I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.
I know how meals go down at my place but I often wonder what is really being served around those tables elsewhere. Nothing like a large holiday to find out some yummy family recipes and build neat traditions of your own.
This year, we have no one extra attending so honestly, it is all about easy and fun.
Our Thanksgiving is always Pajamas Only.
Everyone MUST wear their most outrageous pajamas, slippers, G rated sleep attire. Good attitudes and a major appetites required.
BYOT- Bring Your Own Tupperware… but only if you want leftovers.
Hanukkah and Thanksgiving fall on the same day this year so instead of going haywire cooking two traditional meals at the same time, we decided to split of the holiday cooking. We’ll have the traditional Hanukkah BIG dinner a few days later when some friends will be able to join us.
I am all about the zero stress holidays.
They are supposed to be enjoyable and something to look forward to.
No matter how few or how many will be attending any meal, you want it to be a great experience but you don’t need to knock yourself out.
The key to cooking a big meal is timing and being prepared.
Prepared both with recipes, you have read through and clearly understand the steps and prepared with the correct supplies.
I make a physical list of what time I need to prepare which dishes and try to do as much of the chopping, slicing and measuring prior to the day. I am all about no stress, my friends. I have a game plan in mind so I can cruise through the day and feel like I attended, not just served the holiday.
This is what is going down in turkey town this fabulous Thursday!
Shred the cheese days before and save it in a air tight bag to make this dish toss together in less than two minutes and into the oven.
The leftovers from this dish become the most awesome main ingredient when we make shredded turkey burritos days later.
There will so be a fresh veggie tray as well.
I make this the day before, put it in a container with a lid and stash it in the fridge.
Since turkey making means soups later, I’m starting off the meal with a small fresh strawberry spinach salad.
Nothing super fancy but easy and a crowd pleaser.
My turkey of choice is 17 pounds… should you be wondering.
Gets no easier or tastier.
I’m so about the little stress, I sometimes toss them in the mixer just so I don’t have to mash.
This year, the mixer will already be spoken for.
You can even peel the potatoes the night before and put them in a pot of water overnight in the fridge, if you feel like you need to do away with the peeling step on the actual day.
Challah bread bumped ye ‘ol crescent rolls off the table this year due to the mash up of the two awesome holidays.
Challah keeps well so I make my braids a couple days in advance.
Why do you think I do this?
Yup, keepin’ the stress low.
I hope to squirrel away a couple of loaves from our nutty thanksgiving table for a great breakfast.
Yes, I will be ceremoniously opening the can of jellied cranberry.
Don’t blame the cook on this one.
The Handsome Prince demands little but Ocean Spray brand canned jellied cranberry sauce next to his turkey, is one he is adamant about.
Three cheers to lazy! Whoot Whoot!
You can make this in advance or at the last minute.
I haven’t decided if I’ll make this the day before and serve it chilled or just before the meal, piping hot.
Both are wonderful but I also love this recipe because it makes the house smell like it was magically sprinkled with holiday happy dust. I’m torn as to having my holiday magic scents fighting the rad turkey wafting from the oven or enjoy it alone. Cooking is just as much about creating an inviting ambiance as it is eating it.
I know, I’m funny when it comes to food. I can’t help but enjoy the tangle of flavors and scents.
There shall be a strawberry Jello mold because there is nothing more funny than Jell-o molds. Seriously try to keep a straight face while dishing up or watching someone else eat the wiggly food. Someone always wears it and it ends up rather awesome. This sucker is already done. Go me! Stress free!
I am serving latkes BUT I’ll be making a small batch and saving the mass making of those greasy little gems for the Hanukkah bash.
Green beans, candied yams, corn and steamed broccoli I make the day of because they are not time consuming in the slightest. As long as you have the ingredients, you are good to go. I do chop the onions in advance.
The stuffing? Yup, from a box.
I know, I know but I’ve learned not to bother knocking myself out making a stuffing from scratch when my people prefer the boxed junk. Sorry to burst your bubble, this is about the stress free and hello, happy people + less work= Sold to the lady who’s keepin’ it real. I do use the drippings from the turkey instead of water to make the stuffing for full fat and flavor since, you know, we’re not already consuming a lifetimes worth of starch in one meal.
Judge not, yet that meal and all following, go directly to your rear.
Now that’s some scary Thanksgiving curse action going on there.
The gravy, I make from scratch but in exactly the same old way everyone else on the planet does, with the drippings from the turkey. If you never have made a successful gravy, I suggest watching someone make it on Youtube so you are visually accustomed with the quick and easy process.
I made a vanilla bean ice cream last week and an eggnog ice cream yesterday.
I am trying hard to keep this fact hidden in the depths of my freezer so there is some left by Thursday.
The desserts will all be made by noon on Wednesday.
Luc looks forwards to the whipped cream and pumpkin pie the most, I think.
So, it is a big gluttonous, glorious meal but did you catch the theme here?
Being prepared, having a game plan, a bit of laughter and a lot of love make for a stress free feast around our nutty thanksgiving table.
By the actual day, over half of the work has been done.
Then we have leftovers the next day and I start transforming leftovers into super easy meals the next few days after that.
Honestly, we’ll be eating on toss away plates with a turkey on them, while the napkins are a festive blue proclaiming a Happy Hanukkah.
We’ll be wearing footie pajamas and turkey hats… because we can.
There will be napping.
We’ll watch 8 Crazy Nights and possibly marathon the Monsters Inc. or Harry Potter.
It makes for some of the best times we have as a family and I’m a part of the memories, not a slave to my stove.
That’s what I’ll be up to.
May your homes be filled with love and light this season of thankful miracles.