Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Feast

Over the last eight years, I have hosted Thanksgiving all but twice, if I remember correctly. I thought I would share some recipes that have come to be staples around our Thanksgiving table.

Let's start with the star of the show...the turkey. :) My Mom's turkey recipe is's always beautiful and delicious.

Mom's Paper Bag Turkey

1 12-15 lb turkey
1-2 sticks butter, melted
2-3 tsp. salt
1 1/3 tsp. pepper 
1 medium onion, quartered
1 carrot, chopped in inch size pieces
1 celery rib, chopped in inch size pieces
1 orange, halved
5 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)
1 bay leaf
1 brown grocery bag

1. Rinse turkey in water and pat dry. Remove the innards. Season the inside with salt and pepper and butter. Place onion, carrot, celery, orange, thyme, and bay leaf inside in the cavity.
2. Rub the outside of the turkey with salt and pepper. Rub butter evenly over the outside of turkey. Carefully slide fingers between the skin and meat to rub some additional butter over the meat, being careful not to tear the skin.
3. Place the turkey in the paper bag and place in a roasting pan. Rub butter over the outside of the paper bag and close paper bag. (I find the paper bags with paper handles to work well to help keep the bag closed.) See the picture below.

4. Cook the turkey according to directions on your turkey, based on the weight of your turkey.  When finished, tear the paper bag to remove the turkey. Place on serving platter or carve to serve. Use the juices for gravy when finished cooking.

I love these green beans...and I especially love them as leftovers...when the blue cheese melts. :) If you have guest (ahem, my children) who do not care for blue cheese, you could serve it on the side or substitute with goat cheese.

 Green Beans with Cranberries, Blue Cheese & Walnuts

3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
16 oz. package frozen green beans
4 oz blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1. Bring the first 3 ingredients to a boil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add green beans. Cook 5-7 minutes.
2. Spoon beans into serving dish. Sprinkle evenly with cheese, walnuts, and cranberries. Serve.

As a child, I loved the jellied cranberry sauce that slid out of the can and perfectly retained it's shape. I must confess, I probably would still enjoy it...but I've fallen in love for this delicious, fresh, and not too labor intensive version. It's yummy!

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 navel orange
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
4 cups cranberries
1/2 cup toasted pecans

1. Grate orange peel and add to a medium saucepan with sugar and grated ginger. Squeeze the juice from orange and add to the sugar. Simmer over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
2. Add cranberries and cook until berries pop. (You will hear this and the berries will give to pressure with a spoon.) Remove from heat. Add the pecans and allow sauce to cool.
3. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Not pictured above but always ALWAYS always at our table are these delicious sweet potatoes. I don't care for marshmallow-topped ones...but this is almost dessert. Which is why I always save it for last. And I usually double the recipe to ensure there are enough leftovers. This recipe was originally posted here, and it's worth taking a look to see my sweet-as-can-be pilgrims from days gone by. :)

Sweet Potato Casserole

1 large can sweet potatoes, juice reserved
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine potato, 1/2 stick butter, egg, vanilla, and sugar with mixer. Add enough of the juice from the can of potatoes to make the mixture creamy. Spread into casserole dish.
2. In a small bowl, combine pecans, brown sugar, butter, and flour. Spoon over potato mixture.
3. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Allow to cool 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Now, the one thing that changes at my table year-to-year is desserts. And that is because it is my favorite think about, to make, to eat. And there are too many possibilities to stick to the same routine every year. So I like to switch it up.

Last year, I made an absolutely amazing Pecan Pie, which is pictured above.  (The leftovers were loved so much by a friend that I made her one for her birthday as well.) It's really good. (Two other great pies I've shared in the past are Sour Cream Apple Pie and Chocolate Fudge Pie.)

Deep Dish Pecan Pie
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 (16-ounce) bottle light corn syrup (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups pecan pieces or halves
1. Beat 1 cup butter and cream cheese at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add flour and 1/4 cup sugar, beating well. Shape the dough into a flat disc; cover and chill 15 minutes. 
2. Roll chilled dough to a 13" circle; carefully transfer to an ungreased 9" springform pan. (We recommend covering the outside of your springform pan with aluminum foil before filling and baking this pie to prevent leaks.) Press dough up sides of pan. Cover and chill.                                                 
3. Combine corn syrup, brown sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl; stir well with a wire whisk. Add eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt; stir well. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into unbaked pastry-lined pan.                                                                                                                              
4. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°: bake 2 hours and 15 minutes, shielding pie with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill, if desired. (It will make it easier to serve.) Remove sides of springform pan to serve.
What are some of your tried and true recipes? I'd love to know what you look forward to the most!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the pecan pie recipe! Oh my goodness, thank you! I was going to write you and ask for the recipe and now I don't have to! I can't wait for Thanksgiving and the second year of making my turkey. I want to try your green bean recipe too, though I'll have to make it with goat cheese. :)

em said...

MMMMM. That is making me hungry!!! Can't wait for Thursday! :)


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