Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

This is the second year we are hosting our "misfit/orphan" Thanksgiving. Everyone we know that has no family or anywhere else to go is invited here. I LOVE to cook, so this is awesome for me to have everyone over. I thought I'd post our menu and recipes to share. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey-Herb Glazed Turkey from 2008 TOH Thanksgiving book. I skip the thyme and use fresh rosemary from my garden.

Mashed potatoes-The boys recently discovered that if mom uses Heavy Cream instead of milk, potatoes taste better. So, we'll have to do that. Idaho potatoes make nice fluffy mashed taters.

Stuffing-I don't like stuffing. But, I know that most people look forward to it at the holiday's, so I found Slow Cooker Stuffing a few years ago when I hosted my first Thanksgiving and it was a hit so we do that every year now.

Buns-My mother in law makes the best dinner rolls, so I'm going to attempt to make them this year.

1 pkg active dry yeast
1 1/2 C warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 can (12oz) evaporated milk
1/3 C sugar
1/4 C butter or margarine, melted
2 tsp salt
8-8 1/2 C all-purpose flour
Additional melted butter or margarine, optional
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, eggs, sugar, butter, salt, and 4 cups flour and mix until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch dough down; divide into four portions. Shape each into eight rolls; place 20 rolls in a greased baking pan. (Might need more than one!) Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 20-30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with butter if desired. Best if served warm! Yields about 32 rolls.

Salad #1-Pomegranate and Almond Salad. An actual lettuce salad will be hitting the table this year. It sounded so good and I love pomegranates and almonds so I had to try it. This comes from the 2008 Pillsbury Thanksgiving book you find in the checkout aisle of the grocery store. (pg. 57)

1 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup EVOO or vegetable oil
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
10 oz sweet baby lettuces (about 12 cups)
1 pomegranate, seeded (3/4 cup of seeds)

Sprinkle almonds in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat 5-7 minutes until almonds begin to brown. Stir frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, beat oil, lime juice, sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic with a wire whisk until smooth.

In a large bowl, toss together lettuce and pomegranate seeds. Before serving, toss with dressing and sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Salad #2-Tim wants baked beans. I made some last year that turned out awesome! So, we'll attempt to recreate them. Here's the starter recipe: Pat's Baked Beans.

Here's how I tweaked them:
Add half to one pound cooked hamburger
Use 4 cloves of garlic instead of just one.
Use navy beans instead of pinto
Add 1/4 cup maple syrup
Use black beans instead of garbanzo
Use only 1/4 cup ketchup
Add 1/4 cup Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ Sauce
Add 4 oz can diced jalapenos

So, you can see that they really aren't exactly as they started out, but have a "Margie twist" to them. I rarely use a recipe as it was written. We got RAVE reviews on these last's why I HAVE to make them again!

Salad #3-For the kids. Most of the kids won't eat the Pomegranate Almond Salad, so I'm planning to make Orange Jello Salad for them.

I'm also planning to have pickles, green olives and black olives as well as a veggie tray with dip (Marzetti's Ranch veggie dip)

Now, on to dessert! This year, I'm tweaking dessert. I plan to make my famous peanut butter cheesecake (skip the peanuts, use chocolate graham crackers or animal crackers and use a full cup of peanut butter.) with Chocolate Ganache, (skip the brandy) but I'm also planning to make Pumpkin Cheesecake and make some of them TURTLE pumpkin cheesecakes. All of the cheesecakes will be made in muffin cups so that they are individual serving size and I can freeze them later if I need to.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
I use a 9 inch spring form pan lined with parchment paper. I have the paper extend over the edge of the pan when in the tightest position. This makes for easier transporting onto a cake stand for better presentation. This way you are not cutting onto the bottom of the spring form.

The following recipe will give the appearance of a color all the way through. You can also make individual cheesecakes (like muffins).

Crust: I just pat onto the bottom of the pan for a thicker crust and nicer presentation, but you can press it 2 inches up the sides if you like.

2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (chocolate graham crackers work well)
1/2 c finely chopped pecans (optional, adds a little flavor and texture)
1/2 c butter, melted
2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional)
2 teaspoons brown sugar (optional)

Mix crumbs, pecans and butter. Press onto bottom (and 2-inches up sides of 9-inch spring form pan. Bake 10 minutes on 325 degrees. I put the spring form on a cookie sheet just incase the melted butter leaks through.


3- 8 oz packages of Philadelphia Brand cream cheese (I use 1 regular and 2 neufchatel to lower the fat. You can use all low fat or fat-free with great results.)
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs (room temp is best, but not required)
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash ground cloves

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing at low speed after each addition, just until blended. Add pumpkin and spices to batter and mix well.

Pour batter over crust

Bake 55-60 minutes or until center is ALMOST set. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake from rim of pan. Cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Can serve with whipped topping.

I'm going to drizzle with chocolate and caramel and sprinkle with toasted pecans to have turtle pumpkin cheesecakes.

The other dessert that I'm planning to make is Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. If any of you know Timmy, you know he loves Rhubarb, so I'll make one of those for the day, too.

Wow, ok, so that's going to be our Thanksgiving. I also plan to make stuffed mushrooms for dinner that night if there's anyone still here. We'll have turkey sandwiches and whatever else is still leftover.

Stuffed Mushrooms

1 8oz package cream cheese
1 pound pork sausage (I like Farmland breakfast sausage)
2-3 pounds whole mushrooms

Pull all the stems off the mushrooms and throw the stems away.

Fry the sausage and melt in the cream cheese. Use this to stuff the mushroom caps. Bake at 350 about 20 minutes. Enjoy while still hot.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!


  1. And, what, no fresh venison?!

    I'll vouch for the stuffed mushrooms -- Tim made them for us and they are VERY good!!! I think I might have to try your salad recipe too, that sounds like something I'd like. And, I've just been reading about how good pomegranates are for you.

    Have a great time!

  2. Loved your Menu.I make the stuffed mushrooms for my Mom and she goes nuts over them.I call them Jess's Stuffed Mushrooms :)


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