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Old 09-27-2005, 01:33 PM   #1
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Exclamation Thanksgiving is at my house this year, HELP!

I'd like to see if anyone here has some good ideas on dishes to prepare for my first Thanksgiving for my family (and in laws!!!)? I need some recipes, some ideas and a little cheering section of my own, because I think my husband thinks I have it covered, but I'm really a nervous wreck and it's only Sept. So I'd like to be prepared and test drive some of the recipes. I know were having turkey and ham, so the sides, appetizers, breads and desserts is really what I need help with. Nothing really is out of the question and doesn't have to be a knuckles down traditional Thanksgiving. Any response would be greatly appreciated.



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Old 09-27-2005, 02:15 PM   #2
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Here are 2 of our favorites.

Corn Pie

Make this with fresh, frozen or canned corn.
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1 T all-purpose flour
2 cups corn
4 T (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 cup milk
dash of pepper
dash of nutmeg
1/2 t salt
Beat eggs & sugar together. Add flour, corn, butter, milk and seasonings. Pour into casserole dish and cover. Bake 45 minutes in preheated 400-degree oven.

Butternut Cream Pie

1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
1/4 cup hot water
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 T carmel ice cream topping
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground cloves
1 pkg (5.1 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
3/4 cup plus 2 T milk
1 pie shell (9 inch) baked
Whipped cream and toasted flaked coconut

Cut squash in half, discard seeds. Place squash cut side down in microwave-safe dish, add hot water. Cover and microwave for 13-15 minutes or until tender. When cool enough to handle, scoop out pulp and mash. Set aside 1 -1 1/2 cups squash (save remaining squah for another use)

In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Stir in squash until blended. Add the sugar, carmel topping, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves; beat until blended. Add pudding mix and milk; beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Spoon into pie shell. Refigerate for at least 3 hours. Garnish with whipped cream and toasted coconut.
6-8 servings

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Old 09-27-2005, 02:18 PM   #3
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Here a couple threads on the subject for more ideas.

Vegetable sides for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving sides
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Old 09-27-2005, 02:44 PM   #4
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Here is a favorite of ours from a 1999 issue of Taste of Home:

Butternut Squash Bake

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (about 2 cups)

˝ c. mayonaise (do not use light or fat-free mayonaise)

˝ c. finely chopped onion

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp. sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 c. crushed saltines (about 8 crackers)

2 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp. Butter or margarine, melted

Place squash in a saucepan and cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until very tender. (I have done this in the microwave using less water and less time. About 10-15 minutes on high) Drain well and place in a large bowl; mash squash. In another bowl, combine the mayonaise, onion, egg, sugar, salt and pepper; add to the squash and mix well. Put the mixture into a greased 1 qt. baking dish. Mix the cracker crumbs, cheese and butter together and sprinkle over the top of the dish. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until heated through and the top is golden brown. 6 servings
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Old 09-27-2005, 02:47 PM   #5
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If you've never roasted a turkey before, I recommend you do a test run before the big day. Here is a tried and true recipe that has gotten very good reviews:


Even if you don't use this recipe, I recommend a test run if this is your first time.
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 09-27-2005, 03:00 PM   #6
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If this is your first Thanksgiving meal I would try to make those dishes that each family thinks of as a traditional Thanksgiving feast.

You don't want Aunt Grace broadcasting to all that you did not make the traditional sweet potato casserole.

If you want to add some dishes of your own, do so by all means.

And if someone offers to bring a dish I would gladly thank them and accept the offer.

But the most important thing is to relax. Keep your sense of humor and let anything that goes wrong, as something will inevitably do, just roll off your shoulders.

'Does anyone want the burnt broccoli?' will work better than an apology.

Keep your cool, do as much as you can in advance, take all the help offered, and you will do fine. God Bless.
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Old 09-27-2005, 03:08 PM   #7
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I am sure you will get many responses. Here's a tip for ya, (this happened to me with my first thanksgiving)...don't forget to take the bag out of the carcas and neck! Like Dove said, try to relax and keep your sense of humor, afterall, we all mess something up on Thanksgiving :)
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Old 09-27-2005, 03:18 PM   #8
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Here's a dessert that has taken place of the regular punpkin pie at our Thanksgiving dinner for the past few years. Pumpkin Crunch Cake

I'm sure you'll do a great job! Year before last I did Thanksgiving dinner for 8 people. That was the first time I had ever even cooked a turkey. Last year I did it for my in-laws & my parents. Hubby & I smoked 2 turkeys. I think we wound up with about 20 people & I was a nervous wreck! It was the first time I had ever cooked for that many people on my on. Just remember to breath & do as much as you can ahead of time.
"Treat everyone with politeness,even those who are rude to you - not because they are nice, but because you are."
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Old 09-27-2005, 03:54 PM   #9
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IMO, the best best best Thanksgiving side dish is one that another member, Konditor, shared with us last year.
The first time I made them I couldn't believe how amazingly delicious they were, and the presentation is so beautiful.
(PS - I use navel oranges for this recipe) I've also used both yams and sweet potatoes. Both are great)

Baked Sweet Potatoes in Orange Cups

5 thin-skinned oranges, halved hemispherically
3 lbs sweet potatoes, pared & cut into large chunks
1 cup white granulated sugar
5 ounces uns. butter (plus another ounce for topping)
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 ounces peeled fresh gingerroot, grated

Using grapefruit knife, remove flesh from oranges over a sieve place above a bowl; reserve the juice. Squeeze remaining juice from fruit into the bowl. Measure out ˝ cup orange juice; reserve remaining juice for another use.

Cook sweet potatoes in large, covered saucepan of boiling water for 20-30 minutes, or until they're tender when pierced w/ point of knife. Drain. Return sweet pots to saucepan. Heat over med. heat & shake pan about 1 min. Mash the potatoes. Add orange juice, sugar, 5 oz. butter, and seasonings; beat until combined.

Mound sweet potatoe mixture into orange shells; sprinkle the tops evenly w. grated ginger; dot w/ remaining ounce of butter. (The filled orange cups can be made ahead, covered & refrigerated for up to 6 hours.)

Bake the cups at 350° until heated through, about 25 min.

At your turkey dinner, serve these orange cups as an accompaniment along w/ cranberry relish, parsnips, Brussel sprouts, & candied chestnuts.
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Old 09-27-2005, 04:02 PM   #10
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Well, I've never been to a holiday meal where everyone didn't participate by bringing something along to help the hostess out! So I say pick a couple things that you are very comfortable with making (besides the bird) and letting the other family members fill in the gaps.

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Old 09-27-2005, 05:10 PM   #11
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I have to bring this to anything my family has now. It's different and it's really good.
Surprising Broccoli Salad
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Old 09-27-2005, 05:45 PM   #12
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our family is used to Itlian things as well as traditional things on Thanksgiving so with all the food I prepare I also have a headache Several things my kids request, mashed potatoes and gravey, artichokes with garlic,butter and italian parsley, home made rolls of some sort, stuffed celery half with blue cheese half with peanut butter, rice torta, stuffed onions and zucchini, the turkey and a ham, they also like just plain baked in butter around the ham sweet potatoes. We always have a green salad, home made stuffing, with mushrooms, water chestnuts, apple and nuts, chocolate pie, pecan pie, mince meat pie, and pumpkin pie..I know I've forgotten something here, but that's what we usually do..If you see anything here that you would like to try, let me know and I'll help with a recipe .
Good luck, I'm sure you will do a wondrful meal and have a lovely dinner.
HEAVEN is Cade, Ethan,Carson, and Olivia,Alyssa,Gianna
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Old 09-27-2005, 11:50 PM   #13
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I always make this for thanksgiving, its so easy but its great!

Corn Casserole

1 can of creamed corn
1 can of whole kernal corn
2 boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix
3/4 cup sour cream

mix well, pour into a 9X9 baking dish (I mix right in the baking dish!) , dot with butter and bake for 45 minutes on 350F. This serves about 6.
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Old 09-28-2005, 12:04 AM   #14
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If you end up cooking all the dishes, try to plan things so that they will come out at the same time and some dishes that can be prepared ahead. If your making your own stuffing/dressing, that can be made ahead of time, as well as any sort of casserole, then baked on the day of. Maybe you can go buy dessert, if that's not your focus, then you can concentrate on the main dinner. Good luck! Let us know how the trial run goes!! I do the same thing when I have to cook something new.
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Old 09-28-2005, 12:04 AM   #15
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It isn't Thanksgiving at our house without this (super simple to make the night before):

Cranberry Salad

2 (3 oz.) packages lemon or orange jello (if you want it firmer, mix with one packet unflavored geletin)
2 cups boiling water
2 cups pineapple juice (you can use juice drained from the pineapple for this)
1 cup sugar
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups drained crushed pineapple
1 cup chopped walnuts

Dissolve jello in hot water. Add juice. Put in refrigerator.

Grind enough cranberries to make 2 cups (if you freeze them for awhile they will grind better). Stir in 1 cup sugar. Refrigerate while you chop the celery and nuts.

To jello, add cranberry mixture, celery, pineapple, and walnuts.

Refrigerate until set.

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Old 09-28-2005, 12:07 AM   #16
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Raine posted Linda McCarthy's Overnight Mashed Potatoes that might be a good candidate for a prepare ahead dish.
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Old 09-28-2005, 12:21 PM   #17
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HEre's another oldie but goodie:

Recipe: Creamed Red and White Pearl Onions With Bacon

Time: 25 minutes

2 10-ounce bags red pearl onions
1 10-ounce bag white pearl onions
2 1/2 ounces (2 strips) thick-cut bacon, diced ( 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, minced

1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 pints heavy cream
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped parsley.

1. If red and white onions are about the same size, bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add onions and blanch until skins loosen slightly, about 5 minutes. Drain. (If white onions are considerably larger, blanch onions separately, increasing time on white onions by a couple of minutes.) Peel onions and set aside. (Onions can be blanched and peeled ahead of time. Place in 2-quart zipper-lock bag and refrigerate until ready to use.)

2. Sauté bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate and set aside. Pour off bacon fat. Melt butter in Dutch oven over low heat until foaming, add shallots and garlic and cook until translucent but not browned, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Add heavy cream and simmer until cream is thick and golden and has reduced by half, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir onions into cream to heat through.

3. Heat broiler. Turn onions and cream into a shallow 1 1/2-quart casserole dish. Top with bacon, bread crumbs and parsley. Place under broiler and cook until crumbs are browned and dish is bubbling, about 10 minutes.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

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Old 09-28-2005, 12:24 PM   #18
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YUM, Marmalady! I love that!
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This week's topic: Pinterest and Potatoes
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Old 09-29-2005, 06:07 PM   #19
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My advice would be to prepare as much as you can ahead. We usually have about 18 people at Mom's and my sister and I do most of the cooking for Thanksgiving. I shop on Sunday. The turkey moves from the freezer to the refrigerator. My sister starts Monday night by doing all the chopping for any recipe that needs ingredients chopped. Other stuffing ingredients are prepared Tuesday night. She is fortunate that she can take the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off so that is when the turkey and extra stuffing get done. She slices it and puts it in the refrigerator. She also cooks the giblets. At my end, I'm thawing a turkey breast and taking care of dessert. One of us does baked corn in a crockpot. DH and I get up early Thursday to deep fry the turkey breast and get to Mom's early. We have 3 18 quart roasters with inset pans, three 6 quart roasters and crock pots. Sweet potatoes go into one of the roasters early so they have time to cook and they stay in the roaster for serving. The large roasters are set up as steam tables for the turkey and filling. The mashed potatoes are made last because we don't have a recipe that holds well without tasting leftover. Once we have everthing beginning to heat we set the tables and wait for the relatives. One brings the appetizers, another a different kind of stuffing, another an extra dessert. We also buy nice disposable plates and flatware for ease of clean-up. Drinks are on a card table at the front door. There are plastic cups and a marker so each person can write their name on their cup. For us this works well. The worst of the dishes have already been done along with the cooking so we can enjoy the day with relatives instead of spending the day in the kitchen.
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Old 09-29-2005, 07:05 PM   #20
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I'd never thought about deep frying a turkey breast. That is a wonderful idea. I've eaten fried turkey many times, but never wanted to make one. The breast would be so much easier and quicker also. About how long does it take to fry it? You have lots of wonderful ideas and it sounds like a really good family gathering.

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