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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A friendly Thanksgiving

This year my best friend Amanda and I decided to do our own Thanksgiving. We thought it would be so fun to cook our own turkey, and try new recipes, since both of us just usually go to our parent's house, and so we miss out on that opportunity. We decided to go ALL OUT. Turkey, stuffing, candied yams, spinach bacon salad, potatoes and gravy, rolls, cranberry sauce, olives, etc. most of which was homemade and new recipes! Did I mention we made 3 pies as well? All this food, for 4 people. We took an entire Saturday to prepare and cook this feast. We got out my Grammie's china and broke out the Martenellis. By the time we actually sat down to eat, Manda and I were so exhausted we barely had energy to eat it! During the feast, maniacal laughs started coming from Manda, and tears and moaning soon followed. We both were laughing, moaning and crying as we fell out of our seats and crawled to the couch and floor, completely and utterly useless. The feast was spectacular, and we loved the new recipes we tried, but needless to say, we will not be attempting THAT again, unless we find more willing souls to help cook! Haha, it was an experience, and I can tell you now, that my gratitude for my mother has greatly increased!

Here are some of the recipes we followed. They were absolutely delicious! I encourage you to try them, even if you do not typically like stuffing or yams. These are winners!

1 stick butter
4 or 5 large fresh yams or sweet potatoes
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon OR 1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger root
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 to 2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Peel yams or sweet potatoes (either may be used). Cut into 1 inch cubes or wedges.

Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish generously.

Arrange yams in baking dish.

In a saucepan, melt butter, and stir sugar until dissolved over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup water and spices.

Bring to a boil, add maple syrup; reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Pour butter mixture over the yams, turning them over to coat well. Cover the yams tightly with aluminum foil and bake on center rack in oven, basting the potatoes with the butter syrup once or twice during the baking for about 45 minutes or until fork tender.

Cooks Note: If adding mini-marshmallows, spread them evenly over the top of the potatoes at this time, and broil for 5-10 minutes or until lightly browned, otherwise proceed with next step.

When the potatoes are done, remove foil. Bake on the upper third of the oven at 475°F until the syrup has thickened and the potatoes are just beginning to caramelize (about 2 minutes - but watch carefully and do not allow them to burn; if they are browning too quickly reduce oven temperature).

Baste with additional butter before serving.

Apple and Onion Stuffin Muffins


  • Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 fresh bay leaf, available in produce department
  • 4 ribs celery and greens, from the heart, chopped (save time and purchase celery already washed, trimmed and cut into sticks, this makes chopping fast work)
  • 1 medium to large yellow skinned onion, chopped
  • 3 McIntosh apples, quartered and chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 8 cups cubed stuffing mix (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken stock, available in paper containers on the soup aisle


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil to skillet and 4 tablespoons butter. When butter melts, add bay leaf and add the vegetables as you chop them, celery, onions then apples. Sprinkle the vegetables and apples with salt, pepper andpoultry seasoning. Cook 5 to 6 minutes to begin to soften vegetables and apples then add parsley and stuffing cubes to the pan and combine. Moisten the stuffing with chicken broth until all of the bread is soft but not wet.

Butter 12 muffin cups, 2 tins, liberally with remaining butter. Use an ice cream scoop to fill and mound up the stuffing in muffin tins. Remove the bay leaf as you scoop the stuffing when you come upon it. Bake until set and crisp on top, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove stuffin' muffins to a platter and serve hot or room temperature.

Maple Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter


  • 1 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 bunch fresh sage, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (12 to 14-pound) fresh turkey, giblets, neck, and liver discarded
  • 8 strips bacon
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons hot water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and remove the top rack of the oven.

Put the butter and sage in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork or spoon until the sage is well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Rinse the bird thoroughly inside and out with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the cavity and skin liberally with salt and pepper. Using your fingers, gently lift the skin from the turkey breast and slip the remaining seasoned butter under, massaging the breast meat as you go. Truss the bird by crossing the legs over one another and tying with a piece of kitchen twine. Shingle the bacon strips over the breast so it's totally covered. Put the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan, cover the turkey with aluminium foil, and place in the oven.

In a small bowl, stir the maple syrup with 2 tablespoons of hot water to thin. Roast the turkey for 2 hours, basting with the mapleglaze every 30 minutes. Continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh registers 170 degrees F. The thigh juices will run clear when pricked with a knife, about 3 hours total (15 minutes per pound). About 1/2 hour before you think the turkey is done, remove the foil so that it can brown. When done take the turkey out of the oven and put the roasting pan on the stovetop. Transfer the turkey to a serving tray to rest at least 20 minutes before carving. Serve with Turkey Gravy

1 comment:

Katrina said...

Sounds yummy! Glad it was such a good day! Good for you to have the drive to do it yourself. As for me and my house...I like going to my parents or Ryan's parents! :) I'll do it as long as I can (I'm not a very good cook!) :)