What’s On My Thanksgiving Menu
Here’s what’s on tap at Kitchenette Farm for Turkey Day, with a few do-ahead tips thrown in for good measure. Please keep in mind that I will be cooking in one small oven, so I’m being strategic with my menu. Most of this will be prepped, assembled or made ahead. And I’m not afraid to add some purchased items to ease the strain of hosting. Our family is arriving from out of town, and for many of them it will be their first time at our farm, so I want to be as organized as possible so I can relax with family. But I’ll definitely be bossing everyone around and delegating tasks to family members!
Nosh and Mingle
Our appetizer situation is inspired by an article I read about Rebekah Peppler’s style of entertaining in her Paris apartment, just sub in my family and Fayetteville, Texas. Basically, I’ve decided I don’t want to serve any appetizers that need much effort or an oven.
Roasted Cocktail Nuts with Rosemary and Sage (an updated version of this recipe is in my cookbook)
Blue Cheese or Stilton drizzled with an ample amount of Kitchenette Farm Honey and served with toasted pecans and sliced baguette
Salty Lay’s Potato Chips in a Fancy Bowl. Or top each potato chip with a dollop of lemony creme fraiche and some caviar. Fill a platter with the caviar-topped potato chips and sprinkle with chives.
Chapel Hill Sausage grilled on the old-school Weber, sliced and served with various mustards
The Main Event
Collard Green Salad with Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Apples and Pomegranates. You can make this salad with kale instead of collard greens if you prefer, but be sure to remove the center stem. Here’s a video that shows you how I make it. Toss it with an apple cider-shallot Super Simple Salad Dressing. Here’s a video that shows how to make the vinaigrette. Do ahead: Make the vinaigrette up to a week ahead and store it in the refrigerator.
Our turkey this year is a combination of a smoked whole turkey we purchased from Feges BBQ in Houston and a Diestel organic turkey breast that I will make in the slow cooker, similar to this method. I’ll coat the skin with the blackening seasoning that’s in my cookbook and also here. Do ahead: Make the spice mix ahead of time. Move the bone-in turkey breast to the fridge on Monday. On Wednesday, put the turkey breast on a roasting rack placed on a sheet pan and sprinkle the skin liberally with kosher salt.
Dressing. My husband likes a very simple version with lots of turkey stock and butter and I don’t really care about stuffing, so we make it his way! For this, it’s a store-bought stuffing mix with lots of added onion and celery cooked in butter, turkey stock and a little egg to bind everything together. Do ahead: Assemble this the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Once the dressing is in an Emile Henry pan and cooled, I add a layer of plastic wrap that touches the top layer of the dressing and then foil. Add a sticky note with the cooking instructions and name of the recipe, and don’t forget to remove the plastic wrap before cooking! Everything in my freezer will move to the fridge on Wednesday.
Savory Bread Pudding. This year, I used toasted Challah bread, spinach and shredded parmesan. Instead of milk, use turkey broth. Do ahead: Exactly the same as above!
Cheesy Corn Casserole from Bon Appetit. Don’t use low-fat anything for this! Do ahead: I will assemble this on Wednesday and store in the fridge overnight. Cook on Thanksgiving day.
Green Bean Casserole from Love & Lemons, but we’ll use the crispy onions from Trader Joe’s!
Sweet Potato Casserole with Gingersnap Crust. Do ahead: Roast and peel the sweet potatoes and once they are cooled, store them in the refrigerator. Top the sweet potatoes with the ginger snap topping on Thanksgiving day and cook as directed.
Mashed Potatoes. I make my Simple Mashed Potatoes but to dress them up for a holiday, stir in a garlic and herb-infused heavy cream that is heated on the stove with lots of Kerrygold butter. This year I purchased pre-made mashed potatoes from Belong Bakery in Houston and I might doctor them up with my infused heavy cream! Do ahead: If you want to make the mashers ahead of time, top them with a thin layer of melted butter and freeze them until the night before you need them. Warm them in a slow cooker or on the stovetop and taste for seasoning.
Cranberry Pie with Streusel from Smitten Kitchen
Pumpkin Pie. I used the linked filling recipe but I make my own pie crust. I fully support purchasing a store-bought crust if making your own stresses you out. Thanksgiving Day is not the day to master something new.
Pumpkin Roll. An order from Belong Bakery.
Mascarpone Whipped Cream. Do ahead: Make this a couple of days ahead. The mascarpone will help it hold its shape. Recipe below!
Mascarpone Whipped Cream
Reserve the scraped vanilla pod to tuck into your canister of sugar or to a bottle of homemade vanilla extract – it will scent the sugar and slightly flavor it. Makes 2 1/2 cups whipped cream.
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, very cold
- 1 vanilla bean scraped clean with the blunt edge of a knife, or 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ cup mascarpone to help the whipped cream hold its shape
- Chill a clean stainless steel bowl in your freezer for 15 to 20 minutes or more. Make sure the cream is very cold.
- Add the vanilla, heavy cream, sugar and mascarpone to the bowl. Whisk until soft peaks form. It’s easiest to use a standing mixer with the whisk attachment!