This is the time to jot down notes about what worked about this year's Thanksgiving menu and what didn't work. Dinner was really good, but there were some variations to recipes as we cooked on Wednesday and Thursday.
I had planned to stuff my turkey with stuffing this year in spite of all of the warnings against that. But . . . when I psyched myself into believing two turkeys may be needed instead of just one, we prepped them a day early and stuffed them with a mixture of lemons, oranges, celery, onions, sage, parsley, rosemary, and thyme. We smeared them with an herb butter (one stick of butter for each turkey softened and mixed with one Tbsp Poultry Seasoning and 1 tsp salt). The herb butter gets smeared on and under the skin. The turkeys were sprinkled with salt and pepper and placed in a Reynolds cooking bag. They went into the refrigerator overnight.
The turkeys went into the oven on Thanksgiving Day at noon. They baked at 450 degrees for the first hour and then the temp was reduced to 325 degrees for about 2 1/2 more hours. Once they came out of the oven, I let them sit and rest for about an hour as the final dishes were prepped. My kids still like to help cut the turkey. We all love that tasty crispy skin! My hubby complains about any recipe that includes fresh herbs -- he said the turkey had a funny taste -- but everyone else thought it was yummy!
The Chutney this year was a no-go. I didn't like this recipe. It will be back to an old recipe next year. This one was far too savory. It needed to me much sweeter.
The Jell-o Magic Mousse was made exactly as written and it was great! I made it the day before so it had lots of time to set and came out of the mold absolutely perfectly. I used Lemon Jell-o for the first layer and Mango for the next. It was as pretty as it was tasty.
The Green Bean Casserole was the biggest change. We didn't make the standard recipe. We changed this up using no canned or bottled products - fresh ingredients only. It was really good! (Watch for the post for Best Ever Green Bean Casserole)
I left my gravy recipe alone. It took lots of years, but that recipe has been perfected. Luke told me this year's was the best gravy ever :) I started with about 12 cups of water for the turkey stock and then used the stock not only for the gravy, but also in the Green Bean Casserole, the stuffing, and mashed potatoes.
I love my normal stuffing recipe, but it's never quite as good when at least part of it not cooked in the turkey. It lacks that extra flavor and moisture. I always try to add a little extra turkey stock to the stuffing to make sure it's moist.
See my posts for Sweet Potato-Pecan Casserole and Spectacular Mashed Potatoes for those recipes. They are a can't miss.
There were changes made to the Pecan Pie, but the Perfect Pumpkin Pie remained unchanged. Watch for the Southern Pecan Pie recipe in the next day or two.
Dinner was great. Family and friends make it that way. I think we've just about perfected the menu. That's easy to say now . . . next year I'll be busy looking for new ideas like usual :).
I hope you find a few good ideas to share with your family next year.