My Thanksgiving Menu 2019

Hello hello! We are officially 5 days out from Thanksgiving and this is my first time ever hosting the big day! Now that we have a house that can hold all of the family, we decided we would just dive right in and host the biggest meal of the year (lol)! I am not doing the whole shabang all by myself though– I have family bringing things that I requested of them that I know they do best. Since it is my first year and I don’t have the time to test a full thanksgiving meal, I am going to be making all of this for the first time the day of…..so….yeah…

But since I am going to be using recipes from my current favorite recipe guru, Half Baked Harvest, I have no doubt that everything I make will be delicioso! So without further ado, here is my full Thanksgiving menu:

  • Appetizers (my aunt is bringing surprise apps so I have no info to give…But I recommend only having about two appetizers on Thanksgiving since obviously you don’t want to spoil the meal but people will also be arriving hungry/ usually the meal takes slightly longer than anticipated to get on the table. Something easy like a charcuterie board and these cranberry brie tarts)
  • Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey (recipe below)
  • Make Ahead White Wine Gravy (recipe below)
  • Herby Mushroom Croissant Stuffing (recipe below)
  • Salted Honey Butter Parker House Rolls (recipe below)
  • Harvest Salad (thanks, mom! Usually these consistent of seasonal goodies like pomegranate seeds, avocado, goat cheese, bacon, etc.)`
  • Cranberry Sauce (not my thang so my mom is bringing this one too)
  • Sweet Potato Dish (again, this one is on mom but it is her faaaavorite part of the meal so she is more than happy to be in charge of this one. But here is a sweet potato recipe that also looks delish!)
  • Mashed Potatoes (okay this is MY favorite part of the meal and my brother has requested that he is in charge of making these this year so the pressure is on…I usually put in about a stick of butter, lottts of salt, pepper, and heavy cream (add the liquid in slowly since you definitely don’t want soupy potatoes). Also I WAY prefer using Yukon gold potatoes to russet potatoes. Russets get a gummy texture really easily if over mixed. Alllllso I highly recommend boiling your peeled potatoes, then using a ricer on the smallest setting to mash them and not an electric mixer. It will make them so smooth and creamy and not gritty or gummy)
  • Green Beans (nothing too crazy here….a little bit of butter, salt & pepper, and maybe some sautéed garlic or bacon bits if you’re feeling crazy)
  • Classic Pumpkin pie (and if you aren’t eating it with homemade whipped cream, you’re doing it wrong….but really, it is so easy to make. Heavy whipping cream + sugar + electric mixer. Boom done. Just be sure to stop before you over work it. You want light soft peaks. Just YouTube it.)
  • French Apple Pie (my grandma is in charge of the pies and she is making this twist on a classic just for Alec since French apple pie is his favorite! Aren’t grandma’s the best??)

Now we are a wine family but if you want to wow your guests with a festive cocktail or two, I have two bonus recipes below!!

RECIPES

Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (14-16) pound turkey, giblets and neck removed, patted dry
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, plus more for stuffing the bird
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, plus more for stuffing the bird
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 piece large of double lined cheesecloth
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 1 garlic head, tips sliced off
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 7-8 cups low sodium chicken or turkey broth


INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Remove the turkey from the fridge one hour before roasting. Remove the giblets + neck and rinse the bird off, pat dry and allow to come to room temperature.
  2. Make the butter. In a medium bowl, combine the butter, sage, thyme, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan.
  4. Season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper and fill the cavity with the, lemons, garlic and onion. Gently lift the skin of the turkey by using your fingers and going in between the skin and body of the bird. Rub half of the compound butter under the skin of the bird, spreading some of the butter on top of the skin as well. Take the remaining butter and melt it over the low heat on the stove or in the microwave. Dampen your cheesecloth with warm water and squeeze dry. Submerge the cheesecloth in the melted butter, making sure all the cheese cloth has soaked up the butter. Lay the cheesecloth over the bird, covering most of the bird. Drizzle any remaining butter over the turkey.
  5. Pour about 4 cups of chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting plan. Place the roasting pan in the oven and roast for 45 minutes at 450 degrees F. After 45 minutes reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. and continue cooking for another 2 hours (until the turkey registers 160 F. on a meat thermometer), adding 1-2 cup of broth half way through roasting. I like to baste the turkey with the drippings 2-3 times throughout cooking and when doing so rotate the roasting pan.
  6. Remove the turkey from the oven and remove the cheesecloth, transfer the turkey to a baking sheet, tent loosely with foil and let rest 20-30 minutes before slicing.

Make Ahead White Wine Gravy

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • pan drippings from herb roasted turkey
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened and fragrant. Add the sage and continue cooking another 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the shallots, stirring for 1-2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil, boil 5 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Strain, if desired. 

2. Allow the gravy to cool, then store the gravy base in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

3. To finish the gravy. Once your turkey has finished roasting, remove the turkey from the roasting pan and strain the liquid into a glass measuring cup. 

4. Place the roasting pan over two burners. Add the wine and bring to a boil,  scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the wine has reduced slightly. Reduce the heat to low and slowly whisk in the gravy base. Simmer until the gravy is smooth and thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. If needed, thin the gravy with the reserve broth from the roasting pan. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Herby Mushroom Croissant Stuffing


INGREDIENTS

  • 12 cups roughly torn, day old croissants (about 12-16 croissants)
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, thinly sliced 
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3-4 cups mixed mushrooms, torn if large
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 cups roughly torn Tuscan kale
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
  • 2-3 cups low sodium chicken, turkey, or veggie broth
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch casserole dish.
  2. Arrange the torn croissants in the baking dish and lay 2 tablespoons of thinly sliced  butter over the croissants. Transfer to the oven and bake 5-8 minutes, until the croissants are lightly toasted.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil In a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onions and cook until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Add the celery and mushroom, and season with salt and pepper. Cook undisturbed for 5 minutes or until golden, stir and continue cooking until the mushrooms have caramelized, 3-5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the butter, garlic, kale, sage, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally until the kale has wilted down, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. In a very large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups broth and the eggs. Add the toasted croissants and the mushroom/kale mixture + all the butter left in the skillet, gently toss to combine. If the mix seems dry, add addition broth, 1/4 cup at a time until all the bread is moist. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish. Top evenly with cheese. 
  5. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and check for dryness, if needed drizzle over extra broth, 1/4 cup at a time, to keep things moist, then continue baking for another 10-15 minutes or until the stuffing is golden on top. Serve warm.

*This can be made assembled a few hours ahead of time and kept in the fridge. Allow the stuffing to come to room temperature before baking. 

Salted Honey Butter Parker House Rolls


INGREDIENTS

  • 3 1/4 – 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more if needed
  • 1 packet Fleischmann’s® Rapid Rise Yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup warm whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter at room temperature
  • 1 large egg at room temperature 
  • flaky sea salt for topping

HONEY BUTTER

  • 6 tablespoons salted butter melted
  • 3 tablespoons honey

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the warm milk, honey, the egg, and butter. Using the dough hook, mix until the flour is completely incorporated, about 4-5 minutes. If the dough seems sticky, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or up to a few hours at room temperature. 

2. To make the honey butter. Combine the butter and honey together in a small bowl. 

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

4. Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Turn out the dough, punch it down, and divide the dough in half. Roll each half to a 12-inch square, about 1/4-inch thick. Brush each square with honey butter, saving any leftover butter for serving. Cut each square of dough into 6 strips. Roll each strip into a coil (see above photo) and arrange seam side down in the prepared baking dish. 

5. Cover the dish and let the rolls rise for about 30 minutes, until they’re puffy. Alternately, you can let the rolls sit in the fridge overnight.

6. Bake the rolls for 18-25 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven and brush with the remaining honey butter. Pull them apart to serve warm with flaky sea salt.

*To Make Ahead: prepare the rolls through step 4. Do not let the rolls rise at room temp. Cover the rolls and place in the fridge (up to overnight). When ready to bake, remove the rolls from the fridge 30 minutes prior to baking, then bake as directed. 

Thanksgiving Sangria

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (750 ml) bottle dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin butter (or apple butter)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup, using more or less to your taste
  • 2 honeycrisp apples, sliced
  • 2 blood oranges, sliced
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1-2 (12 ounce) ginger beers
  • star anise, for garnish (optional)
  1. In a large pitcher, combine all the ingredients except the ginger beer. Stir and then place in the fridge until chilled.
  2. Before serving, add the ginger beer. Fill each glass with ice and pour the sangria over the ice. If desired top with more ginger beer. Drink up!

Cranberry Bourbon Sour

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • zest 1 large orange
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) bourbon
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) lemon juice
  • 1 cup 100% cranberry juice
  • 3-4 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 blood orange or regular orange, sliced or regular orange, sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To make the cranberry syrup: In a medium pot, bring 1/2 cup water, the maple syrup, and cranberries to a boil over high heat. Boil 5 minutes or until the cranberries begin to burst, then remove from the heat. Stir in the orange zest. If you syrup thickens too quickly, just add additional water to thin. Let cool. If desired, strain out the cranberries.
  2. In a punch bowl, combine the cranberry syrup, bourbon, lemon juice, cranberry juice, and orange bitters. Stir to combine, chill until ready to serve. Serve over ice. Garnish with an orange slice and candied rosemary (recipe below), if desired. 

CANDIED ROSEMARY

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently run rosemary sprigs under a little water to dampen and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the rosemary with granulated sugar on all sides, making sure the rosemary is thoroughly coated in sugar. Allow to dry on the baking sheet for 1 hour. The rosemary can be made 1 day in advance and stored at room temperature.

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