Cooking On A Budget: Thanksgiving - 2012 Menu Ideas

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thanksgiving - 2012 Menu Ideas


Thanksgiving – Family Gatherings
Around a Table

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012 is the day that we will gather with family and friends around a table, giving thanks for the food, for our families, our friends and most of all making memories to cherish in our hearts.  A lot of preparation will go in to planning, shopping and cooking and baking the perfect feast. Here is a simple, yet elegant menu plan for making this Thanksgiving a wonderful food memory.  Much of the preparation can be done ahead so that the stress of getting it all on the table in synchronization will be eliminated.
The underlined items provide a direct link to the recipe and for the other dishes the recipes have been added below. For the novice cook, the link for the roasted turkey explains how to roast the turkey and make gravy. Also on that page are some ideas with what to do with the left overs if you have any.
I hope you all enjoy this very special food holiday gathering with your family and friends. If you have any questions or want some advice for replacement dish ideas, feel free to e-mail me. I would be more than happy to help.

 Here is the basic menu:
Black Olive Spread and Garlic Herb Cream Cheese Dip
Served with an array of Crackers
Mixed Green Garden Salad
dressed with Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing
Main Course:
Roasted Turkey
w/homemade gravy
Vegetables and Side Dishes:
Sage Stuffing
Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Baby Peas and Caramelized Pearl Onions
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Dinner Rolls
Rugelah Style Pastries
Pumpkin Pie
Pound Cake with Berries and Whipped Cream

Sweet Baby Peas and Caramelized Onions

If you prefer to use fresh peas that you shell or fresh pearl onions instead of frozen, do so.  I chose frozen as they taste good, there is no time in prepping and they are affordable for Cooking on a Budget.
  • 1  one pound bag of frozen baby peas
  • 1/2 bag of frozen pearl onions
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
Melt the butter in a skillet or saute pan over medium heat.  Add in the pearl onions, stir to coat the onions with the butter.  Reduce the heat to medium low or low and allow the onions to caramelize.  When the onions are caramelized, add in the peas, stir and add in the chicken broth.  Cook on simmer until the peas are tender and the broth has reduced.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 bag fresh cranberries
  • 8 oz. orange juice
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Grated Nutmeg to taste. (Nutmeg is a powerful spice so don't overdo it.)

Place all ingredients in a sauce pot.  Cook over medium heat until it begins to bubble.  Turn the heat down and cook on simmer or low heat for about 40 minutes or until the berries have popped and become tender.  Remove the cinnamon sticks and you are ready to serve.

Sage Stuffing
Depending on how many you are planning to feed, adjust this recipe to fit. If you are purchasing plain stuffing mix add in one teaspoon of dried sage or two teaspoons of finely chopped fresh sage.

My holiday recipe for stuffing includes sausage.  I use a pork sausage like Jimmy Deans or Jones or Bob Evans is very good.  Sometimes you will find the sausage is made with sage.  If you don't like the sausage leave it out entirely.

  • 1 bag of sage stuffing mix or purchase plain.
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 of a roll of pork sausage
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (sweet or vidalia)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. butter

  1. Place the stuffing mix in a bowl.  Add in all of the dried spices.
  2. In a saute pan, melt the butter and add in the onions and celery.  Cook until the vegetables have softened.
  3. Add the onions and celery to the stuffing mix and the pork sausage and the chicken broth. Mix well.
  4. If the dressing does not seem moist enough, add in more chicken broth.
  5. Place the mixture in your turkey or in a casserole dish to bake as a "dressing" on the side. You will need to cover the dressing and bake at 325 - 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes to insure that the sausage is thoroughly cooked.

Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream
For a 5 pound bag of potatoes it would be about 6 - 8 ounces of sour cream. It all depends on your taste. Add a little at a time while mashing and taste as you go along. You could dress it up with some chopped fresh chives as you would make for a twice baked potato.

Instead of having all pies, I thought it would be fun to throw in some other types of desserts. The Rugelah is a pie based dough with filling and easy to make and not expensive either.
Buy the pound cake from a local grocery store as most of the stores bake shops carry it. What ever berries you can find the most inexpensively can be put in a sauce pot with some sugar and water and cooked down to have a nice berry and syrup to go over the pound cake. Add some whipped cream to go on top and it's a nice addition to the dessert table.

Dinner Rolls - any bakery or dinner roll is nice to have on the table to soak up all that luscious gravy you have made.

 Honoring our Native Americans with whom the first Thanksgiving was shared. May God bless them for their heritage, their tribal traditions and the way in which they honored the land, all creatures, water and sky.
They are an example to all of us who
need reminding that our planet is to be cherished and not taken for granted.  

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