Don't want to give you a panic attack or anything, but there are exactly 13 days left before you-know-what!! Ok, let's breathe--it's gonna be alright. Now, if you're hosting, is your menu set? Chances are you'll be including some beloved classics but maybe you have room for a couple of new ideas. And if you're lucky enough to simply show up at someone's house, do you know what you're making/bringing or are you in a quandary? Keep that breathing going and keep reading 'cause I've got some great ideas for how to make the Thanksgiving ordeal, I mean dinner, a lot more fun!
This year I'm in luck because we're all going to my sister Jenny's house and it will be a fairly big crew, somewhere in the mid-20's or so (and then my daughter, husband and I are hopping in the car and driving out to Pittsburgh for a hockey tournament (yikes) but that's a whole other story), so I'm not in charge of the whole shebang. But we are divvying up the cooking, partly because only one of my sister's fancy ovens works and even then it has to be propped closed with a chair and partly 'cause everyone is just too busy to singlehandedly cook the whole meal from start to finish. That's my first big piece of advice in keeping things manageable. DON'T TRY TO GO IT ALL ALONE!! When someone offers to make or bring something, let them and if no one offers, do the asking. I promise it's ok.
Here's how we are dividing things up: My mom will be making her famous marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole and her cranberry jello mold because if those two things were not present on the table, there would be an ugly revolt. She will also be cooking a full turkey and a turkey breast (we're white meat folks) at my house on Thanksgiving Day since I now have two ovens (if you're thinking of doing a kitchen remodel, I highly recommend springing for that second oven) and then we will do the tricky dance of transporting two hot turkeys in the car to Jen's house (fortunately she only lives about 5 minutes away). Mom's also on gravy since hers just can't be beat! Full disclosure here: I have never made a turkey myself. My mom's is always so perfect that I'm sort of intimidated to try!
Of course there will be mashed potatoes (I think my sister Ali will be making this) and this amazing Wild Mushroom Brioche Stuffing which I will be contributing (and my mom might make the Pepperidge Farm one she's always made too) and then Ali (and maybe Jen) will be making veggies, probably a brussels sprouts thing and something with green beans and I'll throw in this cornbread, that my mom and I cannot live without. And maybe someone will make Nancy's Rosy Applesauce or this Roasted Applesauce. And Jen might also get a deep fried turkey that only has to be reheated. And the big question is do we need a salad or not. I say no but I might get outvoted here.
And then there are the desserts, which are mostly my department. I'm always tempted to try new recipes but the reception of these is risky and so I'll make a few tried and true favorites and then probably sneak in something new too. There will most likely be this Pecan Pie and this Apple Crumb Pie and some chocolatey pie, either this Milk Chocolate Pudding Pie with Salted Peanutty Crust or this Muddy Fudge Pie or this Triple Chocolate Cream Pie with Oreo Crust. Beyond that I know I will make a cookie or bar or two because this is the time to go over the top, right?!! Or maybe I will make a simple pound cake like Bishop's Cake or this wonderful Cranberry Lemon Bundt Cake--I want to make EVERYTHING!!! Yikes! And I know I'm pushing all the homemade stuff, but the truth is that if store bought stuff keeps you sane, do it. Happy times are what want and this is a no judgement zone!
So those are some of my must-haves but if you're still looking for more, I've complied a list of some of my other favorites that I probably won't make this time around but only because there just isn't time or space.
Also, I'll be sharing a few more holiday dishes this week including an irresistible snack mix that would be just the thing to nibble on before the big meal. Anyway, hope all this helps and if you have any questions, just shoot them my way! And most of all, remember, it's only dinner!
Enjoy!! And if you have a chance, write me a note and let me know what you're making. I'd love to hear!!