Thanksgiving Feast

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Thanksgiving has come and gone. Our day was filled with football, good food, friends, family, and dogs. As an update to my earlier post, I would like to share our feasting with all of you. As you know I began much of the cooking on Wednesday. There wasn’t too much to do on Thursday and it was quite enjoyable.

AM Preparations: Because I had so much work completed already, I was able to wake up as normal and have a fairly relaxed morning filled with freshly pressed coffee and blog reading.

Mixed Berry Torte– Remove filling from the fridge and pour into the crust. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Allow to cool in a pan for 5 min, then using the parchment paper, transfer to a cooling rack until completely cool. Remove the parchment paper and transfer to your serving platter.

Appetizers– I found some leftover fruit in the back of the fridge, not wanting anything to go to waste, I wrapped it in prosciutto and added it to the appetizer pan. Store in the refrigerator until later.

Stuffing– Slice the bread thickly. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until hard and crispy. Remove and allow to cool.

Sprouts– Clean your sprouts so they are ready to cook. Chop onion and place in a covered container. Finely chop prosciutto and place in a covered container. Return everything to the fridge until ready to cook.

Plates and napkins– Check the plates and napkins to be sure there are enough. Set aside until meal time.

Bread/Rolls– We decided to make French style loaves rather than rolls. I prepared the dough so it could rise while we watched the game.

Meal Prep: Meal prep went quickly. We even fit in a few games of cribbage.

Turkey– Remove the turkey from the brine. Allow to dry for about 1 hour. Stuff with ½ stick of unsalted butter, an apple, an orange, and an onion. Layer prosciutto around the body of the bird; don’t wrap the legs or wings. Cook in a 325 oven until your bird reaches the safe temperature for poultry. Rotate and baste frequently.

Appetizers– Remove the appetizers from the refrigerator. Place on your serving platter and set out. I also put out a dish of assorted nuts.

Bread– Form the dough into two French style loaves. Sprinkle the bottom of a pan with cornmeal. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. We were short on space and baked in the toaster oven. We didn’t have the same bread stone texture, but this worked well.

Stuffing– Sauté onion and celery. While this is cooking, chop the crusty bread pieces into large chunks, place in your baking dish. Once onion and celery becomes soft, add the cubed butternut squash, cook until tender. Add chopped prosciutto for added flavor. Season with salt, pepper, and spices of your choice (I used sage). Once everything has been cooked soft, add this to the baking dish. In a separate bowl mix 3 cups broth with 1 egg, mix through and stir into stuffing mixture. Set aside until ready to bake.

Sweet potatoes– Mix the 1/3 cup flour with 1 cup chopped nuts. Meanwhile, melt 1 T. maple syrup and 4 T. butter in a small saucepan. Once melted, stir into the nut mix and spread evenly over the top of the potatoes. Set aside until ready to bake.

Potatoes– Place potatoes in a 9×13 baking dish. Place pats of butter throughout, snip sprigs of fresh rosemary into the pan, and sprinkle with salt. Set aside until ready to bake.

Acorn squash– Cut in half. Scoop out center. Cut the bottom to allow each half to sit flat in a baking dish. Spread butter over the inside of each piece, add a sprinkle of maple syrup and spread evenly. Set aside until ready to bake.

By the time you have all of this prepared, people will most likely be arriving and you can enjoy their company (just don’t forget to keep basting the turkey).

The Meal: This is where it all comes together quickly. Just before removing the turkey, we placed the acorn squash in the toaster oven at 400 for 1 hour.  Once the turkey reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the oven and cover well with foil. Keep in mind it will continue to cook slightly. Place the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and stuffing in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove your sprouts ingredients from the fridge, melt about 3 T. butter to a large skillet. Sauté the onions, then add the Brussels sprouts and reduce heat slightly. Cover the pan and allow to sauté and gently cook until tender. Add prosciutto and remove from heat. While you watch the food begin to lay everything out and set your table. Since all of these materials are laid out this goes quickly as well.

Simplifying the Day: Just some general notes on minimizing our waste and simplifying such a big feast. I tried to use things that would go bad soon, especially with the amount of leftovers that will be in the hosue. I used the fruit, old crusty bread from the cuppard, and an assortment of leftover nuts. I will be reusing my turkey carcass. I saved all the bones along with the gizzards and neck to make stock. We don’t use paper products, so I made sure all of our napkins were clean for today and made sure they were set out in a clear location. All of our veggie waste was composted. In all, we had a very small 7-11 grocery sized back worth of waste for a very full day of cooking and company. A step in the right direction!

Results: Delicious! The sweet potatoes were the biggest hit (and they were sugar free). I had concerns about the heritage turkey becoming dry; however, it was moist and the skin was still crispy. The torte was a bit too tart so I had to compromise and whip together a sweet whipped cream, which was delicious with the torte (yes it had sugar, but so worth it). Everything went smoothly and we ended the day with a minimal amount of waste.

How did your meals turnout? Are there any clever tricks for preparing this much food in a day and not feeling too stressed?

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6 Responses to Thanksgiving Feast

  1. A feast indeed, awesome looking food.

  2. Kassie says:

    I’m glad you had such a nice time.

  3. Maureen says:

    WOW…..looks amazing!!!! Love the PACKER shirt. :)

    • Chris says:

      Your dinner looks great. Morning coffee and reading are a must each morning, no matter how busy the day will be. I also love the Packers shirt. Only two of the thirty three for dinner at our Thanksgiving were Packers’ fans. And of course, we wore our shirts. (missed you at the touch football game.)

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