Being traditionalists of the Midwest variety, we are keeping with the favorite appetizer:
You can make "cocktail meatballs" with the same sauce, too.
1 pkg Lil' Beef Smokies
1 12-oz jar Heinz Chili Sauce
1 tablespoon grape jelly (more if you'd rather have sweeter)
Mix it all in a crock pot. Cook on low for a couple hours before time to serve.
And going with the tried-n-true:
If you aren't stuffing it, toss a couple cloves of garlic, half an onion, and a few whole sprigs of fresh herbs into the cavity before tying the legs. You can also put a cup of wine or chicken broth into the bottom of the pan, which will add too your drippings for gravy. For more information on buying, thawing,cooking, and stuffing a turkey, see here.
Herb-Scented Roast Turkey
* 1 T chopped fresh or 2 tsp dried rosemary leaves, crumbled
* 1 T chopped fresh or 2 tsp dried sage leaves, crumbled
* 1 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp black pepper
* 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
* 3/4 cup butter, softened
* 1 whole turkey (thawed, innards removed)
—Heat oven to 325. In small bowl, mix rosemary, sage, salt, pepper, and garlic; rub into turkey skin (and under, if you cut a small slit in the skin and put some herbs & butter in the opening--but don't cut too many slits into the skin!)
—Stuff turkey, if desired.
—On rack in shallow roasting pan, place turkey breast side up. Rub all over with butter. Tie the legs together with cooking twine.
—Roast turkey as directed by weight.
—Place turkey on platter, cover w/foil. Let stand appx 20 minutes
I've made this for the past couple years and it's a very tasty--the first time I made it I was skeptical of the onion & apple being together. If you get cube stuffing, you could make it just in a bowl and not as "muffins". (Original recipe here)
Apple and Onion Stuffin' Muffins
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
* 1 stick butter, softened
* 1 fresh bay leaf, available in produce department
* 4 ribs celery and greens, from the heart, chopped (save time and purchase celery already washed, trimmed and cut into sticks, this makes chopping fast work)
* 1 medium to large yellow skinned onion, chopped
* 3 McIntosh apples, quartered and chopped
* Salt and pepper
* 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
* 8 cups cubed stuffing mix (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
* 2 to 3 cups chicken stock, available in paper containers on the soup aisle
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil to skillet and 4 tablespoons butter. When butter melts, add bay leaf and add the vegetables as you chop them, celery, onions then apples. Sprinkle the vegetables and apples with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Cook 5 to 6 minutes to begin to soften vegetables and apples then add parsley and stuffing cubes to the pan and combine. Moisten the stuffing with chicken broth until all of the bread is soft but not wet.
Butter 12 muffin cups, 2 tins, liberally with remaining butter. Use an ice cream scoop to fill and mound up the stuffing in muffin tins. Remove the bay leaf as you scoop the stuffing when you come upon it. Bake until set and crisp on top, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove stuffin' muffins to a platter and serve hot or room temperature.
I've made this for the past several years, after a friend gave it to me, and it's delicious. It has even converted a cranberry-hater. I kid you not.
Ginger Apricot Cranberry Sauce
* 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
* 2 tbsp. finely grated ginger
* 16 oz. fresh cranberries
* 2/3 cup sugar
* 1 cup orange juice
* 1/2 cup apricot preserves
In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. Add ginger and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add crans, sugar, oj and preserves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crans burst and sauce thickens, about 20 mins. Transfer to bowl and serve warm.
You can also change out the cornflakes for pecans or almonds (add in a couple tablespoons of flour if you do).
Sweet Potato Casserole
* 3 large sweet potatoes (or yams), roasted & peeled
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1/3 cup milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 2 cups cornflakes
* 2/3 cup melted butter, divided
—Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2 quart baking dish.
—Mash sweet potatoes. Combine with them with the sugar, eggs, 1/3 cup butter, milk and vanilla. Place in the prepared baking dish.
—In a separate bowl combine the brown sugar, cornflakes, and 1/3 cup butter. Sprinkle over the top of the sweet potato mixture. Bake for 35 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
Since I don't care for pumpkin pie, I always make two desserts. This year the second dessert will be toffee apple pie:
Toffee Apple Pie
5 - 6 cups apples, use a mix (I use Jonagold and Granny Smith)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
4 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 cup toffee brickle (I use Heath Bits o' Brickle [no chocolate on it!]) but any non-chocolate toffee candy cut up will do.
2 9" pie crusts
egg white + water for egg wash
sparkling sugar (optional)
--Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
--Peel and slice apples then sprinkle with lemon juice. Combine dry ingredients (only one 1/4 cup flour) in large bowl and add apples. Toss to mix. Add vanilla and cream and mix. Melt the 3 TB butter in heavy skillet. Add apple mixture and cook about 5 minutes. Turn into pie shell.
--Combine the flour and sugar in small bowl. Mix in butter with fork or pastry blender until it makes crumbs and then stir in the toffee. Sprinkle over apples and add top crust. Seal, vent top crust, and brush with beaten egg white (sprinkle with sparkling sugar if you want). Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 45 minutes longer. Let cool about an hour on cooling rack before serving.
For other ideas:
Thanksgiving 2009: Jellied Cranberry Sauce, Spinach Madeline, Pumpkin-Apple Streusel Cake.
Thanksgiving 2008: Good Eats Roast Turkey, Basic French Bread, Sweet Potato Balls.
Thanksgiving 2007: Bruschetta, Brie Mashed Potatoes, gravy & gravy tips, Old Fashioned Dinner Rolls, Herb Bread & Dipping Oil, Bavarian Apple Torte.
For a non-pumpkin, non-apple, super easy dessert: Peanut Butter Pie
Feel free to share your ideas/recipes, too!