Here is a collection of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes for 2015. Enjoy!
This succulent turkey starts out with an easy marinade of fresh herbs, oil and lemon. Next, it marinates for 24 hours and is then roasted, breast-side-down for extra juiciness. The best part? It’s super easy to make! Toasted bread salad is a lighter, earthier version of stuffing. Rather than being soggy, it has an irresistible, chewy texture a bit of crunch from toasted hazelnuts, and a bit of sweetness from dried currants. Make it vegan by substituting veggie broth for pan drippings.
For the Turkey:
Prepare the turkey for the marinade by rinsing it all over with cold water and then patting it dry with paper towels, inside and out. Combine all the herbs, salt, pepper, and oil in the food processor and pulse it into a pesto-like consistency.
Use your hands to loosen and lift the skin that covers the breast and legs of the turkey. Rub the marinade all over the turkey, under the skin, inside the cavity, top and bottom. Use up all the marinade.
Place some of the herb stems, or any extra herbs you have, and the zested lemons, cut in half, into the cavity of the turkey. Cover the turkey tightly with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge overnight. Bring the turkey out of the fridge one hour before roasting to bring it to room temperature.
Wipe the excess marinade off the top of the turkey so it doesn’t burn. Place the turkey, breast-side up, in a roasting pan with a v-shaped rack. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cross the legs one over the other and secure them with twine. Roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Turn the turkey completely over, breast-side down. Continue roasting for another 2-3 hours, depending on the size of your bird. The temperature of the breast should be about 165 degrees. The problem is, that the turkey will continue to cook for twenty to thirty minutes after it comes out of the oven, so I usually take it out of the oven when the temperature is at 155 degrees. (please follow USDA guidelines if you feel more comfortable) When the turkey is done the legs will be pulling apart from the bird and the juices will run clear. Let the turkey rest, covered in foil for at least 1 hour before carving. Reserve the pan drippings for the bread salad.
For the Toasted Bread Salad:
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice off most of the crust of the loaf of bread, then tear it into bite-sized chunks. Place the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the bread is toasted but still chewy, about ten minutes.
Cover the currants with hot water to soak and plump while you cook the veggies. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the celery, onion, and shallot until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and cook one minute longer. Stir in the marsala and cook until the liquid evaporates, about two or three minutes. Remove from heat and place the veggies into a large bowl. Toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan until they begin to release their oils and start to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and coarsely chop. Toss the bread with the veggies, nuts, drained currants and arugula. Pour the pan drippings and lemon juice over the bread and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning. Pack the mixture into a baking dish. Give it one more drizzle of olive oil. Bake until heated through and toasted and golden brown on top, about 15-20 minutes.
The key to a low stress holiday is to plan ahead and do as much as you possibly can BEFORE the big day. It’s pretty much humanly impossible to do the entire Thanksgiving dinner in one day. Here is a handy list of things you could do NOW to reduce your work load later.
10. Order your turkey. Call your local natural food store, or meat market and order your fresh, free-range turkey. You don’t want to be stuck with a frozen-solid factory bird! Here is my recipe for classic roasted turkey.
9. Print or clip all the recipes you will need for the meal. Organize them into a folder or plastic sleeve. Highlight all the non-perishable items that could be bought ahead.
8. Shop for all the non-perishables. Today is a great day to go out and pick up all things that can be bought ahead like dry herbs and spices, canned items, and dry mixes, beverages, or even long-lasting produce like squash and potatoes. Crossing as much off your list as you can now will save time later. When you get home, don’t put it all away in your cupboards. Keep the items in a box in a closet or garage so that you don’t have to search for them among the Lucky Charms later.
7. Make your pie crust, roll it out into circles, and layer between sheets of parchment paper. Roll it up just like a store-bought crust, wrap in plastic and freeze. When you’re ready to make your pies, just thaw and unroll! If you have time, you can make whole pies, wrap them and freeze them. Instead of thawing and baking, bake them from frozen, just add extra baking time. Here is my pastry crust recipe. Here is my pumpkin pie recipe.
6. Make turkey stock with purchased turkey legs or wings. Freeze for use in gravy and stuffing. Here are my tips for making stock.
5. Make your cranberry sauce and store it in jars in the fridge. Here is my recipe for Simple Cranberry Orange Sauce.
4. Make your homemade rolls, wrap and freeze them unbaked. Here is a link to a great recipe for Parker House Rolls from Food Network
3. Wash and iron your good napkins and table cloth. To store your tablecloth without creases, lay it on top of a towel and roll it up. Keeping it in a roll will help keep the creases at bay.
2. Polish silverware (if you’re lucky enough to have silver or silverplate flatware), inspect your china and glassware for chips and cracks. Decide what serving pieces you will use and determine whether you might need to purchase any bowls, platters, or serving spoons. Do you have a gravy boat? If you’re hosting Thanksgiving you need one!
1. Call your family and guests to confirm that they will be joining you for dinner. Ask them to bring things like wine, beer, and pre-dinner snacks.
These are so yummy and easy to make! They can be made the day before and stored in the fridge. What a great dessert for a dinner party, your guests will be surprised and delighted by these. Makes 8.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and butter in a bowl. Divide the mixture evenly among 8 jars. Tamp it down with a spoon or the rounded end of a wooden tool like a muddler. In a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Add the pumpkin and eggs and beat until smooth. Divide the batter evenly among the jars, leaving at least 1/2 inch of room at the top. Sprinkle the tops with a little nutmeg. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile bring about 6 C. water to a boil. Place the filled jars into a roasting pan and pour the boiling water into the pan to create a water bath. Be careful not to get any water inside the jars. I find this is easier to do if I pull the oven rack partway out, set the roasting pan on it and pour the water in. This way I don’t have to move a pan full of hot water from the counter and risk scalding myself. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until set. The cheesecakes will rise up and crack on top, sort of like a souffle, then they will shrink down. When they are cool, place them in the fridge. Serve cold with the whipped cream and another dash of nutmeg on top. These are meant to be eaten right out of the jar.
Fall is in the air, and that means time for pumpkin bread. The aroma that fills your house when this bread is in the oven is enough reason to bake it. It tastes pretty good too.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9 x 5 loaf pans. In a large bowl combine the sugars and oil with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and pumpkin. Stir just to incorporate. Add half of the flour, the spices, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Stir in the vanilla. Add the rest of the flour and the raisins. Do not over mix. Stir with the spoon just to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the loaves cool for about 10 minutes before turning the loaves out onto a wire rack. Let the loaves cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing – if you can stand it that long.