Thanksgiving isn’t even here yet and look what I already made.



Don’t believe me?  Yeah, I don’t blame you.  But I feel like I should have a pretty pomegranate turkey to show for all the time and effort I’ve spent planning Thanksgiving dinner.

Not that I mind.  I LOVE Thanksgiving.  I didn’t think much of it growing up.  It felt like just another day that we ate dinner.  It wasn’t until I was an adult and started to enjoy cooking that I realized how awesome Thanksgiving is.

Since moving to California after college I developed the habit of travelling only for Christmas.  And since the Thanksgiving potluck catastrophe of 2008 (involving too much spiked Red Bull and too little turkey on Jason’s part…) we’ve done a small, intimate Thanksgiving at our house.

While I’m happy that Thanksgiving doesn’t look like a fraternity party with our 30 closest co-workers, I wouldn’t mind a few friends, some family and a little background bustle while I cook enough food for 12.  So if you’re in the neighboorhood or trying to get out of cooking like Elsha, stop by and celebrate with Jason and I!  Here’s what’s on the menu:

Turkey Breast

This is a great, simple recipe and perfect if you’re only two people and don’t need a whole turkey.  The first year I made it I forgot to rinse the brine off and it was amazing.  So now I intentionally forget to rinse the brine off.  I also forego all the herbs and onion because I don’t make gravy.  Because I don’t like gravy.  This year I’m thinking of adding some orange juice and spices to the baste.

Cranberry Sauce

I’m not a huge fan of sweet cranberry sauce, but I still feel like it needs to be on the plate.  Or, more specifically, on my turkey instead of gravy.  Last year I made a savory cranberry sauce that exceeded my expectations.  The only problem is I don’t remember what recipe I used or the gazillion changes I made to the recipe.  I will attempt to do something similiar this year and hope it turns out.

It will be loosely based on this recipe.  Modifications will include doubling the spices, cutting the sugar, zesting instead of slicing (both an orange and a lemon), and replacing the seedless serrano chile with a seedful jalapeno.

Stove Stop Stuffing

Because, frankly, I like it better than any homemade stuffing I have ever had.  Must be the salt.  Notice any patterns here?

Mashed Potatoes

I don’t really have any commentary for this one.

Fat Potatoes

Otherwise known as Scalloped Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Gratin with Fresh Herbs.  I will use only Yukon Gold (or Russet) potatoes and probably increase the cheese because apparently I am unable to leave a recipe alone.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are my absolute favorite vegetable.  I don’t think I ever had one as a child.  Not because I refused to eat them, but because they never entered my home.  I heard all kinds of stories about how they are supposed to be disgusting, but those stories all turned out to be fairy tales.  I would normally roast them, but the oven will be in high demand at my house on Thanksgiving.  So I will probably quarter and saute them instead.  And then I will add bacon because that fat potatoes just aren’t enough.


I plan to use the dressing (a nice staple) and lettuce combination from this recipe.  But even I only need one Brussels sprouts recipe.  So I’m thinking of replacing them with something in the green bean family.  I’ll probably just go for whatever looks tasty at Berkeley Bowl.  Maybe I’ll replace the pecans with another kind of nut too.  And why not add a little goat cheese?  Yeah, I don’t know why I’m even bothering with a recipe for this one.

Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

So easy and so yummy.

Cornbread Muffins

This will be a first for me and cornbread.  I’ll probably leave out the corn kernals because I already think I know how to make this recipe better.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

With a homemade crust that I still haven’t figured out how to do well.  But I never will if I don’t try, right?  I’m going to cave this time and use shortening.

Caramel Pumpkin Pie

With a pre-made crust so there’s at least one pie I don’t screw up.

And Some Kind of Berry Cheesecake

That I haven’t picked out yet.  Any suggestions?

We’ll still have leftovers come Thanksgiving 2012.

8 thoughts on “Leftovers

  1. This looks quite an elaborate feast! Too bad I am not in Northern California, because I am tempted to crash your party. I’ve never been in a “traditional” thanksgiving meal and I haven’t even tried most of these dishes. But where cheesecake is concerned, it’s classic with fresh strawberries on top, all the way! 🙂

  2. We don’t travel for Thanksgiving either. Well, except for the hour and a half drive to my parents’ house. Christmas is crazy trying to cram everyone in, and when we got married we let everyone know that Thanksgiving was gonna be our NON-hectic holiday. We will go to either my parents’ or his, rotating from year to year, and that’s it. So much more enjoyable that way!

  3. Sounds like next year I’ll be inviting myself to your house for Thanksgiving! Also, Kari and I were having a little laugh over how much you like cooking now, considering the number of nights you ate peanut butter crackers for dinner in college.

    Stuffing- yes, I like homemade, but stove top is the best.
    Brussel sprouts- while I don’t consider them a Thanksgiving dish, I do love them and hadn’t ever had them until I married Brian. My mom never made them.
    Pies- no traditional pumpkin pie? That’s my favorite. And if you need tips on homemade pie crust just let me know.

    • I think I would have liked cooking in college if I didn’t have homework and, instead, had money to buy good ingredients.

      I like pumpkin pie too, but thought I would give the caramel version a try. Jason’s not passionate about pumpkin pie so if it doesn’t turn out I will be the only one disappointed.

  4. Holy crap, I wish I was coming to your house for Thanksgiving! You’re way more of an ambitious cook that I am! (I’m not cooking Thanksgiving, but I’m just talking about overall.)
    To this day, I have never tried brussel sprouts. Maybe I’ll give them a try, just because you talked them up so much. 🙂

    • Come on over! That’s not out of your way, right? My only tip for first time Brussel sprouts eating is make sure not to over cook them and add a little fat (bacon or butter or even olive oil). That way you’ll like them and want to eat them again!

  5. Well if my family wasn’t in town I would certainly stop by 🙂 I’d even bring wine! Now I have always been a little baffled on the whole stuffing thing. Seeing as my family is from the South we make cornbread dressing. I’ve had stuffing one time and swore I’d never touch it again. Hmmm…maybe I’ll have to give it another try.

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