Start by cleaning out the fridge!

Thanksgiving Menu

Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, fruit salad, green beans or asparagus, corn, rolls, veggie tray, dip, cranberry sauce, jello, Thanksgiving salad, pies (chocolate pudding, apple crisp, peach cobbler, blueberry, strawberry, pumpkin, grasshopper oreo, pecan, and vanilla ice cream and whipped cream).

Make ahead:

*Sweet Potato Casserole freezes beautifully and can be bakedan hour before serving (thaw in the fridge the night before).
*Homemade Cranberry Sauce can also be made several days in advance and either frozen or kept in the fridge.
*Homemade Pie Crusts are another great recipe that can made, rolled out into pie shells, and frozen until ready to bake (or of course, you can use store bought if you wish). 
*Mashed Potatoes can also be frozen ahead of time. Make them as usual, let them cool, and then freeze in a large tupperware or Ziploc bag. Before serving, thaw the potatoes in the fridge the night before. When you are ready to reheat the potatoes, place them in a crock pot to heat slowly. Add some more heavy whipping cream and butter to help soften the potatoes and whip them with an electric mixer once they are warmed through.
*Homemade rolls are so fun to make ahead and have in your freezer (I use this method all year) Make the dough recipe as normal, put the rolls on a greased cookie sheet and then wrap with saran wrap. Put the rolls in the freezer as soon as you have them rolled out (you don't want them to begin to rise). The morning of Thanksgiving, pull the frozen rolls out of the freezer and place in a warm spot of your home. Let the rolls rise on the counter on a pan (about 2-3 hours) and when they have doubled in size, bake them as usual until they are golden brown. If you want to have these rolls on hand for other recipes, just put the frozen balls of dough into a Ziploc bag and keep in the freezer until ready to use. These work great for monkey bread, calzone dough, etc.

Pumpkin Shaped Rolls


Break up bread (wheat and white), toast in oven.
Make 4 boxes of Jiffy cornbread, crumble over the toasted bread.
Sprinkle generous amount of poultry seasoning over bread mixture.
Cook 1 cup chopped celery and one cup chopped onion in 1/2 cup butter until tender.
Add to bread mixture
2 cups turkey broth, toss into bread mixture and then use mixture to stuff your turkey (put it in lightly so air can circulate while it is cooking.  Put the rest in a baking dish, cover with tin foil, and bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.

(Taken from designmom)

By Lindsey Johnson.

Secrets to a perfect turkey:
The first step is to thaw your turkey. If you have a fresh turkey, you can skip this step. Make sure to thaw your turkey at the proper temperature to avoid bacteria growth. Thawing can be done in the refrigerator or in cold water, which takes about 3/4 the time. Be sure to thaw the turkey over a rimmed baking dish so the juices don’t run all over and contaminate other foods and surfaces.
Secret #1: If you’ve never cooked a turkey before, you may be shocked to find out how long it takes to thaw a turkey. Use this handy reference and plan ahead!
Once the turkey has been thawed, remove the giblets — if you like, you can save them to make homemade turkey stock. (In fact, I recommend thawing the turkey a day or two before you roast it and make the stock so it’s ready to go for gravy.) Rinse the turkey inside and out in cool water and pat dry with paper towels.
When I buy a fresh, natural turkey, like the one pictured, I like to brine it to help make it as juicy as possible. If your turkey has been pre-salted (check the label), go ahead and skip this part.
Think of brining like marinating. It helps season and draw moisture into the meat to keep it flavorful and juicy. A good rule of thumb is to use 1 cup of table salt (2 cups kosher salt) and 1/2 cup sugar (white or brown) for every gallon of water. Brining recipes vary greatly on how long the turkey should brine. I allow plenty of time, at least 8-12 hours.
Secret #2: Brining means you can skip the basting later on.
Dissolve the salt and sugar in the water and add any seasonings you want to use. I like to use a combination of herbs and spices — rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, whole cloves and allspice, plus I put in some leek tops and halved garlic cloves for extra flavor.
Place the turkey and the brining solution into a sterilized plastic or non-reactive metal container. You can also use brining bags and place it in a plastic tub in case it leaks. You want to keep the turkey at 40 degrees F, so you’ll either want to refrigerate the turkey in the brine, or leave it someplace cool and add ice or gel ice packs. If it’s cold enough outside, you can even put the turkey in a safe place and let it brine there.
I had a tough time finding a container that was tall enough, so I ended up using a much larger plastic tub than I wanted.  If you have the same problem, just be sure to follow the ratio of salt and sugar to water and you’ll be fine.
Secret #3: To keep the turkey totally submerged, top it with a heavy metal lid or plate.
Once the turkey has brined long enough, remove it from the brine and rinse it well with cold water. Discard the brine.
Let the turkey continue to air dry (you can do this overnight in the fridge too) and allow it to come to room temperature for a few hours before you roast it.
Preheat the oven to the temperature in your recipe. I prefer to start out with very high heat, such as 450 degrees for a half hour, then lower the heat to 350 degrees for the remaining time.
If your turkey comes with a plastic pop-up timer/thermometer, you should leave it where it is, but ignore it!  If you gauge done-ness by the pop-up timer, the white meat will be bone-dry and overcooked. Instead, use an instant-read thermometer. If you have a fancy digital one, even better. Just insert it into the thickest part of the breast and set the temperature for between 161-165 degrees F.
A roasting pan is one of the most important tools for the perfect turkey. You can certainly get away with using a disposable aluminum pan if you are on a tight budget or don’t have storage space to accommodate a large pan. However, I recommend using either the roasting/broiling pan that comes standard with most ovens, or investing in a good-quality roasting pan that comes with a flat or V-rack. If you don’t have a rack, you can make your own using aluminum foil.
Here’s why that is important: You want the turkey to be elevated a bit to allow for air circulation, which leads to more even cooking, and also because as the juices drip down, they will get nice and brown on the bottom of the pan. (That’s one of the keys to really great gravy.)
I also like to dice carrots, onions, and celery to put on the bottom of the pan for extra flavor, but that is totally optional.
t       e turkey. I prefer to bake it separately in another dish. A turkey with stuffing takes longer to cook and can be a huge pain.
While I prefer not to stuff the turkey, I do like to place some aromatics inside the cavity — carrots, onions, garlic, celery, and fresh herbs are great.  I’ve also used apples and lemons before as well.
Before placing the turkey on the roasting rack, rub the skin liberally with butter or canola oil. And if you didn’t brine it, sprinkle the whole bird inside and out with salt and pepper, or a spice rub. The butter will help give you crispy, golden brown skin.
I also like to truss the legs together if the turkey doesn’t come with it already done for me. But don’t stress! Most turkeys come with a plastic or wire trussing. So you can just leave it be.
If your turkey has a big flap of neck skin, you can secure it using toothpicks or just tuck it in.
Secret #5: If you are using a v-rack, be sure to tuck the wings back underneath the turkey so they don’t flap around.
You might notice that the turkey is breast-side down in the roasting pan. That’s on purpose! I like to start roasting that way and rotate the turkey periodically so the breast doesn’t get overcooked.
Secret #6: Finishing with the breast side up will also give you that crispy, brown skin everyone loves to fight over.
If you have a turkey larger than 14-15 lbs., then it will be too difficult to turn it over. Just roast it breast-side up for the whole time, covering just the turkey breast (legs uncovered) with aluminum foil. (I’ll give more detail on the foil later.)
Then it’s time to place it in the oven!
A lot of people baste their turkeys continually throughout the roasting process. If you rub butter over the skin, that will be a good start and you can baste it a few times if you want to. If I brine my turkey, I don’t usually baste it. Otherwise, I baste mine when I turn it over.
Secret #7: Don’t baste the turkey during the last hour or the skin could turn out flabby instead of golden and crispy.
It’s a good idea to pull the pan completely out of the oven to turn the turkey over.  That way the precious heat you’ve built up won’t escape and it will be much easier to maneuver while you turn it over. I use either clean oven mitts or wads of paper towels to protect my hands when I turn the turkey over. If you want, you can also partially turn the turkey over, allowing each leg to brown nicely (about 15 minutes per leg) before finishing with the breast-side up.
Before sliding the turkey back into the oven, I make a foil diamond or triangle and fit it down against the turkey breast, leaving the legs uncovered because they can tolerate more heat.
A lot of people rely on the leg wiggling easily to tell them when the turkey is finished cooking.  I still like to rely on my thermometer. I like to take a reading in both the breast and thigh. The breast should be at 160-165 degrees F. and the thigh should be at least 170-175 degrees F, some say little as 165 degrees, but I let it get a little higher just to be safe.
If it’s not up to the proper temperature, put it back in the oven for 15-30 minutes more and take another reading.
See? Nice and brown. Just like you want.
When the turkey is finished cooking, you need to let it rest for 30 minutes before slicing it. This can be done on a cutting board with a well around it to catch any escaping juices, or on a serving platter.
This resting step is super important. During the cooking process, a lot of liquid is released. Not all of that will drip down into the roasting pan. A lot of it is sitting just under the skin. Letting the turkey rest for a bit will allow those juices to be reabsorbed and you guessed it, the turkey will be juicier.
While the turkey rests, be sure to tent it with foil or a large metal bowl to retain the heat.
And you’re done!
Uncover the turkey, place it on the platter (and garnish if you like!), and take it to the table to show off. Then give yourself a pat on the back, sit back and enjoy the compliments you’ll get on the juiciest turkey ever.

Fruits and nuts:
pomegranates, cranberries, quince, pears, persimmons, grapes, berries, currants, crab apples, citrus, figs, whole unshelled nuts (almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts), chestnuts (fresh or canned)
squash, root veggies (potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips. celery root), fennel, onions, garlic
Fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, parsley, etc.), lemon leaves
It kind of goes without saying, but make sure you’ve washed the produce well before you use it on the platter.

Thanksgiving salad:

2 cups basil leaves, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 Tbsp. White Balsamic Vinegar, 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, 1 tsp. Parmesan chees, 1 tsp. chopped walnuts, 2 cloves garlic, minced, salt and pepper. Make ahead and refrigerate

Spinach/argula bed, avocado,  corn, couscous, dried cranberries, roasted sunflower seeds, red, orange, and yellow bell pepper chopped, Layer all other ingredients (besides bed of greens) across the top in vertical lines. Just before you are ready to serve, drizzle dressing over the top and toss.

Ooooooohhhhhhhh, THE PIES!!!

Pecan Pie

Pie Crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
t/4 cup vegetable shortening or lard
3/4 cup salted butter, cut into pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup corn syrup (light or dark)
1/3 cup melted salted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 whole eggs beaten
1 cup (heaping) chopped pecans

Watch how to make this recipe.
First, whip up the pie crust: Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the vegetable shortening and salted butter. Work the butter into the flour using a dough cutter until the mixture resembles tiny pebbles.
Add the egg, 5 tablespoons cold water and the white vinegar. Stir until just combined. Divide the dough in half and chill until needed. (You will only need one half for this recipe, reserve the other half for another use.)
Next make the filling: Mix the granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, vanilla and eggs together in a bowl.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out one dough half on a lightly floured surface to fit your pie pan. Pour the pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell. Pour the syrup mixture over the top. Cover the top and crust lightly/gently with foil.
Bake the pie for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans. The pie should not be overly jiggly when you remove it from the oven (though it will jiggle a bit). If it shakes a lot, cover with foil and bake for an additional 20 minute or until set. Required baking time seems to vary widely with this recipe. Sometimes it takes 50 minutes, sometimes it takes 75!
Allow to cool for several hours or overnight. Serve in thin slivers.

2012 Ree Drummond, All Rights Reserved

Fleeta Stapleton Moritzky Choate's Pecan Pie recipe 
She got it from her niece (Maple's daughter) Ruby Irene 

Lump butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup Kero Syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup pecans

Put in a pie shell and bake 40 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

One part strawberries, two parts rhubarb measured directly into the pan 1/2 inch below the rim (so it doesn't boil over)

2 cups sliced strawberries (can also use blueberries or raspberries instead)
5 cups sliced rhubarb (cut into 1/2 to 1 inch sized pieces)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of nutmeg
1/3 tsp. salt
2 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
1/4 cup flour
1 recipe of double crust pie dough
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon sugar for sprinkling on top

Egg wash
1 egg white plus 1 tablespoon water for beaten for brushing on top

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2.  Fill a 9 inch deep pie dish with one part strawberries, 2 parts rhubarb so that it comes to 1/2 inch below rim
3.  Pour the fruit into a medium bowl.  Wash, rinse and wipe dry the bowl you used to measure fruit. Set in the fridge to chill.
4.  Add sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg, salt, tapioca, and flour to the fruit, coat well.
5.  Roll out the bottom dough and place in the pie pan.
6.  Spoon in the fruit filling and dot with butter.
7.  Roll out the remaining dough and cut strips for a lattice top. Trim excess dough and crimp.
8.  lightly brush with egg wash over entire top including edges.
9.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and continue baking another 25 minutes.  Open oven and sprinkle pie with sugar.  Close the oven and continue baking another 10 to 15 minutes.
10.  Remove the pie from oven and completely cool before serving. The longer the pie cools the better it will set up and the less runny it will be.

Grasshopper Pie

24 regular marshmallows
2/3 cup half and half
2 tablespoons each, creme de cacao and creme de menthe
1/2 pint plus 4 tablespoons whipping cream, divided
1 recipe chocolate cookie crumb crust, chilled
Chocolate cookie crumbs for garnish
2 mint sprigs for garnish

1.  Melt the marshmallows in the half and half in a double broiler.  Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool.
2.  fold in the creme de cacae and the creme de menthe.
3.  Whip the 1/2 pint cream and mix into the filling mixture.
4.  Pour the filling into the crust.
5.  Place the pie in the fridge and let it set at least one hour.
6. Just before serving whip the 4 tablespoons whipped cream and spread it on the pie
7. Sprinckle with cookie crumbs and add a mint sprig for garnish.

Pumpkin Pie

See recipe on back of canned pumpkin

Homemade Chocolate Pudding Pie

frozen deep dish pie crust
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • whipped cream and chocolate shavings, for garnish
  1. Prepare the frozen pie crust according to package instructions. You're simply baking it to prepare it for the filling. Allow to cool completely.
  2. In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch and cocoa. Whisk in milk and stir continuously over medium heat until mixture thickens and is bubbling.
  3. Let mixture cool for 3-5 minutes and then pour into prepared pie crust. Allow to cool at room temperature for one hour and then transfer to refrigerator to cool completely.
  4. Prior to serving, top pie with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate shavings.
Do NOT try to make this recipe with lowfat or skim milk as you'll end up with pudding soup instead of a pie filling. Still delicious, but definitely not what you're looking for! Also, be sure that you let the pudding mixture come to a complete boil before removing it from the heat so that it will thicken completely.

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