Though we usually have a big fanfare with Dan’s family and mine on Thanksgiving, we ended up with just a small, casual foursome this year. Dan and I headed to my parents’ house to give thanks, and we were each in charge of something special. My parents took on the task of the turkey, cranberry salad, vegetables and dessert. Dan was given an appetizer assignment, while I took on all things potato (was anyone really surprised by this? no.) Everyone picked their recipes and showed up in a big way. It was a holiday filled with laughter, love, great food and plenty of Euchre. I took 198 photos, but below are just a few of them for your enjoyment.
This 25 pound gobbler didn’t even know what he had coming. I also had a stern discussion with my parents about foodborne illnesses and proper sanitary procedure when dealing with raw poultry. See THIS article from Men’s Health if you’d like to scare/educate yourself a bit. As you can see below, we stuffed and stitched him before getting him into the oven.
He also went through the added indignity of injection (with butter) – the needle being used is about the same size as the one that was utilized to administer my flu shot last week. It HURT!
After we popped him in the oven, we had some time to kill before we needed to begin work on our side dishes, so most of us sat down to watch some football, while Dan got to work on his portion of Thanksgiving – the appetizer.
Dan often makes up his own recipes, so that very well could have happened here, but if not, I will definitely get him to share because his snack was DELICIOUS! He made artichoke bruschetta with parmesan. Very tasty!
We all agreed that this beat out any veggie tray! We fought over the last piece. Charlie Brown would have been ashamed of us.
Both the dishes that I was supervising required a lot of prep-work in the form of roasting. Luckily, my dad helped me out with his patented roasting technique. Tinfoil!
I needed to roast garlic, Yukon potatoes, sweet potatoes and turnips to prepare for both my healthified potato dishes – sweet potato casserole and garlic mashed potatoes. Once everything was nice and tender, I got to work with the masher.
The recipe I chose for the sweet potatoes was from Eating Well Magazine and can be found here. Instead of piling on the marshmallows and adding loads of butter, this dish gets its sweet flavor from honey and a lower-cal pecan streusel topping. Orange zest really livens up the flavor and makes it a bit different than any sweet potato dish I’ve ever made before.
The mashed potato recipe can be found here, courtesy of Clean Eating Magazine (my fave!) It calls for turnips, cauliflower and lower fat sour cream and milk to cut some calories without scrimping on taste or texture! After the fact, I realized that we probably could have used Greek Yogurt instead of the sour cream, as well.
Plenty of garlic was used, which means this dish was great for boosting everyone’s immunity!
As I was finishing up my cooking, everyone else was bustling around the kitchen as well. Penny contributed by sitting in her usual spot by the fridge and hoping that scraps would fall.
Even though Dan’s job was technically complete, he didn’t mind helping out. What a team player!
Eventually, everything was browned, sauteed, roasted and smelling wonderful, so we sat down to dinner.
The turkey was moist and juicy. Cooked to perfection (and it only took seven hours!)
The stuffing and cranberry salad were traditional and tasty. They were as good as they have been for the past 20 years my mom’s been making them.
Even without as much fat and butter, I thought the potato dishes turned out really wonderfully as well.
Penny thought so too, and helped clean out the mashed potato bowl before it went in the dishwasher.
After dinner, we dug into the desserts over a friendly card game and a viewing of Elf to kick off the holiday season. My dad had prepared pumpkin pie!
He also made a little one for taste testing beforehand. You know, so we could make sure that it was legit!
All in all, a very successful Thanksgiving. Next up? CHRISTMAS!!!!