Nov 17, 2008


My apologies for my long drought of postings. I have been reading lots and lots of books in my spare time - or sleeping - in preparation for our second child. But I could not miss an opportunity to talk about my favorite holiday - THANKSGIVING. I consider myself a pretty relaxed person when it comes to most things. However, with Thanksgiving, I am as annal as they get. I even have a "Thanksgiving Plan" that is currently 8-9 pages of who is coming, what they are bringing, the menu, all the recipes (so they are in one location), the shopping list (and when to purchase what items), and lastly a play-by-play of Thanksgiving Eve and Day to make sure all the food hits the table hot and ready, the linens are pressed, and the Macy's Day Parade is on the TV. Crazy, I know; what can I say. So I thought I would share with you some of my "Thanksgiving Plan." I like traditional and I like fattening. We only (in theory) eat like this once a year; there won't be any plan string beans on my table - sorry. Nothing against string beans, I like them very much, but Thanksgiving is special and string beans are ordinary. :^) So here it goes....


Turkey (12-16 LBS)

Green bean casserole (13X9)
Sweet potato bake mallow and Grandma’s Harris'(13X9)
Strawberry Jell-o Pudding Salad
Mashed white potatoes
Dinner rolls

Cranberry sauce 1 can jelly 1 home made

Desert (I would die for a pecan pie... or a chocolate-pecan pie but Eric hates pecans and I don't want to eat the whole leftover pie myself)
Pumpkin pie
Apple pie
Whipped cream


Pre-dinner Munchies
Fruit (oranges)
Spiced nuts

THE Turkey

Good Eats Roast Turkey

1 (14 to 16 pound) young turkey (make sure it isn't already brined; i.e. not already injected with saline solution)
For the brine:

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 TBS allspice berries (may omit)
1/2 TBS candied ginger (may omit)
1 gallon iced water

For the aromatics: (that is what goes in the cavity of the bird)

1 red apple sliced
1/2 onion sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage

Canola oil

Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket. Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a basement) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining.
A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.

Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.
Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary and sage (tongs). Tuck back wings under the bird and coat whole bird liberally with canola (or other neutral) oil. Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes (Put the legs in first). Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil (make a triangle and do a pre-fitting before you put it in the oven to avoid burning yourself), insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.

So you may ask, why brine? I will tell you. What happens when meat sits in a brine is that the cell walls begin to defuse their liquid in a desire to come to an equilibrium with the more dense, salted water. Well, as liquid is exchanged, salt is brought evenly into the meat of the turkey. This makes for a very moist and very tasty bird.

Green Bean Casserole
compliments of Campbell's

1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup OR Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup 1/2 cup milk 1 tsp. soy sauce Dash ground black pepper 4 cups cooked cut green beans 1 1/3 cups French's® French Fried Onions


MIX soup, milk, soy, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in 1 1/2-qt. casserole.
BAKE at 350°F. for 25 min. or until hot.
STIR . Sprinkle with remaining onions. Bake 5 min.

TIP: Use 1 bag (16 to 20 oz.) frozen green beans, 2 pkg. (9 oz. each) frozen green beans, 2 cans (about 16 oz. each) green beans or about 1 1/2 lb. fresh green beans for this recipe.

Jello Pudding Salad (should double for a large party)
Compliments of Martin Davis and Jell-o Brand

1 (4oz) package jello strawberry
1 (4 oz) package jello tapioca pudding
1 (4 oz) package cook-n-serve vanilla pudding
1 – 2 cups strawberries, cut up
3 cups water
½ 8oz container of cool whip

Put water, jello, and puddings into medium sauce pan. Mix with sire whisk, stirring constantly over high heat until boiling. Continue boiling for 5+ minutes. Take off heat and pour into a bowl. Add fruit. Let chill over night. When ready to serve, fold in ½ 8oz container of cool whip.

Whipped Sweet Potato Bake (Eric's Favorite)
Compliments of

3 cans (15 oz. each) sweet potatoes, drained
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
24 JET-PUFFED Marshmallows (about 3 cups)

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Beat sweet potatoes, butter, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.

SPOON into lightly greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish; top with the marshmallows.

BAKE 15 to 20 min. or until sweet potato mixture is heated through and marshmallows are lightly browned.

Grandma Harris' Sweet Potato Bake (Rachael's favorite)

3 cups (24oz) sweet potatoes, drained
1 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
2 lightly beaten eggs
1/3 stick butter, melted
½ cup sweet milk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased baking dish.

Prepare topping by mixing:
1/3 stick bitter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans

Cover potato mixture in topping.
Bake 35 minutes at 350

I will leave the stuffing and mashed white potatoes up to you. Sarah Gagnon is bringing the stuffing this year and I hear it is going to be fantastic! If I can get her secret from her, I will post at a later date. For mashed potatoes, peel and cube your potatoes. Boil them until they are just tender, about 20 minutes. Then I like to throw mine in my mixer and mix butter, cream, salt and pepper in. Yum yum.