Thanksgiving Menu

22 Nov

If you know me, you know that I love cooking and consider myself a burgeoning “home chef.”  This year, I am semi-catering my family’s Thanksgiving dinner.  I say “semi” because my mom is providing the turkey and my sister Lynne is bringing her “killer corn” (so aptly named by our brother Brian eons ago).  I have five sisters and several of them either don’t cook very much or cook as minimally as possible.


My Thanksgiving Menu (sans turkey):


1.  Ina Garten’s Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms


from The Food Network


When I saw Ina make these easy-to-assemble appetizers a few weeks ago, I knew I had to included them on my menu.  The recipe involves marinating the mushrooms in marsala while you cook the sweet Italian sausage, scallions, marscapone cheese, breadcrumbs, et. al.  They look amazing and almost everyone I know loves stuffed mushrooms.  Make sure to get the extra-large sized mushrooms.  These can work as an hors d’oeuvre or a small side dish.  This recipe makes 16 mushrooms, or 6-8 servings.  As we will only have 8 at our table (and will miss those who can’t be there because they live in L.A. or are dining with in-laws), I will be making one batch.


2.  Martha Stewart’s Butter-Pecan Sweet Potatoes


from Martha Stewart


Some people do regular old mashed white potatoes, but I don’t think it’s a Thanksgiving table without some type of sweet potato.  I love sweet potatoes and this recipe is an easy, elegant twist on the marshmallow-brown sugar variety that graces many a table on Turkey Day.  The recipes calls for just a few ingredients (sweet potatoes, olive oil, coarse salt, butter, light brown sugar, pecan pieces, and a dash of cayenne pepper for bite) and is so easy to make.  Serve in a pretty dish.


3.  Paula Deen’s Good Old Country Stuffing


from The Food Network


This is hands-down the best stuffing recipe in the world.  I’ve been making it for a few years now and it’s always a hit.  My husband sometime eats it on its own the day after Thanksgiving.  It take some assembly, but the skill level is relatively easy.  There are quite a number of ingredients in this recipe, but it’s worth it.  Tip: if you don’t want to make your own bread crumbs (and to let you in on a little secret, I don’t), you can substitute 1 1/2 bags of Pepperidge Farm herb stuffing mix (and it’s just as delicious — trust me).   Though it says it makes 8-10 servings, I have found that it really makes enough for a small army, so if you’re only feeding 4 or 5 people, I would cut the recipe in half (unless you want a lot of leftovers, which is okay, of course — it is Thanksgiving, after all!)


4.  Woman’s Day Double-Pecan Chocolate Pie


from Woman's Day


This looks scrumptious!  I would have never thought to have mixed pecans and chocolate, but this is a sure-to-be yummy twist on the staid pecan pie.  It’s a “double” pecan because pecan pieces are included in the crust.  If you’re not a make-from-scratch pie crust type of person, I would not make this recipe at all, because I’m a firm believer in making your own pie crusts.  They’re actually not that hard to make, first of all, and second, store-bought frozen crusts are wimpy.  The frozen crusts are incredibly brittle and don’t do the pie justice.  Try your own crust and you tell the difference!  Here’s the recipe (courtesy Woman’s Day):



  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 cups pecans
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus 4 Tbsp, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips


In a food processor, pulse the flour, granulated sugar, 1/2 cup pecans and 1/4 tsp salt until the pecans are finely chopped.


Add 6 Tbsp cold butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 2 Tbsp cold water, pulsing until the dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add more water, 1 tsp at a time; do not overmix).


Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a 1-in.-thick disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.


Heat oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured piece of parchment, roll the disk of dough into a 12-in. circle. Slide onto a baking sheet and refrigerate until slightly firm, about 10 minutes.


Fit it into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-in. pie plate. If necessary, trim the dough so the overhang is even all the way around (about 1/2 in. from the edge of the rim).


Fold the overhang under itself to create a thicker rim of dough and crimp as desired. Refrigerate until ready to fill.


In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, 4 Tbsp melted butter and the remaining 1/4 tsp salt.


Stir in the chocolate chips and the remaining 2½ cups pecans. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pie crust. Bake for 30 minutes.


Cover the pie with foil and bake until filling is puffed and the center is just set, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let it cool to room temperature.





Or, as my little sister used to say, “Gobble, Gobble!”


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