Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up
I’m so excited for Thanksgiving! Are you ready to start cooking your Thanksgiving dinner yet, or are you still in the planning stages? I bought our turkey this morning, and it’s currently defrosting in the refrigerator. The turkey I bought isn’t a big one, maybe 10 lbs at the most. Tomorrow I’ll order the rest of the groceries online to be delivered, because who wants to carry all that up the outside stairs with a bum knee? This post is my Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up! All of the dishes that are featured in our traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and some that are not. I hope you enjoy them, and if you try any of them please let us know!
When I was growing up, I remember waking up at 5 am to help my mom start cooking dinner to be ready by 2pm. Ok, maybe I was a little older than child-age, teenager maybe? (Mom, want to weigh in here?). The turkey we bought was usually massive – 22 lbs+. We’d start by putting the bird in the oven, then preparing the rest of the meal. All of the pies we made were made in advance – we just had too much stuff that needed oven time, and not enough oven space!
In all of my years helping make Thanksgiving dinner, I learned a pretty neat trick. You don’t need to baste your turkey every hour or so to get a moist (ew, I hate that word) bird! Mom taught me to cook the turkey breast side down, covered in foil, and when you’re ready to crisp up the skin in the last hour to hour and a half, flip it over and leave it uncovered. We used to stick wooden spoon handles in each end of the bird cavities and turn it over (carefully!!).
While all this was going on, the back door was open with the box fan blowing the hot air out the back door. At the end of November. Sometimes we’d be freezing while standing in the kitchen peeling potatoes, other years it was so hot that we were glad for the cool air to come through the screen door.
Mom used to stuff her turkey with her bread stuffing (which is delicious, btw), but I do things a little bit differently. I stuff our turkey with onion, garlic, rosemary, and lemon. Whenever I cook my poultry this way, I never have complaints (or leftovers!). Mom’s stuffing is always featured, but baked in a separate pan.
Thanksgiving Morning Traditions & My favorite thing
The incredible spread my mom and I put on every single year was gigantic. We made what seemed like hundreds of pies (it really wasn’t that many…), turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, marshmallow topped yams, peas, beets, homemade rolls, deviled eggs, green bean casserole, and much, much more. My absolute favorite thing out of all of that was the canned cranberry jelly. You know, the wobbly stuff that has the imprint of the can rings in it? That, to me, is perfection. We always had homemade cinnamon rolls and coffee for breakfast while we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!
My family traditions here in the UK are a little bit different since my family is smaller. For the last few years I have bought a medium sized turkey, and it cooks in about two hours. I make small batches (think loaf pan sized) of every side dish that fancies me. Instead of rolls, I make these INCREDIBLE buttermilk biscuits to slather cranberry jelly on.
Since The Husband and Punky despise green bean casserole, I make green beans and bacon instead. I make an apple pie instead of pumpkin, because well, have you ever tried to buy Libby’s packed pumpkin in the UK? You’re either getting gouged on price (because it’s imported), or you simply can’t find it anywhere. I’m absolutely unwilling to buy 3 cans of pumpkin (think red kidney bean can size) for £10 on Amazon. £10!
My turkey gravy is homemade with a touch of lemon to it. I use the drippings from the turkey, scrapings from the roasting pan, and cornflour, and add the juice of ½ a lemon. Our ambrosia salad (this is super sad), doesn’t have marshmallows in it! The Husband loathes marshmallows and asks me to omit them from my recipe, which on its own is actually pretty delicious.
The guys are hardcore potato-haters, but I always make mashed potatoes anyway. You can’t have a roast dinner without mashed potatoes! I like to add roasted garlic and cheese to ours.
We also usually make brussels sprouts instead of the peas. We love cabbage in any form in our house, and its usually on the menu in some form at least once a week. I know, brussels sprouts are usually reserved for Christmas, but they’re a must-have for us!
Kitchen Appliance Obsession & Breakfast
Since I have a small kitchen appliance obsession, I usually end up making quite a bit of the sides in my slowcookers. Yes, slowcookers. I have two crock pots, a steamer, a rice cooker, two blenders (full size, and travel bottle size), my kitchenaid mixer, and a hand mixer. All of these, at some point of the day, will be used.
Instead of cinnamon rolls, I start the day out by having oatmeal for breakfast. If I don’t, I usually forget to eat during the flurry of cooking. If the past is anything to go by, I’ll collapse into my dining chair at 7pm, drink too much prosecco, and make myself ill. (Two years ago I cooked for the three of us plus my inlaws, totalling 7 people. My kitchen was a disaster!) That can’t happen again! I make crock pot cinnamon roll oatmeal in my small crock pot overnight for a sweet, lower calorie, but still satisfying breakfast. When I’m done with breakfast, I transfer the leftover oatmeal into a storage container, pop it in the fridge, and clean out the crock pot for another Thanksgiving side dish.
You’re probably tired of my ramblings by now, so I’ll jump ahead to the recipes!
Crock Pot Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal I use this recipe by Amanda at momswithcrockpots.com. How about that for fate? This recipe is delicious and makes your whole house smell fantastic.
Lunch is usually a simple affair on Thanksgiving Day for me. Punky is still at school (because it’s not a national holiday here), and The Husband is asleep because he has to work that night, so I usually grab a quick sandwich, wrap, or soup to tide me over until dinner.
Sandwich: Classic BLT. No fuss, no muss, no freaking avocado. What is with all this avocado love anyway? Everywhere you go on Pinterest, you find something with added avocado. It’s nasty! Don’t even go there with the BLT. I use smoked bacon rashers (NOT BACK BACON!), large beefsteak tomatoes, and romaine lettuce. Always toast your bread (because the tomatoes will make it soggy), and mayonnaise. I use Hellman’s Light Mayo, but you can use whatever you prefer. I know iceberg is the traditional leafy green for a BLT, but I just can’t stand how watery it is. Trust me and go for Romaine.
Wrap: These chicken Caesar wraps from Erica, Echo, and Emily at www.favfamilyrecipes.com is quick and delicious.
Soup: I’m not a big fan of soup since my jaw surgery last year (because I was on a 12 week liquid only diet), but sometimes you just need soup. I like this recipe from Rachel at rachelcooks.com. It’s very similar to my own recipe, and it’s easy to make ahead and store.
The Main Event: Thanksgiving Dinner
Amanda’s Thanksgiving Roast Turkey
1 medium to large turkey (depending on how many people you’re feeding)
¼ c. butter
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 lemon, quartered
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 onion, quartered
Directions: If you’re buying a frozen turkey, thaw it in the refrigerator for 24 hours every 4-5 lbs. A 10 lb turkey will take approximately two days to thaw.
Once you’re ready to begin roasting the turkey, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Pat the outside of your turkey dry with paper towels. Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity and either set aside, or discard, depending on if you’re using it for your gravy.
Pat the inside of the cavity dry, and season the inside with salt and pepper. Lay down in the roasting pan and stuff cavity with celery, onion, lemon, and rosemary. Tuck the wings back so they do not burn, and tie the legs together with baking twine.
Liberally butter the outside of the turkey, including the wings and legs. Season with salt and pepper.
*This is the point where you can place your turkey in a roasting bag and seal with the zip tie included, or you can add stock to the bottom of the pan and cover with foil.
Roast your (10 lb) turkey for 2 hours and remove the foil, or slit open the roasting bag. Baste your turkey with the juices collected in the bottom of the pan, and continue to roast until the thigh reads 180F, and 165F in the breast and stuffing.
This handy chart will tell you how long to cook your turkey for so there’s no guessing involved!
A little note from my mom: This was actually a recipe handed down to me from My Mother-in-law when we were married almost 29 years ago. It’s just an easy home grown recipe. It’s one you can add any type of nut, fruit or vegetable to that you like in your stuffing. Now that I’ve handed it down to Amanda, and she’s been nice enough to share it with the rest of you, please continue to use it and enjoy~ ❤ Mom
My Mom’s Stuffing
3/4 loaf of bread (2-3 day old Italian batons work wonderfully for this!)
1 pint Chicken Stock ( I use Kallo Chicken Stock cubes)
2 T Poultry Seasoning *
1 tsp Black Pepper
2 T Dried Onion
1/2 c melted Butter
Tear your bread into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Add all of the seasonings and mix well, so there are no clumps of spices. Pour over the melted butter and stir to coat. Cover the mixture with chicken stock, and let the bread absorb the liquid fully. This may look gross at first, but I promise you it is divine. Stir well and place in two loaf pans, or 1 8×8 square pan. Bake at 190 C for 35 minutes. Serve hot.
* If you don’t have poultry seasoning, please visit the bottom of this post. I will give you the measurements and ingredients to make your own!
This recipe by Julia at platedcravings.com is excellent! You can use whatever type of cheese you like, and I swear you’ll want to lick the bowl clean.
Biscuits and I have a very long and tedious relationship. For the longest time I was unable to make them exactly as I wanted – meaning they always came out like hockey pucks. Then one day I found this recipe for Ruth’s Diner Biscuits on Pinterest, and they quickly became a family favorite. Whenever I make them, Punky will eat almost an entire batch by himself. They’re that good!
Ruth’s Diner Mile High Biscuits
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
3 cup Flour
1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 stick Butter
3/4 cup Buttermilk
1/4 cup Water
Directions: Preheat the oven to 425F. Combine flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and butter until crumbly. Mix in buttermilk, egg, and just enough water to make a workable dough. Mix the dough until it is just barely combined (there may still be flour in the bottom of the bowl. Don’t worry about this).
Roll out onto a floured cutting board (you can use the remnants from the bottom of your bowl for this!) until about an inch thick. Cut with a 2 inch biscuit cutter, or a 2 inch round cup (A pint glass works well for this!).
Place the biscuits on a greased baking dish and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 12-15 biscuits depending on how thick you make them.
**TIP** I brush the tops of the biscuits with butter before baking. They come out even more golden and delicious than the original recipe.
When mixing your dough, only do it by hand, just as you would for pastry. Mix lightly! You still want chunks of butter in the biscuit dough. If you overmix they will turn into hockey pucks, and you’ll break your teeth trying to eat them.
These biscuits are especially delicious spread with cranberry jelly!
Green Beans & Bacon
I’m not quite sure where this recipe came from, but there are a lot of variations online. This just happens to be the version that The Husband prefers, and requests any time I’m making green beans. I hope you love it as much as we do!
Now, your first feeling will be that we’re cooking these beans for far too long. To be perfectly honest, the color isn’t as appealing as bright green barely-cooked green beans, but the flavour is absolutely phenomenal. You’ll be happy that you made these.
Amanda’s Green Beans & Bacon
½ package of smoked bacon rashers (about 6 strips)
6 shallots, finely sliced. If you don’t want to buy shallots, a regular yellow onion works too. Dice.
2-3 lbs fresh green beans, ends trimmed, and snapped in half.
½ tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 c. Chicken or vegetable broth
Cut your bacon into bite sized pieces and cook on medium – high heat in a large frying pan until crispy and golden. Add your shallots. Fry until soft, and golden brown, and add bacon and green beans into the pan. Do not discard the bacon grease! Stir around to coat and saute for 5 minutes or so. Add the broth, salt, and pepper, and taste. Cover the pan and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir well and taste. Adjust the seasonings as necessary. Serve hot.
We don’t have a magic way of cooking brussels sprouts. The Husband likes them boiled (not overcooked), and sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper.
If you’re new to cooking fresh Brussels sprouts, here’s what you need to do. Cut off the ends and remove the loose and yellowing outer leaves. Cut an X into the bottom of the Brussels sprout. Rinse in cold water to release any dirt that may have gotten under the leaves as they grew. Place in a sauce pan and cover with water and a pinch of salt. Boil for 5 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. You do not want them to be mush! Drain, and serve hot.
My turkey gravy is ridiculously easy. It is rich, flavorful, and is much better than the regular Bisto turkey gravy granules.
Amanda’s Turkey Gravy
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour (you can also use a cornstarch slurry to thicken if you are gluten-free)
Drippings and crispy bits from the bottom of the roasting pan
Softened vegetables from turkey cavity
1 ½ cups Chicken Stock
Fresh Rosemary (to garnish)
¼ – ½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper (or white pepper – whichever flavour you prefer. I don’t like white pepper, so I don’t use it in any of the dishes I make. )
In a large saucepan, melt butter until foamy but not browning. Add the flour, and stir together until lumps are dissolved. Cook until a golden brown color (this is your roux). Add the turkey drippings and whisk together until completely smooth.
In a blender, puree the vegetables (discard the lemons or the lemon flavour will be overpowering) from the turkey cavity with chicken stock and rosemary. Pour the puree into the thickened roux, and cook until thick, glossy, and the gravy coats the back of a spoon. Taste. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve hot.
Cornstarch Thickened Gravy: Mix together the drippings, pureed vegetables, chicken stock, rosemary, and seasonings. Make a slurry of 3 tablespoons of cornstarch (cornflour) and dissolve into 1 cup of water. Pour the mixture into the gravy while whisking to avoid lumps. Whisk continuously, and cook on medium-low heat until gravy is thick, glossy, and coats the back of a spoon. Serve hot.
Ambrosia Salad (No Cool Whip)
This is a standard ambrosia salad recipe made with real whipped cream and sour cream dressing. The Husband loathes marshmallows, so I omit them, but please feel free to use them if you wish. I don’t have a picture of the ambrosia yet because I haven’t made it in awhile, but when I do make it I’ll update the photo.
1 c. double cream (heavy whipping cream)
1 tablespoon sugar
½ c. sour cream
1 can pinapple chunks, drained
1 tin fruit cocktail, drained
1 tin sliced peaches (diced)
1 can mandarin orange slices, drained
1 c. dessicated coconut (shredded unsweetened coconut)
1 package mini marshmallows (if using)
In a large bowl (or using your stand mixer), whip the double cream and sugar (whipping cream) to hard peaks with a hand mixer. Add the sour cream and whip lightly for 1 minute or until combined. In a large bowl, dump in the pineapple, fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges, peaches, ¾ c. coconut, marshmallows, and fold in the cream mixture. Top the ambrosia with the remaining coconut, and chill in the refrigerator for roughly two hours before serving.
Mama’s Apple Pie
If you haven’t seen it yet, I posted my Mama’s Apple Pie recipe a few days ago. You can read it again here.
Bonus: Poultry Seasoning Recipe
Homemade Poultry Seasoning
Measure equal amounts and pour into your airtight jar. Shake well and use within a year.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this extremely long post and are inspired to make your Thanksgiving dinner as easy as possible this year. Stay tuned for more amazing posts to come this week, freebies for email subscribers, and more.