Thanksgiving Feast

So it’s Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, which means we’re either defrosting the bird or have just picked it up.  I’m doing this today.  GASP!  Will it be thawed in time, you ask? Why yes.  Since last year I opted to buy a fresh turkey from Whole Foods that has not been brined.  Why fresh?  I read about the benefits of fresh turkey (I can’t find the article anymore) last year and how less sodium solution is added to a fresh turkey.  Frozen turkeys have this unfortunately to “plump up” your bird, which is why frozen turkeys are saltier than fresh turkeys.  They also do this to chicken, which is why they say to buy organic chicken.  Anyhow, the fresh turkey has a thin layer of ice, which can be removed by washing it.  So today, I’m pick up our turkey and avoiding all the last minute grocery shoppers tomorrow!

Last year, I made Alton Brown’s Good Eat’s Turkey, which apparently was the MOST downloaded recipe last year.

It was quite tasty.  But this year, my husband said to make something different.  He said the turkey was good last year, but suggested I try something new.  I cringed a bit when he suggested this, since last year’s effort turned out well.  I don’t want to mess up this year’s turkey with a new recipe.

But after reading a couple of recipes and reviews online including Gwenyth Paltrow’s website, I decided that I was going to try Martha Stewart’s Perfect Roast Turkey, without stuffing the bird.  I know it’s supposed to make the turkey juicier, but something about putting my stuffing in the cavity of the turkey freaks me out a bit.  The possibility of salmonella perhaps?  Yeah, you’re supposed to check the temperature of the stuffing when placed in the cavity of the turkey but I’d rather not and just go with the “safer” option and go with dressing.  I’ll just put aromatics into the cavity, which I’ve done the last two years and it’s worked out fine.

So today, I will prepare the brine for the turkey and chill it overnight, so that I can start the brining process tomorrow morning or afternoon.

I’ll also be cutting my bread today and leaving that out to air dry for the stuffing/dressing.  I’m trying something new this year, so there isn’t a recipe yet.  But instead of my typical cornbread dressing, I’m going to make it with sourdough bread and cranberry walnut bread this year.  🙂  I LOVE cranberry walnut bread.  Pretty sure my mother in law likes it too as she sometimes makes it or something similar with her bread maker at home.  I’ll be sure to share with you the recipe after Thanksgiving!  Hopefully it’ll be a success.  Fingers crossed!

I’ll also start preparing the Parker House Rolls today and possibly freeze or chill the dough to bake off tomorrow.

Which leaves me to dessert.  I have NO idea what to make.  Pie, I suppose?  Or perhaps I should just purchase it?  I may go the lazy route.  We’ll see.  Any suggestions?

Meatless Monday – Thanksgiving Sides

Because it is Thanksgiving week I figured I’d make Meatless Monday about Thanksgiving sides that are as obviously stated meat free.  During Thanksgiving, my favorite things to eat are the sides.  “What?!?,” you exclaim.  “What about turkey,?” you ask.  I’m not a huge meat person.  I’ll eat it, but I don’t eat a lot of it.  In fact when I go to a deli, I take off some of the meat they put on my sandwich because it’s too much meat for me.  :-\

Here are my meat free sides that I’m planning to make on Thanksgiving.

Pioneer Woman’s Deliciously Creamy Mashed Potatoes – I made these last year and fell in LOVE with the recipe.  It’s a lot of butter but OMG RIDICULOUSLY SINFULLY DELICIOUS!  You must try them!!!

Pioneer Woman’s Deliciously Creamy Mashed Potatoes from last Thanksgiving

Alton Brown’s Baked Mac and Cheese – I haven’t made this but it’s received a lot of good reviews.  Last year, I had to ease up on the sides as there were only four of us (still are but why not?!? Plus the hubs loves him so mac and cheese!) and didn’t make mac and cheese.  This year I’ve decided to make this cheesy treat.

Buttered or Creamed Corn – I haven’t decided which one I’m going to make.  I suppose it depends on how much time I have.  If not a lot, I’ll go with the simple buttered corn using frozen kernels.

Paula Dean’s Creamed Spinach or Spinach Salad – Again, I haven’t decided which one I’m going to make.  I want to make creamed spinach but it depends if I make creamed corn or not.  I think thats too much Philadelphia cream cheese over multiple dishes as Pioneer Woman’s mashed potatoes uses this ingredient (again so sinfully delicious – give yourself a break this one day!).  If I do go with the spinach salad, I have a feeling my mother in law and I would be the only ones eating it.  (Typical of the men to leave the salad to the women.  😛 )  I’ve done sauteed green beans 2 years in a row now, so I don’t want to make it AGAIN.  So as of today, I’m unsure what greens would be best for Thanksgiving day.  Not doing brussel sprouts as I’ve never cooked with them.  Don’t want root vegetables either.  Maybe roasted asparagus or broccoli (both of which my husband and I really like) as secondary options to the creamed spinach (and healthier than this option) or spinach salad.  We shall see.

Sauteed garlic green beans from last Thanksgiving

Pioneer Woman’s Parker House Rolls – I’ve been DYING to try these since last year but didn’t have time to make them, so we went with potato rolls instead.  I hope I have time to this year.  I’m hoping to make them a day in advance.

TJ’s Cranberry Sauce – Last year I made cranberry sauce by scratch using Pioneer Woman’s recipe, but this year I opted to buy bottled (let me repeat that for you I said BOTTLED, not canned.) from Trader Joe’s as the cost of fresh cranberries cost the same as their bottled cranberry sauce.  Why do all the work when i can just use the bottled stuff?

Pioneer Woman’s Cranberry Sauce from last Thanksgiving

Trader Joe’s bottled cranberry sauce

Rice –  We’re asian.  We have to have rice with almost every meal.  ‘Nuff said.

What sides are you making for Thanksgiving?  Please comment below and share!

turkey leftovers…

Here are a couple of ideas you can make with your turkey, cranberry, and stuffing leftovers.

I’ve had both of these sandwiches at a cute sandwich shop in Burlington, VT.  Of course because it was VT, it came with cheddar cheese and apples.  YUM!  (I took these images last year when I was in Vermont.  I’ve recreated it at home; however it did not look as pretty-ful as this.)

The Vermonter

Turkey slices, red onion slices, Granny Smith apple slices, cheddar cheese, cranberry sauce and mayonnaise

Thanksgiving Sandwich

Stuffing, Mayo, cheddar cheese, cranberry sauce, turkey

Another sandwich you could make is a California club:  Turkey, bacon, avocado, tomato, and colby jack and cheddar cheeses.  You could use my other lunch recipes from prior posts and replace the meat with turkey meat.

Another turkey leftover recipe I made was Turkey Tettrazzini from allrecipes.com.  SUPER easy and pretty good.  I added some peas to have the meal with veggies of course.  Anything with parm and spaghetti is a good thing!