This is the first time I have tried to crate a full thanksgiving dinner by myself. I have watched my mother and grandmother for many years and glad to say I think it turned out well. This year’s menu included
Stuffing / dressing
Green bean casserole
Sweet potato casserole
White Chocolate Macadamia Cranberry Tart
Some of these recipes are tried and true while others I tried for the first time.
Starting with the Turkey. I was a bit skeptical about this recipe because it does have a unique blend of flavors. But after following it I will be using it for many years to come. The turkey came out so juicy!
First off a big thank you to a friend for suggesting the following! And who doesn’t love Alton Brown!
Here is a link to the original
1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey (we decided to go smaller with a 10lb bird)
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries (I was unable to find allspice berries so I opted for ground allspice)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger (I was super excited that this recipe called for candied ginger because a friend had given me some a few months before and I finally had a chance to use it… of course when you actually need something is when you cant find it so I substituted the rest of the ginger preserves I had from the carrot cake cupcakes)
1 gallon heavily iced water (because the bird was frozen we skipped the ice and stored it in the cold garage overnight)
For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F. (this of course was not long enough so we ended up giving our bird a cold bath. Not to say I recommend this but desperate times call for desperate measures!)
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. (Or any suitable storage container) Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining. We ended up adding about another gallon of water for the bird to be completely covered.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. I also covered the breast with foil to avoid over browning and cooked to 65 because I was nervous to serve undercooked meat to the new mom. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.
SWEET POTATOE CASSEROLE
First off, a link to the original recipe, but I will say that I did change it up a good bit
4 cups sweet potato, cubed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or
3 tbls cinnamon
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans- roasted, buttered, salted
-Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Put sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Cook over medium high heat until tender; drain and mash.
-In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, salt, butter, cinnamon, milk and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish.
-In a large saucepan over med-high heat. Roast pecans until they become fragrant but be careful not to burn. After pecans are fully roasted add 2 tbls butter and mix until well coated. Salt well and set aside to cool completely.
-In medium bowl, mix the sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.
-Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.
STUFFING / DRESSING
This was purely and experiment but I feel it came out pretty well.
2 boxes Stove Top Stuffing mix
2 Boxes Jiffy Corn muffin mix
4 cups chicken broth
½ onion chopped
½ c. chopped celery
½ c. chopped baby carrots
3 tbls your favorite poultry seasoning
-Bring broth to a boil.
-Add veggies and seasoning and simmer for about 5 min
-In a large bowl mix dry ingredients and add in broth
-Mix well and transfer to baking dish
-Bake at 350 for 30min or until top is golden
-Bring chicken broth to a boil.
GRANDMAS PUMPKIN PIE
This recipe is one that I have been making for years. It is the only pumpkin pie I will eat, and use almost any excuse to make it.
Although you can use can pumpkin fresh really does make a difference
Cut pumpkin into pieces bake at 350 for 1 hr or about 1 cup canned pumpkin (plus a little)
1-cup sugar (some brown)
1-cup evaporated milk (Minot)
1/8 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
+ Some pumpkin spice if you want
1 tsp Cinnamon
-Mix all spices with sugar, add to pumpkin, add milk, beat in eggs, and pour in crust (I like to use the refrigerated roll out crust by Pillsbury. You will find it in a box near the cookie dough in the store)
450 for 10 min then 325 for 20-30 min, done when knife comes out clean
And last but not least, this came out very well and was super easy to make
WHITE CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY TART
Refrigerated pie crust
Cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
Cup all-purpose flour
Squares (1 ounce each) white chocolate, chopped
Cup chopped macadamia nuts, lightly toasted*
Cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
*Toast chopped macadamia nuts in hot skillet over medium heat about 3 minutes or until fragrant.
-Preheat oven to 350°F. Place pie crust in 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom or pie pan. (Refrigerate or freeze other crust for another use.)
-Combine sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla in large bowl; mix well. Stir in flour until well blended. Add white chocolate, nuts and cranberries.
-Pour filling into unbaked crust. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until top of tart is crusty and deep golden brown, and knife inserted into center comes out clean.
-Cool completely on wire rack.