Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thanksgiving Menu

DH and I are taking charge of Thanksgiving dinner. We're only cooking for 4 people (so far ... might be 8), but isn't one of the beautiful things about Thanksgiving all the leftovers? We actually like cooking and work well together. Here's the menu so far.

The Turkey

We make Alton Brown's turkey. There are 2 secrets: 1) brining the turkey overnight and 2) roasting it hot (at 500 degrees) for 30 minutes before lowering the temperature. The hot roasting seals in the juices. No cooking all day. No dry meat. Almost foolproof. Alton Brown hasn't failed us yet.

Side Dishes

Cranberry Sauce with Red Wine and Orange and stuffing made in the crockpot. These are 2 recipes from my giant crockpot cookbook. The crockpot and the cookbook are two of my unexpectedly favorite wedding presents. The cranberry sauce will be made the day before. Cooking the stuffing in the crockpot will free up space in the ovens. Yes, ovens. We have a dual oven, a full-size one on the bottom and a smaller one on the top. 99% of the time, we just use the top oven because it heats up in under 5 minutes. It is very very nice having 2 ovens. You can cook two different things at two different temperatures at the same time.

Roasted Medley of Winter Root Vegetables. This recipe is more about method than precision. We buy an assortment of vegetables from the farmers market. Whatever looks good. Some beets, pearl onions, turnips, parsnips, potatoes, and carrots. Comes out a little different every time but always tastes yummy. Extremely flexible with the quantity and type of winter roots in your medley.

Green beans with shallots and bacon. Or the same idea with Brussels sprouts. Or maybe both.

We made mashed sweet potatoes with molasses and maple syrup last year, but they didn't live up to expectations. So we will make regular old mashed potatoes this year. Or we might do the roasted root medley potato-heavy. We never eat potatoes in my house. What better time to eat potatoes than Thanksgiving?

Cornbread - from a Trader Joe's mix. I know, I know, it's cheating. A girl's gotta make some cuts somewhere.

We're thinking about one other side dish, but probably not. That should be plenty of food for 4-8 people.


Apple pie from Mendon Mountain Orchards in Vermont - Best pies ever. I have been getting pies from "the pie store" as long as I can remember. The last time I was in Vermont, I brought home a frozen pie to bake at some time in the future. I'm doing some cheating here too, but at least someone made the pie from scratch. Mmmmm.

What about all those leftovers?

We eat leftovers for a day or two until we get tired of them. Then we chop up all the leftovers, add whatever random other stuff we can find, and make pot pies. We follow this pot pie recipe as a general method.

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