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Category: thanksgiving prep

  1. Tuesday, November 17, 2015

    Kitchen Tip: The Best Way To Cut Dough for Crescent Rolls

    There hasn’t been much Thanksgiving prep happening here on the blog because, honestly, there just isn’t much Thanksgiving prep happening in my kitchen! I AM cooking next week, and I haven’t done one thing yet to get ready. Honestly, I’m not stressed about it. I’m sticking with the old stand-bys this year, so I pretty much know what we’ll be eating. Just need to do some shopping this weekend. It’s all good. However, if you are actually planning ahead, you can click on my “Thanksgiving Prep” tag and see all kinds of posts related to Thanksgiving!

    kitchen tip: cutting crescent rolls with a pizza cutter from @janemaynard

    I do want to share a quick Kitchen Tip today related to Thanksgiving. It’s one of those tips that is kind of a “Duh” thing to share, but I didn’t figure it out until last year, so I imagine I’m not alone in having not done this before. Every year I make crescent rolls for Thanksgiving. And every year I use a sharp knife when cutting dough for crescent rolls. You know, once you’ve rolled out a circle and cut the circle into triangles. Well, last year, I was about to use the knife and then, for some reason, I thought of the pizza cutter. It worked beautifully. Also, what did I tell you? DUH. How had I never done this before?!

    Please note that it works best to cut from the outside edge towards the center. If you cut from the center, sometimes the tips of the triangles roll up as you roll the pizza cutter.

    kitchen tip: cutting crescent rolls with a pizza cutter from @janemaynard

    Life changer, guys. Well, when it comes to making crescent rolls at least. You’re welcome and happy crescent roll cutting!


  2. Friday, November 28, 2014

    Why My Family Thinks I Have a Ghostwriter and My New Favorite Way to Cook Turkey

    Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had a wonderful holiday! Ours was beyond lovely and I woke up this morning feeling overwhelmed with gratitude.

    thanksgiving table

    So, if you’ve ever wanted to laugh at me, now’s your chance.

    On Wednesday while my sister-in-law Jessica, my friend Allison and I were cooking a bunch of the food for Thursday, I dumped milk over 3 hot burners on the stovetop AND poured a bowl of cooked sweet potatoes into the sink. My crowning glory, however, was cooking a turkey upside down without realizing it. Everyone decided I can’t possibly write a food blog and must have a ghostwriter on the books. I assure you this is not true, but am wondering if maybe it should be! 😉 Every time I think about checking the temperature on the turkey breast (i.e. the back of the turkey) and the probe hitting bone and me saying, “This is so weird, it’s like there isn’t even any meat in this turkey breast, I think we got a bad bird,” I bust out laughing.

    Despite my apparent lack of skill on Wednesday, I was able to pull it together and, with a lot of wonderful help, we had a glorious feast yesterday!

    A quick note on the turkey. This year we needed a lot of food, but I decided to cook 2 12-pound turkeys instead of 1 giant turkey. I followed my friend Amy’s technique and these were the best turkeys I’ve cooked in years. I’ve tried cooking turkeys every which way and Amy’s recipe is now my favorite way to do it. I also think cooking smaller turkeys probably made a difference. I cooked one turkey on Wednesday and one on Thursday. The Wednesday bird was carved immediately and we stored the meat in the fridge for leftovers. It worked great!

    Happy Leftover Day!


  3. Sunday, November 23, 2014

    Week 409 Menu + Thanksgiving Menu 2014

    It’s Thanksgiving week – I can’t believe it! Today it’s mostly all about the Thanksgiving menu, but I’ll also share our menu for the whole week, which is pretty sparse because all the attention will be on the turkey!

    This year we will have Nate’s sister Jess and her family here with us for the entire week, and the Czarnecki family will be joining us on Thanksgiving. We will be surrounded by people that we love dearly and I can’t wait!

    2014 thanksgiving menu from @janemaynard

    Time for the Thanksgiving menu! Here’s what we’ll be having. As usual, we’re sticking with everyone’s favorite classics.

     

    As for the rest of the week…here’s the menu plan!

    MONDAY: Malibu Melt Wraps

    TUESDAY: Taco Night

    WEDNESDAY: Taco Leftovers

    THURSDAY: THANKSGIVING!

    FRIDAY – SUNDAY: Leftovers Galore!

    Please share your weekly menu as usual…but we REALLY want to see your Thanksgiving plans! Share, share, share!


  4. Friday, November 21, 2014

    The Magic of Holiday Dishes

    This post is sponsored by Q Squared NYC.

    I was recently chatting with my dear friend Amy about the holidays and she mentioned the dishes her mom used when she was growing up. Amy talked about how those dishes are firmly entrenched in her memory and that the dishes themselves are as much a part of the experience of the holidays as anything else. As she got thinking about it, she found she felt the same way about the dishes her grandmother used, too.

    the magic of holiday dishes by @janemaynard

    I loved this conversation because it really got me thinking. Often when I look back on holiday meals with the family, the food is what I focus on. In fact, when I pass traditions on to my kids it’s almost always focused on the food and sharing family recipes. But I haven’t thought much about the significance of the dishes we used. After chatting with Amy I realized my experience was the same as hers, that the dishes actually played a large role.

    the magic of holiday dishes by @janemaynard

    When I was very young, most of our holidays were spent with the extended family, so a lot of the memories of dishes I have are from my grandmothers. My Grandma Wallin was the type of woman who would bring china to the beach for a picnic, so you can imagine what her table would look like for the holidays. Crystal glasses (perfect for serving 7-Up!), crystal bowls and china dishes abounded. As a young girl, I loved it. Her dishes made those family dinners feel extra special and fancy.

    the magic of holiday dishes by @janemaynard

    My Grandma Blomquist had 7 children, so when that family got together it was always a large group. I’ll never forget the tall stacks of plates on the buffet table or the basket she used for her giant rolls. What stands out most, however, is the silverware. She had several sets of silverware, complete with intricate patterns. I remember helping get the silverware out of the drawer in her china cabinet (and how that drawer was always a bear to open!). We would wipe the silverware down with a towel and, when dinner was done, carefully put it all back in the drawer.

    the magic of holiday dishes by @janemaynard

    Eventually we moved far from our extended family, at which point the dishes my mom used for the holidays take over my memories. My mom had a set of Christmas china that made an appearance very year at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We loved those dishes and using them at Thanksgiving quite literally marked the start of the holiday season in our home. Once the holidays were over, we would scour the post-Christmas sales to find more pieces to add to the collection. Those dishes are firmly planted in my holiday memories and, to this day, whenever I see that set of dishes at a store, I am transported back in time.

    the magic of holiday dishes by @janemaynard

    As I mentioned before, while I’ve always had these memories, I’ve never stopped to think about how strong they are. And, on a related note, I haven’t really thought much about the dishes I use for the holidays and whether or not my kids have the same kinds of memories. Our family is young, relatively speaking, so I’m still in the phase of collecting those dishes that will play a special role at our holiday dinner table year after year. After doing all this thinking about these particular memories, it makes me that much more excited about adding new dishes to our holiday collection and setting the table with my kids each year.

    I want my children to have similar memories to what I have, memories like polishing silver and pulling china down from the high cupboard. Of course I have fond memories of the food, but as I ponder those holiday meals from the past, I find that the act of preparing the table for those meals is where the strongest memories lie. Making the table special and beautiful with the women that meant the most to me in my life ended up being the times where we talked and bonded most and I will be forever grateful for those memories.

    I hate ending posts with open-ended questions because it feels super cheesy, but I’m breaking my own rule today because I really want to hear from you! Please tell us about your own memories!

    Pictured above: I’ve added some really lovely pieces to our holiday dish collections from Q Squared NYC. For Easter we use white dishes combined with serving dishes from the Heritage collection. For Thanksgiving we’ve added serving dishes from both the Ruffle and the Diamond collections, both of which are pictured above. Also pictured is the Maple Apple Bijou candle, which is the perfect scent for Thanksgiving and looks beautiful on the table, too!


  5. Sunday, November 24, 2013

    Week 357 Menu

    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!

    MONDAY:
    – California Adventure Park food

    TUESDAY:
    White Chicken Chili

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Pizza Port

    THURSDAY:
    – HAPPY THANKSGIVING! (Be sure to click here to share your Thanksgiving menu!)

    FRIDAY:
    – Leftovers

    SATURDAY:
    – Leftovers

    SUNDAY:
    – 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!


  6. Friday, November 22, 2013

    Thanksgiving Menu 2013

    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!

    2013 Thanksgiving Menu by @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.com

    Here is what we are having for Thanksgiving this year. I can’t WAIT for Thursday!

    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!


  7. Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce from The Pioneer Woman

    holiday gifts & giveaways on thisweekfordinner.com

     

    This giveaway is now closed, but keep reading for a great recipe!

    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!

    ree's easy homemade cranberry sauce from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.com

    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.

    ree's easy homemade cranberry sauce from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.com

    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 pioneer woman cooks: a year of holidays giveaway + recipe for easy homemade cranberry sauce from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.comThe 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!)

    ree's easy homemade cranberry sauce from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.com

    To wrap things up, here is the recipe for Ree’s Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce. Enjoy!

    Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce from The Pioneer Woman {Giveaway!}
     
    Author:
    Cuisine: Side Dish, Thanksgiving
    Ingredients
    • One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
    • 2 large oranges
    • 1 cup pure maple syrup
    Instructions
    1. 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.
    2. 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.)

     


  8. Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    {Thanksgiving Prep} Green Bean Casserole from Scratch

    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.

    {Thanksgiving Prep} Green Bean Casserole from Scratch
     
    Adapted from two recipes, one from Williams Sonoma the other from Cook’s Illustrated
    Author:
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Thanksgiving
    Cuisine: American
    Ingredients
    • 1½ pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2”³-3”³ pieces
    • 1 cup water and a large bowl of ice water
    • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
    • 3 tablespoon butter
    • 1 small onion or ½ regular-sized onion, chopped
    • ⅓ cup flour
    • 1½ cups chicken or veggie stock/broth
    • 1 cup cream
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 3 shallots, sliced very thin
    • ¼ cup flour
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
    • ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. 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.
    3. 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 ⅓ 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 ½ tsp salt and ¼ 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).
    4. While casserole is baking, heat ¼ cup oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Mix flour, ¼ tsp salt and ⅛ 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.
    5. Sprinkle fried shallots over the top of the casserole at the 25 minute baking point. Bake 5 more minutes. Serve hot!
    6. 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.

    green bean casserole from scratch by @janemaynard from thisweekfordinner.com


  9. Monday, November 19, 2012

    {Thanksgiving Prep & Giveaway!} Beet and Carrot Salad

    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!

     

    • 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.
    Big thanks to Libby’s for an awesome giveaway! Good luck to all! And now for the salad!
    Beet and Carrot Salad
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Vegetable
    Ingredients
    • 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)
    Instructions
    1. Mix everything together! Add salad dressing right before serving and toss.

  10. Friday, November 16, 2012

    {Thanksgiving Prep} The Menu

    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!

    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!