I am truly abhorrent to change, so every year when Thanksgiving rolls around I voice my opinion that we should have exactly the same things on the table that we had the year before. As a result, holiday food at my house has been the same for the past fifteen years with a very small amount of deviation. See, everything we eat is delicious, and I think you just shouldn’t mess with perfection. We usually start the morning with some kind of breakfast casserole and dig into these delicious dishes for dinner!


Stuffing

This year, in the interest of becoming a well-rounded cook and not just a baker, I am determined to get over my fear and help stuff the turkey. I have already verbally committed, so we’ll see how it goes soon.


This recipe makes enough to both stuff one large turkey and make a side dish (with enough leftover to freeze for later).


Ingredients

2 sticks butter

1 ½ cups diced celery

1 ½ - 2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 cup diced onion

¼ cup fresh, chopped parsley

6 cups cubed bread (this is about 1 loaf of French bread from the bakery)

2 cans chopped water chestnuts

⅓ cup cream

⅓ cup white wine

dash of nutmeg

salt & pepper to taste


Variation

Omit celery and mushrooms, use 1 can water chestnuts, 1 chopped Granny Smith apple, and ¾ cup of chopped walnuts.


Directions

To cook the stuffing that does not get stuffed inside the turkey, bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Add some butter and chicken broth to keep it moist (otherwise, you will end up with croutons, which are also delicious, but not the goal).


Turkey (18-22 lbs)

Every year my youngest sister asks if we can have ham for Thanksgiving, and every year I say, “No, it’s called ‘Turkey Day.’”


Directions

Rinse the turkey and remove the neck/gizzards (usually in a bag) from the cavity. Stuff the turkey (if you don’t want to make stuffing, you can use 1 onion, 1 celery, and 1 carrot stalk (halved/quartered) to still give the turkey flavor). Rub the turkey with oil (we use olive oil) and season it (we use Morton’s all-purpose seasoning). Roast for 15-18 minutes per pound beginning at 425 degrees. After the first hour, pour one stick of melted butter over the turkey and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees for the remaining time. Every 30-45 minutes, baste with drippings and chicken broth.


After the turkey is done and nicely browned, set it on a platter and let it sit for 15-20 minutes before you cut it.


Gravy

This is arguably the most important part of the meal, because it goes well with every dish. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t mind if gravy gets on everything.


Directions

Making the gravy should happen while the turkey is cooling. In the roasting pan, gradually add gravy flour to the mixture of drippings and broth already there. Stir constantly with a whisk until the gravy reaches your desired consistency.


Green Bean Casserole

Mushrooms are the only food in the world I REALLY do not like, but every year I suck it up about the tiny mushrooms in the cream of mushroom soup because this casserole is that good.


Ingredients

1 can cream of mushroom soup

2 cans (16 oz.) cut green beans (drained)

¾ cup milk

⅛ tsp. pepper

1 can French fried onions


Directions

Combine green beans, soup, milk, and pepper in a bowl with ½ can onions - stir and pour into 1 ½ quart casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


Sprinkle remaining onions on top and bake an additional five minutes, or until onions are browned.


Mashed Potatoes

Someone usually peels all of the potatoes during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s usually (always) my dad.


Ingredients

10 lbs. potatoes

Milk

Sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)

½ stick butter

Salt


Directions

Dice 10 lbs. potatoes and boil them until tender enough to put a fork in easily (should take about 40 minutes). Drain and put in mixing bowl. Whip for a few minutes. Add milk, generous amount of shredded cheddar, ½ stick butter, and salt to taste. Whip until butter and cheese are melted and thoroughly incorporated.


Remember that you can always add more milk, cheese, or salt, but once they are in you cannot take them out. That being said, our potatoes get pretty close to orange because we really like cheese.


Mashed Sweet Potatoes

This is my favorite thing on our table! Truly, it has no competition. I have been thinking about eating this at Thanksgiving for about a month.


Ingredients

2-3 large sweet potatoes

Butter

Brown sugar

Vanilla

Milk or cream

Honey Bunches of Oats

Maple syrup


Directions

Dice and boil potatoes until tender enough to put a fork in easily. Drain and put in mixing bowl. Add butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and milk or cream (starting with a small amount of milk). Whip until desired consistency. Spread in casserole dish. Top with Honey Bunches of Oats (cover the entire top). Pour maple syrup over cereal topping until covered. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.


I asked my mom how much of each ingredient she uses, and she said that she doesn’t measure, it’s just a tasting process. The potatoes should be mashed but not runny, so with that in mind put in whatever amount you think tastes good (but go slowly)!


Cranberry Sauce

I’m going to be honest, we don’t make cranberry sauce at my house. My little sister REALLY likes the Ocean Spray kind that comes in a can, so that’s what we eat. Here’s a recipe that I think looks incredible if you actually want to make cranberry sauce!


Rolls

We also don’t make our own rolls. We buy the Pillsbury crescent ones because they delicious!


Pumpkin Pie

Even though I did write a whole article about different ways to cook with pumpkin, I like tradition, and this is our usual pumpkin pie recipe straight out of the Philadelphia Cream Cheese cookbook.


Paradise Pumpkin Pie


Ingredients

1 crust for a 9 inch pie

1 8 oz. package Philadelphia cream cheese (softened)

¼ cup sugar

½ tsp. vanilla

1 egg

* * *

1 ¼ cups canned pumpkin

1 cup evaporated milk

½ cup sugar

2 eggs (beaten)

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground ginger

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

Dash of salt

Maple syrup

Pecan halves


Directions

On lightly floured surface, roll pastry to 12-inch circle. Place in 9-inch pie plate. Turn under edge; flute. Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla, mixing at medium speed on electric mixer until well-blended. Blend in egg. Spread onto bottom of pastry shell.


Combine all remaining ingredients except syrup and pecans; mix well. Carefully pour over cream cheese mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 65 minutes. Cool. Brush with syrup; top with pecans.



We only make these recipes once a year, so I’m getting excited for some of my favorites. Eating Thanksgiving food with my family really puts me in the mood for the holiday season. Don’t forget to save room for dessert!

 
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