Thanksgiving Files: Turkey, Sides and Desserts

I’m not cooking this year, so it gives me some time to put together a list of recipes links for Thanksgiving.

Starting with the turkey here are some of my favorites:

Spatchcock Turkey is the only way I make it anymore and you can find the recipe here.

For just about every other way to cook a turkey, click here.

I have quite a few non-traditional side dish recipes, including Wild Rice Stuffed Mushroom pictured above and recipe here.

You can find Roasted Butternut and Apple Soup,   Winter Squash Soup,   Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin,   Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/Pancetta and Grilled Onions,   African Sweet Potato Salad,   Cajun Sweet Potatoes, and   Sweet Potatoes and Apples all here.

For more traditional sides, No Boil Garlic Mashed Potatoes, recipe here.  JeffreyW does Oven Baked Stuffing step-by-step here. And of course, Cranberry-Apple Sauce, one of my favorites picture at top and recipe here.

Here are all the Thanksgiving recipes in one link, you can also search What’s 4 Dinner Solutions blog by ingredient to find a recipe.

I’m trying to decide between two desserts this year, since of course, I cannot arrive empty-handed. Here are the two I’m wavering between, Buttermilk Pumpkin Bundt Cake or Cranberry Upside-Down Cake, both recipes below:

Pumpkin Cake Slices

Very moist, very flavorful And if you’re creative, you can make it look like a pumpkin.

Pumpkin Buttermilk Bundt Cake

  • 2-1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 Tbsp buttermilk powder
  • 3 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 15 oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup water


  • 1 -1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk (more or less as needed)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

bowls, bundt pan

Butter and flour bundt pan generously. In bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy (about 3 minutes), add eggs, beat 1 minute. Add pumpkin and vanilla and beat on low until incorporated, scraping sides frequently. Alternate adding the flour mixture and water until all are incorporated with the pumpkin mixture and batter is smooth.

Spoon into the bundt pan and gently tap pan on the counter to remove any bubbles and even out the batter.

Bake at 350 degrees until a wooden skewer comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, then invert on a plate and remove from bundt pan. Let cool completely before frosting.

Icing:  Add vanilla to powdered sugar and then slowly add milk until mixture is smooth. Pour evenly over cooled cake. (I added yellow and red food coloring for some Hallow

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups cranberries, chopped*
  • ½ cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp orange zest (rind)
  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk


  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 tbsp orange juice (more as needed)
  • 2 tsp butter, softened

8×8 glass baking dish & mixing bowl

Preheat oven to 350°

Melt 3 tbsp of butter and pour into baking dish, spread to cover bottom and up the sides. Add ½ cup sugar, mix with butter on bottom of pan. Add cranberries & walnuts, spread over bottom of pan. Cream remaining butter & sugar, add vanilla, egg, orange zest, mix well. Add flour, baking powder & milk, mix until well blended, don’t over mix. Pour batter over cranberry mixture. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown and center bounces back at the touch. Invert on plate. Let cool.

Topping: Mix together butter, orange juice & powdered sugar, pour over cake and serve.

* if you don’t have a food processor, you can leave cranberries whole.

That’s pretty much all I have, LOL. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving recipe?

I absolutely despise the whole marshmallow sweet potato dish. Any dishes you would love to never see again on the holiday table?[

Open thread

105 replies
  1. 1
    Ohio Mom says:

    Even as a kid who loved marshmallows, I hated that sweet potato casserole. Something that is too cloyingly sweet for an eight year old is too sweet for anyone.

    I don’t like a Thanksgiving table without gravy, and of the three households we’ve gone to over the past five years, NONE have served gravy. I’m going to have to go back to hosting my own dinner.

  2. 2

    @Ohio Mom: No gravy? No gravy!! I. Can’t. Even.

  3. 3
    Mnemosyne says:

    I seriously am SO ANNOYED that I couldn’t go to the huge once a year NaNoWriMo event tonight. I had a lovely asthma attack that required a nebulizer treatment to knock back, so now I can’t go. Grrr. Stupid asthma. Stupid fires causing the asthma.

  4. 4
    MagdaInBlack says:

    My Mother-in-laws boiled til its grey brocolli in velveeta cheese sauce the texture of oatmeal.
    Blessedly, I no longer have to choke it down.

  5. 5
    raven says:

    We’re usually at the beach and just cook for ourselves and it looks like we are going to be doing that here as well.

  6. 6
    SFAW says:

    As I was toddling upstairs this evening, I saw that Mrs. SFAW brought home the latest issue of Cooking Light. Except it had the words “The Farewell Issue” on the cover. WTF????

    I guess having a fat pig as Oval Office occupant makes people want to be just like him.Maybe the economically-anxious white racist class felt the not-so-fat “ay-leets” were looking down their collective nose at the diner denizens. Be that as it may, really sorry to see it go.

    Oh, and as far as a “no gravy” Thanksgiving? They should be cast out

  7. 7
    Pogonip says:

    @Ohio Mom: NO GRAVY?!?!!!??


  8. 8
    dmsilev says:

    @TaMara (HFG): No gravy? Sacrilege!

    My mom keeps an old and falling-to-pieces copy of The Joy of Cooking pretty much just for the gravy recipe, and we use that for Thanksgiving.

  9. 9
    MobiusKlein says:

    Was just talking with dimensionally unambiguous spouse about turkeys and Spatchcock, as she brought it up.

    Sadly, my turkey may be too big – 16 lbs. Sigh. Unless that would work?

  10. 10
    Mnemosyne says:

    As far as dreaded holiday dishes go, one of the best side effects of moving away from home was never again having to endure my aunt’s lasagna. I didn’t realize until I was an adult that lasagna wasn’t supposed to be a gluey mass of burned cheese and overcooked pasta that was about 1 inch tall because it all melted together in the oven.

  11. 11
    Yarrow says:

    We never did the sweet potatoes marshmallow thing. It’s gross. My mom did a sweet potato orange thing for awhile. I like that combination. When I got assigned sweet potatoes one year I boiled then mashed them with butter, put in a casserole dish and topped with honey glazed pecans. Put that in the oven for a bit so the glaze from the pecans ran a bit and toasted the pecans slightly. It was a big hit and super easy to do.

  12. 12
    evap says:

    @Ohio Mom: Yikes! My favorite part of Thanksgiving is bread and gravy!!

  13. 13
    satby says:

    @MagdaInBlack: @Mnemosyne: I may not recover an appetite until this weekend just reading those.

  14. 14
    dmsilev says:

    OK, now that we’ve all expressed shock over the no-gravy notion, my family’s Thanksgiving menu:

    We generally start with a salad course. Mom likes making fancy salads, and I have no idea what she has planned for this year. I guess I’ll find out on Wednesday, since that will be when I get handed a pile of vegetables and given a set of chopping etc. instructions.
    Main course is roast bird, of course. Stuffing is my grandmother’s secret recipe, which consists, in its entirety, of a box of Pepperidge Farm stuffing. Some cooked in the bird, some out (we need more than will fit in the bird).
    Roasted root vegetables. Heirloom carrots, mixed potatoes, etc. Toss with some herbs and olive oil, roast. Usually one or two other veggies, maybe steamed green beans and something else.
    Cranberry sauce and gravy. Crusty rustic rolls from a local bakery (Clear Flour Bakery, for Boston-area folks).
    Dessert is traditionally apple pie and chocolate cake. Mom does the pie and I do the cake. I linked the other day to the cake recipe I’m using this year.

  15. 15
    MagdaInBlack says:

    Then I won’t share the pea and velveeta salad made with canned peas….

  16. 16
    CaseyL says:

    After many years of hosting a potluck T-Day at their house, the people I share the holiday with have said “Screw this: let’s all go to the buffet!” The buffet in question is at a local hotel, and looks well worth the undoubtedly high price tag.

    No muss, no fuss, no trying to decide what dish to take this year… and no kitchen to clean up when all you want to do is sink into a food coma!

  17. 17

    Okay. I’ll mention it in one more thread, although I think I have what I need. I have written the first chapter of my next book. I know I have fans here, and I’m trying to determine if I have something worth making a full book out of, or more. Any of my readers who wants to check and let me know, I’d appreciate it.

  18. 18
    Suzanne says:

    Any dishes you would love to never see again on the holiday table?

    I hate that green bean shit with the cream-of-whatever soup and those freaking disgusting pseudo-onion rings. It’s disgusting. Just eat some steamed green beans like a normal person.

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Ohio Mom says:

    I had Thanksgiving two years ago, and two of the doesn’t-serve-gravy families were there. They all said “gravy!” like it was some sort of big accomplishment. Um no, if we could manage it, it can’t be too hard. Then they made noises about there being too many vegetable sides.

    But whose extended family isn’t full of mysteries and the inexplicable?

  21. 21
    eclare says:

    @Ohio Mom: One of my aunts once served Thanksgiving with no dressing and gravy from a can!!!!!

  22. 22
    Olivia says:

    I hate the sweet potato crap too. I roasted them one year with salt and pepper and they were great. I hate green bean casserole also.
    My turkey with stuffing is my favorite and everyone who eats it loves it. The gravy it produces is heaven!
    First thing I do is throw that disgusting bag of offal that is inside the turkey into the trash.
    About half way through the cooking time I pour a couple (or more) cups of water into the bottom of the pan to mix with the turkey juices and stuffing that has fallen into the pan.
    After a half hour to an hour, I use a baster to remove all the resulting juice and put it in a saucepan. If I want more juice, I do it again. I use flour mixed with water in a shaker and add it to the juice and boil to make gravy.
    The turkey is never dry, the stuffing is wonderful and the gravy is perfect.

  23. 23
    InternetDragons says:

    Was asked to contribute my jalapeno cornbread stuffing and praline pumpkin pie to the dinner this year, so my cooking burden is light!

    What is this ‘no gravy’ heresy? I can’t even imagine Thanksgiving without gravy. What is WRONG with those people?

    @SFAW – Wow. I just checked on ‘Cooking Light’ and it seems they laid off 200 folks this week. I am really sorry to hear it – they had some pretty consistently good recipes, and with obesity not only an epidemic in this country, but an increasingly serious one, they were a good resource to show people that healthy eating can be delicious.

    Though I suspect a lot of print-based magazines are doomed, anyway. The way we consume media will never be based on newspapers or magazines again.

  24. 24
    Elmo says:

    My Dad’s ditty from his time in the Navy:

    On Monday we had bread and gravy,
    On Tuesday was gravy and bread.
    On Wednesday and Thursday was gravy and toast;
    On Friday I went to the Captain,
    And asked him for something instead;
    So Saturday morning, by way of a change,
    We had gravy, without any bread!

  25. 25
    Honus says:

    I love The conclusion of Art Buchwald’s famous Thanksgiving Day column: “And so, for one day each year, the Americans eat as well the French”

  26. 26
    Mnemosyne says:


    The worst part is, she’s half Italian! And yet her lasagna was always an inedible disaster, and we all had to take a piece and pretend to enjoy it. Ugh.

    None of my dad’s sisters cook, but several of them married men who are fabulous cooks, so my uncle W was cooking his turkey on the barbecue grill in the middle of December in Illinois long before it was fashionable.

  27. 27
    Olivia says:

    @MagdaInBlack: My mother in law used to make that pea thing and I loved it.

  28. 28

    @MobiusKlein: That would be the only way I would cook it, so it doesn’t dry out. You may have to stand on stepstool to break the breast-bone. You can score it underneath before breaking the breast-bone. Just remember to use sharp knife or poultry shears.

  29. 29
    Barbara says:

    I used to make a pumpkin bundt cake, except my recipe had orange and almond extract flavor plus orange juice plus amaretto glaze. My in laws wouldn’t eat it because of the liquor so I gave up making it, but it was wonderful, much better than an upside down cake.

  30. 30
    satby says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I liked it and think it’s bookworthy. Go for it!

  31. 31
    eclare says:

    @Suzanne: Try pineapple cheddar cheese casserole.

  32. 32
    MagdaInBlack says:

    My mother, because she got tired of pumpkin pie, used to make an amazing coconut-raisin custard pie….which I should probably make one of these days, If i can find her recipe.

  33. 33
    Mnemosyne says:


    The most infamous Thanksgiving in my immediate family was when my brother’s wife served boiled turkey loaf and Potato Buds and called it Thanksgiving dinner.

    She’s improved as a cook since then, but that one still lingers in everyone’s memory.

  34. 34
    cain says:

    Its going to be all vegetarian at my parents home. We would have had meat if my grandmother was not there, but nope on that. It’s okay though, I enjoy not eating meat. It’s going to all american, no indian food. I’m going to be doing some indian food though for some guests the day before. Vegetarian though.

  35. 35
    MagdaInBlack says:

    My husband loved it too. I couldn’t do the texture. I don’t care for canned peas.
    Frozen blanched would have saved it.

  36. 36
    Barbara says:

    @Mnemosyne: Setting the bar really low so everyone is thereafter grateful for any kind of improvement.

  37. 37
    satby says:

    @Barbara: I make a pumpkin bundt cake with a cream cheese filling. Doesn’t need frosting because it’s so moist, though some might dust powdered sugar on it. I love pumpkin anything.

  38. 38
    cain says:


    I hate the sweet potato crap too. I roasted them one year with salt and pepper and they were great. I hate green bean casserole also.

    I like making sweet potato fries. I make a version of it that I think is unique.

  39. 39
    Steeplejack says:

    I rescued the sweet-potato side dish by deleting the marshmallows, cutting down on the sweetness (can’t remember exactly how right now—will have to look up my recipe) and putting a crust of chopped pecans or walnuts on top. Also took it down from a 9" by 13" dish to 8" by 8", because some people don’t like it no matter what and others want just a taste or two.

  40. 40
    Suzanne says:


    Try pineapple cheddar cheese casserole.

    That’s a goddamn war crime.

  41. 41
    dmsilev says:


    She’s improved as a cook since then

    Given the low starting point, that doesn’t say much…

  42. 42

    HUZZAH. Children’s cyberpunk, ho! It’s set in the distant future of 2005!

  43. 43
    Olivia says:

    @MagdaInBlack: I agree that frozen peas would make it much better. Way back when she first made it, frozen peas weren’t easy to come by.

  44. 44
    Steeplejack says:


    What Dutch oven did you end up getting months ago? I need closure!

  45. 45
    eclare says:

    @Suzanne: I did not partake. This is the same side of the family that once served me a pineapple sandwich. I don’t know what their weird attachment to pineapple is. Maybe an older generation thing?

  46. 46
    Olivia says:

    @cain: My grandkids love sweet potato fries. I should try making them. How do you season them?

  47. 47
    cain says:

    Reading John instagramcreep on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s instagram is hilarious.

  48. 48
    cain says:


    @cain: My grandkids love sweet potato fries. I should try making them. How do you season them.

    My secret ingredient is kind some fennel seeds along with salt, pepper and a bit of red chilli powder (optional). It’s always been a hit. I usually bake with olive oil. Try it and let me know how people like it. As far as I can tell, it’s a unique twist.

  49. 49
    Olivia says:

    @cain: Thanks! I will try it.

  50. 50
    satby says:

    @cain: I made a really tasty (to this Irish chick) vegetable korma using cubed pumpkin, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, tomato puree and peas. My vegetarian niece and nephew liked it too.

  51. 51
    cain says:


    I love The conclusion of Art Buchwald’s famous Thanksgiving Day column: “And so, for one day each year, the Americans eat as well the French”

    Dang I think my dad used to read his column back in the 80s and I would occasionally read the interesting bits when my dad would call it to my attention.

  52. 52
  53. 53
    cain says:

    That should read “grind some fennel seeds”. I used a mortar and pestle to do it.. your mileage may vary. It’s better using the american not indian fennel seeds.

  54. 54
    Olivia says:

    @cain: I thought that was what you meant. Thanks!

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:


    I sometimes wonder if she was trying to get out of hosting future Thanksgivings, but my brother refuses to leave the house on Thanksgiving because no one else has the NFL channel, so it was a fruitless effort from the start.

  56. 56
    cain says:


    @cain: I made a really tasty (to this Irish chick) vegetable korma using cubed pumpkin, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, tomato puree and peas. My vegetarian niece and nephew liked it too.

    That sounds really yum. Do you use cream in our korma? I always try to avoid that, I usually bitch and moan about cream in dishes. I like using cashews or yoghurt instead.

    Speaking of cauliflower, I made some chapatis/rotis with cauliflower because my guest couldn’t eat gluten. If you flavor it with carom seeds/ajwain it tastes really awesome.

  57. 57
    imonlylurking says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I like what you have posted so far. I’ll read the sample chapter later this week. I may not be the best judge, though-I like what I like and it doesn’t necessarily correspond to what others will like.

  58. 58
    cain says:


    I sometimes wonder if she was trying to get out of hosting future Thanksgivings, but my brother refuses to leave the house on Thanksgiving because no one else has the NFL channel, so it was a fruitless effort from the start.

    Parental lock on the NFL channel. :-) Hey it worked on fox news watching retired people, why not NFL fans?! :-)

  59. 59
    opiejeanne says:

    @MagdaInBlack: I got tired of having turkey at my parents 50 miles away, then driving back 50 miles and being expected to eat whatever weird stuff my in-laws were serving, which was good sometimes and other times just too weird.
    So I started hosting my own. One year it was a full house with about twenty of his cousins and their kids and his aunt and uncle and great aunt and uncle from Indio, and some oddball cousin from somewhere in the high desert and his wife. Or maybe it was the low desert. And my parents and my sister and her husband. It was fine. I loved most of his family, but the oddballs each cornered me in the kitchen, the man to argue about carbon dating and evolution and how the earth was only X years old and I should just take it on faith, I mean he followed me into the kitchen to tell me these things, I gave him two, short curt answers that you can’t carbon date stone, whatever he’d been reading was wrong, and something else. I probably showed him a large knife and told him to get out of the kitchen.
    Then his “wife” came into the kitchen after he left and I was dishing things up and confessed that they were living in sin and apologized, and started bawling. Like I cared. She was at least 20 years older than I was and I just looked at her and said, “So get married,” I was still a registered Republican and very unencouraging of stupidity in my kitchen when I was trying to get a large meal on the table.
    I came into the dining room to find my mother-in-law encouraging a food fight involving the nice cousin’s twin sons throwing olives at everyone and my kids looking at them like they were from Mars,
    Half of these people are gone now and I miss most of them.
    Don’t know if the oddball is still on this earth, but he ran off with some younger woman and the “wife” he brought to dinner was incredibly pissed about it for 15 years.

  60. 60
    Mnemosyne says:


    Yeah, no. He would throw a tantrum and refuse to leave the house until it was fixed because it’s his Thanksgiving TRADITION!

    He’s only like that on Thanksgiving Day, so we put up with it.

  61. 61
    Steeplejack says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Do make-ahead gravy and take your own!

    I was looking at recipes for this last week, and they all started with turkey parts—either the neck and giblets or some wings. But if you’re going somewhere as a guest you probably don’t have a turkey available (or want to buy wings). So I started looking for recipes using turkey broth (which is a thing), and at the store the other day I discovered there is even a turkey version of Better Than Bouillon. Didn’t know about that.

  62. 62
    Kay (not the front-pager) says:

    @MobiusKlein: There are always too many people at my Thanksgiving to spatchcock the bird, but this method gives at least as good results. I don’t have a fancy shmancy cooking steel, but I use terracotta tiles – yes, the plain, cheap, unglazed tiles from the big box hardware store – in a double layer. I bought a carton of 6″ x 6″ tiles years ago and use them for baking bread, pizza, and now turkey. Last year I had a 24 lb turkey cooked this way, and no one could get over how juicy and delicious it was. I can’t remember much about the drippings for the gravy, but as I usually do, I roasted some turkey parts and vegetables the week before to make rich, dark broth for gravy. That way there’s never a surprise at the last minute.

    This year we’ll be at my sister’s for Thanksgiving day, but I’m just arrogant and snobby enough to prefer my own cooking, so I’ll be making my $0.47-a-lb-if-you-spend-$25 turkey with all the fixen’s on Saturday. Maybe this is why everyone was afraid to help cook Thanksgiving dinner at my house the year I had major emergency surgery the week before. They made me stay in the living room while they cooked, and a nephew was assigned to keep me conversationally engaged during the process.I was very gracious and told everyone they did a fine job, even though the gravy was way too thin and had kind of a funny taste. I’m sure the taste was due to the drugs I was on or something.

  63. 63
    satby says:

    @cain: I didn’t have cream, so I used plain yogurt and coconut milk. I try to sub out yogurt for cream whenever it’s feasible in a recipe. I get fresh yogurt and cream from Amish farmers at the market. Ruins you for the store bought stuff.

  64. 64

    Of course! Cyberpunk is 80s futurism. I’m going to try to be very quiet about that part, though, since my audience won’t get the joke.

  65. 65
    imonlylurking says:

    I just finalized the menu for this year. It’s a little bizarre, because I am the only one who will be eating turkey, my roommate is getting chicken, and our only guest is vegetarian but doesn’t want a special main course. “As long as there are enough sides,” she said. Does she even know me?

    Here’s what we’re having:
    Mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy (I may wait to make turkey gravy until after dinner, for leftovers. Meh. Undecided.)
    Crockpot vegetarian stuffing
    Steamed green beans
    Butternut squash with butter
    Roasted sweet potato, squash, and chickpea fall salad
    Roasted brussel sprouts
    Cranberry sauce
    Dinner rolls

    Plus apple pie, crustless pumpkin pie, and there’s a strong possibility of a banana cream pie with a gluten free ginger cookie crust.

  66. 66
    Suzanne says:

    @Steeplejack: A cheap one from AmazonBasics. It’s done just fine so far. If I decide I need a better one, I’m gonna go to the Le Creuset. But some of the other cookware is a higher priority. I really need a good omelet pan!

  67. 67
    opiejeanne says:

    @dmsilev: That sounds like a fun party, and I laughed at your grandmother’s secret recipe for stuffing. My secret recipe for stuffing is similar, Mrs Cubbison’s cornbread stuffing, but enhanced with chopped pecans, and onions, and celery. I either add some stock or some cider to moisten, sometimes both, and I put it in a casserole and bake it. Nothing that will be eaten later will be inside that turkey. Alton Brown and my husband converted me from stuffing the bird.
    The usual sides with the turkey, sweet potato casserole and deviled eggs from my youngest, mashed potatoes (our own taters), GRAVY!, cranberry mold straight from the can (I’m sorry, my kids are heathens in that regard), etc. My niece and her husband are bringing pozole and a green bean casserole and a fruit salad. I think she and her husband are bringing sangria. Her husband and my son-in-law don’t like wine so they will have beer. Barbarians.

    I’m doing a pumpkin pie with gingersnap crust, and a pecan pie because someone requested it.
    It will be good.

  68. 68
    Yutsano says:

    Normally Thanksgiving is Mom’s holiday. She takes possession of the kitchen at 6AM and no one may enter until she’s ready for things to hit the table.

    This year, however, she just had foot surgery. So completely non weight bearing for 8 weeks. My brother in law is cooking the vast majority of it. I think I’ll bring something this year.

  69. 69
    satby says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: see, I was a bit afraid to give an opinion because I wouldn’t either. Does this mean I’m in my second childhood?
    That would be cool, adulting sucks. Even with practice.

  70. 70
    opiejeanne says:

    @MagdaInBlack: Oh, I’m dying here. LOL! What is that, even????
    The descriptions sound like my midwestern family. And they sound awful. The food, not necessarily the family.

  71. 71
    NotMax says:

    Has to be 25 years since last cooked the whole shebang for a group. Recall making a pumpkin and beer soup to start the meal, which was a hit. As for pumpkin pie, no thank you. Never cared for it. Not enough whipped cream in the world to make it approach being edible.

    This different kind of sweet potato casserole sounds on its face, well, terrible, but turned out really, really good and scales up nicely.

    Special Sweet Potatoes

    2 sweet potatoes (peeled, cubed)
    1 red pepper (sliced thin or coarsely diced)
    2 carrots (peeled, diced)
    1 or 2 scallions (sliced thin, white and green parts)
    rosemary (1 sprig fresh or hefty pinch dried) or to taste
    pinch of dried thyme
    pinch of dried oregano
    1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
    1 clove garlic (peeled)
    1 tsp. olive paste*
    1-1/2 tbl. olive oil
    1/4 cup milk or half and half
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Boil sweet potatoes, red bell pepper, carrots and scallions in lightly salted water for approx. 15 min on medium high heat.
    Add rosemary (fresh or dried) and garlic clove to boiling water. Remove from heat, stir, and let stand a few minutes.
    Drain water and put veggies back into pot..
    Begin mashing.
    Add milk, feta, olive oil, olive paste, thyme and oregano and continue mashing until preferred consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Pour into deep oven safe dish.
    Heat in 375 degree oven about 15 – 20 minutes, sprinkle rest of feta cheese on top and continue heating until cheese becomes gooey.

    Leftovers reheat well in microwave.

    *olive paste (this will make more than is called for, remainder can be dotted on top when serving or used separately as a spread on crostini)

    8 oz. black olives (cured or uncured, pitted)
    1 garlic clove
    2 tbl. olive oil

    Put into a pot pitted olives, garlic and 1-1/2 tbl. of the olive oil and heat at medium heat for about 2 – 3 min. Don’t let oil get hot enough to fry anything, the purpose of this step is to let the heat help intensify the flavor of the ingredients.
    Remove from stove, pour the mixture into a food processor or blender. Pulse or blend, drizzling in remaining olive oil, until creamy.

  72. 72
    dmsilev says:

    @opiejeanne: Ah, the curse of strange relatives. Can’t live with them, and the law frowns on rendering them down for soup stock.

  73. 73
    cain says:


    @cain: I didn’t have cream, so I used plain yogurt and coconut milk. I try to sub out yogurt for cream whenever it’s feasible in a recipe. I get fresh yogurt and cream from Amish farmers at the market. Ruins you for the store bought stuff.

    Lucky! Try it with cashew (unless of course people have a nut allergy), it’s pretty good that way too. Vegans always seem to use cashews to make non-dairy cheese and the like. I made it that way once and it was pretty nice. Interesting you use broccoli.

    I was at the farmers market yesterday, and someone had Jerusalem artichokes. I’ve never seen it before.. it was very crispy and looked nothing like artichokes. It actually looked like a piece of ginger. Supposedly if you steam it, it’s kind of like pumpkin or potato. I so wanted to try it out, but I bought some and then forgot to put it in my bag. :( :( :( I’m going to go back and see if he’ll remember me from two weeks later and see if I can pick it up again.

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    satby says:

    @Kay (not the front-pager): there’s no way I’m spatchcocking a turkey, so I’m going to try this.
    Spatchcocking just sounds like way more time than I want to spend wrestling with a cold raw bird.

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    Suzanne says:

    A Thanksgiving without gravy sounds like punishment. I bet they even have gravy in prison. Can anyone attest?

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    satby says:

    @cain: I used broccoli because one of my buddies there gave me two nice bunches that would otherwise get tossed because they wouldn’t last another few days. So in it went.

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    Steeplejack says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Then they made noises about there being too many vegetable sides.

    “Too many” like “Such an abundance to choose from!” or “too many” like “No, seriously, there are too many”? If the latter, WTF. You don’t have to eat them all.

    My Brazilian brother-in-law’s aunt always hosts Easter dinner, and there is usually a sketchy Brazilian dish or two on the table, often involving cod. I taste/​avoid as seems prudent, but I don’t make a big deal about it. Live and let live.

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    Gin & Tonic says:

    @satby: I did it one year. I’m not going to do it again.

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    cain says:


    @cain: I used broccoli because one of my buddies there gave me two nice bunches that would otherwise get tossed because they wouldn’t last another few days. So in it went.

    Ah! Yes, totally understandable then!

    @cain: sunchokes! You’ll like them, here’s some good recipes.

    Thank you!

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    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Kay (not the front-pager): That’s a great site, BTW. They really know their stuff. A couple of years ago we made porchetta according to their recipe/methods and it was outstanding.

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    Ruckus says:

    Navy here.
    We once had grilled ham and cheese sandwich with no ham.
    We ate undercooked chicken 8-10 meals a week.
    At Great Lakes in school we got filet of brontosaurus butt every Thursday for lunch. It’s exactly as it sounds, inedible. Could not be cut with a razor sharp knife. At least I was never served hot lead.

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    Steeplejack says:


    “Ever since Papaw came back from Guadalcanal all he ever wanted was Spam and pineapple.”

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    Kay (not the front-pager) says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Spatchcocking is great for a chicken. I’ve been doing chicken that way for years, even though I didn’t know that’s what it was called. I just thought I’d figured out a good way to get roast chicken with still-juicy breast and succulent dark meat. But a turkey … there’s just too much flesh there to wrestle with. Providing 2 temperature profiles to the light and dark meat according to their needs just works much better. I hope it works as well for you! Or rather for satby.

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    Gin & Tonic says:

    And anyway, this year I’m going to try Matt Jennings’ chouriço and clam stuffing/dressing. I figure living here it’s almost a requirement.

    Recipe here, because I’m sure someone will ask.

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    NotMax says:

    Repeating a dynamite Brussels sprout recipe.

    Maple-Bacon Brussels Sprouts

    3 boxes (frozen, thawed) or equivalent fresh Brussels sprouts
    3 slices bacon, sliced into strips crosswise *
    1 medium onion, diced
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/8 tsp. coarse ground black pepper (or mroe to taste)
    2 tbl. maple syrup

    Cut bacon into 1/2 inch pieces.
    Slice onion in half, then into thin slices, crosswise.
    Trim tough ends and any yellowish leaves from sprouts. Score a shallow X in the bottom of each sprout if using fresh sprouts.
    In covered non-stick skillet, heat 1 inch or so water to boiling.
    Add sprouts to skillet, heat again until boiling.
    Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 5 minutes or until sprouts are just tender-crisp.
    Remove sprouts and place large bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain thoroughly. Pour off any liquid still in skillet.
    In same skillet, cook bacon, onion, salt and pepper. Drizzle in 1 tbl. maple syrup over medium-high heat. Cook about 7 – 8 minutes until onion and bacon are browned, stirring frequently.
    Cut each sprout lengthwise into thin slices. Add those to skillet, cook additional 6 or 7 minutes until all liquid evaporates and sprout slices are lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
    Drizzle in remaining 1 tbl. maple syrup, cook 1 minute additional to heat through.

    *Alternative: cook whole slices of bacon first, set aside and use the bacon grease to cook the onions, etc., adding in crumbled cooked bacon when they’re done

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    satby says:

    @Gin & Tonic: bookmarking it then.

    To all the pumpkin haterz, I was once one of you; then I started using fresh pumpkin, not canned. More work, but so much better tasting!

    And with that, good night all 😴 🌙

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    opiejeanne says:

    @Kay (not the front-pager): I had my appendix out the day before Thanksgiving, two years ago so I do hear you.
    Got home at 10am the next morning, on Turkey Day, the kids came over and cooked everything except for the pies. I got off the couch and made those, then went back to the couch after explaining how long to cook them. We had dry-brined the turkey three days in advance so that was awesome. I had set out all of the recipes and mr opiejeanne knew where everything was stashed so they just cooked everything and it was awesome.
    I stopped taking the pain pills as soon as I got home because I didn’t like the way it made me feel. I was careful not to move too much or too fast so it wouldn’t hurt.

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    opiejeanne says:

    @dmsilev: They wouldn’t make a good stock. Too stringy and too stupid.

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    Steeplejack says:


    [. . .] my brother refuses to leave the house on Thanksgiving because no one else has the NFL channel [. . .].

    Someone needs to call him on his bullshit, because the T-day NFL games are always on the “regular” networks.

    On second thought, this seems like an obvious antisocial ploy, so maybe it’s best to play along for the good of the family.

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    NotMax says:


    In my family, we’d say “That’s your choice, then” and just leave him behind.

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    Steeplejack says:


    My $30 no-name one from Target (4½ quarts) has held up very well for almost 10 years. (I think it’s Tramontina.) Just need to be a little careful not to chip the enamel.

    If you decide to upgrade, America’s Test Kitchen likes the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 7-quart covered casserole ($86) as a “best buy” alternative to the top-rated Le Creuset.

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    Summit House restaurant, where Mom and I went for Thanksgiving every year, has a creamed corn to die for. Recipe here:

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    Steeplejack says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Seconded on Serious Eats—great site. (Proprietor?) Kenji López-Alt’s book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, is excellent for those who want to seriously geek out.

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    dww44 says:

    @Ohio Mom:While I’m late to this thread, just wanted to say that my daughter makes a wonderful sweet potato casserole. Indeed she copied it after the one that my Mom made. It has only a melted butter/chopped pecans/cinnamon topping. Not overly sweet and not served as a dessert. Only as a sweetish side. It has become a staple tradition in our extended family Thanksgiving gathering where everyone brings a side or two and the host does the turkey. I inherited the cornbread dressing job from my Mother-in-law. Haven’t succeeded in matching hers yet. Need to make it more often.

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    waratah says:

    I thought I might try roasting turkey thighs this year, but was not sure I could find any. The butcher at the supermarket said yes but he sold all that came in and would get another shipment Saturday. We were there very early but they had sold all again. I quickly called the Hispanic store and they had some and would hold a couple of packages. He said they were the last ones he had. I had no idea they were so popular.
    We will have cornbread dressing and gravy sweet potatoes homemade cranberry sauce and a new recipe for roast Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. The squash is roasted separately adding maple syrup with olive oil then combine and add pecan halves and dried cranberries, can add additional syrup to taste. Pecan pie this year.

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    TomatoQueen says:

    Meals on Wheels here in Alexandria does daily meal delivery and a bi-weekly grocery shop. I’ll have Smart Ones Turkey and Dressing, fresh fruits (likely Fuji apple and some tangerines), salad, cranberry sauce from the can, and either an individual slice of pie or Lactaid choccy ice cream, depending on what the shopper can find. No sweet potato or green bean mess, no vegetables I hate, which is nearly all of them, and it’ll take the whole day to eat all this. Stupor awaits.

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    Cheap Jim says:

    @SFAW: Cooking Light has merged with another magazine, Eating Well. The Eating Well title is the one that will continue.

    Cheap Jim, semi-serials librarian.

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    Rugosa says:

    @Olivia: “throw that disgusting bag of offal that is inside the turkey into the trash.” Heresy! The offal (sans liver) and neck are cooked the day before (avec an onion and a stalk of celery) to make broth for the gravy. The liver is sauteed in butter as a treat for the cook.

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    TomatoQueen says:

    “The liver is cut up raw as a treat for the cat.” ftfy.

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    Els says:

    The only way to eat sweet potatoes is cubed, drizzled in olive oil and roasted, then sprinkled with gorgonzola cheese. The stinkier the better. :-)

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    MobiusKlein says:

    @TaMara (HFG): I am convinced, we shall spatchcock away!

Comments are closed.