Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Our Traditional Thanksgiving Menu

Despite all the cooking shows I watch, all the Pinterest recipes I pin, and despite all the "Holiday Meal" articles in Cooking Light and Real Simple, the Thanksgiving meal in this household doesn't change much.  At least not as far as the what MUST be on the table, no matter how many people are around it.

First and foremost is the turkey.  It has to be large, at least in the 16-18 lb range, even if it's just the 4 of us, like this year.  We have to have tons of leftovers to split between at two households at the very least.  This year's bird weighs in at just over 17 pounds.  I roast this the way my mom did:  in the oven at 325°, covered in foil, until the last half hour.

The bird is stuffed with a relatively plain stuffing.  The stuffing HAS to start with Pepperidge Farm herb seasoned CUBED stuffing.  As my mother taught me, I had celery, onion, some more herbs (a tad of sage, thyme, FRESH parsley, a bay leaf or two), and it MUST have capers in it.  Occasionally I get "fancy" and I've been known to add some pecans, cranberries, or walnuts, but I'm generally booed when I do that.  My mom always stuffed the bird with it, but my husband and sons prefer the stuffing baked outside the bird.  So I do both.  I don't like the dry stuff -- I like the soggy, juicy stuffing!

Accompanying the bird:  mashed potatoes, mashed butternut squash, and  mashed turnip(rutabaga!).   Nothing fancy.  Just those root veggies, boiled or pressure cooked, mashed with real butter, and salt and pepper, and milk in the case of the potatoes.  This year I'm trying something new!  Since my RA diagnosis, I am having a hard time "slicing and dicing", and peeling squash can be a real chore.  I am roasting my squash whole first this year, and then peeling and mashing.  I don't know if my family can stand the innovation.
 If my sister's family shares the meal with us, we add green bean casserole with the crunchy fried onions on top, and rolls.  We have 2 kinds of cranberry sauce - whole berry and sliced, mixed sweet pickles and olives, celery and carrot sticks, and most years, creamed pearl onions.  And of course, the gravy.

And the pies.  NO VARIATION ALLOWED.  Even with only 4 people.  One pumpkin, one apple, one pecan, and one mince.  As my husband states:  "You NEVER make pie, except at Thanksgiving."  That's not entirely true, but I dislike pie making as a rule.  I don't exactly know why, because with the availability of good "ole Pillsbury Ready Dough . . . .

The only place I get to try new things are on the unessentials like beverages.  We traditionally have cider available, water, and wine.  This year I am trying something that sounds really good to me - Apple Cider Sangria.  Here's the recipe, which I gleaned from Pinterest.  This recipe comes from this blog HOW SWEET  IT IS.

Apple Cider Sangria



1 bottle (standard size) of pinot grigio
2 1/2 cups fresh apple cider
1 cup club soda
1/2 cup ginger brandy
3 honey crisp apples, chopped
3 pears, chopped


Combine all ingredients together and stir, stir, stir. Refrigerate for an hour or so (or longer!) before serving.
[Regular brandy can also be used, I simply used ginger brandy to give it more autumn flavor.]

I will let you know how it turns out!

I don't have any pics to share today.  Maybe tomorrow!
Happy Thanksgiving to all!


Panhandle Jane said...

That sounds delicious. It will just be the two of us tomorrow since both children will be elsewhere. And, since almost all my pots are packed, I'm doing chicken and dressing in the crockpot for the two of us. I experimented earlier in the year after reading someone else's recipe, and it worked well. That cuts down on the number of serving dishes, too. We may have candy bars from the convenience store for dessert. All the cake pans and pie pans are boxed for the move! Maybe we'll be in some condition to celebrate Christmas.

Christine said...

The daughter that lives near me will be having the traditional dinner tomorrow with her in-laws, and since she's working this morning, I am making a pork roast with mashed potatoes and Jamie Oliver onion gravy (my granddaughter LOVES gravy) and green bean casserole with pumpkin cheesecake for dessert (which I made yesterday). Happy Thanksgiving to you both.