Handling a Big Family Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving is almost here! I'm going to post my menu for the gathering at our house this year. My family always does it kind of potluck style. We each bring different dishes to the gathering wherever it is. It makes for a lot of variety, and gives everyone a chance to show off some of their "best stuff"!

So, here's the menu this year. I'll include recipes for the items that I'm making.

The only appetizer I've planned is a pumpkin dip served with apples, graham crackers, and ginger snaps for dipping. Recipe to follow.
Turkey - of course! This one's mine, but there's no special "recipe". Just a lot of olive oil rubbing, massaging, and molesting of the bird with a little seasoning sprinkled and rubbed in as well.
Stuffing - I'll be doing an original recipe of mine... to follow.
Sweet Potato - This is a GIANT sweet potato out of our garden this year. Courtney plans on smoking it.
Cranberry sauce - It's sad, but many in my family prefer the jellied canned stuff, so I'll serve it. But I'm also going to make a fresh cranberry sauce as well. Recipe to follow.
Squash au gratin - This one is my sister's. She's using her own garden-grown butternut squash for this dish. I don't have her recipe, but if anyone's interested, I can get it from her.
Mashed Potatoes & gravy - a definite must. Again, my sister will be handling this one. Though I don't have her exact recipe here, I do know that it will involve cream cheese this year. Yum!
"Leslie" Slaw - this is my sister-in-law's staple bring-to-all-the-family-gatherings dish. It's kind of an oriental slaw with crunchy noodles and things in it. I'd post the recipe, but then she'd have to kill me.
Meatballs in sauce - this will come via my sister's in-laws. Carolyn is a big fan of Sam's and often times finds some good deals on pre-made items.
Rolls - Leslie will be handling this as well. Probably going for a simple brown n' serve roll.
Pumpkin Pies - My sister Sherry will handles these as well. These are usually a simple, classic pumpkin pie... the best!
Chocolate Chip Cookies - because they're a staple in the family. Again, my sister will be bringing these.
Berry pies & Ice cream - My sister's in-laws are bringing these.

So, I guess part of my point in all this is to show everyone that hosting Thanksgiving doesn't have to be a big, daunting, scary thing. When families work together and share the load, it can actually be a very enjoyable day with good food, family, and friends!

Now, for the recipes:

Pumpkin Dip
8 oz cream cheese (1 pkg)
1/2 C canned pumpkin
1/2 C brown sugar
2 tsp maple syrup (pancake syrup works)
OR 1/2 C powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Soften cream cheese to room temp. Mix cream cheese well with canned pumpkin. Add in brown sugar, maple syrup (or powdered sugar), and cinnamon. Mix well and chill.
Serve with apples, graham crackers, or ginger snaps.
*I recommend doubling this for a family gathering.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce (simple!)
4 C fresh cranberries
1 C water
2 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Pour water, salt, and cranberries in pan. Bring to boil and cover. Skin on cranberries will begin to burst around 8 - 10 min. Remove from heat and add sugar.

Michelle's Stuffing
6 Tb butter
1 C onion
1 C celery
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
12 C bread crumbs or 14 C small chunks
1 1/2 C chicken broth - maybe more if you want to moisten the mix
2 eggs - beaten
2 Tb brown sugar
1/4 C parsley, chopped or dried
optional ingredients:
1 sm can mushrooms
1 C chopped cranberries (for me, this is not optional - it's a must!)
2 C apple, peeled & diced
4 Tb orange juice

Grease 9x13" baking dish, preheat oven to 375F. In large frying pan, saute onion and celery with butter. Remove from heat.
Add poultry seasoning, salt, & pepper to mixture.
In another large bowl, stir together bread crumbs, broth, and eggs. Add frying pan mixture along with the rest of the ingredients (optional items, br. sugar, etc.). Mix thoroughly and dump into baking dish.
Bake covered (can use foil) for 45 min.
Uncover and bake an additional 15 min to lightly brown and crisp.


Sarah November 26, 2008 at 8:00 PM  

Love your playlist. I leave your page open to hear the music. :-) Our family does it potluck style as well. There is a bunch of us so it works out well. Happy Thanksgiving

Stormy November 30, 2008 at 12:03 PM  

Squash Gratin? YUMMMMMY. I would love it if you post the recipe. I make a sweet potato gratin that is to die for! Thanks

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