Thanksgiving Day 2011

Let the feasting begin – morning started out at 9am at the kids apartment –

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I made a breakfast casserole in the CrockPot the night before – layers of frozen shredded hash browns, cooked pork sausage, sundried tomatoes, chopped green chilis, shredded cheeses (Mexican blend and mozzarella) – cooked on low for 7-8 hours. It turned out ok but drier than we liked – I think I’ll stick with the old-fashioned breakfast casserole that sits in the fridge over night and then bakes in the morning. Had breakfast as we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and then “watched” the National Dog Show as we started cooking.

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After getting the stuffing made, turkey in the roaster (we have an electric stand alone roaster for the turkey, which is great because it leaves the oven open for the rest of the fixings), the smashed potatoes, yams, and green bean casserole put together – it was time for a break, a movie (Watched “Newsies” – looking forward to the next Broadway production) and nibbles: cheeses and crackers, chips and dips.. nothing too complicated but took the edge off.

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Side dishes included: Smashed potatoes – mashed red potatoes with sour cream, butter, green onions, and shredded cheddar cheese – topped with some cheddar cheese. This sat in the fridge most of the day and then baked in a 350-degree oven with the rest of the sides for approximately one hour while we finished up the vegies and gravy

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The ubiquitous Green Bean Casserole – much like many American families.. it Has to be on the Thanksgiving table but I’m not sure how many people actually eat it! My daughter is a fan so that’s the main reason we make it. Two cans of green beans, one can of Cream of mushroom soup, 2/3 c milk, and canned fried onions, both mixed in and on top.

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My sister-in-law’s famous Mormon Bourbon Yam Casserole – She got this recipe from her Mormon cousins years and years ago and, of course, there is great humor in the fact that it has Bourbon (or in this case Whiskey) in it. I’ve made this for Thanksgiving ever since … so more than 30 years! One can of yams heated slightly and mashed with brown sugar, Whiskey or Bourbon, Allspice, and Cinnamon. Baked for about 50 minutes and then miniature marshmallows melted and brown on top for the last 10 minutes or so.

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Stuffing / Dressing – we settled the argument based on Where it is cooked. It is the same mixture but if it is IN the bird then it is stuffing and if it is the extra cooked in a casserole dish: Dressing. We make a TON – it is my favorite part of the meal next to the turkey! Two and a half loaves of fresh bread, toasted and cut into cubes, a small packet of giblets cooked until tender and chopped as finely as possibly in the food processor and the cooking liquid from the giblets is used to moisten the stuffing, chopped onions and celery, dry poultry seasoning and freshly ground pepper.

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Dressing and Stuffing

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Nothing complicated for the turkey – a fresh turkey, stuffed and rubbed with a butter and basted a few times during the cooking process – 5-6 hours at 350-degrees until it reached 180-degrees internal temperature. Turned out perfect… not dry at all!

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Sauteed asparagus – covered in water, brought to a boil, removed from heat and drain and then sauteed with olive oil, Herbs de Province, and freshly ground pepper until they just start to brown

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Brussel sprouts: Parboiled and sauteed in a little (less than 1Tbsp) bacon grease with chopped bacon and pecans

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Lots of lovely merlot and my Heart’s delicious gravy to go with everything. Looking at these pictures makes me smile since there were just FIVE of us to feed. Ridiculous! But pretty damned yummy!!!

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Dessert: Shannon (my son’s girlfriend) made a wonderful Pecan pie (from scratch, including the crust) and my Heart made Mincemeat pie – this time with Puff pastry crust.. it was even better than last year’s – the best yet. Both served up with vanilla custard and ice cream and lovely Boordy Port. The perfect ending to dinner and for watching the Ravens be
at the Forty-niners in the “Harbaugh Bowl”. (Coaches for the teams are brothers!) All in all – YUM!!!

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