Turkey Day Prep

I’m hosting Thanksgiving Day at our place this year. With Chris & I, my parents, brother and his wife, I’ll be feeding six with plans for some leftovers.  I have a few requests plus things I’m absolutely going to make because its not Thanksgiving without them.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I love fall, I love turkey and oh yeah, it also happens to be my birthday.  I was actually born on Thanksgiving Day.  Jen, one of my oldest friends was born 3 days before me (at one point we had it figured out to the second), my grandpa and I shared the same birthdate and Jen’s son was born the day before my day. His birthday happened to fall on Thanksgiving that year so although I was disappointed she couldn’t hold out one more day, we still have the turkey in common (I think she had him a day early on purpose- I told her if we shared a birthday she had to name him after me!).

So, the menu:

One turkey or other bird of a size to feed 5.  My mom is a vegetarian.  My brother offered to bring me a chicken or rather a couple of chickens but once I figured out he meant still alive, I politely declined. I can’t imagine the apartment neighbors would appreciate that too much.  Plus, I’m definitely sure the cats would be less than thrilled.   So if I can find a smaller turkey, I’ll do that otherwise I’m going to look for a big chicken.

In the past, I have brined my bird and I believe I’ll do that again this year.  It was fabulous and juicy with crispy skin.  Brining is just soaking the meat in a salt-water solution mixed with some other seasonings.  Tips on brining can be found HERE, HERE or HERE.  Most importantly, do not brine a turkey that has been treated with a saltwater solution or a kosher turkey – it will be very salty.  I usually  brine overnight then take the bird out, rinse it and let it airdry in the refridgerator.  You get better skin that way.

Gravy – made with drippings from the turkey, not from a jar.

Mashed potatoes – Red skin potatoes made with cream cheese.  A little different but rich and creamy while still having home-made lumps

Stuffing – I’m very particular about my stuffing. I do not want something that looks like it could be used to spackle walls.  The cubes of bread will be distinct.  Although I call it stuffing, technically, I’m cooking it outside the bird.  Usually I add nuts, cranberries and celery & onions to my stuffing.  I might do water chestnuts this year.

Corn – Really basic but I like corn with my stuffing and gravy. I’ll just use frozen.

Baked beans – per request of my brother. Baked beans with bacon.  I figure this is ideal for the slow cooker.

Green Bean Casserole – Oddly, I’ve never made this before.  Its not one of my favorites but it was Chris’s only real request.  He gave me his mom’s recipe and I guess I’ll just follow that.

Baked Butternut Squash – I’m using this recipe here from Simply Recipes.  Chris wanted (still wants) me to make the squash risotto from the other day but I think that’s too much starch with the stuffing and potatoes so I’m going this route instead.

Rutabaga – ha ha, not really.  I cannot stand this stuff but my parents like it so they can bring it, if they want but it better be pre-cooked since I don’t even like the smell of it cooking.  Ugh.

Biscuits – Simple drop style I think

Pre-Dinner nosh:

Peel & eat shrimp – When Chris’s mom sent us 3 lbs of shrimp for his birthday, we froze about 1/2 to save for Thanksgiving.  Now we just need to find some decent cocktail sauce.

Cheese, glorious cheese – Gotta have a cheese plate!  And crackers w/ veggies too.


I don’t really have any thing here yet.  We’ll probably make spritz cookies with our giant cookie press from Williams-Sonomoa.  And I saw this ginger-oatmeal cookie with dried cranberries in a magazine.

In the morning, my parents are coming up early and we three are walking the Lansing Turkey Trot 5k. As Chris did not want to participate, he is assigned the job of making breakfast for us when we get done.  We won’t have dinner until late afternoon as my brother and his wife are driving in from Iowa.


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