Rule #175: Turkey Day is the best day of the year.
You can’t keep me from thinking about Thanksgiving starting on about July 1st. I can’t help it. The turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, the parade, and most importantly the family that all come together in one big, beautiful day are enough to give me goosebumps year round! We are heading to Jon Boy’s parents’ house this year for the big day, but I wanted to share our menu for when we do host Thanksgiving.
I remember being so stinkin’ excited the first year I got to host Thanksgiving. I planned for MONTHS. I’m not kidding. The rolls, mashed potatoes, the turkey, all of it had pages of notes to go along with the recipes. My uncle and I debated how we’d tent the bird with foil while it was cooking, how long we’d let it rest, and how the gravy would be made. To put it lightly, I was a bit obsessed.
I wanted to share a round up of the recipes I use whenever we make our big Thanksgiving dinner.
First things first: The Turkey. I do a dry brine for my turkey (basically, a rub that you leave on for a while, rinse, then stuff the ole bird with some onion and garlic). It’s super simple, and some parts can be done ahead of time. It always makes for a delicious, juicy turkey and some bomb gravy, too!
The Mashed Potatoes are the next, ultimate thing on my list. I’m a firm believe in ricing your potatoes with a potato ricer instead of mashing them. When you mash your potatoes, they release a lot of starch which can make them a bit thick and lumpy. I like me some fluffy taters.
Now, this is a super important decision that every host has to make when they’re planning their Thanksgiving Menu. The stuffing debate (or is it dressing in your world?) can be enough to cause another Civil War as far as I’m concerned. Do you put it in the bird? Outside? Is it cornbread or sourdough? Green chiles perhaps? Well, in my family, we consult the ultimate source: The Pioneer Woman. I make her cornbread the day or even two ahead of time, let it air dry, then mix it in with a sourdough mixture. That’s right: it’s got BOTH cornbread and sourdough. Boom. Mic Drop.
This picture doesn’t do it justice (hoping to snap a good one this year), but this Green Bean Casserole is da bomb dot com! I use Paula Deen’s recipe, and it never disappoints!
Another go-to would have to be Parker House Rolls. My grandmother made them when my mom was growing up, and I decided to continue the tradition when it was our turn to host. They can be made ahead of time, too!
A fancy, but oh-so-necessary addition to our Thanksgiving Menu that we didn’t grow up with is Mario Batali’s Cipolline Onions. They’re delicious morsels of rich, creamy, cheesy tiny onions. They’re Jon Boy and I’s favorite part of Thanksgiving!
For the rest of the sides, we love a simple salad drizzled with olive oil, balsamic, and lemon juice. We also debate over canned (yupp) or frozen homemade cranberry sauce. That’s my mom’s speciality and Corey’s favorite. My sister-in-law makes some delicious roasted butternut squash, and my mother-in-law has a great recipe for creamed spinach! I love some good vegetable sides to go with all the other heavy ones.
My favorite dessert has to be this Bourbon and Brown Butter Pecan Pie. Booze in a pie? I’m sold.
One thing I’m bringing to the in-laws’ this year is a biggo Charcuterie Board! You know, I love me some cheese, meat, nuts, and olives. They’re easy to assemble and make for a nice appetizer before the big meal. Here are some I’ve made in the past:
I’d love to know what traditions you and your family have when it comes to the big day!