Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite time of year. I am so incredibly thankful for all that God has blessed me with – family, friends, healthy… all of the normal stuff but also for all of the freedoms that I am able to enjoy. For the last two years we have had family and friends over for Thanksgiving Dinner and it is such a treat for me to cook. I love doing it and thankfully they love eating it. 🙂
This year I went all out and tried a new turkey that my husband saw on facebook. It looked impressive and was simply delicious. I followed the recipe exactly from The Runaway Spoon. The website has very detailed instructions on how to do it and I really couldn't add much to it. The only thing I will add is that I used Applewood Smoked Bacon from the meat counter at Whole Foods. It is quiet possibly the best bacon on the planet.
Now on to the rest of the meal which I quickly forgot to take pictures of after everyone arrived.
Southern Cornbread Dressing
I have adapted this recipe from a few recipes that I've tried and I think it is fantastic. I typically don't measure the ingredients so I'll just say to mix everything until it taste right. You aren't going to mess it up.
1 pkg frozen Mirepoix cajun style veggies (onions, celery and green bell peppers)
You can chop your own but this is just easier if you are already doing a lot of cooking
2 pkgs of (make sure this in not sweet) yellow or white corn bread mix (bake according to pkg)
1 box of (this is sweet cornbread) Jiffy corn muffin mix (bake according to pkg)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped fine
2 eggs, beaten
heavy whipping cream
1 cup of chicken broth
Cook your veggies until done. I usually do this in bacon grease but you can do it in whatever you like (veg oil, olive oil, etc) and set aside. Cook cornbread according to package directions and let cool.
In a large mixing bowl, crumble the yellow/white cornbread and half of the jiffy cornbread. (Eat the other half of the Jiffy or stick it in the freezer for another meal) Now add the soup, boiled eggs, onion powder, garlic powder and salt & pepper to taste and mix well. Now add the chicken broth and beaten eggs. Your mixture should be pretty thick. Add heavy whipping cream to make the mixture creamy. I probably use about a cup – 1 1/2 cups.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set.
6-7 medium potatoes, washed, peeled and diced
1 stick of butter, unsalted
1 Cup of Heavy Whipping Cream
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Add diced potatoes to a large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Boil for 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain. Add butter, whipping cream, and salt & pepper. Whip with hand mixer until fluffy.
Cream Cheese Corn
I have adapted this recipe from a few recipes that I've tried and I
think it is fantastic. I typically don't measure the ingredients so I'll
just say to mix everything until it taste right. You aren't going to
mess it up.
1 pkg of Fat Free Cream Cheese
2 cans of Shoepeg or Small White Corn, drained
Tony's Cajun Seasoning, to taste
I put this in my tiny crockpot and cook until it is warm and bubbly.
Green Bean Casserole
When I looked for recipes I tried to find things with no cream soups. I ended up only using one can for the entire Thanksgiving meal which I thought was pretty good. I just couldn't delete it from the dressing.
I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com and I didn't change a thing. This casserole was fantastic but I did find it a tad salty. I think next time I would delete the salt.
Ruths Chris Sweet Potato Casserole
By far the BEST Sweet Potato Casserole I have ever eaten. I could have eaten it as a dessert. The recipe is from food.com.
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
I know, I know! Pumpkin Mac and Cheese sounds kind of gross! I thought so too at first but I promise it is so incredibly fabulous. It isn't sweet like most pumpkin dishes. In fact, you probably won't even know that there is any pumpkin in it. It makes the dish super creamy. I've blogged about it before. You can find the recipe here.
Lunch was fabulous but I have to say the desserts were just fabulous. My husbands absolute favorite dessert is cheesecake so over the years I've perfected the recipe and I think it is great. I made that and 2 other super easy desserts. I served the cheesecake with caramel sauce (I had some leftover Hershey's caramel ice cream sundae sauce) and Fresh Strawberry Sauce. The Strawberry Sauce was a botched batch of Strawberry Freezer Jam that never really set but is fabulous on cheesecake.
The Real Deal Cheesecake
15 graham crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I've also used Almond)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Put a circle of parchment paper in the bottom and grease a 9 inch springform pan. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan.
In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving.
Pumpkin Toffee Cake
1 Yellow Cake Mix
1 Can of Pumpkin Puree
1/2 Cup Water
1 Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Tub of Fat Free Cool Whip
1/2 Jar of Hershey's Caramel Ice Cream Topping
1/2 bag of Heath Bits
In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, water and pumpkin puree until a smooth batter forms.
Pour batter into a greased 9×13 baking dish, and bake at 350º, according to the directions on the cake mix box (approx 23-28 mins).
Remove cake from oven and let cool. Using the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the top of the cake. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake.
Remove cake from refrigerator and spread cool whip over top of cake. Sprinkle on the heath bits, and drizzle caramel over top. Refrigerate overnight.
Peanut Butter Pie
This is about the worst picture ever but my camera died after taking one picture and honestly I had to eat the pie. Last Thanksgiving I didn't make any desserts. Friends and family brought the desserts and one of them was a Peanut Butter Pie from a local bakery. It was DELICIOUS so I made it my mission to learn to make this pie. It didn't take me long to figure it out. I will give the original recipe but I took a few liberties with my pie yesterday.
1 Deep Dish Pie Crust, baked according to directions
3/4 Cup peanut butter, 1 used the fresh ground Honey Roasted from Whole Foods
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1 box of French Vanilla pudding
2 Cups of milk
1 tub of cool whip
Bake pie crust according to package directions and let cool.
Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut peanut butter and sugar together until crumbly. Put this mixture in the bottom of the pie crust but reserve about 1/4 Cup to sprinkle on top of the pie.
Mix pudding and milk together and pour over crumbles. Chill for 30 minutes. Then put cool whip on top and sprinkle with peanut butter crumbles. Chill overnight.
** I didn't have vanilla pudding so I used Chocolate and it was fabulous.