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
- 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?
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!
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.
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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.
This is probably what I will have to do honestly. My in laws expect:
Dinner to be served at 11 am
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
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
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.
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!
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.
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
Eat dessert around 3 or 4
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.
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.)
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!
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:
lawry's seasoned 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.
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"?
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.
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. :)
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.
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".
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!
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!)
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:
Cheese ball and crackers
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)
Sweet potatoes with apple butter*
Pumpkin roll or other pumpkin cake item
Chocolate tart/torte of some kind
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.
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.
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.
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
White cheddar poppy seed cheese ball
Peppered herb cheese ball
Bacon cheddar cheese ball*
Prosciutto-basil cheese ball*
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)
I'm giving way more information than anyone is interested in, but I need someone to talk to about this stuff! :p
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!
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
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.
Someone is bringing a VEGETABLE! :D
Update: (* items are things I'm making)
Total confirmed diners - 7 (inc 1 toddler)
Prosciutto-basil cheese ball*
Brined and roasted turkey*
Braised Brussels sprouts*
Brown Butterscotch Pie*
A cake or pie (TBD)
An apple cider blend for the turkey. I use this recipe:
And for the cheese ball:
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.
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)
Braised Brussels sprouts*
Cider-braised collard greens*
Stuffing (2 kinds)*
Brown butterscotch pie*
Cake or pie (TBD)
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!
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.