Help Me Love This Holiday…

Holy smokes, next week is Thanksgiving. HOW did that happen? It’s early this year, right?? I’m not even close to ready, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter- we’re not doing anything special, really. Just quiet, with us and a friend or two. Usually I completely abdicate on the traditional TG fixings, and make a massive Mexican throw-down with Mo.  This year it’s been requested that I go retro and do a turkey with actual stuffing, gravy and potatoes. *sigh* okay, fine. Be that way. I guess I better go to the store, eh? Are there even any turkeys left at this date? Have I mentioned I hate turkey, stuffing is a nightmare of a celiac, and I think gravy is gag-worthy? Maybe I’ll make a little pan of enchiladas for myself! I do like cranberries… so there’s that. Anyone with any recipes they swear by to help me get over my fear and loathing of Thanksgiving? I like the idea, I just find the food… um… yeah. So, I’ve given you my recipes over the years, I’m asking you to kick them down, mamas (and Ray). Share your treats!

19 thoughts on “Help Me Love This Holiday…

  1. My traditional sweet potatoes I have made ever since it came out in Cooking Light: I would think you could use another thickener besides all purpose flour – at least that is what I am attempting this year after a bit of research on gluten free options

    And a new recipe I am trying this year: It does call for rye bread but I am leaving it out. Which technically means I can’t call it stuffing, but I’m okay with that.

    Along with those I am in charge of the turkey and gravy. Traditional stuffing will be cooked separately. I’m looking forward to see what everyone else is doing.

  2. Butterflying/spatchcocking a turkey is supposed to help it cook evenly, not get overdone, and get nice crispy skin. If I were in charge of the turkey this year, I’d be dry-brining and butterflying it.

    You could try making a traditional stuffing with gluten-free bread:

    I always make gravy from the turkey drippings, along with some chicken broth and flour to thicken it up, I sometimes mix in some sage or thyme or rosemary or just salt and pepper to taste. Sometimes I skim off some of the fat from the drippings first, sometimes I don’t. You could undoubtedly use a cornstarch slurry as a thickener instead of flour, whisked directly into the pan drippings, let bubble for a bit, then add chicken stock or broth to thin it out and add volume. Season as desired. It’s really easy, and I happen to think it is delicious. It’s infinitely better than gravy from a packet, which is what my husband grew up eating.

  3. I have no recipes, but this tip: In the few instances when I’ve cooked the meal entirely by myself, I cooked and carved the turkey the day before. I prepped an oven/serving pan with both dark and light meat (just enough for the meal; the rest went to leftover storage) and added a few spoons of the defatted juice. That was ready to reheat and serve, and I was free to make just our favorite side dishes. The gravy was a piece-o-cake too. It worked out more like Sunday dinner that way.

  4. The pies woman!!! What about the pies!? (I have the most amazing crock pot mashed potatoes recipe. It involves cream cheese and I promise you will never be the same. I’ll track it down and post it for you.) For me, Thanksgiving is all about the appetizers and the leftovers.

  5. If you haven’t purchased a turkey already you may want to consider a boneless turkey breast instead of a whole turkey. Aldi sells them at this time of year — I’ll probably run go out tomorrow and get a couple. They’re quick and easy to cook, even in the crockpot. You just have to make sure you give them several days to thaw. They’re probably about ten to twelve servings each. As a bonus, they come with a packet of good-enough gravy, so you don’t have to bother with making it.

  6. Cranberry sauce is my favorite. Substitute half the water for fresh squeezed orange juice, and at the end, add some orange zest. And if you’re really feeling wild and crazy, add some freshly grated ginger! I use cranberry sauce on everything instead of gravy. I think cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes is heavenly.

    Getting a boneless turkey defeats much of Thanksgiving for me. I love turkey noodle soup.

    Also, pan roast baby brussel sprouts that have been split in half, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Even my 3 year-old will eat them carmelized like that. And for appetizer or dessert (they’re super sweet), stuff pitted dates with almonds, put stuffed dates in baking pan, sprinkle with kosher salt – don’t be shy or they’ll be too sweet, then smother with honey and bake at 350 for 20 minutes (or so.)

  7. I have a testimony of these potatoes…

    and of my friend Dalene’s Sour Cream Lemon Pie…

    Sour Cream Lemon Pie

    9-inch baked pie shell or cookie crust (I prefer a gingersnap crust)

    1 c. milk
    1 c. sugar
    3 Tbsp. cornstarch
    3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
    1/4-1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1 Tbsp. freshly grated lemon peel
    1/4 c. butter, cut up
    1 c. sour cream

    Stir together sugar and cornstarch. Stir in milk. Add egg yolks, lemon juice and lemon peel. Whisk together till smooth. Slowly bring just to a boil over just under medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in butter till melted. Cool to room temperature, then stir in sour cream. Pour into pie shell and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours. Top with fresh whipped cream and serve.

    And also purchasing croissants and good cheese and making enough turkey so that you can have turkey croissant sandwiches for days…

  8. Oh Tracy – I feel you! I try to get on board with this holiday, but to no avail. I don’t like turkey (nor does John), I LOVE stuffing (but can have that anytime – same with mashed potatoes). Past years we make a prime rib. This year, while invited to join other Americans here in Bulgaria, we declined. The kids might get mac and cheese! 🙂
    I am making pies this year for the Marines who serve the embassy. Traditional pumpkin (hense the roasting of the pumpkins last week), a chocolate nutella whipped, and banana cream.
    My stuffing is my favorite, though I can give you approximates since I don’t follow a recipe:
    dried bread crumbs (seasoned or not)
    cooked and crumbled sausage – you choose – I have used plain pork or italian
    diced apples, cooked with sauteed onions and garlic
    dried cranberries
    sauteed onions and garlic
    Mix everything together, add chicken broth to moisten to desired consistency. I bake it as a casserole at 350 for about 45 min (until hot).
    I have added milk in the past as part of the liquid (evaporated), but either way is good.

    As for the Nutella pie – choose any crust
    Whip Nutella until light.
    Add cream.
    Continue to mix until light and fluffy.
    Add to pie crust.

    I am totally cheating with the banana cream and using boxed pudding, believe me, the Marine’s won’t know or care!

    But when push comes to shove, I completely agree with you on thanksgiving…we rather have low key, non thanksgiving food. Our thankfuly tree we do nightly with the kids is more important to us! The real reason of celebrating.

    Love you! If you were close we could share non-thanksgiving thanks together. Miss you guys!

  9. I roasted a boneless skinless turkey breast last week that turned out quite tasty. I rubbed it down with olive oil, the rubbed in salt and pepper and Italian seasoning (I am pretty liberal with my seasonings of turkey, it is bland if not generously seasoned). Stick it in an oven roasting bag for 90 minutes or so, and you have tasty turkey that’s easy to slice and serve.

  10. Depends on how much work you wanna do. I love The Pioneer Woman’s stuffing recipe. I use bread I bake on my own (three loaves in an hour…I’m not kidding) and my own corn bread recipe but the rest what she’s posted.

    The link below is for a turkey. Here’s how it goes: buy turkey breast, thaw, trim skin off all but the meat, rub with onion soup powder, and set it in the slow cooker for 7-ish hours (usually takes me 6). One caution, a limitation of my slow-cooker, nothing over 7 pounds or it won’t fit. Other than that, easy-peasy and the house smells fabulous.

  11. Best fresh (not cooked) cranberry relish ever

    2 cups finely ground fresh cranberries
    1 can crushed pineapple (drained)
    1 small pkg lemon jello
    1 cup sugar ( could use less if you like tartness)
    1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
    1 pomegranate (seeded)
    Mix together and chill ( best if made a day ahead)

  12. Why couldn’t you do a chicken or even individual Cornish hens and tell them the turkey shrunk?

    Plus we never stuff the bird, stuffing is on the side. I’ve been doing a sausage stuffing lately. And while I’m not 100% clear on celiac could you maybe do a cornbread stuffing? Or I’d suggest rice dressing or quinoa salad instead.

    But seriously we always have spaghetti and cheese at holidays. You can use some quinoa noodles which will be gluten free. The secret to making it taste so amazing is to add diced bell pepper and onion to the water while the noodles boil. I’ll often add minced garlic too. After the spaghetti noodles cook, drain then place in a 9×13 pan with a couple tablespoons of butter and stir to melt. In a separate bowl combine shredded cheese, some softened cream cheese and a can of evaporated milk. Pour over noodles and toss to combine. You do want a fair amount of liquid to make sure it stays creamy so sometimes i need to add in a splash of milk. Spread a little more shredded cheese over the top and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. (our original recipe called for velveeta but over the years I’ve morphed it into more of an Alfredo and use Boursin cream cheese with shredded Italian cheeses and Parmesan.)
    Sorry I don’t use specific measurements but since you guys love cheese so much I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out a great combo to suit you 🙂

  13. Forget the food. our Thanksgiving tradition is to eat early and be done by noon. Then we hit the movie theater for the 1pm show. No one is at the theater and we usually have nearly the whole place to ourselves. A lot of family movies come out on Thanksgiving Day and when you go early you don’t have to worry about kids melting down, running around or being wild.

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