Thanksgiving is one of those all American celebration days which means dinners, football and family time for most American families. Families are most likely to gather around and enjoy a turkey with some other traditional menus commonly served at dinner on this day. There are several advantages of cooking your own dinner for holidays. It only takes some of your free time and your holiday spirit to cook a perfect dinner for your family that not only gets your family together, but also helps you bond and become healthy. Cooking your dinner yourself is also economical and environmentally friendly when you don’t get out and burn fuel.
Historically, the tradition of the Thanksgiving celebration goes back to the 1621 harvest meal when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony gathered around in a feast with turkey. Today most Americans still celebrate this day with a baked turkey, and with several other sides. We are posting some of the traditional recipes in this article so that you can have an attractive Thanksgiving dinner with your family and guests.
1. Turkey with stuffing
Most Thanksgiving dinners are centered around a baked turkey. Cooking a turkey would take you around three hours using a conventional electric or gas oven.
- 10-12 pound turkey with giblets
- a quart of chicken broth
- 2 ounces of dried mushrooms
- Chopped onion – 1 cup
- Chopped celery – 1 cup
- Chopped green pepper
- Vegetable oil – 1 table spoon and as required for rubbing on turkey
- Kosher salt as required
- 3 cups bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (from approximately 4 to 5 slices)
- 4 ounces unsweetened dried cherries, approximately 1 cup
- 2 ounces chopped pecans, approximately 1/2 cup
- 2 whole eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning chicken
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Get a whole turkey and place it in a deep high sided bowl with the stuffing side or the body cavity pointing up. Set it aside for later. Then work on your stuffing.
- Rub oil into the bird when stuffing is being prepared. Then, fill the cavity of the turkey with stuffing and place the turkey into a roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Place the roasting pan on the middle rack of the oven. Roast for 45 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and cook for another 60 to 75 minutes, depending on size, or until the bird reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees F. Serve immediately.
- Heat the chicken broth.
- Place mushrooms in a glass bowl and pour chicken broth over them. Cover and allow them to sit for 35 minutes.
- Toss onions, green pepper and celery in a large mixing bowl; add salt and oil to them. Place vegetables in a sheet pan and roast for 25 minutes. Then place bread slices over them and return the bowl into the oven and cook for 10 more minutes.
- Drain mushrooms, reserve a cup of liquid, then chop them and place them in a microwave safe container or bowl, with the vegetables and bread, reserved chicken stock, cherries, pecans, eggs, sage, parsley and black pepper. Stir well in order to break up pieces of bread. Heat the stuffing in a microwave on high power for 6 minutes.
(Recipe credit: Turkey with Stuffing Recipe : Alton Brown : Food Network)
2. Classic sweet potatoes
This mouthwatering dish will surely complement your turkey dinner and make a great side dish that everyone will love.
- 4 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups cornflakes cereal, crushed
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
- Preheat oven to 400°. Bake sweet potatoes at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Let stand until cool to touch (about 20 minutes); peel and mash sweet potatoes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°.
- Beat and mix mashed sweet potatoes, granulated sugar, butter 1/4 cup milk, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon salt at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spoon potato mixture into a greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish.
- Combine 1 1/4 cups crushed cornflakes, 1/4 cup chopped pecans, 1 tablespoon brown sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle over casserole in diagonal rows 2 inches apart.
- Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle marshmallows in alternate rows between cornflake mixture; bake 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Classic pumpkin pie dessert
No dinner is complete without the classic American pumpkin pie. You can easily make your pie in your conventional oven in approximately 45 minutes with simple ingredients.
- 6 ounces gingersnap cookies
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 ounce unsalted butter, melted
- 16 ounces Pumpkin Puree
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
Brulee for mini-pies:
- 5 teaspoons light brown sugar, divided
- 1 (4 to 6-pound) baking pumpkin, rinsed and dried
- Kosher salt
Turn on your oven to 350 degrees and pre-heat.
For the crust: Combine the gingersnaps, brown sugar, and ginger in the bowl of a food processor. Spin it until the cookies turns into fine crumbs. Drizzle the butter into the crumb mixture.
Press the gingersnap mixture into the bottom, up the sides, and just over the lip of a 9-inch glass pie dish. Place on a half sheet pan and bake the crust for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool crust at least 10 minutes before filling.
Bring the pumpkin puree to a simmer over medium heat in a 2-quart saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the half-and-half, nutmeg, and salt. Stir and return the mixture to a simmer. Remove the pumpkin mixture from the heat and cool for 10 minutes.
Whisk the brown sugar, eggs, and yolk until smooth in a large bowl. Add the pumpkin mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour the prepared filling into the warm pie crust and bake on the same half sheet pan until the center jiggles slightly but the sides of the filling are set, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack for at least 2 to 3 hours before slicing. Pie can be made and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance. Pie is best the day after it is made.
Evenly divide the crust mixture between 5 (5-inch) pie tins and bake on a half sheet pan for 5 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before evenly dividing the filling between the pans. Bake until the center juggles slightly but the sides of the filling are set, 25 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack for 2 hours. Spread 1 teaspoon of light brown sugar on the top of each pie. Melt the sugar using a torch to form a crispy top. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice a small piece of skin off the one side of the pumpkin so when laid on its side, the pumpkin will lay flat without rolling. Remove the stem and split the pumpkin in half from top to bottom, using a large cleaver and a mallet. Scoop out the seeds and fiber with a large metal spoon or ice cream scoop. Cut the fibers with kitchen shears if necessary. Reserve seeds for another use.
Sprinkle the flesh with kosher salt and lay the halves, flesh side down, on a parchment paper-lined half sheet pan. Roast until a paring knife can be easily inserted and removed from the pumpkin, 30 to 45 minutes. Test in several places to ensure doneness.
Remove the half sheet pan to a cooling rack and cool the pumpkin for 1 hour. Using a large spoon, remove the roasted flesh of the pumpkin from the skin to the bowl of a food processor. Process until the flesh is smooth, 3 to 4 minutes.
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2010 (Food Network)
Hope your Thanks giving day will be full of joy with your friends and family. This gives you an excellent opportunity to express your gratitude towards the people who matter the most in your life. Make an effort to get together and involve your neighbors as well, in your thanksgiving dinner.
Have a recipe idea? Please post it here and share it with us. We appreciate your company and your thoughts on this article. Have a great thanksgiving!
Source: Nourish the Planet