Category: thanksgiving prep
Sunday, November 24
Hello from Disneyland! We are so excited for the next two days – it’s going to be a blast! We are currently taking bets on whether the holiday fireworks music show will make me cry.
No picture today because, well, I’m at Disneyland!
- California Adventure Park food
- White Chicken Chili
- Pizza Port
- HAPPY THANKSGIVING! (Be sure to click here to share your Thanksgiving menu!)
- Hopefully we’ll still have leftovers…if not, breakfast for dinner!
I am thankful that so many of you post menus – it makes me happy week after week! Thank you for helping make the blog what it is! Looking forward to seeing your menus for the week. And, don’t forget to click here to share your Thanksgiving menu!
Friday, November 22
Hi everyone! I was going to post my Thanksgiving menu on Monday, but then I was thinking, we’re all probably doing a bunch of our grocery shopping this weekend, so it’s time to get planning for the Thanksgiving feasts NOW. Let’s get to it!
Here is what we are having for Thanksgiving this year. I can’t WAIT for Thursday!
- Turkey (Every year I try a different technique. This year I’m going with a super simple approach shared by my friend Aimee.)
- Classic Mashed Potatoes (I MIGHT throw a little cream cheese in there this year because that’s what Martha Stewart’s mom does, although I think we’ll skip Snoop’s cognac.)
- Classic Stuffing
- Crescent Rolls
- Cranberry Slush (my great-grandmother’s recipe that we have EVERY YEAR NO MATTER WHAT)
- Cranberry Sauce
- Green Bean Casserole from Scratch
- Sweet Potato Souffle
- Broccoli Casserole
- 60-Second Brussels Sprouts
Dessert is still up in the air. We’re going to have a serious discussion about it once everyone is in town, but there will for sure be Pumpkin Pie and something with chocolate. And maybe makes-its-own-crust apple pie. And maybe even more than that. Who knows? It might get crazy around here.
P.S. I didn’t get any cooking done ahead of time besides the cranberry sauce. So much for being organized and ahead of the game!
Click here to see all the Thanksgiving Prep posts I’ve published over the years for even more inspiration.
And, as always, please share your own menu plan for next week’s Thanksgiving feast! If you have recipes or links to recipes, share those, too!
Tuesday, November 19
I’ve decided this year I’m going to make a lot of our food for Thanksgiving ahead of time. So, this week I’m going to get cooking and freeze it all so that we can really enjoy our time with family next week. To kick off the flurry of pre-Thanksgiving cooking I made homemade cranberry sauce!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, one of the best parts of blogging has been building relationships with wonderful, amazing people from all over the country. One of those people is Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. Ree is pure kindness and I am thankful to know her! As you may know, Ree just came out with another fun and colorful cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays.
I decided since Thanksgiving is right around the corner I should check out the Thanksgiving section of her book, which is chockfull of homemade goodness, including several different kinds of stuffing. I decided to make the cranberry sauce because, well, we need some for next week! The recipe is delicious and very simple to throw together. So simple, in fact, I forgot I was cooking the sauce. Like, as I was typing this paragraph and I started typing the word “cranberry sauce” it reminded me that I was simmering the sauce on the stove for quite some time and had to stop typing immediately and run to the kitchen to save the sauce from certain destruction. Crisis averted, cranberry sauce is a-okay! So, in addition to being delicious and easy, this sauce is also indestructible!
The cranberry sauce and the book are both great, which is just what I would expect from Ree! And today I get to give away her wonderful book! THREE of you lucky people will win a SIGNED copy of Ree’s new book The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays.
Here is how to enter the giveaway! (Comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Monday, 11/25.)
- Simply leave a comment, any comment, on this post! That’s it!
- Bonus entry: Follow This Week for Dinner on Facebook and leave a separate comment telling me you did! (If you already follow, that counts!)
- Bonus entry: Follow me on Pinterest and leave a separate comment telling me you did! (If you already follow me on Pinterest, that counts!)
- Bonus entry: Follow me on Twitter and leave a separate comment telling me you did! (If you already follow me on Pinterest, that counts!)
To wrap things up, here is the recipe for Ree’s Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce. Enjoy!
Rinse the cranberries under cold water. Zest the oranges. Add the cranberries and zest to a medium saucepan. Squeeze the juice from both oranges into the saucepan. Add the maple syrup and stir it all together. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until it’s nice and thick. If the sauce still seems a little thin, just simmer longer until it’s the right consistency.
Transfer the sauce to a dish and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Can be made up to 2 days in advance. Store in the fridge. (I am going to freeze mine and defrost it the day before Thanksgiving.)
Posted by Jane Maynard at 2:48 pm 298 Comments
Categories: fab faves, featured recipes, Giveaways, holidays, Recipes, simple side dishes, sweet things, thanksgiving prep, the goods Tags: cranberries, cranberry sauce, gifts & giveaways, holiday gift ideas, thanksgiving prep, thanksgiving recipes |
Tuesday, November 20
Today’s post might be a little controversial. Maybe even more controversial than the 2012 presidential election. I know. Are you ready?
I don’t like green bean casserole. You know, the casserole that practically everyone else in America seems to LOVE except me. The casserole that graces many a Thanksgiving table every November. I appreciate that it is a staple and I love that other people love it. But, yeah. I’m just not that into it and always pass when it’s available.
See. Controversy. I may as well just tell you who I voted for for president. That might actually cause less of a stir! So, I voted for…
What, did you REALLY think I’d fess up about my secret ballot? Yeah right!
Back to casserole. I decided to invite green bean casserole into my life this year. But I also decided I wanted it to be made completely from scratch. Fresh green beans and mushrooms, no canned soup, homemade onion rings. The task was daunting, but I have to tell you, I am SOOOOOO glad I tackled this challenge. Because the end result was unbelievably delicious. And I am NOT speaking in hyperbole here.
Our friend Brandon, a renowned casserole hater, took a bite and said, “Where have you been all my life?”
Is that enough of a build up for you? Are you ready to cast aside the canned soup and the store-bought french fried onions and throw a little blood, sweat and tears into your green bean casserole? Good. Here you go.
Green Bean Casserole from Scratch
Adapted from two recipes, one from Williams Sonoma the other from Cook’s Illustrated
- 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2″-3″ pieces
- 1 cup water and a large bowl of ice water
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 3 Tblsp. butter
- 1 small onion or 1/2 regular-sized onion, chopped
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups chicken or veggie stock/broth
- 1 cup cream
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 3 shallots, sliced very thin
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large skillet with a lid, heat 1 cup water to boiling over medium-high to high heat. Add green beans. Put on lid and cook for three minutes. Remove beens and place in ice water. Set beans aside.
Pour water off of the skillet. Reduce heat to medium and melt butter. Add mushroom and cook for about 5 minutes. Add chopped onion and cook an additional 5+ minutes, until onions are soft and translucent. Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour over the mushrooms and onions and stir well, cooking for a minute or so. Slowly stir in the chicken broth. Slowly stir in the cream. Mix well. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Stir well then mix in green beans. Transfer to 9×13 casserole dish and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes (you will put fried shallot rings on top for the last 5 minutes of baking…see below).
While casserole is baking, heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Mix flour, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper in a medium to large bowl. Mix shallot rings in the flour, coating well. Use your hands to mix the shallots in the flour so you can break the rings up and get them coated really well. Transfer floured shallots with tongs to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are crisp and golden.
Sprinkle fried shallots over the top of the casserole at the 25 minute baking point. Bake 5 more minutes. Serve hot!
If you want to make this ahead of time, I would do everything except the fried shallot rings and put the casserole in the fridge BEFORE baking. Bake 5-10 minutes longer since the casserole will be going into the oven cold and make the fried shallot rings while the casserole is baking.
Monday, November 19
Thanksgiving is all about rich, comforting foods. That’s one of the things I love about the holiday. That said, sometimes it’s nice to get a fresh salad on the table or some veggies that haven’t been drenched in butter, sugar, or both! Today I have a quick and easy salad recipe for you that offers that element of freshness but still has the Thanksgiving comfort of autumnal, root vegetables.
Two weeks ago I ate at Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay for the first time. I ordered the clam chowder, of course! And it was amazing. Oh. Those. Clams. Anyway, my friend Mindy and I split a beet and carrot salad, to counteract the buttery, creamy soup we were going to be eating for dinner. The salad was great! The roasted carrots and beats were delicious served cold with fresh greens, creamy feta cheese and pistachios. The salad was tossed with a savory dressing, which balanced well with the sweetness of the vegetables.
The very next day Libby’s asked if I would work with them to make a recipe using their canned sliced beets and sliced carrots. I responded with a big fat YES, knowing that I wanted to recreate the beet and carrot salad I had eaten the night before. The Thanksgiving salad stars were aligning! It’s a simple salad that’s full of flavor, and using Libby’s canned sliced carrots and sliced beets makes it quick and easy to throw together. Quick and easy are always welcome recipe attributes on Thanksgiving Day!
Before we get to the salad, how about a giveaway? Okay? Okay!
The randomly-selected winner of this giveaway will receive a KitchenAid 6-Qt. Slow Cooker along with an assortment of Libby’s fruits and vegetables, courtesy of Libby’s. For the record, this slow cooker is totally awesome. Four heat settings and all kinds of programming options? Totally jealous. Anyway, enough about me and my envy, here’s how you can enter!
Big thanks to Libby’s for an awesome giveaway! Good luck to all! And now for the salad!
Simply leave a comment to enter! If you’d like to share your favorite healthy Thanksgiving recipes in your comment, we’d love to hear your ideas, although it is not mandatory. For additional entries you can “Like” Libby’s on Facebook and/or follow Libby’s on Twitter. Be sure to leave separate comments for each entry! All comments must be added to this post by Midnight PT on Tuesday, November 27.
Carrot and Beet Salad
- 1 5-ounce package mixed baby greens
- 1 can Libby’s sliced carrots, drained
- 1 can Libby’s sliced beets, drained and cut into bite-sized pieces
- Shelled pistachios, amount to taste
- Crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese, amount to taste
- Your favorite savory oil and vinegar salad dressing (don’t use a sweet salad dressing)
Mix everything together! Add salad dressing right before serving and toss.
Friday, November 16
It’s time to share our Thanksgiving menu plans!
This year I am going with my Thanksgiving basics, the recipes we use year after year. No experimenting, nothing crazy. I want a super comforting Thanksgiving table! And I don’t even care that there’s not one fresh vegetable or salad to be seen!
- Classic Mashed Potatoes
- Broccoli Casserole
- Corn Souffle
- Sweet Potato Souffle
- Cranberry Slush
- Crescent rolls and/or squash rolls
- Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Chocolate Mousse
Here’s what I’m making on what days:
- Monday: bake and smash the butternut squash (for rolls) and sweet potatoes (for souffle) (will freeze on monday, then defrost on wednesday, to prolong freshness)
- Tuesday: Cranberry Slush base, Roux for the Gravy, Cut up bread for stuffing and let sit out for two days
- Wednesday: Broccoli Casserole, Corn Souffle, Sweet Potato Souffle, All the Desserts (we are meeting with friends for dessert, so we’ll split the duties), Mashed Potatoes
- Thursday: Turkey, Gravy, Rolls, Stuffing, Heat/Cook all the Side Dishes
I am excited to see all of your menus, whether you’re going basic and traditional like I am or thinking outside the Thanksgiving box! If you have recipes or links to recipes, please share those, too!
Thursday, November 15
Every year of my life I have had cranberry slush at Thanksgiving. It’s a tradition from my mom’s side of the family that we all faithfully stand by year after year, and with good reason. This stuff is delicious! Every year I put cranberry slush on my Thanksgiving menu, hoping some people reading will adopt it as one of their own holiday traditions. I think I’ve converted a few of you over the years!
Cranberry slush is a great drink to serve when entertaining for the holidays. Cranberry-flavored anything reminds me of the holidays, and this recipe can be easily scaled up to serve lots of people. This year I’ve added a twist to the recipe, creating cranberry orange slush. Orange is another one of those holiday flavors that I love, so I figured throwing it in with cranberry would be a good thing. I was right! The cranberry orange slush is just as good as the original, just less tart with a sweet and fresh hint of orange flavor. I sort of feel like I’m betraying Great-Grandma Blomquist a bit by changing things up, but I’m sure she would approve of this tasty concoction!
Cranberry Orange Slush
From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
- 2 cans whole cranberry sauce
- 4 cups orange juice
- 2 1/4 cups cranberry juice
- 2 1/4 cups ginger ale
Run whole cranberry sauce through a colander (pictured here) or press through a fine sieve with a large spoon (pictured here) over a large bowl. Keep pressing until you just have skins left in the colander/sieve. Add the orange juice, mix well, then freeze until hardened (I always make this part of the slush at least a day or two before Thanksgiving). I freeze the juice in a flat, plastic container so it’s easy to break up later (this recipe fit in an 8 1/2 cup flat tupperware, pictured).
When ready to serve, mash up the frozen juice in a large bowl. I break it up with a butter knife and then smash it with my pastry blender. Add cranberry juice and ginger ale until it’s the consistency you like. I like to keep it on the slushier side and let it melt in the glasses, but feel free to add a bit more than the recipe calls for. Serve immediately! (Mixing the slush is the last thing I do before we sit down to the Thanksgiving table!)
Makes about 12 servings.
I used Tropicana’s Pure Premium orange juice, which is 100% pure Florida orange juice. I love that it is made with fresh oranges. It tastes mighty fine. In fact, I may have taken a few swigs straight from the bottle on occasion. I kind of can’t resist. Connect with the folks at Tropicana at Facebook.com/Tropicana.
Wednesday, November 14
For the last week, I’ve been brainstorming a way to make a caramel apple pie. In theory, it sounds delicious. But Nate and I both agreed that in practice it might not work the way we envision it. I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it would work and I’m just over thinking it! Regardless, all this caramel apple pie thinking inspired what I actually ended up making…a caramel apple galette! For some reason, in my brain the caramel just seemed to work better with a galette than in a pie.
Yesterday I made this caramel apple galette and it came out great! Super yummy and I loved the caramel flavor paired with the apples (I know, big surprise). I also sprinkled a bit of coarse salt on top at the end. Salted caramel is always welcome in my world!
I didn’t add the caramel until right after the galette came out of the oven. I wanted the caramel to be smooth and gooey, not burned or caramelized. This technique worked perfectly.
I combined a few recipes and also simplified things by using a store-bought crust. Feel free to use your favorite homemade crust recipe if you like. For Thanksgiving cooking, I like to simplify wherever I can. In this case, a store-bought crust did the trick and tasted wonderful!
Caramel Apple Galette
- One 9-inch pie crust (homemade or store-bought from the refrigerated section at the store)
- 3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced about 1/4″ thick
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 pinches of salt
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (i.e. sugar in the raw) – you can use regular sugar if you need to
- 1 egg, whisked with a bit of water
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, warm
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place sliced apples in a large bowl. Toss with lemon juice. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar, the cinnamon and salt and stir well.
Lay rolled out 9-inch pie crust on cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Make sure there aren’t any holes in the pie crust!
Pile the applies in the middle, leaving about a 3 inches of crust around the edge. Fold edges of the dough up around the apples. Make sure not to break any holes in the dough and also make sure the dough wraps up and over the apples so there isn’t any leakage. Pour most of the sugary-lemon juice leftover in the apple bowl over the apples.
Brush outside of crust edges with egg then sprinkle with coarse turbinado sugar. I sprinkled a bit of that sugar over the apples as well!
Bake for about 40 minutes, until crust is dark brown. Remove from the oven and immediately pour caramel sauce (see directions below) over the apples, making sure to not spill over the edge of the galette. I poured most of the caramel from this recipe over the galette, with about 1/4 cup or so left over.
If desired, sprinkle galette with a bit of coarse salt.
While galette is baking, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Do not stir. Cook over medium-high heat until it starts to brown, swirling as it begins to brown to distribute the sugar. While the sugar and water are going at it, heat up the cream in a saucepan or microwave just until warm.
Once sugar water is light brown, remove from the heat and add your room temperature butter. Whisk the butter in, being sure it’s totally combined. Add the warmed cream and whisk vigorously. (Watch out for steam when adding the butter and especially the cream.) Let sit until galette is done. Caramel should be pourable consistency.
A note on transferring to a serving platter:
If you want to transfer the galette to a serving platter, as I’m sure you will, it is a 2 person, 3-4 spatula job. Four-year old Anna was my assistant with moving the galette and she did beautifully!
Tuesday, November 13
Last week I met some friends for dinner at an Italian restaurant in San Francisco. We ordered a salad appetizer to share, which was topped with squash cooked in brown butter. The salad was good, but honestly, I could have eaten a pound of that brown butter squash for dinner and been happy.
Since squash pretty much screams autumn, I decided brown butter squash would make for a great Thanksgiving side dish. It’s easy, it’s wholesome, it’s comforting. And that bit of sage sprinkled in? That seals the Thanksgiving deal. I don’t know about you, but all I have to do is smell a bit of sage and I’m immediately transported to Thanksgivings past.
Owen and I are eating the squash that is pictured for lunch today. He’s gobbling it up. Pun intended. In fact, I’m going to see how many times I can use the word gobble before Thanksgiving arrives…get ready!
Brown Butter Squash
From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
- 1 acorn squash (or any kind of winter squash you like), peeled, cored and cut into small cubes (about 1/2″ in size) – my acorn squash yielded about 4 cups of cubed squash
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- salt & pepper
Heat a medium-large-ish skillet over medium heat. Add butter and whisk until butter browns. Here’s what will happen…the butter will melt, then it will start to bubble, then it will really start to bubble and foam, then that bubbling and foaming will stop (although there will still be residual bubbles) and THEN the butter will brown. Take it off the heat at this point – you don’t want it to burn. This whole process takes about 5 minutes.
Whisk in the sage, then add the cubed squash to the pan and toss to coat in the butter. Return the pan to the heat, heat the pan back up to medium, then turn the heat down to medium-low, cover the pan and cook until the squash is soft. This will probably take about 5-10 minutes. Once it’s the consistency you want it, take the lid off, sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste, carefully stir and flip the squash to coat, let cook 1-2 more minutes, then transfer to serving dish. Be sure to pour all that yummy browned, seasoned butter over the squash because, darn, that is some good butter.
Probably about 4-6 servings if used as a side dish. Feel free to use more squash, just up the amount of butter and spice accordingly!
Friday, November 18
It’s a good thing my mother-in-law came to visit last week because it actually gave me some food to write about! It’s been great being able to post about the delicious food she made for us…and so much of it is perfect for Thanksgiving, so it’s great timing!
Today I have a nice, simple side dish for you that would be perfect right along with some turkey and stuffing, although we had it with filet mignon and that was pretty perfect, too. Pat ate some butternut squash at Whole Foods once that she loved, so she went home and recreated it. It is simple, easy and delicious. Just the kind of recipe you need for that busy Thanksgiving day.
Pat’s Butternut Squash
From my mother-in-law Pat Maynard
- 1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into ~1″ squares
- One small onion, cut into thin slices
- 1-2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 heaping Tablespoons dried cranberries
In a large pot, cook onions in butter and olive oil until soft over mediumish heat. Add sugar towards the end to sweeten/caramelize the onions. Add dried cranberries. Stir with onions about 1 minute or till softened a bit. Put the butternut squash into the pot with the onion mixture. Cover and steam/cook slowly over low-medium heat until squash is nice and tender (but not moist because Pat can’t stand that word and this is her recipe). Stir gently and add a pat of butter if needed before serving.