Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Thanksgiving Recipes

Okay folks, again, I love Thanksgiving and being the creature of habit that I am, I usually make the same things every year, but I love them all so it is truly a treat to cook and eat! I wanted to share my menu and recipes with you, just in case you may be looking for something new to try. I have made well over 25 Thanksgiving dinners and these are my favorite recipes. Hope you enjoy!

Here is my menu:

Brined Turkey
Sausage and herb savory stuffing
Mashed potatoes
Candied sweet potatoes
Mixed fresh greens
Greenbean casserole (French onion one)
Jellied and berried cranberry sauce
Pumpkin Pie
Reese peanut butter ice cream pie
Banana pudding

Okay, I cook the a lot of my dinner on Wednesday afternoon / evening so we will start there:

Brine the turkey: I just started brining my turkey a couple of years ago and it comes out wonderfully. In the past, I have used the majority of ingredients in this Bobby Flay recipe, the kosher salt, sugar, water, and brown sugar....But this year I am going with Alton Brown because I like the extras that he has in his recipe, seems more Thanksgivingy to me. I put my turkey in a double thickness trash bag because I do not have a container big enough to put it in and it fits right back in my refrigerator in my roasting pan, for extra security so that nothing will leak out. I put it right side up first then flip it to breast side up to rest overnight in the brine.

Stuffing: Now, I really do not have measurements for my stuffing. I use one package of sage sausage and saute that along with about 3 diced onions and several diced stalks of celery. I also add sliced mushrooms. The spices I like to add include sage, garlic, Mrs. Dash or any other season salt you like, salt and pepper to taste, and I do plenty of tasting and adding while cooking this. I also use real butter, not margarine, in my stuffing, following the package, using bagged sage stuffing mix. Nothing too elaborate like dicing up my own bread and whatnot. Pretty simple to make and delicious.

Greens: Again, really no measuring, just making this to taste. I saute some type of ham hocks, then, I cover the ham hocks in water and let simmer about 15 minutes while I slice up more onions (ugh, I know, my least favorite job). I like to use fresh collard and kale greens. I wash the greens and do not cut them up too much, just a bit. I keep adding them and layer the greens with onions and with season salt(Mrs. Dash), salt, and pepper with a bit of water so the pan is about 1/3 filled with water. Now, I put the top on the pan while I am washing and cutting the greens and onions so that they will simmer down and reduce in volume so I can add more.
These cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until they are cooked to your desired consistency. Season them to taste. Refrigerate after cooking so they will be just ready for heating on Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Pie: Nothing spectacular, just follow the directions on the canned pumpkin with the graham cracker crust.

Reese Peanut Butter Cup No Bake Pie: This super easy recipe is always a hit!

Banana Pudding: I use one box of instant vanilla pudding, 1 can of evaporated milk, 3/4 can sweetened condensed milk, mix and let set. Fold in 1 tub of cool whip. Layer into your serving dish with the Vanilla wafers cookies at the bottom, bananas, then mixture all the way to the top with the banana layer with cookies at the very top. Cover and refrigerate for the next day, make sure to make a little cup for you to enjoy in the evening before Thanksgiving with a little bit of egg nog!

Thanksgiving Day:
Turkey: Remove from the Brine and pat dry, I put butter under the skin of the breast along with some celery leaves and onion in the cavity, rub the entire turkey with butter and season. In pot heat white wine and 2 sticks of real butter, remove from heat, submerge cheese cloth and cover the turkey with the cheese cloth. I do add stuffing to my bird, but it is a personal preference.

Mashed potatoes: Boil Idaho potatoes, then remove skin, dice. Mash them along with real butter, milk, and Miracle Whip (yes, it has to be Miracle Whip) and season with salt and pepper to taste while combining.

Candied potatoes: Emerils recipe is very similar to my own, except I use canned sweet potatoes., just easier for me.

Punch: I combine frozen concentrated 2 cans grape juice, 1 lemonade, 1 cranberry, 1 lime and whatever else catches my fancy. Add Gingerale, sliced lemon, lime. (squeeze a lemon, lime, tangerine and whatever else you may like inside as well)

So, put on a great movie (I love My Fair Lady the night before), just do pizza that night as well so I can just relax while cooking that night with a nice glass of wine.

Here are a couple of songs for this favorite of mine! Hope you love it, if you have not seen it, please do if you get a chance.

The next day, I enjoy the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade with a great breakfast, then start cooking the next part of my meal (the turkey) after the parade while watching Miracle on 31st Street.

The next day after Thanksgiving, I put up my tree, enjoy the lights and some egg nog with delicious leftovers and Holiday music, this is my favorite time of the year.

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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