Friday, December 14, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner

Yesterday's post should have given you a little hint about what's next: Thanksgiving dinner!! While I'm a bit untimely since Christmas is just around the corner, this is a story that cannot go untold. After countless Thanksgivings of pitching in it was finally my year to host the feast. I was pumped!

Our plans came about when my best friend, Sara, and her husband, Clay, decided to visit from West Virgina. To make matters even better, my boyfriend's family plans fell through so he was able to join us as well. Then, on Thanksgiving, two more friends (Deneen and Dave) joined in the festivities. It was a delightfully packed (aka cramped) house.

When offering up to host Thanksgiving, Sara was happy to help. She had already cooked a full Thanksgiving spread for her husband the year prior and used an amazing tool to help: It is one of the best thing ever! You upload recipes from any website, then plan it on a calendar and it generates a grocery list for you. Check it out. You won't be disappointed.

Okay, on to the menu! We planned the following amazing dishes:
- Broccoli Bake
- Cheesy Green Bean Casserole
- Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Cornbread, Bacon, Leek and Pecan Stuffing
- Worlds Simplest Turkey

It was an incredible meal with tons of leftovers but it was definitely loved by all. I provided links above to most dishes but check out a few recipes and photos below!

Broccoli Bake Recipe:
1 1/2 lbs broccoli, separated into flowerets
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup Bisquick or Jiffy baking mix
1/4 cup butter

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Heat 1 inch salted water (1/2 teaspoon salt to 1 cup water) to boiling. Add broccoli. Cover and heat to boiling. Cook until stems are almost tender, 10 to 12 minutes; drain. Place broccoli in ungreased 1 1/2­ qt.  casserole dish.
3) Heat oven to 400°. Beat soup and milk with hand beater until smooth; pour over broccoli. Sprinkle with cheese. Mix baking mix and margarine until crumbly; sprinkle over cheese. Bake until crumbs are light brown, about 20 minutes.

The broccoli bake was a new dish for me but my boyfriend grew up on eating this every holiday so it was a must this year. In an ironic twist, he learned that mushrooms are in the dish. He absolutely HATES mushrooms. He was devastated and of course, took matters into his own hands. While prepping the dish, he stepped in and strained the mushrooms from the soup. In the end, it did not change the taste and thankfully put his mind at ease.

Top left: Green Bean Casserole, Top right: Broccoli Bake, Bottom Left: Stuffing, Bottom Right: Mashed Potatoes

Now it wouldn't be a Thanksgiving post without talking turkey. We found our recipe from Food Network but had also spent a few hours glued to the TV and liked the idea of changing things up a bit. A lot of recipes suggest stuffing butter under the skin so we did that as well and placed a few sage leaves. It was delicious, though we had a little grease fire issue. Oops!

Before and after. Gobble gobble!!

Obviously, dinner takes some time to cook so we started with a few crowd pleasers. The first is a snack I made for a football watch, that my boyfriend fell in L.O.V.E with! If you make nothing else between now and the Super Bowl, try this Loaded Baked Potato Dip!

After that made it's way around the room we served Bacon and Jalepeno Stuffed Crescent Rolls. We found these amazing bites on Pinterest. (Go figure!) There no't actual measurements available for this but we rolled out the crescent dough and on each piece of dough we placed a small piece of the leftover cooked bacon from the loaded baked potato dip and placed it atop chopped bits on jalepenos and rounded it off with a dollop of cream cheese. Next, we rolled the dough and placed in the oven on 400 degrees until the crescents were golden brown. They were delish!!

Top: Loaded Baked Potato Dip, Bottom: Bacon Jalepeno Crescent Rolls

Finally, we topped of our meal in a nontraditional way. No one really spoke up about wanting pie so we made an amazing Apple Bread Braid. Sara made this last year and said it was great. She was absolutely right! I was super excited to make bread from scratch and finally put the bread hook on my Kitchen Aid mixer to work! It was pretty fun to watch too. Once the braid was topped with the hot glaze, it was phenomenal!!

That, my friends, closes out my first home cooked Thanksgiving meal. I had one of the best times ever cooking with my best friend then sharing it with a group of friends. I can't wait to do it again next year!

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