Thanksgiving Dinner Menu and Recipes

thanksgiving menuIt’s not too late to do your grocery shopping and cook an amazing feast for Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll be doing that Thursday, using my mom’s delicious recipes. Follow these recipes and you’ll have an amazing meal, I promise!

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu and Recipes

A Perfect Turkey

one 16-pound turkey, thawed
one onion
two celery stalks
one stick of butter
1 cup of cold water
1 lemon, cut in half
kosher salt
ground black pepper
garlic powder
3-5 sprigs of fresh rosemary (parsley, sage, and/or thyme would work well, too)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove giblets. Rub outside of turkey with salt and sprinkle generously with pepper and garlic powder. Inside the cavity, place one peeled onion, two celery stalks, one stick of butter, one cup of cold water, lemon, and herbs.

Wrap the whole bird in heavy aluminum foil, checking to see that it is snug and tight. Put wrapped bird in roasting pan and cover with the lid. Or, to make your own roaster, use two aluminum roasting pans to form a top and bottom.

Cook for one hour at 350 degrees. Then lower the temperature to 275 degrees. Cook for thirty minutes per pound (about eight hours for a 16-pound bird).

During the last hour (eighth hour), lower the oven to 250 degrees. At the end of that hour, turn the oven off. Allow turkey to sit in the cooling oven for about thirty minutes.

Cool turkey completely before slicing.

***

I know the timing can be a little tricky to figure out. Here’s a sample schedule (I’ll be doing something like this on Thanksgiving Eve):

8:00-8:30 Prep bird for baking
8:30-9:30 Cook at 350 degrees
9:30-4:30 Cook at 275 degrees

Set alarm for 4:30 to change oven temp
and go back to bed

4:30-5:30 Lower oven to 250 degrees
5:30 Turn oven off
5:30-6:00 Turkey sits in off and cooling oven

Move turkey to cool in refrigerator

11:30-11:45 Slice turkey and plate
Noon Eat Thanksgiving dinner

Cornbread Dressing

Make a pan of cornbread according to package directions. Allow it to cool, then cut and crumble it into bite-size pieces.

Chop one onion, two stalks of celery, and three cloves of garlic. Saute onion, celery, and garlic in 1/2 stick of melted butter.

Stir mixture into crumbled cornbread. Add salt and pepper and dried sage to taste. Add 1/2 cup of chopped parsley. Slowly add chicken or turkey broth by cupfuls until desired consistency (about 2-4 cups); we like it kind of mushy but not too watery.

Pour into a greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until the casserole is browned and bubbly.

Sunday Sweet Potatoes

3 c. mashed yams (sweet potatoes) in sweet syrup (about 40 ozs.), drained
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. milk
1/3 c. melted butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 small can crushed pineapple
1 c. mini marshmallows

Combine all ingredients and put into baking dish.

Topping:
1 c. coconut
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. flour

Blend ingredients with 1/2 c. melted butter and sprinkle over top of potatoes. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, uncovered.

Thanksgiving menu | turkey recipe | dressing recipe | sweet potato recipe

 

Thanksgiving Day 2009 in Review

I am worn to a pulp but happy and full.

After last night’s marathon prepping/cleaning session, I worked this morning on finishing everything.

The meal was fantastic and my turkey turned out perfectly! Just as anticipated: tender, moist, flavorful. And my dressing? So savory! I made cranberry sauce myself and narrowly averted a sugar disaster. The recipe called for 1 cup of sugar, but I only had about 1/2 cup on hand. (I can’t believe I forgot to buy sugar!) I used brown sugar to make up the difference, and it was just fine.

I am continually amazed at a few things when it comes to hosting family and guests in our home for holiday meals:

  • I could wear my bikini (OK; you know I don’t really HAVE a bikini, but go with the illustration, OK?) while cleaning and cooking and I would still sweat like a pig. With a hot oven and people crammed in the house, I just about DIE of sweating.
  • When I am in the throes of cooking, preparation, and getting food on the table at a certain time, my children are ESPECIALLY needy, clingy, and underfoot. Moving a hot pan of something from point A to point B? There’s a kid right behind me. Balancing breakable dishes in my hands? Kid’s there tugging on my pants. Wanting food, drink, to watch a show, to ask for the millioneth time when we will eat—you name it and my kids are on it. There could be 15 adults within an arm’s reach and every child, every time, would find me, in the recesses of the house when I am engaged in some important and timely activity.
  • My father is LOUD. Very loud. Very, very, very loud. He’s a loud talker; a loud laugher; a loud cougher. And if you want to be heard, you have to be loudER than Daddy. And that gives me a headache. A lot.
  • BIG mistake: raising the issue of the Adam Lambert performance at the AMA’s. Big. Mistake. Somehow this comment digressed eventually to outsourcing American jobs to countries overseas. Huh? I have no idea. (Thanks, Chris.)
  • Wine. Wine is always a good idea at any family gathering. More wine? Yes, thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

Turkey’s Cooking Tonight

It’s Thanksgiving Eve and I almost forgot to post tonight. But you know–I have that commitment to NaBloPoMo and all, so here I am.

Tonight I prepped everything for cooking in the morning and put my turkey in to bake all night. My feet, legs, and back are killing me, but I made a lot of head-way. Hopefully, everything will go smoothly tomorrow and I won’t be so dog-tired that I can’t enjoy my guests. As I cooked tonight, I watched this week’s episodes online of my favorite soap, “The Bold and the Beautiful.” It’s my little guilty pleasure.

Growing up, I remember vividly waking on Thanksgiving morning to all kinds of wonderful smells. We’d sort of watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade while preparing for guests. Mom always chose kind of a weird time to eat, like 2:00 p.m. (We are eating at noon tomorrow. I figure that gives us TWO opportunities to eat, which I love.) Speaking of soaps, I also remember that Mom liked to watch the soaps on and around the holidays. She used to say that she liked to see how they celebrated with their decorations and pretty clothes. It’s true. It’s always fun to watch at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Fourth of July.

I want my kids to remember Thanksgiving morning smells when they reminisce on their growing-up years.

THANKSGIVING DINNER: Things My Mama Taught Me


Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I decided to post a series of recipes that actually did come from my mom. (I’ll post recipes for cornbread dressing, gravy, sweet potatoes, and more within the days between now and Thanksgiving.)

First up: A Perfect Turkey

I promise that if you follow the directions for cooking this turkey, your turkey will turn out beautifully.

It’s a fool-proof, easy recipe.

A Perfect Turkey

one 16-pound turkey, thawed
one onion
two celery stalks
one stick of butter
1 cup of cold water
1 lemon, cut in half
kosher salt
ground black pepper
garlic powder
3-5 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove giblets. Rub outside of turkey with salt and sprinkle generously with pepper and garlic powder. Inside the cavity, place one peeled onion, two celery stalks, one stick of butter, one cup of cold water, lemon, and rosemary sprigs.

Wrap the whole bird in heavy aluminum foil, checking to see that it is snug and tight. Put wrapped bird in roasting pan and cover with the lid. Or, to make your own roaster, use two aluminum roasting pans to form a top and bottom.

Cook for one hour at 350 degrees. Then lower the temperature to 275 degrees. Cook for thirty minutes per pound (about eight hours for a 16-pound bird).

During the last hour (eighth hour), lower the oven to 250 degrees. At the end of that hour, turn the oven off. Allow turkey to sit in the cooling oven for about thirty minutes.

Cool turkey completely before slicing.

***

I know the timing can be a little tricky to figure out. Here’s a sample schedule (I’ll be doing something like this on Thanksgiving Eve):

8:00-8:30 Prep bird for baking
8:30-9:30 Cook at 350 degrees
9:30-5:30 Cook at 275 degrees

Set alarm for 4:30 to change oven temp
and go back to bed

4:30-5:30 Lower oven to 250 degrees
5:30 Turn oven off
5:30-6:00 Turkey sits in off and cooling oven

Move turkey to cool in refrigerator

11:30-11:45 Slice turkey and plate
Noon Eat Thanksgiving dinner