We did it! We fed 19 people for Thanksgiving and everyone is still alive and well. I know you’ve moved on to holiday shopping and decorating, but I’m still patting myself on the back. There were no house fires, no injuries and only a few explosions. I think it was an overall success and because of that, I wanted to share the menu and some party planning tips. I’ll focus on the food here and save the tips for another post. The day was of course all about family…and food. Massive amounts of food. So we over did it a little. OK, we over did it a lot.
Starters (all of these were made ahead of time)
- Cheese platter with 3 different cheeses, nuts, dried figs and olives.
- My sister made Martha’s bacon and caramelized leek dip with a baguette. This was good but very thick. I wanted it on a bagel the next morning.
- This squash dip with crackers. It’s so easy and so good. I make it every year. I also love it on my leftover turkey sandwiches.
- 2-16lb turkeys. One in the oven and the other on the grill. Jon took care of the birds. They were fantastic. He stuffed both with lemons, onions, celery, garlic and carrots. He also covered both in a white wine and butter soaked cheese cloth and basted them every 30 minutes with the same mixture. For the grilled bird, Jon kept the middle burner off and the outside burners on medium-low which kept the grill at a steady 350°. The turkey sat in a disposable roasting pan the whole time so we could use the drippings.
- Brown Eyed Baker’s make ahead gravy – this was great to have finished ahead of time. I left out the cognac/brandy because we didn’t have any in the house. It was nice to just reheat on the stovetop and have this ready to serve.
- Dad’s giblet gravy – I meant to watch him make this so I could tell you about it, but I must have been refilling my wine glass because I completely missed it until it was on the table in the gravy boat.
- My sister’s mashed potatoes. Potatoes, whole milk, butter, salt. That’s it. They are perfect.
- My brother-in-law’s sister’s (got that?) sweet potato casserole. The most delicious reason for stretchy pants. I don’t have the recipe, but maybe she’ll share.
- Dad’s oyster stuffing adapted from this Williams Sonoma recipe. He makes this every year. This year we had fresh local oysters. Amazing. He assembled this the night before, so all we had to do was bake it on Thanksgiving morning.
- A gluten free version of Jessica’s brown butter stuffing. I used gluten free bread and gluten free corn bread. Whoa baby. If you like bacon and butter you will LOVE this. I also made this ahead of time.
- Macheesmo’s roasted cranberry sauce. We had this last year and it was requested again this year. The pecans on top make this dish. I might have “accidentally” made extra topping. Also made the night before.
- Roasted brussel sprouts with bacon and shallots. I crisped the bacon in the oven. Chopped it and tossed it with the brussel sprouts, chopped shallots and a little olive oil. Roasted at 350 until the sprouts were browned and cooked through about 30-40 minutes. I made the bacon, chopped the sprouts and chopped the shallots the night before. Roasted when the turkey came out of the oven.
- Sauteed green beans and red onions. Green beans, red onions, salt/pepper and olive oil in a saute pan until the beans are tender. Quick. Delicious. And no oven necessary.
- Southern Living’s balsamic roasted parsnips and carrots – I left out the dried cherries and the brown sugar. And doubled the feta, duh. This was actually my favorite dish of the evening. Chopped everything the night before and roasted this when the turkey came out.
- Oh…and rolls. Because 8 sides weren’t enough.
- My sister’s mother-in-law’s deep dish apple pie. I wish so badly that I had a picture. It was the prettiest pie I’ve ever seen.
- My mom made my apple cider caramels. I give her two thumbs up. They were great and she put them in mini cupcake cups. Cute.
- I made Martha’s pumpkin meringue pie because how can you see something like this and not make it? It was gorgeous. I bought a pre-made crust from whole foods, made the pie a day early and whipped up the meringue right before dinner was served. It was the last thing I did before we ate.
- I also bought Trader Joe’s pumpkin ice cream and plain vanilla ice cream. I don’t have equipment to make 19 people ice cream or I would have. I haven’t purchased ice cream in years. It felt weird and tasted delicious!
- And last but SO NOT LEAST… this sweet potato pound cake. It was a hit at cooking club this month so I made it for Thanksgiving. I’m glad I did because we were all starving. Needless to say, we have some left over and every time Jon has a piece he makes some sort of “mmm” noise. I felt like I had to share.
Sweet Potato Pound Cake (adapted from Southern Living)
8oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup powdered sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Beat cream cheese and butter with a mixer until creamy. Add the sugar half a cup at a time. Beat until fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the sweet potatoes and vanilla. Beat until completely combined.
- In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Slowly add the flour mixture to the batter.
- Pour batter into a greased 10-inch bundt pan.
- Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted int he center comes out clean. Remove and let cool before flipping out of pan. Once cooled, place a serving plate over the cake pan and flip to invert the cake onto the platter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Enjoy.
- The original recipe called for the cake to bake for over an hour. Mine was done in 50 minutes. I’ve made this twice and overcooked the first one. Be sure to check your cake around 45 minutes and adjust the timer as necessary.
- I’m sorry this wasn’t posted sooner. I’ve been watching Call of the Wildman. Please tell me you’ve seen it.
- Party tips coming soon!
- Are you still reading this? Kudos.