A Fabulous Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is nearly here, and with just ten days to go I’m going to get right to it and start talking food preparation.

(For those of you outside the USA who may not be celebrating Thanksgiving, these menu ideas are equally suitable for a Christmas or New Year celebration). 

Thanksgiving Checklist –

Here is a flexible list of ingredients and ideas for a Thanksgiving meal. Quick, easy, and delicious!

Of course it is traditional to bake a turkey on Thanksgiving, and we did do this last year ourselves. It was enormous in size, so this year we are going to try something a little smaller…  and chicken it is!
Turkey or Chicken:
Soak a turkey or chicken overnight in a plastic bag filled with apple juice. (Use an eskee/cold box).
Bake the chicken or turkey with a mix of peppercorns, onions, and a dry rub plus olive oil (see dry rub ingredients listed below). 

Express option: Buy a BBQ (rotisserie) chicken and use this instead if you need to save on time! 

Dry Rub:
Sweet Hungarian Paprika
Onion powder
(Note: Cover the chicken or turkey in olive oil and then add the dry rub. Place on a baking tray with the peppercorns and chopped onion).
Sausage meat of your choice (1 cup)
Celery, diced (1 stick)
Onion, diced (1)
Shallots or green onions, chopped (1 bunch)
Olive oil (1 tablespoon)
Breadcrumbs (1 cup)
Eggs (2)
Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup)


(Optional: Cranberries make a nice addition to the stuffing as well)

Cornbread ingredients:
Can of creamed corn
Can of corn kernels

1/2 cup self-raising flour

1/2 cup cornmeal
1 egg
1/3 cup buttermilk (or you could use 1/2 cup milk)
1 oz. butter 
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese 

(Optional: Add chillis, chives, or green onions to the mix if you are feeling adventurous)

Cranberry Sauce ingredients:
Use store-bought cranberry sauce as a quick and easy option, then add some real orange zest and a squeeze of real orange juice (this addition of orange zest and juice makes the world of difference – try it!)
Apple Sauce ingredients:
Store-bought apple sauce (or make it yourself using green apples – just peel, chop, then heat them in a saucepan until soft)
Baked Vegetables:
Sweet potato

(Alternative: mashed potato, or mash some potato and sweet potato together for something different)
Seasoning for Baked Vegetables:
Olive oil
Lemon juice 
Salad Ideas:
Grape tomatoes
Lettuce of your choice
Feta cheese
Optional: olives

Mix and match your favourite ingredients for a unique salad – there is no right or wrong!
Pumpkin Pie or Pecan Pie – yummm!
Pumpkin Pie ingredients:
Evaporated milk (I use the low fat variety)
Pureed pumpkin (either from a can or bake and then puree the pumpkin in a food processor yourself) 
Cinnamon, ground (about 2 teaspoons)
Cloves, ground (about 1/2 teaspoon)
Nutmeg, ground (about 1 teaspoon)
Vanilla essence or extract (1 teaspoon), or scrape out the pods of a vanilla bean (it smells amazing!)
2 eggs 
1/2 cup of raw sugar 
A graham cracker pie crust (reduced fat crust optional) or make your own crust from graham cracker crumbs

(I have more written on this pumpkin pie recipe in my August blog entry American Road Trips and Pumpkin Pie).

Pecan Pie ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar 
1 stick butter (4 oz.)
1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract/vanilla essence, or scrape out a vanilla bean pod as above 
3 eggs
1 bag pecans
A graham cracker pie crust (reduced fat crust optional) or make your own crust from graham cracker crumbs

Super simple recipe – mix all ingredients in the order listed above, then bake for 45 minutes at 350F.

We now have on our checklist a meat dish, a salad, roast vegetables, a dessert, and (corn) bread – which are a lot like savory muffins. Also the sauces and stuffing and all the trimmings for the meat. So what’s missing? Hmm, maybe a nice soup to start with! I have been experimenting with several soups lately as the weather is cooling down a lot, and we also recently invested in a food processor. So far I’ve made the following soups: (1) tomato, (2) spinach and lentil, (3) mushroom, and (4) asparagus. Next on the list to try out: (5) leek and potato, and (6) pumpkin. I’ve added the ingredients for a simple tomato soup appetizer below, as it is a nice way to start the meal by presenting guests with a small tasty soup in a bowl or cup, especially in a colder climate. As you can see, we are looking forward to our winter Christmas and our fall Thanksgiving very much. For an Australian Christmas, which is during the hot summer, a seafood cocktail may be a better option! (Stay tuned as always for more tasty meal ideas…)

Tomato Soup ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic
1 onion
7 large tomatoes
1 cup unsalted vegetable stock
1 cup cream (or milk)
Salt, pepper, and parsley to season and garnish

Happy Thanksgiving to all! 

There is always a lot to be thankful for. 

Bridget @ Hot Tea, Travel, and Thyme x

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