Wait, what?! Thanksgiving, you say? It’s December, Natalie. Christmas is in four days. You’re way behind.
I know this is what you are all thinking, but it’s intentional, I promise. I decided not to do a recap right after T-day because I was totally Thanksgiving’d out. I had thought about it SO much and tried SO many recipes and ate SO much food that I just couldn’t bring myself to do any more Thanksgiving. But, I knew hosting Thanksgiving was a super grown up thing to do, so I wanted to make sure it got on the blog. Then I thought, some people may want to try out some of these recipes for Christmas! Voila! A reason to share my T-day recap. So, without further ado…
Here’s what I made:
I got my turkey from a local farmer, Wild Turkey Farms, if you’re a local and decided to brine it using Williams Sonoma’s brine and brining bags, which were both wonderful. Then I cooked it loosely following the Pioneer Woman’s directions (my turkey was much smaller).
I put some extra onions and celery in the cavity, which my mom suggested to give it more depth of flavor. My father-in-law, the surgeon, was assigned to carve the turkey. He did an excellent job.
I made gravy using the Pioneer Woman’s directions, also, but ended up veering off her course because mine wasn’t thickening up. I ended up adding some cornstarch, which did the trick!
I used Martha’s dinner roll recipe, which was a huge success.
Apparently my father-in-law is obsessed with rolls, which I didn’t know about him before Thanksgiving. Good to know.
I used Martha’s sweet potato recipe, also, which I liked, but I think I’m going to use another one next year because toasting nuts at the last minute when you’re trying to do one million other things was just too much. They were burned (several times). Thanks goodness I had extras.
Mashed Potatoes and Stuffing
For my mashed potatoes, I used the Pioneer Woman’s recipe, which was a godsend because I could make them the day before and heat them up once I pulled the turkey out of the oven. Amazing.
And for my stuffing, I actually sort of made up a recipe (scary, I know) using Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Challah stuffing and making it into a semi-bread pudding. It was delicious, if I do say so myself. Happy to share the recipe if anyone is interested.
Mac and Cheese
I used Smitten Kitchen’s mac and cheese recipe, but just used cheddar cheese, which both Brian and I liked better. Also, Brian isn’t a fan of breadcrumbs on top, so we nixed them as well.
Also, make sure you get a really good cheddar, none of the cheap-o stuff. It’s called mac and CHEESE, so you want to make sure your cheese has a chance to live up to people’s expectations.
I made it, but I won’t again because even though this was pretty tasty, no one touched it. We had this amazing fruity dish that my mother-in-law made, which just totally outshined my cranberry sauce.
If you’re need a recipe for it, though, I used one from The Bitten Word and it was super easy and very tasty.
Things not made by me
My mother-in-law’s deeeeelicious pretzel salad, which we agree is really a health food (it is a SALAD after all). My mom dubbed it “Kentucky Salad” which I kind of like.I have to warn you, this isn’t a very flattering picture, but it was scrumptious.
My mom made a salad and greens, which were both a tasty and fairly healthful additions. We decided that we don’t need a salad next year, though. It was good, but just another thing to worry about and no one would miss it (more room for mac and cheese!).
All in all, it was a great meal and a great weekend. I was so happy to have my family in town and, in the end, wasn’t nearly as stressed out as I thought I would be. Everything turned out wonderfully and I’m excited to do it all over again next year!
Coming later this week: some tips I have for the big day, including my uber cool spreadsheets. Yes, spreadsheets. I heart excel.