Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and I couldn’t be more excited. what other holiday lets you pig out on good food and its perfectly acceptable? We usually have a big big spread of food but this year like last we are missing some of the family since we now have to share them with her other new family. Sigh the things we have to miss with our kids when they grow up and get lives of their own.
Some of my favorite memories growing up are spending thanksgivings with extended family and having 5-8 types of jello salad, 2-3 types of stuffing, ham and turkey, casseroles, veggies, cakes and pies of every type……….oh yeah a kids dream come true. As an adult however we have always kept thanksgiving just immediate family and a few guests if we find someone with no place to go. This means its not so elaborate but we still hold to our favorite foods. We each pick one that we just can’t do without.
Turkey: It doesn’t matter if we have 4 or 14 people at our house we get the biggest turkey we can find. One year I found a 30lb turkey but this year its a measly 23lbs. My husband loves turkey leftovers and it freezes well for casseroles down the line.
Traditional Stuffing: You can’t have thanksgiving without stuffing. We make so much of this stuff, just like the turkey the more the better. Some years we make several loaves of bread ourselves and other years we just buy it and season and dry the bread for the stuffing. We love a good Sage based stuffing filled with onions, celery, mushrooms, giblets and seasonings. I can smell it now. (my favorite leftover is putting shredded turkey in the stuffing with some cheese and mixing it up and heating it to a gooey goodness)
Oyster Stuffing: My husband and I had this amazing dish our very first thanksgiving together as kids. Yes we were kids (15 and 17) and it has been on our table ever since. Oysters cooked in buttered cracker crumbles. Some people call it scalloped oysters but I think the make up is just a little different. Of course we have to buy twice as many oysters because this is one of those dishes where you eat 1/2 of it while you are cooking. We love our oysters, its my husband’s and me favorite thing together other than sushi which one day when the kids are grown and gone may be a thanksgiving dish too. who knows.
7-layer salad: We always try to have a somewhat healthy dish to add a light feeling to our meal. Plus this is my middle daughters favorite dish and she can eat it forever I think. Its not so healthy with the mayo and the sugar but it has your veggies like peas, onions and lettuce. We don’t do any other veggies like green bean casseroles so this is it.
Jello Salad: We don’t always have a jello salad because no one will eat it but me. but when I do make it, its a dream salad. One of my momma’s specialty salads she would make. filled with lemon jello, Colby cheese, walnuts, pineapples and so much more. the flavors together are just enticing and I like my daughters salad above could eat this for the rest of my life and be happy.
Mashed Potatoes: Another one of my husbands favorites. We make a big big batch of potatoes that we can douse in homemade gravy. And with leftovers you can make potato and stuffing or potato and turkey cakes. I don’t like left over potatoes but I will eat a big glop of it for thanksgiving doused with gravy. My husband makes the best gravy.
Sweet potato souffle: We don’t do the traditional sweet potatoes covered in gooey marshmallows although I did love that as a kid. We make a sweet souffle that is just as good as any dessert that will be put on the table. A mashed sweet potato with brown sugar and vanilla flavors and a crumble topping. drooling.
The good part………
Pies: We all differ on the types of pies we like. Husband likes traditional pumpkin, middle daughter likes apple, me and my oldest like pecan (well I like mincemeat but have yet to have one as an adult on my own) and my youngest well he don’t like pie, he is more of a brownie or cake type person. Usually we make all three pies but this year we are just sticking to apple with vanilla ice cream on top.
Deviled eggs: We make two types of these every year as my husband likes the more traditional deviled egg but a little on the garlicky side. the rest of us like a very sweet deviled egg. the kids have fun making them so we make two big batches every year.
Rolls: We alternate between fresh homemade and store bought Scharrs rolls each year. Sometimes I have time to make homemade other time no. but rolls are definite must especially sandwiches with leftovers.
Extras: We have all the little extras that go along with thanks giving like cranberry sauce, gravy, dill pickles, sweet pickles, black olives, green olives, klamata olives, sparkling apple cider and I am sure I am missing some but this will get you started.
I will post a few recipes so that you can see and perhaps add them to your thanksgiving table. There is so much to be thankful for each year. Kids growing up, new members added to the family, health, and life itself. Enjoy every day just not one day out of the year.
What are your traditions? what are you favorites?