Happy Thanksgiving!

brining turkeyHappy Thanksgiving all!

I am so thankful for my amazing family and friends and all the wonderful things that life has brought us. This year we’re keeping it low key at home since we have another amazing celebration to look forward to this weekend–my brother-in-law is getting married!

I hope you’re Thanksgiving is filled with wonderful family, friends, and food! Here’s what we’ve got on our “plate” for tomorrow: [Read more...]

Thanksgiving Vegetable Love

Thanksgiving vegetable sides

We’re doing Thanksgiving a little different this year. Typically we go to my husband’s family’s house for the day for a big family meal. It’s loud, it’s chaotic, there’s drama, there are relatives there that we haven’t seen since the last year’s Thanksgiving.

Usually I bring something to the table, usually it’s a vegetable dish. Here I am obsessing about what to bring in previous years.  [Read more...]

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for:

A wonderful husband and amazing kids
Friends to share great times
The opportunity to spend time with my family, have a career, and cook and blog

Enjoy your time with friends and family! If you’re looking for last minute turkey day recipes, there are some here.


Weekly Menu: Meals to Prep for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is on Thursday. I bring this up because, if you’re like me, you may not be aware. It snuck up on me. I thought I had an extra week in there somewhere. Recalibrating…

Ok, this week’s menu is all planned around the fact that you are going to eat a big meal on Thursday. If you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner and don’t have all of your recipes picked out, or if you’re bringing a side dish and need some inspiration, I’m including a Thanksgiving dinner menu. Either way, the last thing you’re going to want is overwraught, heavy meals all week.

So, on the menu: a slow cooker vegetarian meal with a side of cornbread, leftovers to be used for Thanksgiving stuffing. A make-ahead salad, where you could potentially make other Thanksgiving sides at the same time–mashed potatoes or green bean casserole. And of course, the main event, the bird.

Menu #1

If you’re making cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving dinner, be sure to make plenty of cornbread to go along with this soup. You’ll want to give it a couple of days to get good and stale before making your stuffing.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
Cornbread (make from recipe on box)
Garden Salad

Menu #2

You can get a jump on your Thanksgiving cooking by cooking a bunch of potatoes and pre-make your mashed potatoes. Then on Thanksgiving warm over a double boiler, or bake in a casserole for a new twist on mashed potatoes. You can also steam extra green beans here for the classic green bean casserole

Salad Nicoise

Menu #3Thanksgiving dinner

Brined Roasted Turkey
Cornbread Stuffing with Cranberries and Pecans
Mashed Potatoes
Collard Greens
Steamed Green Beans

Shopping List

10-12 pound turkey
1 ham hock or ham bone
potatoes–3 pounds
collard greens–2 pounds
green bell pepper
Boston lettuce
green beans
solid white tuna in water
1 lb dried black beans
14oz can diced tomatoes
chicken or vegetable stock–2 quarts
Goya Sazon seasoning
kosher salt
whole peppercorns
bay leaves
dried thyme or fresh thyme
chopped pecans
dried cranberries
cornmeal or cornbread mix
brown sugar
assorted olives
dijon mustard
cider vinegar
white wine vinegar
olive oil
whole milk

Thanksgiving Therapy…er, Potluck

We go to a Thanksgiving potluck with family every year. Actually, not sure it was intended to be potluck but you can’t stop people from bringing stuff. As the newest member of my husband’s family–I just earned my 10 year pin–I’ve had trouble finding my annual dish. Appetizers, pies, mashed potatoes, green bean casseroles were claimed when I was still playing with Barbies.Thanksgiving dinner

And the Thanksgiving dish is important. I only see most of these people once a year. This dish defines me for the next 364 days. I need to make an entrance with my perfect 2 children, effortlessly set a dish on the table that needs no attention, play the part of the perfect guest complimenting the house, the food, the weather, and then blow people’s mind when they finally dig in to my casserole of awesomeness. All the while saying, it was nothing, oh it’s so easy I’m so embarrassed to have even brought it.


One year I made Martha Stewart’s cornbread dressing. Dry as cardboard. It was also one of four dressings. The only one that had leftovers. Ouch.

Another year I begged for a shot at the mashed potatoes. They’re so boring, I wanted to put my own twist on it so it would be truly memorable. I peeled and roasted 40 cloves of garlic and mashed them in with 3 pounds of potatoes. It was memorable alright. The potatoes were returned to their rightful owner after that.

Then I offered wine. Then I priced buying wine for 20 people. Did not bring wine again.

Finally I settled on vegetables–a perfect fit for me. Not sexy. But pretty good for you and never out of place at a table full of food.

I don’t always bring the same veggie, and that’s ok. In fact, that’s perfect. As it turns out I don’t actually like to be defined by one dish. So after 10 years, I’ve got a whole category of dishes to play with. Roasted butternut squash, swiss chard gratin, collard greens, they all go great with a big Thanksgiving dinner and let the turkey be the star. You may have forgotten during my quest, but this is about Thanksgiving. I kind of did.

So, this year is collard greens.

And here’s a menu of the basics if you’re the one hosting. Hopefully you can assign some of this to the guests and hope they don’t emotionally attach themselves to their side dish.

Thanksgiving Basics Menu:

Foolproof Brined & Roasted Turkey
Cornbread Stuffing with Pecans and Cranberries
Mashed Potatoes (garlic optional)
Collard Greens (aka, crock pot of awesomeness)