A Super-Easy Thanksgiving Menu, part 1

For some reason this post has wonky spacing and won’t let me link to another site. Note sure why that is. I’m new at this blogging thing, so please bear with me as I humbly learn from my mistakes.

Are you hosting Thanksgiving (gulp) Thursday?

Don’t panic. Instead, follow this easy menu for a turkey dinner with all the fixin’s.

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Harvest Salad

Roast Turkey

Portobello Mushroom Gravy

Cranberry Orange Relish

Orange-Herb Stuffing With Bacon, Apples and Walnuts

Roasted Green Beans

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Butter and Brown Sugar


Harvest Salad
This salad is delicious and easy. You basically just have to chop the ingredients and put them in the bowl. The texture is great and the flavors blend well together. You could also mix all the salad ingredients together and then serve the vinaigrette on the side.

1 apple, cored and chopped

1/2 C diced cheddar cheese

1/2 C walnuts, toasted if desired

1/4 C sliced scallions

1/4 C dried cranberries

1 pkg mixed baby greens

1/2 C balsamic vinaigrette (Newman’s Own is delicious)

Toss all ingredients together and serve just before the meal begins.

Roast Turkey
I’m not intimidated at the prospect of cooking a 12- to 14-lb bird. I simply think of it as a rather large chicken. Though there are tons of recipes and tips out there, this is the one that I’ve used with great success.

1 whole turkey, 12-14-lbs, fresh or thawed frozen

1 T stick butter, melted

1/2 tsp each salt and pepper

1/3 C chopped parsley (optional)

1 C chicken broth

fresh herbs for garnish

Heat oven to 325 degrees. You’ll need a shallow roasting pan fitted with a rack. Remove all the innards (remind me why I’m not a vegetarian again). Tie or clamp the legs together. Twist wing tips under back. Brush skin with butter; sprinkle with salt, pepper and chopped parsley, if desired.

Place bird breast side up on the rack in the pan. Insert a meat thermometer (if you are not using an instant-read) into the center of the thigh, not touching the bone.

Add broth to the pan and roast for 3 to 3 3/4 hours, basting about every 30 minutes with the pan juices. Add more broth or water if the pan seems dry. If the breast gets too brown, cover it loosely with foil.

About 1 1/4 hours before turkey should be done, check the temperature. When the thermometer registers 180 degrees F, remove the turkey to a large serving platter and let it rest for 30 minutes. Don’t skip that step or you will have a dry, hard-to-carve turkey.

Portobello Mushroom Gravy
This gravy is pretty much foolproof. You can make it up to two days in advance and just reheat it in the microwave. Plus, my mushroom-hating husband even said it was delicious. (In case you are wondering, I did tell him ahead of time it had mushrooms in it).

2 T butter

1 pkg sliced mushrooms

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 box creamy Campbell’s Select portobello mushroom soup

1 jar turkey gravy

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet. Add mushrooms and thyme; saute over medium-high heat four minutes or until mushrooms are golden brown. Stir in soup and gravy; bring to a boil. Simmer one minute for flavors to blend.

Cranberry Orange Relish
This is another make ahead recipe. It also freezes well, too. If you don’t have a food processor, you can still make this in batches in a blender. 

1 pkg cranberries

1 small can of mandarin oranges, drained

3/4 – 1 C sugar

Evenly chop cranberries and oranges in a food processor. Stir in sugar to desired sweetness. Mix well and refrigerate several hours before serving.


Orange-Herb Stuffing With Bacon, Apples and Walnuts
This one comes from my Good Housekeeping Cookbook, circa 1963. I’ve changed it up quite a bit and now it’s a staple when I host.

1 1/8 C butter, margarine or salad oil

3/4 C chopped onions

4 qt day-old bread, cut up in 1/2″ squares and lightly packed

1 apple, coarsely chopped

1 C walnuts, chopped

5-6 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled (optional, but oh-so-good)

1/4 C diced celery

1 T grated orange rind

1 tsp dried rosemary

1/2 C snipped parsley (optional)

1/4 tsp pepper

2 1/4 tsp salt (cut back to 1 tsp if using bacon; can always add more to taste)

Melt butter in a deep kettle, saute onions until tender. Combine rest of ingredients; add to onions; heat well without browning, stirring frequently.

Tip: I stuff my turkey with quartered apples, onions and whatever herbs I have on hand, rather than stuffing the stuffing into the cavity. There’s just something wrong about that in my mind! If you prefer your stuffing actually stuffed in the bird, this recipe will stuff the neck and body cavity of a 10-lb turkey.


Roasted Green Beans

This recipe came from Cori, a fabulous cook who picked up the recipe from Cooks Illustrated. You seriously have to make these. She told me they tasted like french fries and she did. not. disappoint. They are that good.

Mind you, this is coming from a girl who previously had issues with green beans. (Someday I will share my fourth grade Mrs. Parker green bean story with you all. Suffice to say, now green beans are my very favorite vegetable, but only when they are roasted like this!

To get the recipe, go to apinchofthis.blogspot.com and click on Vegetables. (Sorry, but I can’t get the link up to work…must check into that).


Sweet Potatoes with Butter and Brown Sugar
I admit it, I cheat on this one. I just drain two large cans of sweet potatoes, mash them up with some butter and brown sugar and microwave them.

A little bit later, I’ll post the best part of the meal…the sweets!

Published in: on November 19, 2010 at 9:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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