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Thanksgiving Plans? Recipes?

2009 October 13

Hello, Tuesday! I started planning my Thanksgiving meal yesterday. The snow we received froze me into the reality that the holidays are coming. I want to try most of the dishes before placing anything on the table. This year we’ll have less people to serve, 3 or 4. Last year was my first all-by-myself meal for 6. Our friend came up to visit and most importantly, to be a witness at our small wedding ceremony on November 24th. That was the first snow day, I believe. (We intended for the ceremony to be late August/early September, our favorite time of year but couldn’t get it together.) My parents came from Indiana to visit for Thanksgiving and we had a lovely time. This year, that same friend is coming and maybe one of Greg’s brothers-he has 3 (and a sister).

We have no one year anniversary plans and we don’t mind not being alone because we feel like we should be celebrating our fifth or sixth anniversary. We didn’t have the money to get married in college, when Greg asked on Christmas Day to my surprise so we waited for almost 5 years. Yep, 5 years of engagement. We still didn’t have the wedding we wanted but that’s what happens when you don’t have much money to throw that way. Granted, we wouldn’t have had a big wedding anyway but it would have been a beautiful outdoor setting- a forest, a field, by the mountains with family and friends. We didn’t have a honeymoon as well. I do not consider Minnesota much of a honeymoon, nor the several bars we went to that night as a reception. We did get a few well-wishes and a free piece of chocolate cake. We had our reception back home in Indiana in March which- the best part….besides being married to my best friend (hopefully for the rest of our lives).

Thanksgiving table setting

Back to turkey time, I’m talking homemade stuffing, cranberry sauce, gratin and mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, an apple and pumpkin pie, brined turkey, a chocolate dessert. Am I missing something? The only issue is that I don’t want a completely traditional flavor for all of these dishes; I want a twist. Any suggestions?

I found this recipe for the main attraction-the turkey- from Food & Wine by Shawn McClain called Herb-Roasted Turkey with Gravy, which involves brining overnight. Have you brined before? How did that go? Any tips?

10 Responses leave one →
  1. October 13, 2009

    I have brined many a turkey and chicken and I love the taste and moistness of the birds. You will need a large container to brine in, I use a new bucket from home depot that I only use for brining. One other traditional dish is the green beans. I served ginger-ale with fresh mint leaves frozen in the ice cubes as a palate cleanser.

    I find that less is more Thanksgiving, when I’m having fewer people I make smaller pies and smaller amounts of the regular items. Good luck and Happy Anniversary.

    • October 13, 2009

      Good idea with the bucket, should be cheaper than buying an 8 qt pot. I also love the mint in the ice cubes. My husband requested that I make a huge bird for leftover turkey/cranberry/stuffing sammies or quesadillas. I will probably make smaller batches of all the other things or make the guys eat leftovers with me for the remainder of his stay. I think Thanksgiving leftovers are my favorite. Thank you for the anniversary wishes!

  2. October 13, 2009

    Love your post – – so real and reminds me when we were young and had so much dreams but has limited cash in our wallets. Keep on writing ..i like the stories….

    • October 13, 2009

      Thank you! Some day we will renew our vows the way we wanted our wedding to be with family, friends, location and honeymoon. We are just happy to have so much fun together with or without much money.

  3. October 13, 2009

    I was just creating my Thanksgiving menu yesterday. Thinking the exact same thing, “I want traditional, with a twist.” Here are some ideas with a ‘twist’ I thought about, let me know what you think:

    Sweet Potatoes with a Pecan Crumble topping
    Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes (Ina Garten’s recipe)
    Sauteed Green Beans with Hazelnuts and Bacon
    Cranberry and Candied Ginger Chutney
    Apple Galette with a homemade Caramel Ice Cream

  4. October 13, 2009

    I will have to start thinking about our Thanksgiving menu since we’ll probably have a full house! I’ve made brined turkey twice before from a recipe by Alice Waters/Chez Panisse – I can’t rave enough about this method of preparation. It results in the most fantastically moist bird ever! Sure it’s time consuming but worth every minute. My mother-in-law has actually put the turkey and brine inside doubled-up kitchen garbage bags and set in a a large tub. Given MN’s weather in November, she’s left it outside rather than put it in the fridge! 😎

    Hmmmm – now I’m hankering for some brined and roasted bird!

    • October 14, 2009

      My husband and I were discussing how to do it because we will have no room in the refrigerator….I think we’ll be placing it outside, which makes me laugh. I am ready for some turkey! I bought a rotisserie bird at the grocery store but that’s not doing it for me.

  5. October 13, 2009

    Yeah my husband and I have been married for 21 years now and we were just fantasizing about renewing our vows and having the cermony and “honeymoon” we never had.

    I also like doing traditional with a twist. One year I did a Southwest Brined Turkey with the trimmings and this year I’m doing an Italian theme with the recipes I pulled out of my La Cucina Italiana magazine.

    The only thing I regret when I am brining turkey or even chicken is that you can’t use the pan drippings for gravy because of the salt in the brine. We’ve even done the turkey on the grill!

    • October 14, 2009

      What was included with the Southwest brined turkey?

      Italian themed would be great. I would be interested in trying one on the grill, I love when they are smoked.

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