Thanksgiving is a special celebration that most certainly deserves a special menu! Yet, in the quest for serving up a memorable meal, often times simple is best. And that’s what I love about the following recipes. Although they do take some time to make, each represents the simple, traditional flavors of Thanksgiving – nothing super fancy, just some classic family style dining at its best!
Alton Brown’s Perfect Roast Turkey
I’ve made a lot of roast turkeys throughout the years, but this recipe is by far my very favorite. The secret to this fantastically juicy and flavorful bird is the extra step of brining. By submerging the bird into a salty, seasoned bath, it becomes infused with an amazing combination of flavors and doesn’t loose it’s moisture during the roasting process.
Recommended Real Food Variations: When making this recipe, I substitute the refined brown sugar called for in the recipe with rapadura (sucanat) instead. I also use fresh peeled ginger rather than candied. In addition, I use a combination of butter and olive oil place of canola oil. Another tip: If you don’t use or have a microwave, simply bring the aromatics to a boil rather than microwaving them as the recipe suggests. (Also note, you may want to start the bird at 475-degrees instead of the recommended 500-degrees, and then follow directions to reduce the temp as noted in the recipe.)
Healthier Homemade Stuffing
I may be a bit bias here, but this simple, yet savory herb stuffing is my family’s favorite complement to a perfectly roasted bird. (In fact, we like it so much, we enjoy it several times throughout the year and pair it with roast chicken or my quick-n-easy grilled herb turkey breasts.)
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Traditional Turkey Drippings Gravy
Creamy mashed potatoes covered in savory turkey gravy – yes, please! Frankly, I’m completely addicted to Ina Garten’s buttermilk mashed potatoes recipe, which is why I had to share it. And when you top these buttery whipped potatoes with some good old fashioned turkey pan drippings gravy, you’ve got a marriage made in heaven! I’ve never really written down my recipe for pan gravy, I just make the way my Dad taught me, but this recipe comes pretty close. (I remember as a kid thinking the giblets were so disgusting, but now I know better!)
Garlicky Green Beans
A simple, yet delicious side, garlicky green beans have been a family tradition since I was a wee-one! Ina Garten’s recipe is so similar to how I make these, except I use minced garlic instead. When serving these aromatic beans as part of a Thanksgiving meal, I reduce the garlic so that there’s just a hint. That way, it doesn’t overpower the other savory flavors on the plate.
Pumpkin Spice Cake
It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a pumpkin dessert of some kind! And although we adore pumpkin pie, rather than going the traditional route this year, I’ll be serving this incredibly moist and delicious pumpkin spice cake instead. My boys absolutely love this cake and pleaded for it to be on the menu, so how could I say no? LOL!
As we gather together with our families this holiday season, may our hearts be centered on bringing glory to the One from whom we’ve received abundant patience, mercy, grace and love!
Wishing you and your family a very blessed Thanksgiving, Kelly
P.S. Do you have a favorite holiday recipe or family tradition you’d like to share? I’d love for you to share a link in the comments below. It will be fun to see what everyone has planned for this special time of giving thanks and counting our many blessings!