I typically don’t love experimentation on Thanksgiving (it’s all about yummy traditions, isn’t it?!) so I didn’t stray too far from my typical menu this year. However, I was able to try out some easy variations to my normal turkey day routine that I (and Sir Dave) ended up really loving – so I’m excited to share those recipes with you below!
And I am a firm believer in Thanksgiving being manageable, so the recipes below are very easy to execute and won’t keep you in the kitchen all day. And most importantly, they just taste damn good. 😀
The recipes below should comfortably serve 6 people.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
I’ve basically been trying to replicate my Grandpa’s mashed potato recipe my whole life, and while I could just ask my Grandma, it’s been fun to try to get as close as I can to what I remember his tasting like, because Grandpa’s were the best. This is as close as I can get!
6 large russet potatoes
5 tbs butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
First, get a large pot of water on the stove, and bring to a boil. While the water is heating, peel the potatoes and slice into 1 inch thick pieces. Toss into the boiling water and cook for approximately 15 minutes until a fork can pierce easily through the potato. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then transfer back to the large pot. Add the butter, cream, salt + pepper and mash away! I use a hand masher because I’m a crazy person, obviously feel free to use a hand mixer as well. Taste for seasoning or any additional cream or butter as needed. Serve with another big old pat of butter on top!
Cranberry Sauce with Orange Peel
Next up I made some homemade cranberry sauce for the first time. I could just kick myself for never trying to make it before, it takes 10 minutes! I whipped up the recipe below after doing some research and having to improvise with ingredients that I had on hand, but this is my new fave!
12 oz fresh cranberries
1 cup of water
1 cup + 1 tbsp of sugar
1 tsp dried orange peel
Add the water and sugar to a pot and turn heat to medium high until the sugar is totally dissolved. Then add the cranberries to the pot and and turn the heat to medium. Cook the mixture until the cranberries start to pop and the skin cracks open on all of the berries, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the dried orange peel and mix well. Let sit out for about an hour as the sauce will thicken as it cools!
Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon
Now let’s get to some green vegetables that we douse in bacon fat, sound good? I replaced the traditional soggy green bean casserole with this dish and I can say I may never go back!
4 cups trimmed brussel sprouts
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
6 strips of bacon or pancetta
2 tbs bacon fat
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a skillet to high heat and add the bacon to the pan cooking until very crisp. Remove, chop into small pieces and set aside. Keep the bacon fat in the bottom of the skillet. Toss the brussel sprouts in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper and lay on a baking pan. Bake for about 40 minutes, and be sure to shake the pan about half way through so they’re getting caramelized on all sides. Once a fork easily goes through the brussel sprouts, remove and toss back into the bowl. Now add the bacon and the bacon drippings, mix well and serve!
This recipe is adapted from this Epicurious dish where they rightfully say “simple is best” and I have to agree. I’ve tried a lot of complex stuffing recipes with sausage, fruit, cranberries, and more – but this recipe got more ooh’s and aah’s from the table than any other that I have made. Winner, winner, stuffing dinner.
3/4 cup unsalted butter
5 cups day old white bread, cut into 1 inch squares
6 cups day old french bread, cut into 1 inch squares
2 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbs chopped fresh sage
1 tbs chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbs chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Before the recipe, let me clarify that we stuffed our turkey with this stuffing and so we were able to cut out some ingredients and steps from the original recipe as the turkey helped do a lot of the work, so if you’re not planning on stuffing, I’d hop to the original recipe, but stick to my bread recommendation.
First chop up the bread into 1 inch pieces and place into a large bowl.
Then melt 3/4 cup of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the onions and celery. Stir this often until they just begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
Pour this mixture into the bowl with the bread and stir in the herbs, salt, and pepper. Add the 1 1/2 cups of broth and fold together gently.
Then stuff your turkey with this dressing and remove once the turkey is cooked to serve. It’s delish!
Alrighty then, to end this blog post and because you all know I’m full of NOEL this season, I want to leave you with this pic of my fluffy-faced kitty cat, Mighty-Mite, hanging out among the twinkly lights. Tis the season! <3