It’s no secret that Thanksgiving is — hands down — my favorite holiday.
This year, I’ve been on a pretty intense “Save Thanksgiving” kick. Why are stores already playing Christmas music? Why do people already have Christmas lights on? Not just put up so that they’re ahead of the game for Thanksgiving weekend, but actually ON.
Don’t get me wrong; Christmas holds a special place in my heart, too. But, I love that Thanksgiving brings my family together without all the pressure that accompanies buying the ‘perfect’ gift. I cherish our tradition of running the Turkey Trot together. And, of course, there’s the cooking. The juicy turkey, the rich flavorful stuffing, all the sides, and the yummy desserts. What’s not to love?!? It’s like a carb-addict’s dream!
I have two all-time favorite dishes that I make every single year :: Turkey and Stuffing. You know I love you, but I’m just not ready to share my super-secret stuffing recipe. As a HUGE consolation prize, my tried and true turkey recipe is all yours! Check it out on the blog over here. It’s a barely tweaked version of Giada’s Roast Turkey with Herbs and Citrus.
I can’t stress enough how much you should not intimidated by roasting a turkey. It takes a little patience and good meat thermometer, but that’s really it. Still not convinced? There’s a video clip of Giada making this Roast Turkey (along with tons of other how-to’s) on the Food Network’s website.
As for the rest of Thanksgiving dinner, I like to experiment. My mom makes the best mashed potatoes ever, so I’m off the hook there. Frozen dinner rolls are not optional in our house. (Trust me; I tried to leave them out one year in an effort to cut calories, and someone ended up at the store on Thanksgiving day.) That leaves me a clean slate to play around with green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauces, roast vegetables, you name it.
So, my other gift to you this Thanksgiving is a compilation of great recipes from some of my favorite food bloggers that have me inspired to play in the kitchen . . .
Looking to make Thanksgiving healthier this year? Check out this menu created by Cheryl Forberg, the Biggest Loser Nutritionist. Her Sweet Pumpkin Polenta will definitely end up on our table.
Looking for the richest onion dish ever? Try Creamed Onions with Bacon and Chives by Smitten Kitchen (who adapted it from Thomas Keller).
The mashed potatoes I would try? Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes by Steamy Kitchen.
Want to find a really weird way to use up your leftover pumpkin? Check out these Spicy Pumpkin Enchiladas over at Eclectic Recipes.
Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy every stinkin’ minute of it surrounded by people you love. Don’t stress out about having the perfect table setting, the perfect pie crust, or even the perfect turkey. I guarantee you that all your family really wants is to spend time hanging out. The memories of you laughing, playing games, and telling old stories will last much longer than the turkey anyway.