Saturday, November 17, 2012

Complete Thanksgiving Guide, 2012

I am so excited to be in charge of the Thanksgiving Feast this year!!!!  My first time!! I'm super lucky in that I have amazing recourses with all the incredible cooks in my family--RECIPES GALORE!! 

 Here is the spread for our Turkey day.  All of these recipes are tried and true and will hopefully fill your bellies this Thanksgiving, as well!  You will be so happy with how everything tastes, everyone will be asking you for your recipes:)

  I've also included the cooking schedule for the week of Thanksgiving so that you know what you can make ahead the days before Thursday so that your big day will run as smoothly and simply as possible.  Lastly, I've also included an invaluable Thanksgiving Morning schedule of when to put what in the oven, etc. so that you are ready to go when your guests arrive!!  Basically, I've done all your menu planning and time management for you, and am letting you take all the credit!  

Enjoy your special Thanksgiving Feast!  I can't wait for ours!!

all image sources found through recipe links below

The menu, in all it's glory: 
click on each item to take you to the recipe

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Baguette (from Costco)



Cooking Schedule:

Monday before Thanksgiving:

-make mini berry pies to freeze
-make oatmeal cake, freeze whole
-assemble salad dressing, keep in air tight container in fridge
-if turkey is frozen, take it out today and keep it in the fridge to thaw

Tuesday before Thanksgiving:

-make cranberry sauce, keep in air tight container in fridge
-assemble bacon wrapped green beans (do not put the butter, brown sugar or garlic on yet, and do not bake them), put them in a casserole dish, wrap the dish in tinfoil and freeze
-assemble sweet potato souffle (do not bake it), wrap it in tinfoil and put in the fridge
-assemble stuffed mushrooms (do not broil them), put on a cookie sheet, wrap them in foil and put in the fridge
-make mashed potatoes, cool, keep in an air tight container in the fridge

Wednesday before Thanksgiving:

-assemble stuffing (leave out the broth and do not bake it), wrap it in tinfoil and put it in the fridge
-dice the apples for the salad, soak them in water with a little lemon in it for 5 minutes, drain and then put in a baggy in the fridge
-make the pumpkin chiffon pie, cover with a lid if you can, keep in the fridge
-make the Bavarian apple torte, cover if you can, keep in the fridge
-assemble the brie en croute (do not bake it), wrap in tinfoil and keep in the fridge 
-put spinach dip in serving bowl, cover, and keep in fridge
-set the table

This is all assuming you have at least two ovens.  If not, then get people to help you!  This schedule is made to have the feast ready to go between 1:00 - 1:15 pm.

6:00-7:00 am 
-start assembling the turkey (the remainder of the turkey schedule is according to a 20-24 pound turkey)
-finish assembling green beans (do not bake them yet) and put them in the fridge
-take the pies out of the freezer and leave on the counter to thaw
-take oatmeal cake out of the freezer and leave on counter to thaw

7:00-8:00 am
-have turkey in the oven by 7:00
-baste turkey with melted butter at 7:30

8:00-9:00 am
-baste turkey with melted butter at 8:00
-start the rolls
-put mashed potatoes in a crock pot on medium heat to begin to heat them up
-baste turkey with melted butter at 8:30

9:00-10:00 am
-baste turkey with melted butter at 9:00
-baste turkey with melted butter at 9:30

10:00-11:00 am
-baste turkey with melted butter at 10:00 am
-stir mashed potatoes, continue heating them in crock pot
-cut oatmeal cake into individual servings and put each square on a paper muffin cup, continue to thaw them on the counter
-baste turkey with melted butter at 10:30, then put a tent of tinfoil over the bird for the remainder of its oven time
-finish assembling stuffing and put it in the oven to bake no later than 10:30 

11:00-12:00 pm
-baste turkey with turkey drippings at 11:00
-make creamed corn, keep covered and be prepared to reheat it in the microwave closer to dinner time
-baste turkey with turkey drippings at 11:30

12:00-1:00 pm
-remove turkey from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before carving
-put the brie en croute in the oven to bake
-make the gravy with the turkey drippings, adding store bought gravy if needed

- put the green beans in the oven to bake when stuffing is done
-put the rolls in the oven when the brie is done
-put sweet potato souffle in the oven when the green beans are done

1:00 pm
-put the mushrooms in the oven to broil once the rolls are done
-set out your appetizers for people to nibble on while you finish the rest of the list

-assemble salad
-mix the beverage
-reheat anything you need to in the microwave
-set out your spread! (don't forget everything still in the fridge!)

Final checklist:

+ stuffed mushrooms
+ brie en croute with crackers
+ spinach dip with baguette slices

+ cranapple ale
+ turkey
+ gravy
+ stuffing
+ mashed potatoes
+ sweet potato souffle
+ bacon wrapped green beans
+ creamed corn
+ dinner rolls
+ salad 
+ salad dressing
+ cranberry sauce

+ mini pies
+ pumpkin chiffon pie
+ oatmeal cake squares

Mother Marilyn's Dinner Rolls

These dinner rolls are very special to us.  They were my Grandmother's recipe and a Thanksgiving essential in our home.  Although they are delicious every single time, they were the most delicious when she made them.  Miss you Grandma Marilyn!

{What you need}
2/3 cup powdered milk
1 cup margarine
3 tablespoons dry yeast
2 cup boiling water
10-12 cups white flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup warm water
6 eggs, beaten
1 tbs salt

In a large bowl combine powdered milk, sugar, margarine and boiling water.  Soften yeas in 1 cup warm water.  Add beaten eggs to milk mixture, then add yeast water.  Sift enough flour and salt into the milk mixture to make a soft dough, making sure it is still a little sticky.  Beat thoroughly.  Turn out onto floured board and knead enough flour in to make a soft, smooth dough (still keeping it a little tacky).  Place in greased bowl, greasing the top of the dough as well.  Cover and rise until double in bulk, about 40 minutes.  Shape as desired (we fold them as pictured above), let rise an additional 40 minutes, and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Muffin Tin Berry Pies

These are so adorable and so fun!  You can make them weeks in advance and freeze them.  Just take them out the morning of the day you're serving them and let them thaw.  We're serving these for Thanksgiving this year as a fun twist on pie dessert.

{What you need}
4-6 store bought pie crust doughs
bowl or round cookie cutter about 4" diameter
muffin tin
decorative cookie cutters (optional)
4 cups assorted fruit of choice (I like berries, fresh or canned)
1/2-2/3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

{optional crumb topping}
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter at room temp

Roll out the pie crust dough and with the cookie cutter cut out 24 circles, reserving the rest of the dough.  Place each circle of pie crust in each well of two muffin tins, pressing them to form a tad.  To make the filling, wash and prepare fruit.  In a large bowl, add fruit, sugar, corn starch and lemon juice, and mix until everything is evenly incorporated.  Spoon even amounts of filling into each muffin well.  Roll out the remaining crust dough and cut out desired shapes to place on top of the filling for the top pie crust.  If you'd rather have the crumb topping instead, mix all the topping ingredients together with a for until it is crumbly.  Top each pie with a heaping tablespoon of crumbs.  Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and pies are heated through.  Allow to cool completely before removing from tins.

inspired by this recipe

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

This is a very special dessert.  It's been in the H family for quite some time and is a favorite on Thanksgiving day.  It's a light and elegant twist on traditional essential for Fall.  

{What you need}
1 envelope Knox gelatin
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cool water
3 eggs (reserve whites)
1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup crisco
1/2 cold canned milk

For the crust, mix salt and flour.  Add crisco.  Blend with a pastry blender (not too fine).  Add milk (a little at a time).  Press into a 9" pie pan.  Bake at 400 until light and brown, about 8-12 minutes.  Set aside.

For the pie filling, mix the gelatin, brown sugar, salt, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon together in a double boiler.  Stir in milk, water, egg yolks.  Cook over boiling water, stirring constantly, until dissolved and warm.  Remove and chill about 20 minutes in ice in double boiler until the mixture begins to set.  Beat the egg whites until very stiff, adding slowly 1/4 cup sugar.  Fold into gelatin mixture.  Pour into your pie crust and top with whipped cream.  Serve cold!

Cranberry Sauce

Another Thanksgiving staple.  Great on leftover turkey sandwiches, too!

{What you need}
12 oz. fresh cranberries
1 cup white sugar
1 cup orange juice

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the orange juice.  Stir in the cranberries and cook until the cranberries start to pop (about 10 minutes).  Remove from heat and place sauce in a bowl.  Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

We love bacon in this house.  And green beans, so you can imagine how much these are adored by our family.  We plan on making them for Thanksgiving this year, too, instead of the green bean casserole.  They would be great for any occasion, though!

{What you need}
1 lb. fresh green beans
10-12 slices bacon
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400.  Spray 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray (you can put in a rack, too, if you don't want the beans baking in the bacon grease).  Wash and thoroughly dry green beans, then season with salt and pepper.  Bundle together about 5-8 green beans, depending on the size of your beans and the amount of beans you get for one pound.  Bundle together as many as you like!  Using a slice of bacon, wrap it around the center of the beans to hold it together.  Lay the bundle of bacon seam side down in the baking dish to hold it together.  Repeat with remaining beans.  In a small saucepan over low heat, add butter, brown sugar, and garlic and whisk until melted and combined.  Using a pastry brush, brush the mixture over top of each green bean bundle.  Cover the bundles with foil and bake for 35 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for 20-25 more minutes more, until bacon gets crispy (you may need to broil them for a few minutes).  

inspired by this recipe

Creamed Corn

An amazing twist on the boring side dish.  We're excited to serve this for our Thanksgiving Feast this year, but you can make it for any fancy dinner.

{What you need}
20 oz. petite white corn, thawed (Costco!)
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp MSG
6 tsp sugar
1 pinch pepper
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons flour

In a pot, combine cream, milk, salt, MSG, sugar and pepper and bring to a slow boil.  Blend butter and flour and add to the mixture.  Add corn, heat through and remove from heat. 

compliments of Aunt Ruthanne

Thanksgiving Turkey Gravy

{What you need}
5 cups turkey stock with pan drippings 
(if you have the neck and giblets, you can boil them in water to make the stock)
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup milk
1/3 cup flour 
some store bought pre-made turkey gravy to add to the finished recipe, in case you don't have enough gravy for the number of people you're serving

Bring the stock to a boil in a large saucepan.  Stir in soup and season with poultry seasoning, pepper, seasoned salt, and garlic powder.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer.  Warm the milk in the microwave and whisk in the flour with a fork until there are no lumps.  Return the gravy to a boil and gradually stir in the milk mixture.  Be careful no to let the bottom scorch.  Add pre-made gravy until you have the quantity you desire.

inspired by this recipe

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Rosemary Brie en Croute

Here is a little upgrade of this recipe.  This is the perfect appetizer for the holiday season!

{What you need} 
1 wheel of Brie, I used a 13 oz 
1 package puff pastries (2 come in a pack)
1/3 cup crasins
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans
1 egg beaten with 1 Tb water for an egg wash

Allow the puff pastries to defrost to room temp.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry.  In a separate bowl, stir together craisins, honey, rosemary, and pecans.  In the center of the pastry put the honey mixture.  Take the wheel of brie and scrape off as much rind as you would like.  It is edible, but makes it a little harder to cut into if there is too much on.  I shave off a lot of the rind but not enough to cut into the cheese.  Place the shaved wheel of brie on top of the pile of goods in the center of the pastry.  Fold the dough up and around the cheese, taking care to seal completely and securely.  Turn the wheel over onto a lightly greased cookie sheet so that the folds and seems are underneath.  Egg wash the entire surface.  With the other puff pastry you can roll it out and cut out shapes and press it onto the top of the wheel to add decorations.  Then egg wash the entire surface again. 

Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes, then let the oven cool to 325 and bake for 20-25 minutes longer.  Serve with fancy crackers and fruit.

inspired by this recipe

Holiday Beverage

With all the holidays coming up, this will come in handy for this non-alcohol drinking Mormon!

{What you need}
Cranberry juice
Apple juice
Ginger ale

Mix equal parts together, or to your preference.  Serve chilled.

Cranberry Tossed Salad

This is John's favorite salad ever.  This dressing is unmatched!

{What you need}
1 large bowl mixed greens (we prefer the spring mix)
2 cups slivered almonds or pine nuts, toasted with butter
2-3 cups craisins
1 cup shredded mozzarella
3 green apples, chopped

1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 clove garlic, grated to a paste

You can make the dressing the day before, but don't combine everything else until right before ready to serve.

Sweet Potato Souffle

Another Thanksgiving Feast staple, with a gourmet twist.  Adapted from a recipe care of my MIL:

{What you need}
3 large cans sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup canned milk
2 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup flour
2/3 cube butter, softened
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups chopped pecans

Beat all ingredients together with a mixer.  Put in greased baking dish.  Cut together the softened butter and flour until incorporated.  Spread on top of the sweet potatoes and sprinkle with pecans and brown sugar.  Bake at 350 for about 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the souffle doesn't jiggle in the middle.

Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes

My mother-in-law's famous mashed potatoes.  No Thanksgiving feast is complete without them.

{What you need}
9 large baking potatoes, peeled and diced
1 stick unsalted butter at room temp
12 oz cream cheese at room temp 
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes in a large saucepan until tender. Drain, then place the potatoes in a mixer bowl.  Cut the butter and cream cheese into small pieces and add to the potatoes.  Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Beat in the sour cream.  Season with the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately or reheat in a buttered casserole dish at 300 degrees for 20 minutes, if you want to prepare them in advance.  Makes 8 portions.

Sausage Apple Stuffing

Five Stars.  Almost 2,500 reviews.  I am so excited to make this for our Thanksgiving feast!!

{What you need}
1 1/2 cups cubed whole wheat bread
3 3/4 cups cubed white bread
1 pound pork or turkey sausage
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cups chopped celery
5 tsp fresh sage, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 golden delicious apple, cored and chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 3/4 cup chicken stock
1 egg, beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350.  Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet.  Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until evenly toasted.  Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl.  In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until evenly browned.  Add the celery, sage, rosemary, and thyme; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes to blend flavors.  Pour sausage mixture over bread bowl.  Mix in chopped apples, dried cranberries and parsley.  Add beaten egg and toss until evenly incorporated. Drizzle with chicken stock and melted butter, and mix lightly.  Transfer into a 9x13 baking dish and cover with tinfoil.  Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 minutes longer.  

inspired by this recipe 

Citrus Sage Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving is just around the corner!  Here is my mother-in-law's juicy recipe for you.  I plan on making it for my family on Turkey Day!

{What you need}
1, 15-20 lb turkey, thawed
3 oranges, cut into quarters
3 apples, cored & cut into quarters
5 stalks celery
1 medium onion, peeled & cut into wedges
2 sprigs fresh sage
1 cup butter, softened and divided

Preheat oven to 450.  Wash bird inside out and dry gently with paper towels.  Remove neck and giblets and set them aside for the gravy.  Rub softened butter all over the outside of the bird.  Place on a rack in a large roasting pan.  Put the sage, 4 tablespoons butter  and as many of the oranges, apples, celery stalks, and onion as you can fit inside the bird, saving some to put around the bird in the pan. Tress the bird (skewer and tie legs and together) and salt and pepper the outside as desired.  Place a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, making sure to not touch the bone!  Put the bird in the heated oven, then immediately turn it down to 350.  Bake according to the weight of the bird, basting with melted butter every 20 minutes, then with the turkey drippings for the last 2 hours.  Tent the bird with tinfoil for the last 1 ½ hours.  Bake until the meat thermometer reads 180 degrees.

*If it gets done early, let it cool for about 10 minutes, then wrap in tinfoil securely and then bundle in a beach towel until ready to carve.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chicken Corn Chowder

My new favorite healthy soup recipe!  This stuff hit the spot big time this past week as we had our first snow here in the valley.  And at only 7 WW points plus per cup, it kept me full for a few days after, too, with the leftovers.  Love this stuff!!  John even loved it, too, and said it didn't taste "healthy" at all:).

{What you need}
1 TB butter
1 small chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1 can diced green chilies
2 TB flour
3 cups milk
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1 can corn
1 can creamed corn
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions and carrots.  Cook until carrots are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes.  Add flour, cook while continually stirring for one minute.  Slowly add milk and stir until slightly thickened.  Incorporate the remaining ingredients, and stir until heated through.  Top with sour cream or mozzarella cheese (will add to the points value, though).

inspired by this recipe

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


These were amazing!  And actually very, very easy to throw together.  We had some leftover pot roast that made for delectable bites, but the recipe calls for ground beef.  Either one would be delish.  We loved it with the shredded beef.  You could also use shredded chicken or pork.

{What you need}
1 pound ground beef (or meat of choice)
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 packet taco seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup sour cream
1 can chopped green chilies
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons melted butter
6 flour tortillas

Brown the beef, onion, garlic, taco seasoning and oregano in a large skillet over medium heat.  Drain off excess fat, and stir in the sour cream, chilies, and vinegar.  Remove from heat and incorporate the cheese.  Take each tortilla and brush a little melted butter on one side.  With the buttered side down, fill each tortilla with about 1/3 cup beef mixture.  Fold each side into the center, then the top and bottom inward.  Place each chimichanga on a cooking-sprayed baking sheet with the seem down.  Bake at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp.  Serves up great with this Spanish rice recipe!

inspired by this recipe

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