HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Your Thanksgiving 2013 Menus

I haven't seen anyone start this thread yet, so apologies if I missed it.

I love seeing what everyone else makes for Thanksgiving, as it always gives me ideas. Please share what you're planning this year!

My menu so far (I may get inspired by someone else!):

Nibbles for pre-dinner drinks:
- Spicy candied nuts
- Roasted chickpeas w/smoked paprika
- BLT-stuffed cherry tomatoes
- Grape and manchego on a pick
- Tequila lime shrimp on a pick

Dinner
- Dry-brined and spatchcocked turkeys
- Honey-glazed ham
- Classic herb stuffing (just like the song: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme)
- Black and brown rice and lentil stuffing
- Roasted garlic mashed potatoes (a regular and a vegan version)
- Chipotle sweet potato gratin
- Roasted curried cauliflower
- Brussels sprouts "hash" with caramelized shallots
- Kale salad with apples (or maybe roasted squash), red onion and pumpkin seeds
- Cranberry sauce with port and figs
- Roasted shallot gravy
- Vegetarian mushroom gravy
- Cheddar biscuits

Desserts will be brought by my very talented baking friends!

What are you making this Thanksgiving?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Still loose in the menu planning here. So far I have Ina Garten's Accidental Turkey, Chipotle Sweet Potato Casserole and grilled Brussels Sprouts. I have made that Hash with carmelized shallots a few times and have converted many a sprout hater with it! I'm thinking of trying the Salt and pepper biscuits from this months Bon Appetit but other than that everything is up in the air. Checking the threads everyday for inspiration!

    1 Reply
    1. re: King of Northern Blvd

      I'm making the Accidental Turkey too. It was excellent last year.

    2. TorontoJo, this wouldn't happen to be the cranberry sauce recipe you're referring to, would it?

      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

      I was thinking of making it (I have ruby port that needs using), so I'd be happy to have an endorsement. Haven't thought much beyond that.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

        MAKE IT. I've been making that recipe (with a couple of tiny adjustments) for the last 8 years or so - it is THE BEST cranberry sauce I've ever had, bar none.

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          Yep, that's the one. Like biondanonima writes -- it's delicious. :)

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            I made it a few times and it tastes great!

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              I did make it - the cranberry sauce with port and dried figs - with a slight reduction in the granulated sugar, and you ladies don't lie, it's delicious. I've made umpteen variations (I have a bit of a cranberry sauce obsession, and there are so many ways to go!), and this is definitely up there with the best.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                That sounds interesting. I went with orange zest and pickled sushi ginger. Port and figs next time!

              2. Apparently my boyfriend just volunteered our home for his family's Thanksgiving dinner this year, so I've got to start planning!

                So far, all I know is:

                Brined turkey
                Roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon

                :-/ Looks like I've got some work to do.

                65 Replies
                  1. re: Kontxesi

                    I'm actually getting more and more bummed as this sinks in. I was planning on making the turkey, a side, and a dessert for dinner at my Mom's house. I'm getting an expensive turkey, and it's going to be fabulous....

                    His family is not as... enlightened when it comes to food. I almost feel like I have to make basic, boring Thanksgiving staples now. :( I'm in a funk.

                    1. re: Kontxesi

                      Keep it simple for your in-laws. Make your special sides the day after and enjoy them with the leftover turkey with your husband. And save the GREAT bottle of wine for your meal.

                      1. re: TorontoJo

                        This is probably what I will have to do honestly. My in laws expect:

                        Dinner to be served at 11 am
                        No alcohol
                        Turkey cooked with no seasoning in an electric roaster out in the garage dried out like sawdust
                        Ditto the ham
                        Canned sweet potatoes cooked with brown sugar and king syrup in a skillet on the stove
                        Mashed potatoes with sugar
                        Corn casserole made of creamed corn, regular corn and crackers
                        Cornstarch and water cooked together and called gravy
                        Pickled watermelon rind
                        Oyster casserole which smells like dead fish
                        Stuffing which is the packaged bread cubes mixed with water, very dry
                        A custard macaroni and cheese
                        Baked beans (Campbell's pork and beans mixed with brown sugar and king syrup)
                        Cranberry sauce that somehow contains cherry jello
                        Eating pie directly on you plate two seconds after finishing dinner
                        Leaving around 2pm

                        My family expects to:

                        Wake up and watch the parade while cooking together
                        Three courses not including dessert
                        Pumpkin and nut breads
                        "Relish wheel" items a la Dog Team Tavern
                        Pasta course
                        Well seasoned moist bird
                        Gravy made from pan dripping with a little wine
                        Vegetable that come in colors other than beige
                        Dessert later on after you have digested a little
                        Conversation

                        My family is a bit of a slave to tradition too but have been known to change it up sometimes. For example, we have axed the jello mold for the last 15 years or so that was always a staple.

                        1. re: melpy

                          Wowwww.... Okay. I think I'll shut up and not complain about his parents now. o.O If I ate with that family, I might actually lose weight on Thanksgiving.

                          1. re: melpy

                            Blending families is so much fun, isn't it? lol

                            Your situation sounds a bit like mine. I got engaged last Halloween and so my new fiance surprised me with his family was coming to town over Thanksgiving to spend time with me. Well my family is a bit type A so we had already made our own Thanksgiving plans. So I ended up doing 2 Thanksgivings.

                            In my family, Thanksgiving is my mom's holiday. We lovingly get out the grandmothers' china, set places at the table, contemplate the menu, and then all of us girls cook together (I have two sisters).

                            While our tradition is not very gourmet, it is certainly food-focused. We like to wake up, start the bird, get the paper, turn on the parade, and then get busy. We do have lunch around 1, though, so that we can eat leftovers! The pie crusts are homemade with real butter and pumpkin pie and mincemeat pie served with REAL whipped cream. We have elevated the turkey to a lovely brined bird. I don't care for mashed potatoes but someone usually brings those, I do happen to love oyster dressing which also has corn in it, and our traditional dressing has both cornbread and white bread. I love brussels sprouts and play around with the recipe. Sweet potatoes are interchangeable although they never have marshmallows on them but often do have a streuseled topping.

                            My fiance's family...well let me just put it this way: they could not believe I was going to MAKE whipped cream. I might as well have told them I was churning my own butter! And they demanded ham on the table because none claimed to be fans of Tom Turkey. And I almost had to pull my fiance away from the honey baked ham store because he strongly wanted to buy his sweet potatoes there.

                            I made them a turkey believer with my brined turkey.
                            And of pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream too.
                            There's was more relaxed and that was fun--but I still love using China.
                            They still had to have a dessert mixed with cherries, cream cheese and coolwhip which I think they called "cherry cheesecake" haha
                            And my soon-to-be-MIL's homemade egg noodles were DELICIOUS. Especially with reheated dark meat turkey

                            Maybe you can give and take some? I too hate feeling like I'm cooking just to be cooking. I can cater out the basics! I want more. But maybe there are some traditions that they are willing to part with--dry bird, paste gravy, plain potatoes? Or you can always play dumb. At least I can by being so new in the family--that's my easy way out!

                            1. re: bblonde

                              Are these the super thin PA Dutch style egg noodles?
                              His great-aunt used to make them. They were amazing! She had a stroke and doesn't host or come to Thanksgiving and nobody else is willing to make them or can even point me in the direction of a recipe.

                              I would love to serve the noodles again but I honestly wouldn't even know if I had done them correctly.

                            2. re: melpy

                              Your boyfriend's family sounds a lot like my husband's family. The worst part is how inflexible and close-minded they are/were.

                              1. re: melpy

                                Hm-mmm, which is worse, cornstarch-water "gravy", or my mom's burned grease-raw flour-water "gravy"?

                                1. re: sandylc

                                  I think I would opt for no gravy (and I usually do when they are cooking).

                                  Since I have been hosting and have no idea how to make the 'gravy" they do, I make my own with a little less wine.

                                  1. re: melpy

                                    Yeah, I didn't eat gravy until I left home!

                                  2. re: sandylc

                                    Worse would be my future MIL who makes her gravy with turkey drippings and cream of mushroom soup. She is very proud of that gravy ...

                                      1. re: eperdu

                                        Honestly, I'd rather eat that than cornstarch-water slurry.

                                    1. re: melpy

                                      Vegetables in colors other than beige. I love it! *laugh* Sorry, I understand your pain. I have stopped blending, and spend time separately. My family is:

                                      Appetizers at 11am
                                      Main course at 2pm
                                      Play cards
                                      Eat dessert around 3 or 4
                                      More cards
                                      Dinner (turkey sandwiches and Such) at 6 or 7pm
                                      Home around 9pm

                                      My in-laws came over the first year, and my father in-law was reading a book after dinner by himself, and my parents got all offended. "Why isn't he with the rest of us?"

                                      Then I spend a Thanksgiving at my in-law's house, and didn't know what to do with myself. No games, just groups of people hanging out, talking, and a movie for the kids.

                                      Now that I have CRPS, I nap a little after the hour long drive, eat dinner, then fall asleep watching the movie. The whole family is very sympathetic... but I prefer the more relaxed style of my in-laws.

                                      Sometimes you have to make a choice, and try not to let hurt feelings strong arm you in one direction or the other. If they love you, they will understand.

                                      Then again, you can always pretend you no longer celebrate Thanksgiving, but I love the holiday too much. This year, I have decided to do a lot of soul searching about holidays, and my husband and i are trying to figure out what each one means to us, and let that dictate how we will celebrate.

                                      For example, since we don't celebrate Hanukkah or Christmas as religious holidays, maybe we will do gifts at Thanksgiving next year.

                                      What does Thanksgiving mean to you? And how will you let that dictate how you spend it?

                                      We may go to the local shelter and help them prepare dinner for hundreds of our city's homeless, thankful that we have a roof over our heads, food in our cupboards, and love in our hearts.

                                      1. re: JusticeFlight

                                        I like your schedule! The card playing breaks definitely sound like my mom's family.... I would love to make it an all day thing like that, but my boyfriend insisted that I give him some time to go hunting in the morning. :( That has us starting at 4PM.

                                        1. re: Kontxesi

                                          My father's family used to have two turkeys. One in the early morning for hunting and one in the mid afternoon when they got back.

                                          1. re: melpy

                                            Interesting. Maybe I'll get up and make something special for breakfast before he goes out, as I'm sure that's the only time we'll be alone all day. (Not sure I want to get up at 4AM on a day off, though.... :p )

                                        2. re: JusticeFlight

                                          I love family and taht is truly an important part of Thanksgiving for me. Since it is such a short amount of time I suck it up for my husband. We see his family so little even though they live 20 minutes away that it isn't a burden just selfish that I want to enjoy my holiday more than put up with it.

                                          Since we have members from both families we are definitely blending things. While his family is there "visiting" (sitting in a circle in the living room sort of talking and sort of sitting in silence looking at the floor) we do that. When they leave we change and go about our business (TV, movies, making soup, eating turkey sandwiches, doing crossword puzzles etc.)

                                        3. re: melpy

                                          Hmmm. Sounds like the very definition of compromise within a marraige! Be sure you send all the leftovers home with them!

                                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                                            Usually leftovers go to the neediest family. Last year I tried to give food away and most people wouldn't take any, even though we are the least needy group.

                                          2. re: melpy

                                            Oh dear. Well, if I were in your place, I'd make a brined and roasted turkey with a bread or cornbread stuffing with lots of butter and onion and herbs, and a really good gravy, not too scary different but an upgrade of what's familiar to them. Ask them to bring the mac and cheese, corn casserole, whatever else you really can't stand. Then make some vegetables or sides that you do like. They will still have what they like, and you will have stuff you like. The thing that would be non-negotiable for me is the turkey and stuffing! As to timing, I'd put out a relish tray and some nuts at 11, then serve dinner at noon... again, not too different, but a nudge in the direction that's comfortable for you. Let them bring their jello/cranberry sauce, but make a cranberry relish you like if that is important to you (in my family, my husband loves the canned jellied cranberry sauce, I like homemade cranberry relish with jalapenos and onions. I serve both.) When you start off this far apart food-wise, you have to do something like this so everyone has something familiar that says Thanksgiving to them. Good luck!

                                            1. re: sheiladeedee

                                              This will be my third year hosting so I think I am getting a decent routine. Herbs may be an issue since this is the kind of group that doesn't like to see anything green or little specks of "stuff" in their food.

                                              I have been able to roast some vegetables that they ate (shockingly) and deemed edible.

                                              When I met my husband he had these spices:
                                              salt
                                              pepper
                                              lawry's seasoned salt
                                              chili powder
                                              garlic salt

                                              He never used the garlic salt (and we pitched it when we moved in together because is was so old and I prefer garlic powder if I am not using fresh). The seasoned salt went on all his steaks (which he ate well done until he met me, now he eats medium rare) and in his souped up hamburger helper along with the chili powder.

                                              1. re: melpy

                                                Oh how funny. That sounds about like my boyfriend, but sub in lemon pepper for the chili powder. Garlic salt on his pasta, and garlic salt and lemon pepper on his venison steaks. Plus pepper on EVERYTHING. He doesn't understand why I need all of the spices I have.

                                            2. re: melpy

                                              I just reread this. I didn't notice the mashed potatoes with sugar the first time. I can't even....

                                              However, I have to wonder how people like your in-laws look at Chowhound Thanksgivings. We obviously consider what they like inedible. Do they think the same about our menus, or is it really a matter of tradition? Or that we're trying too hard or being "fancy"?

                                              1. re: Kontxesi

                                                My in-laws think we are trying to hard to be fancy.

                                                We just got married 3 weeks ago. All I kept hearing was how they are simple country folk. Over and over like a broken record.

                                                For our rehearsal dinner which my father threw because his family couldn't afford to do anything and the only person who was showing up was his mother because it was too far, we planned the menu based on their tastes. One of the dinners was a plain grilled pork chop with Mac and cheese and Brussels sprouts. I knew they wouldn't eat the sprouts but it was the only veg that went with it that was available. I still heard about how it was too fancy.

                                                I haven't gotten a chance to get together since the wedding and I know that the caterer mixed up the tables because my patent got the well done filet and they got the med rare but I am sure they will have something to say about the weird food and alcohol. My husband days he wanted to serve alcohol and courses at Thanksgiving this year so we'll see what happens.

                                                1. re: melpy

                                                  be true to yourselves. do not cook down to their simple tastes. as long as you have some turkey and bread they can make a sandwich if it is all too fancy! they won't starve!!! Congrats on your marriage!

                                                  1. re: melpy

                                                    Congratulations! And I completely understand. My boyfriend's family has lived in the same county since... well, since it became a county. All of the extended family is still around, no college degrees.... Which is all fine. But there is definitely a specific way of doing things that comes with it.

                                                    I'm trying to walk a fine line between doing it the way I want to because it's my house, and trying not to destroy the delicate truce I've built up with his extended family. Luckily they are used to a pot luck Thanksgiving, so they can bring what they want while I make what I want. :)

                                                    1. re: melpy

                                                      Congratulations on your wedding, Melpy!!!

                                                      I can semi-relate. My in-laws don't really drink wine, and I miss relaxing with a glass at dinner when we stay with them.
                                                      My husband and I talk about just bringing a bottle to holidays, but I bet we will wait until it's at our house and not force the issue at theirs.
                                                      Luckily, the food is always made with love and very good!
                                                      Of course, now that I know that the stuffing is made with crisco (and no small amount) I take it easy on that dish.

                                                      1. re: rabaja

                                                        Interesting, crisco in stuffing. I never would have thought.

                                                        I just the greatest compliment from my husband. I made him some m and m cookies and he said that he likes the taste of butter in his baked goods instead of whatever his mother uses (I forget what).

                                                        Pretty much the highest praise you can get from him since everything in life is just "ok".

                                              2. re: Kontxesi

                                                Kontxesi; I feel your pain - my ex hubs family was very pedestrian in likes for holidays - very traditional - I would get teased for my 'fancy' or 'funky' stuff I would make. Drove me nuts.

                                                Just make some things 'normal' - they deserve to be happy and have traditions kept too - and make some things different and Chowish' to please you and your hubby. Hopefully, compromise can get everyone some of what they want.

                                                And ask THEM to help with the boring dishes - brought or made at your place!

                                                1. re: Kontxesi

                                                  Make what you want, and if they don't like it, maybe they won't come back next year! ;)

                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                    On the one hand, that is EXCELLENT advice. However, I've had a strained relationship with his family. I don't need them to love me, but I do want to get to the point where I don't think they're talking about me behind my back all the time. I would like them to actually enjoy a meal at my house. (Most of them have never even BEEN to my house!)

                                                2. re: Kontxesi

                                                  Okay, here's a rough plan. I'm not sure if I should be expecting to feed 7 or 20 at this point, so this is likely to change drastically:

                                                  Appetizers:
                                                  Cheese ball and crackers
                                                  Deviled eggs
                                                  Shrimp cocktail*

                                                  Main meal:
                                                  Brined turkey
                                                  Basic stuffing recipe from old BH&G cookbook
                                                  A rice-based stuffing*
                                                  Roasted Brussels sprouts and pearl onions with bacon
                                                  Cider-braised collard greens (maybe with ham)
                                                  Broccoli something (roasted, if I have the oven space/time)
                                                  Mashed potatoes
                                                  Sweet potatoes with apple butter*

                                                  Dessert:
                                                  Pumpkin roll or other pumpkin cake item
                                                  Chocolate tart/torte of some kind
                                                  Pumpkin pie*
                                                  Apple pie/tart*

                                                  1. re: Kontxesi

                                                    Please elaborate on the sweet potatoes with apple butter preparation.

                                                    1. re: melpy

                                                      http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/sw...

                                                      I just found it while skimming. I've actually never eaten sweet potatoes in my life, and I have several jars of apple butter that need to be used.... It just kind of jumped out at me. I don't want to make that marshmallowy monstrosity that my sister loves so much.

                                                      1. re: Kontxesi

                                                        I've made them this way before (love both sweet potatoes and apple butter), and it's delicious.

                                                        However, we'll still do plain baked sweet potatoes, with a pat of sage butter.

                                                        1. re: Kontxesi

                                                          Interesting. My husbands family LOVES apple butter. Last year for sweet potatoes I made a casserole that came from a book of recipe cards his mother gave me. It went over well but was extremely fattening and sweet. I wonder if this would be a little better than the canned ones cooked in a syrup. Plus it would get rid of the various jars my husband keeps opening and not eating.

                                                      2. re: Kontxesi

                                                        If you're open to do cauliflower instead of broccoli i made this whole roasted one the other night- i skipped the whole whipped goat cheese situation- it was gorgeous and really delicious!
                                                        http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/whol...

                                                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                          Ooh, cool! I'm open to cauliflower AND broccoli, but I can't give up my favorite veggie's spot at the table! :) I'd probably pass on the goat cheese, too. I'm sure no one in this crowd would eat it anyway.

                                                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                            my mom used to steam a whole head of cauliflower, put it in a large round serving dish, Sprinkle cooked frozen peas around the perimeter of the cauliflower and cover top of cauliflower with white sauce; simple ingredients but pretty presentation...she also taught me to do creamed onions with cooked frozen pearl onions served in heated white sauce, recommend for small portions only.

                                                        2. re: Kontxesi

                                                          I'm going to assume that his family is going to take care of any potato/pasta/other starchy and fatty things and bring no vegetables. So here is the list of things I'm considering, besides the turkey:

                                                          Broccoli and cheddar casserole with leeks
                                                          Olive oil-braised vegetables
                                                          Broccoli Parmesan fritters (always a hit)*
                                                          Bacon-braised green beans
                                                          Braised Brussels sprouts*
                                                          Caramelized pearl onions and bacon
                                                          Roasted onions stuffed with wild rice and kale
                                                          Cider-braised collards with ham*
                                                          Creamed onions with sage*

                                                          I'm leaning towards the asterisked items right now, but I need to present the list to the other half and get his opinion.

                                                          I'll also be making my mom's stuffing recipe, plus a new one. Options on the table for that:

                                                          Ham, Gruyere, and Onion
                                                          Farro, caramelized onion, and mushroom*
                                                          Leek and mushroom wild rice

                                                          Appetizer options:

                                                          White cheddar poppy seed cheese ball
                                                          Peppered herb cheese ball
                                                          Bacon cheddar cheese ball*
                                                          Prosciutto-basil cheese ball*
                                                          Spinach puffs*
                                                          Flaky harvest vegetable squash
                                                          Roasted butternut squash ravioli with sage brown butter sauce (I really want to try this, but I don't see it flying with this group)

                                                          Bread options:

                                                          Freeze-and-bake rolls
                                                          Chive popovers
                                                          Bread wreath

                                                          I'm giving way more information than anyone is interested in, but I need someone to talk to about this stuff! :p

                                                          1. re: Kontxesi

                                                            Those all sound delicious! What would you think about replacing one of your starred veggie dishes with a salad of some sort? The 4 items you've starred are all rich and unctuous (good things in my book!), so maybe something that's crisp and fresh with a bit of acidity would be nice to balance out the flavours and textures? A cucumber salad or a kale salad would fit the bill.

                                                            And I'd maybe say the same thing about the apps, which will mostly be cheese and bread, which might fill up your guests too much. But you know them best, so feel free to ignore this. :0)

                                                            By the way, I'm glad it looks like you've managed to find a middle ground for hosting his family -- let them bring the stuff they must have and make some stuff that will make you happy!

                                                            1. re: TorontoJo

                                                              The broccoli fritters are actually pretty light, but you have a point. The creamed onions would probably be the least enjoyed by them, so I could replace that with a salad....

                                                              With the appetizers, other than a veggie tray, I'm not sure what I could get them to eat that wasn't bread and cheese. I'll skip the puffs and put veggies out, I think. I DEFINITELY want the prosciutto-basil ball, though. I bet I'm the only one who will eat it, but I've been dreaming about it! :D

                                                              1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                Of course, they may turn their noses up at a salad, so you should just make whatever you want to eat! Same with the apps -- go with your gut.

                                                              2. re: TorontoJo

                                                                I usually serve a salad-loose leaf lettuce/spinach with tomato/cucumber/green pepper /avocado with salad dressing
                                                                or
                                                                artichokes if they are not exorbitantly expensive

                                                              3. re: Kontxesi

                                                                I still have not found the perfect creamed onion recipe; do you have a good one? I've bought good quality frozen pearl onions because using fresh ones is just a big fat tedious job on top of everything else. Ina uses those for lots of things. I think I can thaw them and saute them a bit first.

                                                                1. re: walker

                                                                  The one I've saved is a Martha Stewart recipe. I haven't ever used it before, so I can't give you a review. Sorry!

                                                                2. re: Kontxesi

                                                                  Someone is bringing a VEGETABLE! :D

                                                                  Update: (* items are things I'm making)
                                                                  Total confirmed diners - 7 (inc 1 toddler)

                                                                  Apps:
                                                                  Prosciutto-basil cheese ball*

                                                                  Main:
                                                                  Brined and roasted turkey*
                                                                  Ham

                                                                  Sides:
                                                                  Baked beans
                                                                  Braised Brussels sprouts*
                                                                  Green beans
                                                                  Green salad*
                                                                  Macaroni salad
                                                                  Pasta salad

                                                                  Desserts:
                                                                  Brown Butterscotch Pie*
                                                                  A cake or pie (TBD)
                                                                  Pumpkin roll

                                                                  1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                    I like the prosciutto / basil ball idea. How do you make it?

                                                                    What are you brining the turkey with?

                                                                    1. re: Westy

                                                                      An apple cider blend for the turkey. I use this recipe:
                                                                      http://www.chow.com/recipes/30501-eas...

                                                                      And for the cheese ball:
                                                                      http://www.bhg.com/recipe/appetizers-...

                                                                      I haven't made it before, but I'm super excited about it. I'm going to make it as directed at first, but there is a good chance I'll at least double the scallions.

                                                                      1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                        When I click on for the cheese ball - the recipe I see doesn't show any basil or proscuitto in it? Wrong link or is it me? ;)

                                                                        1. re: chloebell

                                                                          The main recipe is for a dilled onion cheese ball, but there are alternate instructions below for the prosciutto-basil one. :)

                                                                  2. re: Kontxesi

                                                                    The cheese ball got dropped. :( Partially because I don't think many people are going to come much earlier than the meal is scheduled to start, and partially because the only basil Kroger had last night was in a container that would hold more than a pound of fresh pasta. I don't need all that!

                                                                    Confirmed diners: 10 (including 1 toddler)

                                                                    Main:
                                                                    Brined turkey*
                                                                    Ham

                                                                    Sides:
                                                                    Baked beans
                                                                    Braised Brussels sprouts*
                                                                    Cider-braised collard greens*
                                                                    Green beans
                                                                    Macaroni salad
                                                                    Pasta salad
                                                                    Rolls*
                                                                    Stuffing (2 kinds)*

                                                                    Desserts:
                                                                    Brown butterscotch pie*
                                                                    Cake or pie (TBD)
                                                                    Pumpkin roll
                                                                    1 other misc dessert

                                                                    I bought all of the collard greens and Brussels sprouts they had left. :p Is it normal for collards to have a lot of stem attached at the store? I normally get mine from work, and there's only maybe 6 inches of stem. These had a foot or so in them.

                                                                    EDIT: Forgot rolls and stuffing!

                                                                    1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                      When you're paying by the pound, that can add up!

                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                        Yeah. I was not amused. It was only .99/lb, but still.

                                                                        1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                          You should have been like the people that peel the outer leaves off cabbage, and broke all the stems off!

                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                            My boyfriend wanted to, but they were being sold in bunches.... It didn't feel right. :/

                                                                            1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                              Well they make good mulch at least.

                                                                            2. re: coll

                                                                              i think if i saw that and the collards were not sold per bunch but per pound, i'd ask the produce manager to cut off all that excess stem (but really, though, the stem is not very weighty, is it?).

                                                                              i wouldn't pull off the cabbage leaves. i wonder how many would? if i started a thread like that, i can predict how it would go, and how long it would take for the mods to shut it down. LOL.

                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                Oh yeah, I'm pretty sure there HAVE been threads like that already. Or at least about pre-husking your corn before purchase.

                                                                                I'm thinking collard stems would weigh more than the leaves. If I remember, I'll check it out next time I buy some, just for fun.

                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                  They were pre-bunched, but priced by the pound. I probably should have done that, because the stems were about half the weight, I'd say.

                                                                    2. TorontoJo, room for one more at your table??!! Everything sounds delicious!!

                                                                      1. Just 8 of us this year so I'm keeping it simple: Accidental Turkey, heart-attack mashed potatoes, stuffing, roasted broccoli, Caesar salad, and biscuits.

                                                                        Appetizers will likely include cheese/crackers, shrimp cocktail, mini crab cakes, and some kind of hot dip like spinach-artichoke.

                                                                        19 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                          Would you mind sharing your mashed potatoes recipe?

                                                                          And I was intrigued by the name "Accidental Turkey", so I looked it up. It's very similar to what I do as well, though I like spatchcocking the bird. I use thyme instead of rosemary. Hooray for the dry brine!

                                                                          1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                            Meeting w/ SIL as I type for our menu. I'll report back soon. One year brother did a smoked turkey, last year we did a roasted turkey. I have a feeling we'll be having both this year.

                                                                            And cornbread dressing is ALWAYS on the menu.

                                                                            1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                              It starts with 5 pounds of peeled white potatoes boiled in salted water. Then you add 2 blocks of room temperature cream cheese, 1 cup of sour cream, a couple of tablespoons of butter (why not?), kosher salt, and pepper. Mash everything together and then whip with a hand mixer or with the wire whisk in a stand mixer.

                                                                              They are soooo unhealthy and sooooo good. Can be made a day or 2 in advance and reheated in the oven. This is my husband's grandmother's recipe.

                                                                              1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                Oh dear god, those do sound good! Last year, I used boursin and butter in my mashed potatoes, but not close to these quantities...I think I need to do a test run with your recipe. :) Thanks for sharing!

                                                                                1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                  They are amazing! And, despite all of the cream cheese, they get really light and fluffy when you whip them well. I promise that they really can be made a day or 2 ahead and reheated without any issue. Been there, done that many times!

                                                                                2. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                  My mother makes a version of these mashed potatoes - she adds the cream cheese and sour cream (and butter), and then puts them into a casserole and dots the top generously with more butter, then bakes them so they get a crusty brown top. Insanely delicious.

                                                                                  1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                    Njchicaa or others: just got my 1st-ever stand mixer yesterday (and I'm olddddd). Can regular mashed potatoes be made with the wire whisk, too, not just the cream cheese version? I don't want to end up w/ gluey potatoes. Hope this didn't derail the thread.

                                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                                      For a long time, CI demanded that no one whip potatoes in mixer. (Yet I remember menus stating "whipped potatoes" and my aunt always whipped hers in the mixer and they were delicious!)

                                                                                      Now they state they only meant not to use the food processor.
                                                                                      In my opinion, it's best to use a ricer (I like mine from Wms-Sonoma) and then whip a little bit.

                                                                                      1. re: walker

                                                                                        I have always used a hand mixer and they are great .

                                                                                        1. re: melpy

                                                                                          My mom and grandmother always used handmixers when I was growing up, so I've done the same. Never had gluey potatoes.

                                                                                      2. re: pine time

                                                                                        I would use the paddle to "mash" them and then switch to the wire whisk afterward and whip the heck out of them. I think it would just be more time-efficient and easier on the motor.

                                                                                        I usually hand-mash the potatoes in the pot with the butter, milk, salt/pepper, sour cream, and occasional cream cheese as best I can and then transfer them to the stand mixer to whip them until light and fluffy. I'm still traumatized by an attempt to mash potatoes with an immersion blender. Potato paste.

                                                                                        1. re: pine time

                                                                                          P.S. Congrats on your stand mixer! They can really change what you do/attempt in the kitchen! What did you get?

                                                                                          1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                            Thanks to all for the potato advice. I have some RA in my hands, so have been using a hand mixer for mashed potatoes rather than by hand.

                                                                                            Njchicaa, got the KA Pro 6 qt bowl-lift mixer from Costco. However, it has a Costco-exclusive model #, and I've read that some extra bowls, beaters, etc, don't fit (altho' the attachments do).

                                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                                              I've had my mixer over 40 years and over and over I knew I needed an extra bowl. Finally bought one about 3 years ago;
                                                                                              I should have done that a LONG time ago.

                                                                                              Call up or email Kitchen Aid or Chef's catalog, etc. that sells the bowls and ask them.

                                                                                              1. re: walker

                                                                                                It's when I talked to KA that I learned that CostCo's model # is exclusive to CostCo and that similar model #s bowls won't fit. I'm supposed to get a free ice cream maker (choice of that or a food grinder)--hoping it'll fit--the correct model # was on the freebie form, however.

                                                                                                1. re: pine time

                                                                                                  Why don't you talk to Head Mgr of your Costco and see if you can buy an extra bowl?

                                                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                                                      I would think Kitchen Aid would be able to help as well. You might have more luck if you call them, and let them know you have the Costco version, since they make them. :D

                                                                                                      1. re: JusticeFlight

                                                                                                        3 entries, above: it's when I did exactly that that KA said "no go" on the other bowls/beaters.

                                                                                  2. Turkey with a citrus butter rub and gravy
                                                                                    Sauteed Brussels sprout chiffonade with coarse grain mustard
                                                                                    Leek, fig and sausage stuffing
                                                                                    Cauliflower mash
                                                                                    Mashed potatoes with truffle oil
                                                                                    Green beans with persillade

                                                                                    Dessert
                                                                                    Sugar free pumpkin mousse with cardamom roasted pears
                                                                                    Flourless chocolate amaretto cake
                                                                                    Apple crostada

                                                                                    15 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Dcfoodblog

                                                                                      Love the stuffing flavor profile - DC, I might have to riff on that one!

                                                                                      1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                        Agreed! That stuffing sounds serious. We make a mushroom one that I live but last year I made two. Might have to branch out.

                                                                                        1. re: melpy

                                                                                          Ditto. Post the recipe if you're willing! My DH hates figs but I might be able to make it as an alternative stuffing some year (provided that our usual roasted fennel, shallot and porcini mushroom stuffing still makes an appearance).

                                                                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                            Fennel, shallot and porcini sounds amazing too. Can I make 30 different stuffings and call it a day? Obviously my favorite item.

                                                                                            1. re: melpy

                                                                                              Now that is a meal I would be happy to attend.

                                                                                              1. re: melpy

                                                                                                THAT stuffing sounds amazing! Sadly my brother in law hates mushrooms. Otherwise, I have some dried porcini AND morels that were locally picked that I would love to use for either stuffing or gravy.

                                                                                              2. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                It's a riff on the Barefoot Contessa filling for her turkey roulade. I have a cousin who hates celery so I substitute the celery with leeks.

                                                                                                3/4 cup large-diced dried figs, stems removed
                                                                                                1/2 cup Calvados or brandy
                                                                                                4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
                                                                                                1 1/2 cups diced onions (2 onions)
                                                                                                1 cup (1/2-inch-sliced) leeks (3 stalks)
                                                                                                3/4 pound pork sausage, casings removed (sweet and hot mixed)
                                                                                                1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
                                                                                                3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
                                                                                                2 large baugettes cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch cubes
                                                                                                1 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
                                                                                                1 extra-large egg, beaten

                                                                                                Place the dried figs in a small saucepan and pour in the Calvados and 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

                                                                                                Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and leeks and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits with a fork, and saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until cooked and browned. Add the figs and cranberries with the liquid, the chopped rosemary, and pine nuts, and cook for 2 more minutes. Scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

                                                                                                Place the bread mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir well.

                                                                                                Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

                                                                                                1. re: Dcfoodblog

                                                                                                  I see cranberries in the instructions but not in the list of ingredients - I would probably leave them out anyway, but for those who might be interested, do you know what amount is called for? BTW, thanks for sharing - this looks fabulous. Leeks instead of celery is definitely MO BETTAH!

                                                                                                  1. re: Dcfoodblog

                                                                                                    Since you mention mixing sweet and hot pork sausages, am I correct in that you are using Italian sausages?

                                                                                                    1. re: Wtg2Retire

                                                                                                      Oops. Cranberries is on the original recipe I leave it out because i think it's too much sweet but if you want it in just add 3/4 of a cup. And I am using Italian sausages.

                                                                                                  2. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                    Biondanomina, I like the sound of your stuffing. Where is the recipe from?

                                                                                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                      It's VERY loosely based on a vegetarian one from Epicurious, but I've made so many changes that it bears little resemblance to the Epi version. Here's the recipe, if you're interested. This is a very loose, chunky and rustic stuffing - it isn't meant to hold together. All of the amounts are fairly approximate.

                                                                                                      2 loaves French or artisan bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
                                                                                                      2 sticks butter (or a little less - between greasing pans and dotting, though, I tend to use it all!)
                                                                                                      3 cups chicken stock
                                                                                                      4 cups boiling-hot water
                                                                                                      3 oz dried porcini mushrooms
                                                                                                      1 lb cremini mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
                                                                                                      1 large or two small bulbs fennel, cut into large dice
                                                                                                      2 medium onions, one diced large, one minced in the food processor
                                                                                                      10-15 large shallots, quartered
                                                                                                      2 celery ribs, minced in the food processor
                                                                                                      2 small carrots, minced in the food processor
                                                                                                      10 garlic cloves, minced
                                                                                                      1 lb. sage breakfast sausage
                                                                                                      2 T. chopped fresh thyme and rosemary
                                                                                                      1/4 c. chopped fresh sage
                                                                                                      1/2 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
                                                                                                      salt and black pepper

                                                                                                      A few days before, set bread out to stale (alternately, dry in a low oven until very dry).

                                                                                                      Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss fennel, diced onion, shallots and cremini mushrooms with a bit of oil and roast until softened and caramelized, stirring occasionally, 30-40 minutes. Meanwhile, pour boiling-hot water over porcini and soak 20 minutes, then drain in a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, squeezing porcini and reserving 1 cup soaking liquid. Rinse porcini under cold water to remove any grit, then squeeze out excess water and coarsely chop.

                                                                                                      While porcini soak, saute sausage (if using) in a 14-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Remove sausage, leaving fat in the pan, and add one stick of butter. When melted and hot, add carrots, celery, garlic and finely minced onion with a pinch of salt and saute until softened and beginning to dry out, 15 to 20 minutes. Add herbs and salt and pepper. Combine roasted and sauteed vegetables, porcinis and sausage. (If making the day before, vegetables and sausage may be combined at this point and refrigerated separately from the bread.)

                                                                                                      Add bread to vegetable and sausage mixture, tossing well.
                                                                                                      Pour stock and 1 cup reserved porcini liquid over bread mixture, tossing to coat evenly. (Use more or less stock as required.)

                                                                                                      Spread stuffing in large buttered baking dish (this makes enough to fill two 9x13s - I usually use a roasting pan), dot top with remaining butter and cover tightly with buttered foil (buttered side down), then bake at 350-375 until heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake stuffing until top is browned, 10 to 15 minutes more.

                                                                                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                        Thanks, this sounds good. But rich! A few questions:

                                                                                                        Is it still good without the sausage? I have vegetarian family members.

                                                                                                        What size loaves do you use and do you remove the crust?

                                                                                                        I would probably halve the recipe....

                                                                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                          It is definitely good without the sausage and chicken broth - I often make a pan without for vegetarians. The porcini mushrooms and soaking liquid give it a ton of flavor. The loaves I use are about 10-12 oz each, and I do not remove the crust - I want it to have crisp-chewy bits. I make my own bread using a very basic recipe (flour, water, yeast, salt), but any good artisan bread will be fine.

                                                                                              3. re: Dcfoodblog

                                                                                                Amended the menu to add an amuse bouche of crostini with a salt cod puree and swapping out the mashed potatoes for butternut squash risotto cakes.

                                                                                              4. Still in the early planning because we don't yet know how many will be at the table. So far:
                                                                                                Turkey breast(s) on top of stuffing (Serious Eats Food Lab) We may add a couple of thighs. But, we'll make our own stuffing mix with cornbread and the stuffing bread from King Arthur.
                                                                                                Broccoli/cauliflower salad
                                                                                                Mashed potatoes
                                                                                                Make ahead gravy
                                                                                                Home made dinner rolls
                                                                                                Some sort of veg -- thinking the veg hash from a recent Southern Living
                                                                                                Drunk cranberries (made with vermouth, Grand Marnier, citrus juice, spices -- not a drop of water)
                                                                                                Haven't decided on dessert

                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: onrushpam

                                                                                                  onrushpam - can you share how to make the drunken cranberries? That sounds great, and different....

                                                                                                  1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                    Here ya go... This makes a HUGE pot (enough to give as gifts). It's a forgiving recipe. If I'm not making it for gifts, I cut it way back, just winging it. I usually use all the spices called for, even if I'm just doing a couple of bags of cranberries (except the cinnamon sticks).
                                                                                                    4-5 bags cranberries
                                                                                                    5 lb sugar
                                                                                                    1 liter dry vermouth
                                                                                                    2 C Grand Marnier, Cointreau or other orange liqueur (I think the original recipe I started with called for some really expensive brand of orange brandy or cognac, but I've never used that)
                                                                                                    Juice and zest of 2 limes, 2 tangerines or oranges
                                                                                                    9 cinnamon sticks
                                                                                                    1 t ground cloves
                                                                                                    1 t fennel seed (do NOT leave this out!)
                                                                                                    1/2 t ground ginger (I usually use some grated fresh ginger)
                                                                                                    Combine all in a heavy pot and simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Simmer for at least 15 minutes (you want the berries to pop and for it to thicken a bit).
                                                                                                    Cool and pour in jars. Refrigerate
                                                                                                    It keeps a LONG time (months) in the fridge.
                                                                                                    It's good on ice cream.
                                                                                                    I add it to sauteed onions and a little stock to make a sauce for pork roast. You can even make it more drunk with some red wine for the sauce! :-)

                                                                                                  2. re: onrushpam

                                                                                                    Well, our T'giving just went from a party of ~10 @ sister's house to just 4 of us in a condo in Branson, MO. Sis and I are driving and nephew lives near, so we'll be hauling a lot of stuff with us. Still, we're going to simplify it. Trying to decide on a veg side. I'm voting for this vegetable hash from Southern Living: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/fall-...

                                                                                                    And, dessert... need something easy-peasy. We may do this pumpkin sticky pudding, which I've made many times. We can do a half recipe, if desired and I make the caramel sauce ahead and take with. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/mem...

                                                                                                    Sis is bringing her KA mixer. There will be rolls. (Nephew won't let us not do rolls.)

                                                                                                    We've started a planning list via Dropbox. :-

                                                                                                    )

                                                                                                    The Sunday after will be a gathering of maybe 100 relatives we haven't seen in years. We're bringing the paper plates/napkins/cups, etc. for that. I'm sleuthing the net for come nice stuff that won't break the bank.

                                                                                                    This will be an adventure.

                                                                                                    1. re: onrushpam

                                                                                                      That hash looks good. I'd probably feel compelled to add a couple of yellow potatoes, more garlic and smoked paprika. May give it a shot!

                                                                                                      1. re: onrushpam

                                                                                                        The pumpkin sticky pudding is fabulous. Are you kidding, make a half recipe?

                                                                                                    2. Forget what I'm making... how do I get an invitation?! :D Sounds wonderful darling!

                                                                                                      I used to do huge dinners for the holidays, but my boys are grown, and I've been ill, so I don't do any cooking. I miss it so much. Instead, I'll feed my neurotic sense of planning by adding my normal menu here.

                                                                                                      Beverages

                                                                                                      Wassail (Hot Spiced Apple Cider)
                                                                                                      Cranberry Cocktails (with Champagne)

                                                                                                      Appetizers

                                                                                                      Blue/Cheddar/Cream Cheese ball and crackers
                                                                                                      Orange and Pepper Nuts with Craisins
                                                                                                      Soy Bacon wrapped Water Chestnuts

                                                                                                      Dinner

                                                                                                      Brined Turkey with Pomegranate Molasses Glaze
                                                                                                      Sage stuffing with sausage, apples, raisins
                                                                                                      Green bean casserole
                                                                                                      Glazed Yams
                                                                                                      Garlic Smashed Potatoes
                                                                                                      Roasted Parmesan Broccoli
                                                                                                      Homemade Spiced Cranberry Sauce
                                                                                                      Stuffed Acorn Squash

                                                                                                      Desserts
                                                                                                      Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Whipped Cream
                                                                                                      Rustic Apple Tart
                                                                                                      Chocolate Pots de Creme

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: JusticeFlight

                                                                                                        I'm liking the sound of that pomegranate molasses glazed turkey!

                                                                                                      2. Roasted Jalepeno Chili Turkey
                                                                                                        Baked cream-cheese/butter/sour cream mashed potatoes
                                                                                                        Sweet potato casserole (with a brown-sugar/pecan topping)
                                                                                                        Lemony green beans with pine nuts
                                                                                                        Cranberry chutney with apples/pears/oranges/pecans
                                                                                                        Amazing crouton-style herb stuffing (broth mixed with turkey pan-gravy is poured over at the end leaving the croutons still a bit crunchy)
                                                                                                        Kashkaval-herb rolls
                                                                                                        Apple fritters
                                                                                                        Apple pie
                                                                                                        Cream filled croissants
                                                                                                        Apricot pinwheel danishes
                                                                                                        Chocolate covered bananas
                                                                                                        SANGRIA, WINE, BRANDY

                                                                                                        1. Left to my own devices I'd go with:

                                                                                                          Appetizers...pretty much anything as long as I can sip Amontillado.
                                                                                                          Simple turkey, brined, roasted with wine and butter baste. I actually like Martha Stewart's cheesecloth approach.
                                                                                                          I also like her bread dressing with lots of fresh sage.
                                                                                                          Simple gravy with wine and reconstituted dried mushrooms.
                                                                                                          Cranberries with orange zest.
                                                                                                          A mixture of sweet potatoes, leeks, and fennel, tossed in oil and a savory rub and roasted.
                                                                                                          Green beans blanched then tossed in garlic, olive oil, torn up large crumbs of a French bread, grated Romano, and heated, but not over cooking the beans.
                                                                                                          Hard rolls with really good butter.
                                                                                                          Pecan pie from the Karo syrup recipe and a nice gingery pumpkin pie, both with very flaky home made crust
                                                                                                          Home made chipotle mayo for turkey sandwiches,
                                                                                                          Several bottles of great Oregon pinot noir

                                                                                                          Of course, I am never left to my own devices. The Sherry and PN will help me through it all, however.

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: tim irvine

                                                                                                            Is there a recipe for that Sweet Potato-Leeks-Fennel combo please?

                                                                                                            1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                              I was just going to quarter the sweet potatoes, slice the leeks thick, halve some fennel bulbs, put them in a jelly roll pan, sprinkle some salt, pepper, and herbs d'Provence over them, sprinkle olive oil, toss, and roast at 400.

                                                                                                          2. I am under pressure to serve a traditional menu (there's a huge debate over whether or not to stuff the turkey, I don't want to but I am losing the battle).

                                                                                                            So far it's shaping up to look like this:

                                                                                                            - Herb butter turkey (dry brined for 3 days, butter under the skin)
                                                                                                            - Traditional bread stuffing
                                                                                                            - Seven spices rice with ground beef, almonds and pine nuts (perfect with turkey and gravy, and you can even stuff the turkey with it. If anyone wants the recipe let me know)
                                                                                                            - Make ahead mashed potatoes
                                                                                                            - Make ahead classic green beans casserole
                                                                                                            - Corn casserole
                                                                                                            - Sweet potato casserole
                                                                                                            - Cream biscuits or some form of dinner rolls that I can freeze the week before
                                                                                                            - Cranberry sauce
                                                                                                            - Gravy

                                                                                                            Hors D’oeuvres:
                                                                                                            - Muhammara (roasted red pepper and walnuts dip)
                                                                                                            - Whipped Feta with Cucumbers

                                                                                                            Dessert: (tentative)
                                                                                                            - Pumpkin Pie
                                                                                                            - Apple Upside Down Cake or Apple Pie
                                                                                                            - Slutty Brownies

                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: mazwe

                                                                                                              I forgot the Brussel sprouts with shallots and bacon. :)

                                                                                                              1. re: mazwe

                                                                                                                could I have the recipe for the seven spice rice?

                                                                                                                1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                  Lebanese Ouzeh Rice

                                                                                                                  1 ½ cups of rice (I prefer long grain)
                                                                                                                  3 2/3 cups of beef stock (or chicken. In general, I follow the instructions on the rice box for how much liquid the rice needs to cook)
                                                                                                                  1 lb ground beef (or less if you don’t like a lot of meat in your rice)
                                                                                                                  1 medium onion, chopped
                                                                                                                  ½ cup of pine nuts (optional)
                                                                                                                  ½ cup of slivered almonds (optional)
                                                                                                                  1 cup of frozen peas (optional)
                                                                                                                  1 ½ teaspoons seven spices (or to taste-- recipe below)
                                                                                                                  2 tbsp butter or vegetable oil
                                                                                                                  Salt and pepper to taste

                                                                                                                  Toast the pine nuts and almonds with some of the butter. When they’ve turned brown, remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the same pan (I do everything in one pot), add the remaining butter and cook the chopped onion until wilted. Add the meat, brown it. Add the spices. Then add the rice, mix with the beef then add the stock. Stir and bring it to a boil. Add salt to taste (depends on how salty your stock is). Lower the heat and cover. Add the frozen peas 10 min or so before your rice is done (don't stir too much so it doesn't get too mushy). When the rice is cooked, add the pine nuts and almonds on top.

                                                                                                                  Tip: try making with homemade turkey broth or stuff in turkey. A more traditional way: stuff (cooked) in puff pastry and bake.

                                                                                                                  Lebanese seven spices (available in middle eastern markets or you can make at home):
                                                                                                                  1 tablespoon finely ground black pepper
                                                                                                                  1 tablespoon ground allspice
                                                                                                                  1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
                                                                                                                  1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
                                                                                                                  1 teaspoon ground coriander
                                                                                                                  1 teaspoon ground cloves
                                                                                                                  1 teaspoon ground Ginger

                                                                                                                  Obviously the above makes more than you need for this recipe. But I actually use this spice mix in the dry brine and in the herb butter I apply on the turkey. Really good stuff.

                                                                                                                  1. re: mazwe

                                                                                                                    That sounds delicious, thanks for sharing! I think this will be dinner in my near future.

                                                                                                                    1. re: mazwe

                                                                                                                      Thank you. That sounds wonderful! I have copied.

                                                                                                                  2. re: mazwe

                                                                                                                    I don't recommend Stuffing the turkey, however, I will add a few things to add flavor to the bird: garlic cloves, onion, orange, rosemary, etc.

                                                                                                                    This way, the bird takes less time to cook, the stuffing is consistent, and the bird is nice and moist, will plenty of flavor.

                                                                                                                    If you DO stuff the turkey, make SURE NOT to over stuff it. If you have to get up before 6am to make the turkey, don't stuff it, and sleep an extra 30 minutes. :)

                                                                                                                    OH, and make as much ahead of time as you can!

                                                                                                                    1. re: mazwe

                                                                                                                      I don't stuff the turkey because it honestly makes the turkey cooking a pain.

                                                                                                                      I have been making a stock/broth out the turkey giblets etc. and using this seasoned liquid to moisten the stuffing. For those who want the turkey fat flavor, perhaps rendering some of the skin (specially from the areas which don't crisp due to excess moisture) would be helpful?

                                                                                                                    2. I came across this cauliflower recipe in another thread and it's going to replace my curried cauliflower.

                                                                                                                      Lemon, sumac and cumin roasted cauliflower:

                                                                                                                      http://everybodylikessandwiches.com/2...

                                                                                                                      I need to do some research and see if I can harvest some of the flowers of the staghorn sumac around me.

                                                                                                                      1. There's no changing the bird and dressing at my house, so I mix it up with sides as much as I can.

                                                                                                                        Apps:
                                                                                                                        Relish tray, spiced nuts, and small cheese board.

                                                                                                                        Dinner:
                                                                                                                        Roast turkey
                                                                                                                        Honey glazed ham
                                                                                                                        My Great Grandmother's Dressing
                                                                                                                        Turkey drippings and stock gravy
                                                                                                                        Mashed potatoes
                                                                                                                        Roasted root veggies w/ bussels sprouts
                                                                                                                        Sweet potato and apple gratin
                                                                                                                        Green beans with red onions and mushrooms (an accident that turned to deliciousness)
                                                                                                                        Spinach and gorgonzola "soufflé" (Thanks, Tcamp!)
                                                                                                                        Small salad with citrus and the ubiquitous pomegranate seeds
                                                                                                                        Cranberry relish AND canned cranberries for my dad.
                                                                                                                        Parkerhouse rolls

                                                                                                                        Dessert:
                                                                                                                        Pumpkinp pie, banana cream pie, and mixed berry turnovers.

                                                                                                                        1. In the planning stage for my Thankgiving/Chanukah dinner

                                                                                                                          definitely Turkey with stuffing on the side,cranberry sauce,fresh salad, at least 2 vegetables
                                                                                                                          three bean salad
                                                                                                                          potato latkes with applesauce in place of regular potatoes

                                                                                                                          fresh fruit salad
                                                                                                                          homemade cranberry/nut bread

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. This isn't really menu-related, but I didn't really want to start a new thread for it....

                                                                                                                            How many people are you hosting for Thanksgiving this year? How to you plan on seating them all? Do you serve the meal in courses, put everything on the table at once, do it buffet style...?

                                                                                                                            I just have to assume that everyone who talks about having 12+ people for dinner have nice big houses with multiple dining tables or something.... I could possibly have 20 people at my house this year and my table seats 6.

                                                                                                                            I guess I'm just wondering about seating/serving arrangements. I'm definitely going to have to do a buffet with some people sitting in the living room, and maybe even the porch!

                                                                                                                            35 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                              We're hosting 17-18 people. We have a dining room table that can expand to seat 10, and we place another table in the living room across from the dining room (open design), and that's where the younger crowd sits. Most of the food is placed on the "main" table and the dining room buffet, and plates are passed. We only do it this way on the major holidays. Otherwise it's buffet style all the way.

                                                                                                                              1. re: mazwe

                                                                                                                                We did that with my dad's family. I never spent one with my mom's family, but dad's was plenty big.

                                                                                                                                I kinda miss it. :)

                                                                                                                                Let me guess: Two or more gravy boats, right? *laugh* We had three at the main table, and one at the "kids" table.

                                                                                                                                1. re: JusticeFlight

                                                                                                                                  I get around the small gravy boat issue by serving graving in a big fondue pot. Keeps it hot *and* serves a lot of people.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                    This is a great idea. We only every have one. Most people don't eat it. I will think about adding a second. The gravy boat with our china was so expensive I am thinking of mis matched pieces. The one I ahve is white and already looks similar to our china. If i can find a different white one I will pick it up too.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                      I'm reluctant to mention this, but...my get-togethers are very informal. I have people serve themselves in the kitchen while food stays hot on the stove (turkey is sliced and on a platter on a card table in the kitchen.) Especially good to keep the gravy warm on the stove. I have a narrow farm house table so not much room to have bowls of food on the table, passing around.

                                                                                                                                      I'm going to control myself and not serve much in the way of apps because people always get too filled up on those.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                        Since we retired, and it's just the 2 of us, we also serve ourselves from the kitchen--it enables me to keep everything warm for 2nds, and it's just that much less (lots of serving utensils) to wash up. We do a lovely table, still, with flowers and candles, so it's not too buffet-y!

                                                                                                                              2. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                We're hosting 30-35 (eek!), buffet style with chafing dishes and warming trays. My dining table seats 10, and we have an 8' folding table that seats another 10. I *think* we'll be able to fit another 8' folding table if we move some living room furniture out of the way. Fingers crossed.

                                                                                                                                This is why my planning starts super early!

                                                                                                                                1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                  We have a table that seats 12. We're up to 12 now, but always have last minute invites with nowhere else to go. I have a folding table for eight that's used in a pinch.

                                                                                                                                  I always serve buffet style. I'd rather guest be able to get up and grab something at will as opposed to having it passed down the table.

                                                                                                                                  Just a suggestion - check with your local party supply if you need more seating. Chairs and tables are very inexpensive, and some offer table clothes, too.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodChic

                                                                                                                                    Quick edit to my comments - I meant party supply rentals. Tables and chairs rent for as little at $30.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: FoodChic

                                                                                                                                      It is difficult for our guests to walk and one is on oxygen so we have to be seated and pass for the ease of everything. Nobody eats every item so passing isn't too bad.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                      We do apps/drinks out on the porch (weather permitting). My sister's table can seat 12, so this year we'll just use it and serve family style. In the past, we've also used her small breakfast table (4), bar seating (2) and also added an additional folding table in the living room. With more than 12, we have to do it buffet style, which is challenging in her current house as there's no good place to set it up. She has a buffet/console table, but it doesn't hold much. So, it's usually a kitchen counter buffet.

                                                                                                                                      My dining table will seat 10 max and I could set up a folding table for an additional 8, plus put 4-6 out on the screen porch (if weather allowed). I much prefer doing it at sis's house!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                        Good, I don't feel so bad now. I always picture people packed around a huge table in a beautiful dining room....

                                                                                                                                        I don't have a good place to set up a buffet, either, so I will also be using the counter. Luckily, there is a pretty long stretch between the sink and the door, as long as I take the microwave down.

                                                                                                                                        I have an old 1950s Formica top folding table that I'm thinking about setting up in the living room. I'm a little skittish, though, as we just had the hardwood refinished a few months ago and I don't really want people scooting chairs back and forth on it! :/

                                                                                                                                        I like the idea of hosting, but I don't really have the home for it. Unfortunately, neither does anyone else, except for my grandparents who live in Texas and Arizona.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                          Get some of those little felt stick-on pads from Home Depot and put them on the extra table and chairs. (But, be careful. I broke a rib when I sat on a bar stool I'd just put those things on and it scooted out from under me!)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: onrushpam

                                                                                                                                            Oh gosh! That's pretty slick. :/

                                                                                                                                            I had those on my chairs at my last house, but they didn't stick well. I guess if I'm just using them for one night, though, it should work. I think I have a rug I could put down, too....

                                                                                                                                            I'll figure something out! I was looking at it last night, and I think I can actually fit that table, which seats six, plus maybe a card table in my living room/entryway. That would bring us up to seating for 16. Maybe we won't have people on the couch after all!

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                          We have invited 14+ish so far:

                                                                                                                                          Me
                                                                                                                                          Husband
                                                                                                                                          my parents (depending on father's knee replacement)
                                                                                                                                          my sister (have invited her boyfriend and dog)
                                                                                                                                          my grandmother (if she travels this year)
                                                                                                                                          husband's mom and stepfather
                                                                                                                                          husband's stepbrothers plus one possible girlfriend
                                                                                                                                          husband's grandparents
                                                                                                                                          my college roommate and her boyfriend

                                                                                                                                          Wow, typing it out is more people than I thought. I doubt we will have everyone. We will either have courses or serve everything all at once. Not buffet. We have a very long table and the way the house is laid out we can span from the end of the living room to the end of the dining room if we have to (purposely bought this floor plan just for that reason). For me the more people the happier I am.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                            Tip — Think about renting your dishware / flatware from a party supply place! It's probably in the $5-6 per person range, which isn't necessarily cheap, but you may find it good if it saves you a lot of washing-up time and figuring out how to find flatware for everyone.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: kiranator

                                                                                                                                              It should be less than that, if prices in your area are anything like prices in mine. For basic styles:

                                                                                                                                              Dinner plate: $.40
                                                                                                                                              Dessert plate: $.30
                                                                                                                                              Fork/knife/spoon: $.20 (each)
                                                                                                                                              Wine glass: $.30

                                                                                                                                              So you should be able to get by with around $1.50 per person. Not bad for not having to wash dishes!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: kiranator

                                                                                                                                                I was planning on using paper/plastic with this crowd, honestly. But $1.50 a person isn't bad.... And you don't have to wash them? You just return them dirty? :-?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                  Yep, put it all back in the packaging you received it all in and return dirty! It's rather awesome. Remember that even if you washed them, the company would wash again, as they are responsible for the cleanliness of the stuff for the next renter. I usually rent all the glassware I need, because it's just such a hassle to wash.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                    That's gross! I can understand that they have a responsibility to wash them themselves -- hopefully just prior to sending them out again. Even so, I couldn't possibly send something back that I hadn't run through the dishwasher. At least the rinse cycle!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                      They specifically tell you not to wash anything. Really.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                    Yep, just scrape and put right back into the case they came in. The rental place has to run them through their professional dishwasher anyway, so no point in doing the work for it!

                                                                                                                                                2. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                  It's just the 2 of us! While I miss my family at the holidays, I love these small quiet holidays. We do try to plate it all nicely, snap a photo and then dig in. I also am pretty stuck in my ways on presentation so insist on fresh flowers for the table, matching serving ware and what not even if it's just the two of us I like to still make it special. I can't imagine hosting upwards of 12 people or even 6 people for that matter.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                    We are going to have either 11 (incl 1 kid and 2 toddlers), or 19 (incl. 2 kids and 3 toddlers). Not exactly sure how it will work with the kids. My sister and nieces came to visit this weekend and it was HECTIC. And I don't really like being governed by the toddlers' (twins) 12:30 naptime--full disclosure: this comes out of the mouth of a childless woman. So it is my hope that we can strike a balance by having appetizers while the babies are up and then enjoy a nice, sane, adult dinner.

                                                                                                                                                    Anyway, as to the table seating, if there are only 11 of us and babies go down to nap, then we can all manage at one table. With 19--no way--will have to do two tables which is unfortunate. And I definitely do buffet. Last year was my first year to get to utilize my warming drawer and my heavens it's the best invention since the printing press! I've been disappointed by too many cold thanksgiving dinners by the time I finally sat down. Good luck though--I wish I could be less type A!!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bblonde

                                                                                                                                                      What's a warming drawer? Is it like those electric warming trays?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                        Whatever it is, it sounds like something I need!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                          Mine is under the ovens. It's literally a draw that heats up like a very moderate oven. It's good for just setting cooked dishes in

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                        Well, so far only 7 adults + 1 toddler on the official list, including the two of us. Still waiting on replies from about 10 adults + 2 teens + 2 toddlers. These people are killing me. Only two weeks left! I need to know how many chairs to borrow and if I need to find a table, too.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                          I'm a fan of card tables; I have 2 to use if I need them. I always use one in the kitchen .. that's where the turkey gets carved .. out of the way of everybody else, away from the oven. Table gets covered with freezer wrap paper with masking tape help and it looks nice and afterward you just rip paper off to throw out.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                            I mentioned Thanksgiving to my SIL last week (they have been coming to my house for close to 40 years now, annually) and she said "Oh it's too early to think about Thanksgiving". Since the most she'll bring is a cheap bottle of wine, I guess she's right.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                              I was just talking to my mom about this on Wednesday. I was whining about no one having let me know if they're coming, how they said they had to find out what the other side of the family was doing.... "Thanksgiving is two weeks away? Who doesn't already know what they're doing?!"

                                                                                                                                                              I just have to keep reminding myself that no one in his family - or mine, for that matter (except possibly my step-mom) - loves food the way I do, and that if you aren't obsessing over the food, planning isn't that important.

                                                                                                                                                              Or if you aren't having anyone come from out-of-town. My boyfriend's family all lives within a... I'd say 15-mile radius. That I know of, only one has strayed from the county, and she's just across the border....

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                  I actually just realized that it's only two weeks away, with business trips and a cookie exchange in between now and then. So I seriously need to finalize everything in my plan this weekend!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                My in-laws want to discuss who is having Thanksgiving usually one week before. I think I told people at the beginning of October that I would be willing to do it.

                                                                                                                                                          2. Seriously considering making Adobo Turkey with Red Chili Gravy.

                                                                                                                                                            Side dishes considering are:

                                                                                                                                                            Mashed Potatoes
                                                                                                                                                            Chipotle Sweet Potato Gratin with Gruyere Cheese
                                                                                                                                                            My Sweet Potatoes (for youngest granddaughter)
                                                                                                                                                            Poblano Corn Pudding
                                                                                                                                                            Cranberry Salsa with Cilantro and Chiles
                                                                                                                                                            Cornbread Dressing
                                                                                                                                                            Cucumber Salad
                                                                                                                                                            Barefoot Contessa’s Herbal Iced Tea
                                                                                                                                                            Lemon Squares
                                                                                                                                                            Pumpkin Pie
                                                                                                                                                            Coconut Cream Pie

                                                                                                                                                            I just want to do something different this year. Honestly, I can't decide on what to do for bread so welcome your suggestions.

                                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Wtg2Retire

                                                                                                                                                              Navajo bread strikes me as a good fit. Mmm. Nice menu.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tim irvine

                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the nice comment, Tim. Have never had Navajo bread, but will definitely look for a recipe; thanks for the suggestion.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Wtg2Retire

                                                                                                                                                                Ooh, can you please tell me more about the sweet potato gratin? The recipe I was planning on using has no cheese and I'm curious how the chipotle and the cheese play together.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                  Here is the recipe, Jo. I have not made this yet, but it sure sounds good to me.

                                                                                                                                                                  Chipotle Sweet Potato Gratin with Gruyere Cheese

                                                                                                                                                                  Serves 8

                                                                                                                                                                  2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled, washed and sliced ¼” thick
                                                                                                                                                                  2 c. heavy cream
                                                                                                                                                                  2 – 3 Chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
                                                                                                                                                                  1 t. salt
                                                                                                                                                                  1 t. black pepper
                                                                                                                                                                  2 c. grated Swiss Gruyere cheese

                                                                                                                                                                  Pre-heat oven to 375 F.

                                                                                                                                                                  Combine in the work bowl of a food processor the chilies and half of the heavy cream. Process until the chilies are blended well with the cream. You can add some of the adobo sauce for more flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                  In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan put the sweet potato slices, cream, cream and chili mixture and seasoning. Bring the mixture to a boil slowly on medium to high heat, stirring constantly. Once the potatoes begin to boil, turn them off and ladle them into a 9" X 13" glass baking dish and pour over the remaining liquid from the pan. Top with the Gruyere and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender and the cheese is golden. Serve hot.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Wtg2Retire

                                                                                                                                                                    The version without cheese is fantastic so I can only imagine that this would be even more delicious. Gruyere makes everything better!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                      You are so right, bion. Gruyere is just wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Wtg2Retire

                                                                                                                                                                      Thank you WTG! I'm all for gilding the lily. :0)

                                                                                                                                                                2. We usually go over to a friend's house for Thanksgiving, but that doesn't give me a chance for my favorite foods. So:

                                                                                                                                                                  On Saturday or Sunday, I will make the following for the two of us:

                                                                                                                                                                  Popovers mid-morning

                                                                                                                                                                  Stuffed mushroom or shrimp cocktail, late morning

                                                                                                                                                                  Around 2:00 brined turkey with cornbread and sausage stuffing, lots of herbs
                                                                                                                                                                  Gravy
                                                                                                                                                                  Mashed potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                  buttered green beans with almonds
                                                                                                                                                                  cranberry relish

                                                                                                                                                                  late afternoon, pumpkin pie, chocolate cheesecake, leftovers

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Same as Thanksgiving 2012, 2011, 2010....but you know, we like the traditional menu for this fabulous meal just once a year.

                                                                                                                                                                    Roasted turkey (I spatchcocked it last year and will again), bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry salad, cole slaw, green beans, sweet potatoes, rolls & butter. Pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream for dessert. Light apps, not sure what yet but always includes a big bunch of grapes.

                                                                                                                                                                    I make my own stock for the stuffing & gravy, and last year bought bread at the bakery, had it sliced both directions, dried it for a few days and used that for stuffing. Worth the effort!

                                                                                                                                                                    Starting to look forward!!! (Need to make some extra trips to the fitness center!!)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. TG is always a large family affair for us, usually with around 20 people or more in attendance, and everyone brings something. Here's the usual spread:

                                                                                                                                                                      Two turkeys - one roasted, one deep fried
                                                                                                                                                                      Ham
                                                                                                                                                                      Cornbread chicken dressing
                                                                                                                                                                      Sausage dressing
                                                                                                                                                                      Some type of greens, hopefully mustards this year (my fave)
                                                                                                                                                                      Sweet potato casserole
                                                                                                                                                                      Field peas with snaps
                                                                                                                                                                      A salad my grandma makes of cottage cheese plus minced cucumbers, radishes and scallions
                                                                                                                                                                      Waldorf salad
                                                                                                                                                                      Deviled eggs
                                                                                                                                                                      Some kind of jello monstrosity
                                                                                                                                                                      Various and sundry desserts

                                                                                                                                                                      Plus much more I'm sure I'm forgetting.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. My menu plan keeps changing, but today it looks like this (all heart-healthy with no butter, cream or red meat, and with some extra dishes for vegans). The only thing I'm pondering is whether I should add a green salad! What do you think?

                                                                                                                                                                        Dry-brined turkey with fennel, chile and maple
                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/fenn...

                                                                                                                                                                        Chestnut Apple Dressing - with whole wheat bread
                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ro...

                                                                                                                                                                        Spiced Cranberry, Ginger and Pear Sauce
                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010...

                                                                                                                                                                        Cider Gravy - but with hard cider
                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/cid...

                                                                                                                                                                        Garlic and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                        http://wellvegan.com/recipes/garlic-a...

                                                                                                                                                                        Pureed Roasted Squash and Yams with Citrus
                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/31/hea...

                                                                                                                                                                        Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple Mustard Glaze
                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010...

                                                                                                                                                                        Green Beans Amandine - sans the butter
                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.molliekatzen.com/recipes/r...

                                                                                                                                                                        My Amazing Vegan Gravy
                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010...

                                                                                                                                                                        Seitan Roast with Shiitakes and Leeks
                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.theppk.com/2011/11/seitan-...

                                                                                                                                                                        Apple Cranberry Pie - roughly based on this recipe
                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010...

                                                                                                                                                                        1. We never understood why most folks have Thanksgiving dinner at 1 PM or so. For us, it is dinner, so we have it at dinnertime, say 7 PM.

                                                                                                                                                                          We are remodeling our home and last year at Thanksgiving, we had no kitchen, so I am really looking forward to cooking this year and making all the family favorites.

                                                                                                                                                                          My sister and I split up the cooking and I take the food I make over to her place. Our family is 4 people. She makes the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (just baked, can't stand the overly sweet casseroles) and pumpkin pie from scratch. I make the stuffing (Sourdough Artichoke Parmesan, from Sunset), 2 kinds of cranberry sauce (a baked one that is berries and brown sugar only, and a raw fresh one that is finely copped berries, apples, oranges, sugar and spices), green bean casserole (hey, we like it!) and whatever else I want to make, sometimes another veggie dish or dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                          We like to try new things, but these are the must-haves.

                                                                                                                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Michelle

                                                                                                                                                                            We originally kept the 3 p.m. Thanksgiving meal time from my growing-up tradition, but we've decided that eating such a mass of food actually works better for us that early. Plus, I get to clean up the kitchen before midnight.

                                                                                                                                                                            Snacks of turkey bits about 8 p.m. work just fine. Sometimes we'll delay our pie till then, too.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                              I prepare a big dinner like this about twice a year and I never know what time dinner will be served. Chopping up everything takes me so long; I'm really going to try to do more and more ahead.

                                                                                                                                                                              Others make the bowl of stuffing day before; I'm thinking of sauteing the onions & celery but I'm afraid if I mix in the apple and fresh water chestnuts day before, they'll turn brown so I'll just have to leave that for the day of.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                I've always sauteed the celery and onion the day before T'giving. Agree, though, about tossing in the apple & chestnuts T'giving morning.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Michelle

                                                                                                                                                                              We always target about 1pm for dinner. That way we can look forward to the turkey sandwiches for a late supper.

                                                                                                                                                                              I do a mean T-day. (If I do say so myself). Everything is homemade from the soup to desserts (at least 3 plus homemade ice cream). …even the bread that goes in the stuffing. I just made it last night and I'm toasting the cubes right now.

                                                                                                                                                                              But memorable as it may be (and I do take pride in it) it's never as good hot as it is as leftovers. Anyone in my family would say the same.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                                                I lied. I thought it over and I use commercial puff pastry for hors d'oeuvres and TJ chicken broth.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Michelle

                                                                                                                                                                                I absolutely detest eating a huge holiday meal in the middle of the day.

                                                                                                                                                                                I, too, want to eat dinner at at least 6 pm - no earlier.

                                                                                                                                                                                It's especially hard for the cook to product such a feast by noon-ish.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                  Listen, you should eat when you want to and not a moment earlier. ; >

                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't find it difficult at all to have my meal ready by 1-ish. Like all the rest of the menu and the execution it's a matter of planning and advance prep.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                    I would enjoy this but the one type family did it to accommodate our going to the 11am one in PA and their 5 pm one in MD everyone else felt too sick and full to sleep.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Michelle

                                                                                                                                                                                    We do it because most of us don't eat much that day so are starving by 1pm and also we love leftovers, even day of leftovers, usually at night with the late football games.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Michelle

                                                                                                                                                                                      When I was growing up we ate around 3 because it was late enough in the day to allow all of the out-of-towners to drive in, but it was early enough to allow for a leisurely meal that still finished in enough time for people to drive back home at a reasonably hour. Today, all of my guests live within a 30 minutes of one another so long drives are no longer a factor, but we still eat early out of tradition. Plus I have a 2 year old niece who needs to be in bed by 8pm, so earlier works better for my brother and SIL.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I am going the Thanksgivukkah route.

                                                                                                                                                                                      —T'giving hors d'ouevres from childhood: chopped liver and port wine cheese and Triscuits and giant black olives
                                                                                                                                                                                      —Cider sangria
                                                                                                                                                                                      —Chestnut soup (my brother insists on it)
                                                                                                                                                                                      —Turkey (Bittman) and gravy
                                                                                                                                                                                      —Challah sausage stuffing
                                                                                                                                                                                      —Latkes with cranberry applesauce
                                                                                                                                                                                      —Two vegetables TBD by popular vote
                                                                                                                                                                                      —Pumpkin donuts
                                                                                                                                                                                      —Whatever pie my friends bring

                                                                                                                                                                                      It is a small group this year, alas.

                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sweetpotater

                                                                                                                                                                                        I am totally making that apple cider sangria too!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sweetpotater

                                                                                                                                                                                          what is recipe for the chestnut soup?

                                                                                                                                                                                          Whole Foods just started to carry chestnuts-$7.99
                                                                                                                                                                                          alittle expensive but i made them roasted and they were delicious

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sweetpotater

                                                                                                                                                                                            I actually decided against Thanksgivukkah since we'll do a traditional Chanukah party on Saturday.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Instead I'm doing my annual Democratic Thanksgiving. In the spirit of America's (flawed) democracy, I put the menu to a vote each year on Survey Monkey. I only include dishes I'd want to make, though I do have my favorites I'm pulling for. Everyone has a good time with this process.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Here's the ballot this year (in order of current standings, with 3 of 10 votes in):

                                                                                                                                                                                            APERITIF
                                                                                                                                                                                            Apple cider sangria
                                                                                                                                                                                            Campari and orange sparkler
                                                                                                                                                                                            Brandy apple punch
                                                                                                                                                                                            Maple old-fashioned

                                                                                                                                                                                            SOUP
                                                                                                                                                                                            Wild mushroom and leek
                                                                                                                                                                                            Chestnut (Grrr, chestnut never wins, and I love it.)

                                                                                                                                                                                            POTATO
                                                                                                                                                                                            Mashed
                                                                                                                                                                                            Twice-baked

                                                                                                                                                                                            STUFFING
                                                                                                                                                                                            Fennel, apple, and sausage
                                                                                                                                                                                            Mushroom and leek

                                                                                                                                                                                            VEGETABLES (I make top 2)
                                                                                                                                                                                            Brussel sprout hash with carmelized shallots
                                                                                                                                                                                            Roasted green beans with rosemary and sage
                                                                                                                                                                                            Braised red cabbage
                                                                                                                                                                                            Modern green been casserole

                                                                                                                                                                                            DESSERT (Apple and pumpkin always win; I'm hoping for a chocolate upset.)
                                                                                                                                                                                            Apple pie
                                                                                                                                                                                            Chocolate cream pie
                                                                                                                                                                                            Pumpkin pie
                                                                                                                                                                                            Banana cream pie
                                                                                                                                                                                            Chanukah sugar cookies

                                                                                                                                                                                            As the chef, I always vote last in case I can squeak one of my favorites to victory.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Just found out today that Thanksgiving will be at my house rather than at mother in law's retirement home (yay for that). There will be 7 of us, so far. I like to invite stragglers. Dinner will be at about 4.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Definitely:
                                                                                                                                                                                            Dry brined turkey
                                                                                                                                                                                            Gravy (SIL makes)
                                                                                                                                                                                            Dressing TBD (still mulling my options)
                                                                                                                                                                                            Roasted garlic mashed potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                            Curried onions
                                                                                                                                                                                            Spinach gorgonzola casserole
                                                                                                                                                                                            Caesar salad

                                                                                                                                                                                            Considering:
                                                                                                                                                                                            Chipotle sweet potatoes from "unusual" thread
                                                                                                                                                                                            Bacon cheddar biscuits
                                                                                                                                                                                            Something involving kale or broccoli salad

                                                                                                                                                                                            Dessert (not really my thing):
                                                                                                                                                                                            MIL is bringing pies
                                                                                                                                                                                            Vanilla and butter pecan ice cream

                                                                                                                                                                                            Martinis to start, then wine

                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                              My two cents: first time you make the chipotle sweet potatoes, don't use more than one (individual one) of the canned chipotles (you can freeze the rest of the can). I like the really dark red/orange yams -- are they called jewel?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                  yes, jewel or garnet yams. that's what we had.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Huzzah! I have an idea of what to do for Thanksgiving now. 1/2 of us has to work that evening so we couldn't go out of town to family. But I just wasn't feeling either turkey or chicken. I have just discovered the wonders that is Marcella Hazan's pork braised in milk and that's what we're doing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                So, very tentative, but...

                                                                                                                                                                                                Marcella Hazan's pork tenderloin braised in milk
                                                                                                                                                                                                Roasted brussel sprouts w/ walnuts from the co-op deli (I'm the only one who likes brussel sprouts and try as I might I just can't get the sweet caramelized goodness on mine like they can)
                                                                                                                                                                                                Cranberry-orange relish
                                                                                                                                                                                                gluten-free Nantucket Cranberry Pie with cinnamon ice cream

                                                                                                                                                                                                For sure a bottle or two of wine, likely a Reisling for white and either a Beaujolais or Pinot Noir for red.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I'll have to think of another veg that people besides me will eat and maybe a starch. I'm thinking either quinoa-wild rice pilaf or quinoa-stuffed acorn squash, maybe bourbon-maple glazed carrots.

                                                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: amishangst

                                                                                                                                                                                                  So today was my Thanksgiving and I finalized the menu this morning. So we had...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Carrot halwa
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Kheer

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Both for breakfast and additional dessert

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Marcella Hazan's pork braised in milk (I used pork butt)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Polenta (cooked with half-veg stock and a handful of parmesan thrown in)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/ Shallots and Pecans
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Steamed Green Beans w/ lemon zest and almonds
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pao de Quiejo
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cranberry-Orange Relish
                                                                                                                                                                                                  (gluten-free) Nantucket Cranberry Pie w/ Vanilla Ice Cream

                                                                                                                                                                                                  More than half the recipes were brand new to me and everything came out spectacularly. I'm now enjoying a glass of wine and trying to convince myself to go clean up the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: amishangst

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Eh, leave the dishes for the morning. Enjoy your success and relax for the night! Happy Thanksgiving!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wish I could do that, TorontoJo. But, must say, it's also mighty nice to come into the kitchen post-Thanksgiving and have everything clean and put away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Clean AND put away? I can only dream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree, I can hardly sit down unless mot of the dishes are clean and put away or ready to be put away, let alone go to sleep with the kitchen a mess. I even insisted on cleaning the roasting pan while the bird rested which provided some humor for SO. It's just so much easier when the dishes are freshly dirty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sigh--we're decorating for Christmas today. While I love all the doodads (some we've have for nearly 40 years), I also love the "undecorating" day when everything goes back into boxes, and my house is back to normal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, I had the Royal Doulton, wine carafe, roasting pan--everything--washed, dried, put away quite soon after T'giving dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Do you have recipes for the appetizers and sides?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kara2006

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hi kara2006 -- are you asking me specifically? Or someone else? I do have recipes for everything and am happy to share, just say the word.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Hello
                                                                                                                                                                                                      I am hosting a Thanksgiving dinner in an unfamiliar kitchen (rental condo) for my son and any other soldiers that won't have a place to go this year. I'm expecting between 4-6 young men for dinner although that number could change and I likely won't know until the week before or possibly later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I am wondering if anyone has the excel spreadsheets that were posted last year? I think it would be really helpful for me to use them. also, as far as a menu, I am really unsure how much food to serve. Is a 20 lb turkey large enough? And in addition to stuffing, taters of some kind, and the green bean casserole that my son insists on, how many side dishes will I need? I was thinking of three others that serve 6-8. But I don't want to run out of food. I am planning on apps too.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for your suggestions!
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Email: leese951@gmail.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pollochick

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I can't help you pollochick but wanted to thank you for serving the soldiers and thank you for your son's service. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pollochick

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Usually it's 1 to 1.5 lbs of turkey per person. For sides, it depends on your setup and how much you can make ahead, especially if you only have one oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mazwe

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks mazwe. I won't know until I arrive what I have in the way of utensils/tools. I may have to play it by ear.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pollochick

                                                                                                                                                                                                              You may want to bring some essentials with you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: pollochick

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I like smaller turkeys; I always get about a 14 lb Butterball (that way it's a hen, not a tom).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Why don't you cook one the day before and have it sliced and waiting in the fridge and cook a second one day of. That way, you'll be sure to have enough and plenty of leftovers for turkey sandwiches (best part?) etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Great idea! I should be able to cook a turkey the day before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I was planning on making blt stuffed cherry tomatoes but was thinking some buttery toasted breadcrumbs(relatively big crumb) would be a good addition. What do you think?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. 8 people (3 teenagers, the rest adults). 2 vegetarians. Fauxsher (no shellfish, pork, etc.; no dairy + meat in the same dish).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                First course:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mushroom consomme using the gelatin clarification method with agar-agar, possibly with a single polenta dumpling (evoking matzah balls)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Next course:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Possibly a cauliflower and onion gratin; or maybe sweet potato and apple with a quick dose of broiled marshmallow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Main:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Roast (brined) turkey. Smoked duck; brussels sprouts roasted in the smoked duck fat and with gremolata. Cranberry-orange dressing. Probably a kale salad. Baked white beans (veg main course). Challah or cornbread stuffing (I try not to serve too much starchy stuff).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Desserts:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                My mom is super into making pies but I hate them. I'll make a gingerbread / spice cake from the _Voluptuous Vegan_ cookbook and maybe a French-style pecan tart.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Just my wife and I.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Make cornbread stuffing in the morning.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Take and help serve at a homeless shelter. Volunteers bring pot luck.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3.Dinner for us is likely leftovers from an earlier evening dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Saturday will be my "Once a Year Chinese Roasted Duck."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A nice marinade (soy/honey/ tiny amount of 5 spice/ginger). cooked in an off-set grill. Served with pancakes and crispy noodle cakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I'm so glad to find this thread. I just got into the holiday spirit and Thanksgiving is my favorite. I'm doing the cooking and have been trying to not think about the holiday so as to not get too excited but I haven't started planning and making lists and timelines which to some seems crazy 3 weeks out but I guess I'm in good company.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Crazy? Around here you're a couple of weeks late... ;o)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's been on my brain since before Halloween! :p This is only my second year doing a turkey, and first year hosting (ie: having to make sides, too). I'm desperately trying to figure out how to time everything. Even for a non-holiday meal for two people, I suck at timing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I try to remind myself that even my 85 year old grandmother struggles with timing most years but she plays it under the radar and all turns out great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's all about the spreadsheets! I don't know if this will help you, but here's how I break my planning down:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - One spreadsheet has the menu items, what day I can make each item on, what dish/pan I'm going to cook it in, what dish I'm going to serve it in, and where it's going to go (we serve buffet style, so there are a couple of different tables of food)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - One spreadsheet has all the links to the recipes (or a note that it's a recipe in my collection)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - One spreadsheet is the grocery list, split up into categories like produce, bread, dairy, meats, etc. I find that when I have a big list, it really helps to categorize the items up so I don't overlook anything while shopping. Make sure you have all the herbs and spices you need.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - One spreadsheet is the advance prep plan, where I list out by day everything I'm going to do the week before Thanksgiving. And it helps to get detailed, from what can be done long before Thanksgiving (make stock and gravy and freeze, buy wine), to 3 days before, 2 days before, 1 day before. Prepping veggies and putting in big ziplocks, caramelizing onions, sauteing stuffing veggies, making cranberry sauce, drying bread, making potato dishes, setting the tables, gathering all the serving dishes and utensils, etc. All can be done before the big day and really helps to take the pressure off you the day of.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - The last and most important spreadsheet is the "day of" plan. I break the day down into 15 minute increments, and have a column for prep and a column for each appliance (ovens, stove, bbq, slow cookers, husband -- ok my husband isn't an appliance, but it helps to have a list of stuff he can do and when he needs to do it!). I work around the turkeys. When do I want the turkey to come out? Work backwards from there to figure out when the pull the turkey out of the fridge, when to heat the oven, when to put it in. When the turkey comes out of the oven, it can rest comfortably for an hour while you use your oven to bake or heat other stuff. If you have a lot of items to bake, make several of them earlier in the day (or the day before), then use the oven to just warm them after the turkey comes out. And honestly, I even include "shower and get dressed" in my plan, otherwise it's easy to forget to give yourself time to do that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If you've done most of the tedious prep the day before, I find the actual assembly and cooking of most thanksgiving side dishes to be pretty quick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            All of this planning takes a little time, but it's not hard, and I usually do it with a glass of wine while I'm watching TV in the evening. I just walk through each recipe I'm going to make, and figure out what can be done in advance (all the chopping!) and what has to be done a la minute. Write down your grocery list for each recipe at the same time. Then decide what can be made early and reheated and what benefits from being cooked/baked right before serving. Having thought through it all keeps me incredibly calm the day of and I get to enjoy my guests and my dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Things I find can be made or prepped the day before:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - mashed potatoes: use lots of dairy of your choice -- butter, milk, cheese -- and warm in a slow cooker the day of with some pats of butter on top a tea towel under the lid to absorb condensation.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - potato gratins: bake the day before and just warm up in the oven
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - stuffings: most stuffings can be assembled the day before, refrigerated and baked the day of. If you worry about the bread getting too mushy, you can do everything but add broth.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - veggie prep: clean and cut up any other vegetables you're going to make. Store in big ziplocks or containers. If there is sauteing involved in a recipe (like a mirepoix), you can saute and refrigerate.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - most cranberry sauces actually taste better after a few days in the fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And finally, remember to just breath and keep that glass of wine handy. No matter what happens, it's Thanksgiving -- it's about gathering with family and friends and breaking bread. Even disasters make for great stories in the future!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, and my last spreadsheet is where I make notes the day after Thanksgiving -- how much of certain dishes I made, whether I need more or less next time, whether a recipe was a success or not, etc. It helps for the next year's planning!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good luck, you'll be great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wow...you need a flow chart, too. Maybe Visio?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Westy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LOL, I work in Visio everyday -- if I did a flow chart for this, my computer might explode! :o)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow. Yeah, I've started working on some stuff in Excel. I'm pretty data-oriented, but you've got it down to a science!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's key at least for me but I'm a list maker. I'm tying to finalize this year's list and trying to decide when to serve dinner. I like to have leftovers once or twice or hmm, thrice and like to actually be semi-hungry for them so prefer to start earlier but always feel weird eating at 3pm. 2pm was always the goal in my family but we inevitably never sat down until 7pm usually.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Woohoo for spreadsheets! My Google Doc "Thanksgiving 2013" has already been started and has very similar spreadsheets -

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Menu - I added this sheet because somehow something is inevitably always left in the kitchen or in the fridge and you discover it later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Grocery list - categorized by different stores

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Daily plan - groceries, meal prep ahead, then day of plan with timeline starting backwards from when I want to serve dinner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Budget - this keeps a running total of what I've spent so I can keep myself in some sort of check but embarrassingly enough I sort of save up for this one and just buy willy nilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Recipes - description of all recipes with list of ingredients grouped so I don't buy things twice

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Great advice; this year I VOW to make as much as I can ahead of time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Do you think if I make an apple pie the day before it will still be good? Can't see myself making it day of, I only have one oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We bought this nifty tabletop convection oven in Taiwan. it is a Japanese btrand, and sort of similar tot he ones you see in US Depratments stores (big glass bowl, heating element in lid, fan, dials for time and temp). I think ours is a much better quality item.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Definitely worth the investment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Absolutely bake the pie the day before!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Absolutely! Leftover apple pie is alwyas delicious right? I'd suggest leaving it at room temperature. You'll hear some chatter about this but people have been leaving pies out for a day or so for years and it's been fine. After a couple though, I'd pop it into the fridge if there's even any leftover. My Thanksgiving day will be quite lazy. I'm prepping everything the day before and piling into casserole dishes. The turkey goes in early early to roast low and slow and then I just pop the side dishes in the oven, warm the bread and gravy and we eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I only have 1 oven too and wish I had 2 ovens like mama does at home but it's possible without.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I always make all of my pies the night before - no problems at all. In fact, it works well because they have plenty of time to cool completely and set up. I rewarm individual slices in the microwave or a low oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            One of things I do on my spreadsheets is to total up the things that are in multiple recipes like chopped onions or garlic. Then I just do a big batch and separate them into labeled containers for each recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I started my spreadsheets this weekend based on what you described, but I do have one question. Is there a reason for having the recipe links/page numbers on a separate tab from the menu?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I link to them in a note on the menu. You hover over "potatoes" for example and it will bring up either the recipe or a link depending on how long the recipe is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not at all, I just have a tab that I throw links in while I'm perusing recipes and deciding on my menu, and I end up keeping the links for recipes that I don't use this time, for future reference. Also, I'm sad to admit, it also just makes that menu tab less visually messy for my OCD-ness. What I should really do is use bit.ly to shorten the links so they aren't so huge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Happy planning! :o)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed. Last year I hosted my first, and I lived and died by my spreadsheets. It was especially helpful because I had my mom there to help me since I had to work part of the day on Wednesday, so she could refer to my spreadsheets to see what prep work she could do while I was at work. Also I only have one oven so having a spreadsheet with an "oven schedule" was helpful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Also, the biggest help was getting all of my serving dishes out ahead of time, and put post-its on them of what I wanted to put in them. I did this a week ahead of time, and I ended up having to go out and buy one more serving bowl since I didn't have enough. I think this was an Ina Garten tip, but I read it somewhere here on Chowhound last year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I miss my Thanksgiving dinner at home which included way too many dishes to list. For the past few years, I have been making my own Thanksgiving dinner for two with all of my favorite Thanksgiving foods, excluding the ones from our family feast which I never really looked forward to. It's nice to load up on the good stuff and not get distracted. I don't bother with things I eat a lot throughout the year and since it's just the two of us I just have to make sure we both have what we really love so our menu is pretty simple and pretty unbalanced but that's the way we love to celebrate the week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Breakfast - SO started a tradition of English muffin sandwiches with fried eggs, bacon, and ham a few years ago so that's on the menu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Lunch nibbles - fruit and cheese platter, very limited as we really save our appetites after breakfast usually eaten at 7 or 8 am

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dinner - hopefully will eat by 4pm this year and not a minute later, but things happen...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Heirloom turkey roasted low and slow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Simple home style mashed potatoes with loads of butter and a hint of sour cream - we also have a variety of toppings to add and mix in to change the flavor over the week for leftover purposes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Turkey gravy with sherry and onions made a few days ahead with turkey wings and necks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mushroom gravy - one of my absolute favorites, I save the turkey gravy mostly for SO

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Traditional herb sausage stuffing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Biscuit and mushroom stuffing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Various breads - homemade butter rolls sent from Philadelphia by grandma, cast iron skillet cornbread, and Hawaiian sweet bread rolls for 2nds, 3rds, 4ths and day after leftovers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Deserts - apple pie, sweet potato pie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wow, I nearly forgot my favorite part of our Thanksgiving dinner - mac and cheese!! I pretty much eat it nonstop at the winter holidays and none during the rest of the year so it's pretty special for me. I love my grandmother's recipe but can't seem to recreate it so I've been trying to find one that's as good. I tried Patti's last year and wasn't really a fan so I'm currently trying to finalize that plan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Making the gravy ahead seems like a good idea. Last year, I was planning on making gravy from the drippings, and then... no drippings! What little there was had burned to the pan. It was my first time doing the turkey, and it was a local pasture-raised bird. My mom, who uses grocery store birds (and always COVERED the bird! No crispy skin!) always had plenty of drippings for gravy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So I will probably make a batch beforehand, in case I run into the same problem this year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What recipe do you use for the mushroom gravy? I found one the other day that looked interesting. I think I'm a dummy and didn't save it, though....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I start with Marrha and go from there. I like to sometimes use sherry instead of the Marsala and herbs to my liking. I also mix up the mushrooms and leave nice big chunks of portobello.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Are you making other things ahead? I'm sure most can be made ahead even a few days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well, at this point I don't have my part of the menu completely nailed down. Only a few invited guests have confirmed, and only one has let me know what she's bringing. I know I'm at least making the following:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Prosciutto-basil cheese ball
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Turkey and gravy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Braised brussels sprouts
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mesclun salad with shallots
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A bread item (popovers maybe)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Brown butterscotch pie (maybe; some kind of pie/tart, at least)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Out of those, the cheese ball and pie can and should be made ahead. If I do something besides popovers, that could be done the day before too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But if people don't bring enough vegetables for my liking (very likely) I'll have to add some more sides to the list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sounds frustrating but I'm sure you'll pull it all together. Those dishes sound great and popovers, great idea. Now I'm rethinking my bread idea and pondering those Brazilian cheese rolls

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        fid i'd highly recommend brazilian cheese bread! we use some easy recipe i got off the web, and they are SUPER easy to make, as long as you have a blender and mini muffin tins. i tend to make a double batch (48 mini muffin size) as my kids plow through them. i whip them up in the blender, pour and 20 minutes later we've got bread.. much easier than regular yeast bread! (i love finding easy recipes for thanksgiving - never even thought to consider these on the menu.. brilliant!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rmarisco

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My hips want to veto the idea but I've heard it's super easy. What type of cheese do you use? I have a few recipes linked but do you have one? If I'm feelign up to it I might whip up a batch after Thanksgiving breakfast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            (sorry i didn't reply right away - been out of town)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i use cotija cheese. i used to use the queso fresco, but my kids like the stronger tasting cotija. they are only good fresh, btw. i just made a breakfast casserole using stale brazilian cheese bread - it was fantastic! a real hit with the boys! now i'm thinking it's worth doing a double batch always, just to have the leftovers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i don't have a special recipe - got it off the web - whatever the first one was that popped up! there's only a few ingredients - not a lot of variation between recipes except for the cheese you choose to use, and i read that some families use stronger tasting cheeses and others use milder. thus, we like the cotija over the queso fresco. i spray my muffin tins with coconut oil spray from trader joes, and i use the high speed blender to mix... other than that, no secret recipe!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. It's not so much what I'm making. Which is gonna be the gravy. My SIL loves my gravy. I don't have a recipe per se. I really just make a nice turkey stock and make a traditional, straight up gravy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We look to be "Down yonder" on Tuesday night so I may be tasked with additional dishes. Most likely in the dessert realm. If so, I'm working on a recipe for what I call "Apple Jack Pie." It's a caramel, Jack Daniels, apple crumble pie. I have the flavour where I want it. Now I just need to get the consistency.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The big thing is, this is the only time of the year I get to eat my SIL's, SIL's Worlds Greatest Deviled Eggs. Absolutely the best DE's I've ever had.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Since I married into a southern family TG has become one of my favourite times of year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DT

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. What time is everyone planning to serve?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We'll start late. Eat at 3-ish, due to elderly and rather infirm mother. She'll be home by 5. We'll hang out and nibble a while longer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    To eat:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    largest turkey breast I can find [small group], dry brined and grliled.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    chicken gravy, since I cannot eat turkey
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    chicken wings for me, maybe. I am usually happy with all the sides.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    canned cranberry jelly - this is written in stone
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    mashed potatoes with garlic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    green bean casserole, deconstructed [a Serious Eats recipe, I cannot wait to try this]
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Braised carrots with Warm Spices, a Fine Cooking recipe - this is GREAT
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cranberry bread - from the back of the bag
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    crowded plates, and some good leftovers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    purchased apps to start - I can't make these from scratch for the price we pay for them
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    pumpkin tartlets
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    mince tartlets
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    a good nights' sleep. and then on to setting up all the Christmas stuff.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    !

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm used to having dinner around 3pm with my family, but we are aiming for 5 this year. My boyfriend wants to have plenty of time to go hunting that morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We're doing cocktails and nibbles at 5, dinner after 6.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Still Finalizing - we have not been in town for the last few years so this is a refresher course. 2 kids and 6 adults

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Turkey - looking at cider brined with herb butter from williams sonoma - anyone tried?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Trying to decide on making a stuffing or having my mom make my grandmoms - if I make - considering a cornbread with sweet pot and squash...or both

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Baked mash pot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          dressed peas OR orange asparagus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          white wine gravy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          cranb orange sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sweet pot biscuits and rolls
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          carrots with pistachios and grand marnier
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          kale or spinach salad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          dessert - stumped. pecan or pumpkin pie and cobbler??? Found a sweet potato apple cobbler and an apple cobbler with cheese biscuit topping - but those are not good made ahead.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Basics for apps - cheese and crackers veggie tray - simple

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          wine and maybe a fancy cocktail -

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          so almost done except for drinks and desserts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cperry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wow, the cider herb turkey sounds great! If you do try it, please let us know how you liked it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think the SF Chronicle cookbook has a similar recipe. I belive it is from Boulevard restaurant. It sounds lovely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Here is my menu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ina's Herb Roasted Turkey Breast x 2 or one larger turkey brined and roasted using her method or possibly spatchcocked? I do this method occasionally with roasted chicken but not sure about turkey.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Grandmother's dressing and gravy recipe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Homemade cranberry relish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Martha's mac and cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ruth Chris sweet potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Roasted Brussels sprouts
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pineapple cheese casserole- don't ask but it is delicious.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Possibly a salad of some type or "Asian" cole slaw
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There will be other things that are always at our table... ham, deviled eggs, green bean with almonds, homemade yeast rolls and a pile of desserts that guest will bring. I'm from the south and no one comes empty handed. I love Thanksgiving and for me it kicks off the holiday season and all the great things that come with it. Also, I gave up after my first Thanksgiving hosting in trying to control everything that people brought and what they brought it on. I love using my beautiful serving dishes, crystal and silver, but I always have an family that brings food in on ugly dishes...oh well. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. DH and I decided to go visit my parents this year for the first time in ages, so I've been consulting with my mother about the menu. The only thing I MUST have is my stuffing, but she's pretty flexible about things, so right now this is the plan:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Apps:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Olive cheese balls
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pickled deviled eggs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Spiced pecans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Vegetables/Relishes:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Green bean casserole
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Brussels sprouts (preparation TBD)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Spicy sweet potato wedges
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cranberry sauce with port and figs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Starches:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mashed Yukon Golds with gravy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mom's stuffing (standard celery/onion type)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My stuffing (roasted fennel and shallots with sausage)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Homemade bread or rolls (or both)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mains:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dry-brined, spatchcocked and slow-roasted turkey
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A seafood dish for my brother's semi-veg fiancee (scallops or lobster, most likely)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dessert:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Apple pie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sour cherry pie (I'm from MI, sour cherries are a must!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bourbon pumpkin pie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have a feeling that we might add one more vegetable dish to bulk up the options for my brother's fiancee, so I may suggest the a roasted cauliflower dish similar to Toronto Jo's - something with a little spice. We may also have to make a mushroom gravy for her, although I think she may not be so strict about things like broth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ooh, have you done the turkey this way before? I've always done the dry brined and spatchcock, but I do a 425 for 30, then 375 for and hour and a half or so. I'm considering a slow roasting method this year and would love to hear about your past experience!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I haven't, but I've been following your thread on the topic with interest. Last year I did just what you did, and it was fine, but so many people have raved about the very low temp method that I thought I'd give it a try. My mother has double ovens so it will be less of a hassle than it would be for me at home with just one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What is your recipe TorontoJo? I have spatchcocked chickens in the past but not turkeys. Sorry if you posted elsewhere andni missed it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hheath9h

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I do the Zuni chicken method: heavily salt my spatchcocked turkey 3-4 days before Thanksgiving (I also add some fresh herbs with the salt), cover in plastic. Remove plastic wrap the day before Thanksgiving to allow the skin to thoroughly dry in the fridge. Take turkey out a few hours before roasting. Roast at 425 for 30 minutes, turn down to 375 and roast until done. For my 18 lb birds, I find that takes 2 hours or less. I start checking the temp at 1.5 hours. That's all there is to it, I don't baste or fuss with the bird when it's in the oven (I may turn the pan once).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      However, I'm considering doing a low and slow roast this year, just to see how I like it. I should say that the method I describe above has always produced a pretty perfect turkey that my guests rave about -- flavorful and juicy. So I must admit that I'm hesitant to mess with a successful formula!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Do you oil and/or the bird season before roasting or just put it in the oven as is?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cornedhash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've done both -- put in oven as is, and brushed with melted butter. I like it a little better with the melted butter, but it doesn't make a huge difference -- the drying of the skin has more to do with getting golden brown and crispy skin than the oil/butter. I don't season any further.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. We are hosting for the first time this year, so I am walking the line between having the perennial favorites and making some new stuff too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Apps: We always have a pickle/veggie plate, and this year I am trying out some homemade pickles

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pickled Beets
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Quick caraway pickles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bourbon pickled jalapeños
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pickled garlic in molasses soy sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  standard veg plate
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Olives
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Caper mayonnaise

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Brined/roasted turkey
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Giblet gravy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Lentils braised in red wine
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Baked endive and pears in blue cream sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Grilled brussels sprouts with chanterelles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Artichoke and parmesan sourdough stuffing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mashed potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Honey glazed sweet potato wedges with rosemary and pecans
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cranberry compote with figs and port
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Georgian-style spicy, herbed cranberry sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Green bean casserole
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Popovers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Still considering adding either a wild rice dish or mac and cheese. Might be too much starch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Dessert:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pumpkin Pie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pecan Pie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cranberry Chiffon pie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: OliviaH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ooh, that cranberry chiffon pie sounds great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: OliviaH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Gosh, what a lovely color. That pile of whipped cream kind of ruins it, though. I never quite understood why so many pies get that treatment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I know what you mean. I think whipped cream on my mother's pumpkin pie will be plenty. No need to add it to a chiffon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. This year it's me and five college boys, so although rather heavy on the carbs, I don't think that will be a problem. So far:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gougères

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Kabocha Squash Soup and Fennel Soup with Crème Fraîche and Candied Pumpkin Seeds

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Turkey
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Savory Wild Rice Stuffing with Toasted Pecans
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Do-Ahead Gravy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cranberry Relish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Brandied Yams
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Corn Pudding

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Apple Pie with Ginger Honey Gelato
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Three Layer Pumpkin Pie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Prosecco and probably Riesling Spätlese

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Question for those of you who have made Ina's Accidental Turkey, which I'm thinking of trying for the first time. A number of the reviews say the timing was off, some seriously. What's been your experience?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Joan, is the ginger honey gelato something you're making or buying? If making, I'd love to know where to find the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Can't find the recipe online. It's from "Dolce Italiano" by Gina de Palma. If you don't have the book, I'd be happy to paraphrase.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A paraphrase would be lovely, and I'd be much obliged. I'm crazy about anything ginger, including ice cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is really, really, good. I've been making it for Thanksgiving for a few years now. Goes brilliantly with apple pie. And more than one person has said it was one of their favorite dishes of the meal. Hope you enjoy it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ginger Honey Gelato

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 ounces fresh ginger, peeled
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1½ cups whole milk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1½ cups heavy cream
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ¼ cup granulated sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4 large egg yolks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ¼ cup flavorful honey, such as eucalyptus, sage, or millifiori (I use a Turkish pine honey)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Grate ginger and put in a saucepan with milk, cream, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to make sure it doesn’t scorch. Remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bring mixture just to a boil again. While it’s heating, whisk together the egg yolks and honey. As soon as the milk mixture returns to a boil, remove it from the heat. Add a bit of milk mixture to the yolks and whisk vigorously. Slowly add the rest of the milk mixture, whisking continuously. Then pour the milk and eggs back into the saucepan and whisk for another minute.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the ginger and bits of cooked egg. Put the mixture in the fridge and whisk occasionally so that it cools evenly. Freeze in an ice cream maker.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, thank you! That looks just wonderful, and I have saved the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. - Caipirinhas.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        - Bacaulhau
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        - Shrimp salad
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        - Mousse de Maracuja
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        - Cafe Nacional
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        - A dram or two of Weber Haus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (We will be celebrating Thanksgiving in sunny & warm Brasil )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ooh...caipirinhas and pasteis bacalhau would make a very, very happy meal for me. Enjoy your trip!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. So up to now, I hadn't come up with a menu for Thanksgiving because I knew BF & I would be invited to relatives house. Last night I found out the menu includes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Roasted turkey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Roast Beef w/gravy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mixed winter greens (kale, mustards, turnips, etc) which will be cooked with some pork product

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Macaroni & Cheese

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Some kind of cabbage

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Two or three other veggies

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A slew of desserts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm making:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          dressing & turkey gravy: I'm making a combination of cornbread & French bread with the usual mirepoix , turkey neck meat and turkey stock.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Candied yams - thinking of adding some sliced apples to them with brown sugar, orange juice, vanilla, cinnamon & ginger. NO marshmallows

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Potato Salad
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeast rolls - I've bookmarked about six recipes that I'll make samples of in the next two weeks before deciding on a final

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Homemade Lemon Ice Cream
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Gingerbread

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was planning on making a sweet potato mousse cheesecake before I assigned myself to all the other things so this will probably bet canceled

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          BF's making the bbq ribs...you'd think it was Christmas with all these groceries; it's his family's dinner btw.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Turkey, ham, roast beef, and BBQ ribs? Just curious. How many people is this for?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              25+ as far as we know now but it's subject to include more. I forgot to add that I'm doing the cranberry sauce with whole berries cooked down with orange zest, brown sugar, star anise, and five spice. On the plus side is that we're going straight into the meal so no apps

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The usual feast at my parents' house is 3 turkeys - 2 roasted, 1 fried, salmon filet, crab cakes, lamb rib roast, 2 hams and pot roast. It's for literally 10 people and a bit insane but oh so tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And the leftovers last through New Year's? I simply can't imagine it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well we all like Thanksgiving foods so it feeds us for a few weeks. We also all live in different places so the ziplocs and containers are always ready and filled up in a nice assembly line and we all pack up and take it home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      +2, except it won't last us past a couple of days...Now, they go all out for Thanksgiving but for Christmas, they cook a regular meat & three meal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Christmas is lower key for us too, past few years we've been going out to dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm probably not cooking for Christmas this year; I'm going across country to Arizona to visit my daughter and her boyfriend is cooking so in a way I like it and in a way, I don't know how to sit back and let someone do the cooking!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. When does everyone do their shopping?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I will begin picking up items now: I have the French bread and the makings of cornbread which I'll make the cornbread, cool it and cube it along with the French bread and toast & freeze this weekend. I have onions & celery which will get cut up and frozen for the dressing. I'll get fresh for the potato salad the week of. We already have the ribs in the freezer. Sweet potatoes/potatoes should go on sale next week so I'll pick them up then. What I don't get now will be had no later than Tue of Thansgiving week cause I need to make ice cream so it can cure for two days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm doing my first round next week, probably on Thursday. Second round on Tuesday the week of, getting the more perishable items and anything I forgot the first time. (I need two $35+ shopping trips so I can snag two .79/lb turkeys for my freezer!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I start before Labor Day, when I buy a dozen ears of corn at the local farm stand and freeze the kernals for my corn pudding. Bought hericot vert at Trader Joes a month ago too, for a dish I make every year specifically for this holiday (a riff on green bean casserole). I made ratatouille from my garden at some point this summer and froze a tub, that will be my "harvest" offering. I've been hording cheeses and dips over the last month, they are all in the freezer awaiting defrosting the day before. Made sure to save a couple of apples from the orchard a few weeks ago to accompany the cheese course, and maybe to put inside the turkey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I already have 2 lbs of lobster meat for my saffron lobster appetizer, and I do have a small turkey and a big chicken already in the freezer, as back up. This because, one year many moons ago, when turkeys were free, our local mega supermarket actually ran out of turkeys so I have always had an irrational fear since then. This year the same store had a deal on Butterballs, but you have to spend $75 to get it for 69 cents but since I'm so stocked up I'm not sure I can cover that requirement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have a half loaf of challah in the freezer (French toast this weekend with the rest), and a couple of boxes of Jiffy cornbread, for the stuffing. I have cranberries still in the freezer because I went overboard last year. Pumpkin pie, I'm covered with a can of Libby. That's the main attraction for dessert, whatever else I put out won't matter much to my guests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Anyway, my shopping list so far consists of potatoes, more cream and half and half just to make sure, some spinach and brussel sprouts from the farm stand, and I'm trying to decide whether to get Jimmy Dean sausage roll, or use the flavored chicken sausage that I have in the freezer (chipotle? feta and spinach? not sure). I am looking forward to having a little room in the freezer again, finally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I used to shop for everything Monday and then travel Tuesday to get the bird. Tuesday seems to be the day that EVERYONE shops for everything, but I love spreading it out, for financial reasons as well as a lot less stress. I never find myself with a forgotten ingredient, the way I do it. I'll probably pick up those few things I need Tuesday or Weds but I can go on the express line, yay!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That Lobster app sounds delicious; could you please give details? Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Of course! It's written as served over fingerling potatoes, as a main course; but I'm eliminating that part and just serving as a hot dip. If it turns out to be popular, I'll post for all to see!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bo...!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That looks amazing; thanks for the link

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Here's hoping it goes over, but worth a try!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So here is a clue why no great sales on Butterball this year
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I started about three weeks ago. I've already made my turkey stock, the rolls, the pie crusts, the dressing, and the sauce for my Thanksgiving Eve lasagna.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Any canned, jared, or packaged item is already purchase. All I have left on my list is the produce, ham, and turkey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I pick up a thing or two until the week before Thanksgiving. So, since that week is coming, I will pick up my turkery and a few items. The day before Thanksgiving I pick up fresh vegetables for the turkey and other dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I start shopping and preparing November 1st. That is my normal start date. I shop specifically for T-gving at least 4 or 5 times during this period.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We generally have about 20 people, with a few helpers that come just before noon, so we also serve a light lunch to them....this year a mufalatta. Items finished :
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Black beans in the freezer.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chicken soup in the freezer.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Celery, onions, carrots, scallions, green pepper prepped and in the freezer.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thankful for two 22cu.ft refrigerator/freezers !

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wow, impressive! Cooking and prepped already.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Getting there...Potato latkes are made and in the freezer, and maybe fried chicken,,,my normal Hanukah meal....this year latkes but no fried chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. What are your best "make ahead and freeze"and make the day before dishes for Thanksgiving. Starting to think with one oven ineed to move more in this direction. Have a planned but first time we have hosted in years and i am out of practice lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cperry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Make ahead and freeze:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              - Stock
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              - Gravy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              - Biscuits

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Day before:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              - mashed potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              - sweet potato gratin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              - stuffings/dressings
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              - desserts
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              - kale salad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                WF here says no turkey parts until 21st .. I want to make the stock with wings and freeze it. Instead, if I make it Mon the 25th, do you think it will hold ok in the fridge? Thus, no freezing and thawing?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Stock for 3 days in the fridge is fine!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What is your trick to reheating mashed potatoes?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DowntownJosie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I learned this here on Home Cooking a couple of years ago and it's the BEST tip. Put your finished mashed potatoes in a slow cooker. On Thanksgiving day, put the slow cooker on low and cut up a stick of butter to put on top of the mashed potatoes. Put a towel under the lid to absorb moisture as the potatoes heat up. Just before serving, stir the melted butter into the potatoes. I think I let mine go for about 5 or 6 hours, but I don't think you need that long. It's awesome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Be careful out there; I tried this once in my newish All Clad slow cooker and it made the potatoes weird, kinda burned and it was on LOW. The newer slow cookers are not low enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hmm...it's possible I use the "warm" setting of my slow cooker, rather than low.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I am SO glad I still have my old one, after all these years of it sitting in a cabinet I am finally starting to use it again! I would never get rid of it now, just for the potato factor. Not the only cooking item I use only for Thanksgiving (although I did try that bacon bourbon dip a couple of years ago and that was pretty good too).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thank you but I do not have a slow cooker. Will try it in the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DowntownJosie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My aunt used to just microwave before serving, that worked fine too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So I am attempting the CI make ahead mashed potato recipe. I am scared because it goes against everything I do when making mp. First you microwave 8 lbs of russet potatoes then bake them. Then you mash them up a bit, in batches you beat them in a KA with the paddle attachment. You combine batches and add 6 cups of cream/1/2&1/2 and 11/2 sticks of butter. Then to reheat you microwave. They say that they tried ricing the potatoes, reheating in oven yada yada yada and that this is the best way. I need to trust....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DowntownJosie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As much as I like CI recipes, I recommend the Pioneer Woman recipe. I tried it last year and it was wonderful and easy to make.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/20...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mazwe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you but too late. I have entrusted my potatoes to CI. I hope they are good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DowntownJosie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Good luck! I tend to trust them, even though sometimes they drive me nuts when they overcomplicate certain recipes. But you got the time, so why not! Please report back!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: DowntownJosie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think heating in microwave is less than ideal .. they don't stay hot very long. I leave them in a pot on the stove on lowest heat to serve right from there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: DowntownJosie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't have a slow cooker either, but could I reheat them in my rice cooker with the "warm" setting?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Barbara76137

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't put anything in my rice cooker other then rice and water - ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I loved the method from CI. They were perfect!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: cperry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My main frozen thing I have to remember to defrost is a few quarts of homemade turkey stock. That takes a few days, so it has to be on my calendar! Also I'm doing a lobster appetizer, so the meat has to come out too about the same time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Since I'm up VERY early Thanksgiving morning, that's when I pre cook my vegetable dishes so they can just be reheated for 20 or 30 minutes on low after the turkey comes out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My newest thing is to make the mashed potatoes completely before the guests arrive (during the parade!) and hold them in the crock pot; I learned that here and it is one of the best tricks of all. It will hold at least 4 hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A day or two before, don't forget to unwrap your turkey to dry the skin!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The night before, stuffing and pie, and any other desserts. Also tricky appetizers, like the saffron lobster salad I'm attempting this year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Make ahead next week, the cranberry orange relish. It will hold for weeks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          OK now I will print this out and add to my folder for the upcoming week or two!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4. After much deliberation, I finally decided to keep traditional this year. I have the struggle year in and year out, but in the end, this is the only time of year I make the traditional dishes--I'll save fancy salads, and more exotic side dishes for all of my other dinner parties.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This will be the first year that our families are starting to break off into smaller counterparts. I'm torn between being excited and sad. At least we will still have Christmas together. Additionally, I'm a little worried about my sister's children--a 4 year old, and twins who just started walking! Honestly, it's their mom and dad freaking out that makes me nervous! But I'm borrowing trouble so here's to hoping everyone will have a wonderful Thanksgiving as new traditions begin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Brined Turkey
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Giblet gravy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sage cornbread dressing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oyster dressing (for my younger sister and me--we may be the only ones who eat it, but I looooove it!!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          cranberry sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Streusel Sweet potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          mashed potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Brussel sprouts w/ bacon, garlic, & shallots
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Green bean casserole (because anything with the word "kale" in it would not fly in my family)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          cherry salad (coolwhip spells tradition for my fiance)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pumpkin pie (my great-grandmother's recipe, must have)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mincemeat pie (my dad's must have)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Apple pie (because my older sister must have)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          *possibly hot rolls if my grandmother can still make them--because no one can make them like she does and I will miss them terribly someday

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Whew!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bblonde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Be sure to try to watch your grandmother make those rolls and take good notes!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Christmas after my granddad died I finally was motivated to get with it on my project to make, photograph, and record grandmommy's recipes and I gave out cookbooks as the Christmas gift. The cover features her rolling her famous hot rolls. She had no idea what I was up to and was somewhat irritated when I showed up Thanksgiving morning and requested she get made up for a roll-making photography session! I have the recipe, I have the pictures--just not the same when anyone else makes them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bblonde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Would you be willing to share the roll recipe with us?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: bblonde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I will never forget when my family started doing their own thing, there were some private tears shed. But they had moved five hours away, and had came down enough times despite the weather, c'est la vie!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bblonde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                bblonde,This is my exact menu every Thanksgiving, except for oyster stuffing and mincemeat pie. We also always have raw veg/ pickles/olives and dips/hummus and cheese and crackers. I learned years ago not to mess with the Thanksgiving menu. It works for the family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bblonde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You just inspired a lovely food memory of my late mother always doing oyster stuffing and homemade mince meat pie just for my late father. She did regular stuffing and a variety of other pies for the rest of us. I adored the mincemeat pie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. It will be our first time going non-traditional this year. We built our menu around the Surryano ham. Should we tell everyone that it will be non-traditional or surprise them? :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A Spanish-Inspired Friendsgiving Party, 2013

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Centerpiece: Edwards’ bone-in Surryano Ham
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cheeses: Uplands Rush Creek, Marieke Burning Nettle Gouda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sweet Condiments: strawberry-basil jam, wild plum jam
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Soup: Garlic & White Bean (finish with cilantro/parsley pureed with olive oil and paprika)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Salad: Mixed baby Greens with sherry vinaigrette
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bread & Crackers: Pain d’epi, assorted crackers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Savory Sides: mixed olives, pickled onions, Italian cherry peppers, garlic, deviled eggs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fish: cured anchovies and octopus with lemon slices
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Warm Sides: patatas bravas, crab cakes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Savory Condiments: allioli, red pepper sauce, English mustard
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fruits: apples, grapes, figs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Drinks: Gragnano, Prosecco, chamomile tea
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Desserts: vanilla bean and orange flan served with sliced honeydew melon, Spanish hot Chocolate served with doughnut holes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DriftlessAppetite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sounds very interesting, how are you serving garlic as a side dish?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you can find fresh flavourful tomatoes I would highly recommend pan con tomate. You rub the cut side of a tomato on toasted baguette then you drizzle lots of olive oil on top.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I would also recommend serving cava(Spanish sparkling wine) vs prosecco(Italian sparkling wine)