do more than 1). Just look the stuffing up on epicurious.com.
Yessss!!!! More recipes that I probably would not have found w/o this post. Thanks for posting these....That butternut squash soup piqued my interest, and it was added to the menu.
The carrots are going to have to be added, as well. Someone else said it best...
"I love it when a plan comes together!"
I am really excited about Thanksgiving this year, I am cooking for the first time and I can make whatever what I want! There is going to be five of us, three vegetarian including me, so I am going to make a more ‘non-traditional’ Thanksgiving. Most of the recipes I got from Martha Stewart’s November issue or from Epicurious.
White bean dip and lentil pate with grilled toasts
Devil’s chicken thigh with braised leeks (I am using Quorn chicken cutlets for the chicken) from Sunday Suppers @ Lucques
Cauliflower gratin w/ endive
Crusty breadsticks w/ rosemary
Winter fruit chutney
Roasted vegetables w/ balsamic- lemon vinaigrette
Steamed persimmon pudding
I am not quite sure what kind of wine I am getting yet, I need to go talk to my wine store people.
My Menu this year is still up in the air but I am thinking it will look something like (I'm Feeding 12-15):
Carmelized onion, fig and feta in Phyllo Purses
Banana Cheese Empinadas
Smoked Turkey (8lbs)
Carnitas and Chard Tamales
Cornbread, Sage and Sour Cherry Stuffing
Basic Mashers (I sleep on the couch if there are no basic mashers)
Sweet potatoes cooked with cardamom, ginger, butter, grade B maple syrup and apple cider
Brussel Sprout Gratin
Mixed greens (Chard, Kale, Collards) with currants and garlic
Whole Salmon fillet (not sure how I am going to prepare it yet but maybe grilled with a coconut curry sauce)
Wild Rice Apple Walnut Pilaf
Whole Cranberry sauce
I think other people are bringing desserts but I may make truffles and a burnt almond, brown butter cake with a fangiapan filling and an amaretto butter cream frosting.
Cheese and crackers
Carmelized onion dip and chips (sister always insists I make this)
Sugared Pecans, addictive
Mulled cider with spiced rum on the side
Start with either clam chowder or butternut squash soup
Sides to go with turkey:
Whipped sweet potatoes w/ brown sugar-pecan topping
Leek and wild mushroom stuffing (soooo good)
Mashed potatoes w/ roasted garlic
Fried corn and onions
Blue cranberry sauce (blueberries secret ingredient)
Corn bread, maybe pumpkin bread too
Desert tbd, thinking of making some sort of trifle with gingerbread
It's been a few years since I deep-fried turkey. We never brined. I didn't like the spicy injections because if it didn't distribute well, you'd end up with some parts overwhelmed with spice. We found a high-quality uninjected bird produced a tasty, juicy bird since the hot oil sears it and seals in the juices quickly (though the olive oil and fine herbs injection above sounds very good).
Since you mentioned that you are in the Boston area, I'll recommend one of my favorite poultry purveyors - Owen's Poultry Farms in Needham, MA. The birds are expensive, but very good. But IMHO their frozen turkey gravy is wonderful if you don't want to go to the trouble of making gravy when you don't have pan drippings. I keep their chicken and turkey gravies in my freezer at all times! I love most of the frozen poultry items they sell.
Our thanksgiving (at my MIL's house in AZ) will be small and simple with 5 adults. Still deciding, but current plan:
Parsnip Bisque (Epi)
Lemon-sage turkey with wild-mushroom gravy (an old favorite from Cooking Light http://www.cooking.com/recipes/static...
)Three-onion stuffing (Epi)
Roasted vegetables (probably brussel sprouts)
Baked sweet potatoes (simple - in their jackets)
Cranberry relish or chutney
A "molded" salad of my MIL's choosing
Homemade Yeast rolls
Pumpkin ice-cream pie (something my SIL is making)
Dutch-apple pie (Bittman - How to cook everything)
*If we didn't already have two desserts I'd make the sweet potato pie recipe from (CI - The New best recipe). It's my recent favorite - I roast the sweet potatoes, add a drop of coconut extract, sub maple syrup for molasses). Someone has posted it: http://fullbleed.net/recipeblog/archi...
So far, I'm tentatively making:
the Proscuitto/Hazelnut Turkey (that someone linked on another thread here)
Dressing (definitely cornbread and andouille, possibly oyster too)
Macaroni and Cheese
Rolls (possibly the Sweet Potato ones that, again, someone linked on another thread and/or regular dinner rolls)
roasted sweet potatoes or some sort of gratin
roast brussel sprouts with bacon and garlic
homemade cranberry sauce
some sort of green beans
My grandmother brings potato salad, and she makes the gravy (those are both non negotiable for grandma). Definitely pumpkin pie for dessert, and some sort of birthday cake (lots of November birthdays in my family), and possibly sweet potato. I've been wanting to make pumpkin cheesecake for years, but my family keeps revolting. I might try to make a little one this year if I can find a recipe that I can cut in half (and a small springform pan)...I've also been dying to make pumpkin ice cream, so maybe that too.
Appetizers aren't definite, and I'll probably play around with most of the vegetable dishes.
Well this is my first post to Chow, not my first Thanksgiving. I am cooking for 12 family members, both sets of parents, mine and his and the rest.
My Menu is always in a state of flux until the night before but it looks like this so far.
Amuse Bouche: Roasted Tomato Soup with Asiago cheese, served in demitasse cups in the keeping room.
Salad of Irish Cheddar, port soaked dried cranberries, mixed bitter greens and an orange, port wine dressing.
Brined Roast Turkey: I use Alton Brown's recipe and it always works perfect
Mashed Potatoes with buttermilk
Sausage and giblet dressing with sage and thyme
roasted fall veggies with ginger and cardamon
(sweet potato, butternut squash, and turnip)
Nana's classic creamed onions with Brandied cream sauce
Apple and cranberry chutney
Dessert will be:
Apple and pumpkin Pies and a childhood favorite that my mom will bring; a very moistcarrot cake with pineapple and coconut in the batter.
cranberry nut bread
I always try to offer the family a few twists on old favorites. I found that offering the soup in the sitting room while I carve and serve keeps them all busy and out of my hair for about 20 minutes. Heavy starters or big plates of cheese etc only fill everyone up. I also try to move things around, one year we ate dinner on the sunporch at a huge long table for 14. Another year I set up 3 smaller tables one in both parlors and one in the dining room. It keeps the inlaws guessing and gives them something to talk about instead of picking at each other.
I have been making these onions since I was 15 and I just do it intuitively now. I will try to make notes this year and send them to you after I figure it out... Thanks for the interest. When I make them I remember Nana racing around the kitchen making about 15 different things at once, all of them great.
Ok here goes,
I use a mixe of frissee, endive, baby greens etc. whatever looks good in the market that day. I soak the dried cranberries in equal parts port and fresh oj. for about an hour before I make the salad. Drain and reserce liquids to make the dressing. I toss sliced tart apple, the greens, cranberries, sliced red onion, and some toasted walnuts. The dressing is a classic vinagrette but I use the OJ and port in place of the vinegar. I dress the salad, plate and top with crumbled Irish Cheddar. I have used pomagranate seeds on it as well.
My dressing has dijon mustard, finely diced shallots, Salt and Pepper and a mild Olive oil. I do not want the oil to compete with the port and Orange juice.
Hope this helps.
I’m cooking for six adults, and some restrictions on the dietary preference front. One couple does not eat white bread, white potatoes, or white rice. Three of us cannot bear sweet potatoes. So I have to get creative with sides. Dad is not crazy about turkey, but has vetoed my suggestions to try duck, so I was debating between pork and an “interesting” turkey breast recipe. Thanks to the comments here, I am inclined to adapt the Prosciutto-Hazelnut recipe I already had my eye on to a turkey breast, which shouldn’t be difficult. However, I am intrigued by the Lucques Deviled Chicken Thighs if anyone could share the recipe.
Here’s where the menu stands so far:
Caramelized Onion and White Cheddar Dip with Apples and Pumpernickel
Guest bringing another appetizer
Fried Garbanzos with Sage
Roast Turkey Breast with Prosciutto-Hazelnut Crust and Gravy
Spinach, Mushroom, and Artichoke Casserole
Red Pepper Halves Stuffed with Wild Rice, Corn, Leeks and Pine Nuts
Stuffed Celery Two Ways: with Pesto and with Smoked Gouda and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Green Salad with Dried Cranberries, Red Onion, Orange, Blue Cheese & Parmesan Pecans with Citrus Vinaigrette
Mom makes the pies
P.S. I also highly recommend this Sausage & Mushroom Stuffing with Goat Cheese recipe, which I made last Thanksgiving. Very flavorful and a hit with everyone, although very rich (it actually has turned out to be a great brunch dish).
It is so interesting to see other family's traditions listed on this thread. My mother (81) has been hosting Thanksgiving since forever and complains that she can add things to the menu but not remove. This year I will be making Thanksgiving dinner for 22 at her house (1/2 hr away) since she just had a rotator cuff operation. It isn't a problem for me except that Friday I have 30-40 people coming to my house for a Chinese Banquet.
So far this is the menu for Thanksgiving (which looks simple compare to many of yours)
Crudite & dips
Hot Crab Dip with pita chips
2 Turkeys with Gravy
One with our traditional Sausage & Chestnut stuffing and the other with a meatless stuffing I have yet to decide on
Green Bean Casserole with Curried Breadcrumbs
Brussel Sprouts with Red Wine, Garlic & Shallots
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cider Syrup & Craisins
Pearl Onions in a Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce
Mashed Carrots & Turnips
and I can't decide about what to do to replace the Lemon Meringue Pie my sister used to bring before she moved and now flies to Thanksgiving.
We are splitting thankgiving this year because of work schedule... The menu is still evolving (Because of my post last night and the Food section of the LAT just came out... but here's what we are thinking...
* Portuguese Kale Soup... Not sure what recipe yet... or we might do this Seafood Stew:
*BBQ California Lobster:
*Oyster Stuffing (Also still looking for a recipe!)
*Cranberry, Apple and Jicama Salad (thanks RW!):
I'm not sure of the Veggie side yet...
* Buttermilk Blueberry Tart (thanks Candy!)
Then on Saturday we're going over to the parents house...
* Pumpkin Soup (Not sure which yet)
* Prime Rib (can't wait!! :))
* Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding (This JUST came out in the times today and it seems the PERFECT accompaniment)
* Coll's awesome Cranberries with Gran Marnier
* Roasted Balsamic Brussel Sprouts (Own recipe! :))
Habanero Cheesecake (Which we already made here):
We'll be having lots of Champagne including some wonderful Sparkling Red from Australia! :)
Here's mine- waiting for the So to tell me how many people we'll be having! The real challenge this year is I am making/prepping at home and just heating/finishing touches elsewhere. It really will be like I'm catering T-Giving!
- Thai Spiced Mixed Nuts
- Crostini with Fava Bean Puree
- Mini Tasse of Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Chipotle Crema
- Another app of some sort, or maybe just a nice cheese plate
- Apple Cider Brined Stuffed Turkey Thigh with Applewood Smoked Bacon Stuffing
- Proscuitto-wrapped Stuffed Turkey Breast with Sausage Stuffing
- Roasted Garlic and Creme Fraiche Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes with rosemary and sage
- Sausage stuffing of some sort
- Traditional Turkey Gravy (made with browned turkey wing and neck stock, since I'm not doing a whole bird.)
- Chipotle Cranberry Compote
- Roasted Asparagus with Crispy Shallots
- Spinach souflee of some sort
- Buttermilk Pie
- Pumpkin Pie
- Dark chocolate chip butterscotch blondies with bourbon caramel crema (Recipe from Cooking Light, actually! )
- House-mulled Apple Cider with Dark Rum
Still in the works, but here are some of my sides:
Corn Muffins w/ Jalopenos + Parmesean Cheese
Mashed White + Sweet Potatoes
Wild Rice with Pecans and currents (or dried apricots?)
Green Beans w/ butter and almonds (or ginger butter?)
Possibly Peas w/ fresh mint
Possibly Green Salad w/ Pear and Red Onion
I'm only having six; one being a firm vegetarian.
cranberry with other fruit stuffing
grits and greens casserole (from the book "Hissy Fit," of all things
mashed potatoes (and Julia says that you can put them into a pot over simmering water to keep them, so long as you add only the minimum of cream, and then add the additional cream and butter when time to almost eat, to answer the question way up in the posts)
vegetable tissame (for the vegetarian- from Mark Bittman's around the world cookbook- has sweet taters and loads of dried fruits and other veggies)
some sort of sweet potato mashed thing
maybe a choc cake
Can't wait! My kids will be home and must feed them well.
We have the same thing every year - it's our one constant! We will have 5 adults - each person gets to pick a side and a dessert.
Champagne Turkey 14-16 pounds
steamed brussel sprouts (hubby)
breaded cauliflower (hubby and younger dau)
sausage and chestnut stuffing (both daughters and me)
apple and yam casserole (me)
pecan topped sweet potatoe casserole (younger dau - this is new)
petite peas with onions (son-in-law)
smashed garlic potatoes (everybody!)
Outback steakhouse bread (younger dau - hmmm she sure has a lot of requests!)
pecan pie (hubby)
Ruth Chris' dutch apple pie (daughters)
pumpkin pie (me)
straberry pie (son-in-law)
A few years ago I made the drastic decision to us - gasp - canned gravy. It reduced my stress level enormously and I'm able to get everything on the table warm. My family couldn't care less!
Canned Gravy? Oh my... have you ever considered making a gravy early? I make sure we have turkey at least twice between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, usually only a hotel cut turkey breast. I save all the bones, skin etc and use them plus all my chicken necks and gizzards to make a rich stock and make my gravy from those. You can always stir in some pan drippings at the last minute...
NO canned gravy and no stress...