Thanksgiving Recipes

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner with our family. Scott’s mom, step-dad and niece, Jennifer came for dinner, and we ate like royalty. We tried some new things this year, and it was one of the best meals we’ve ever had. Here I’ll share the recipes I used.

First, I decided I was going to brine the turkey this year. I’ve never done it before, so it was definitely going to be a new experience. The first obstacle I had to overcome was finding a container LARGE enough to hold a mess load of liquid and an over 20-lb turkey. Well, after scouring lots of coolers, we finally found a container that would work. It was an old laundry detergent plastic container that was being used for other storage items. So after soaking in hot water and dish soap for a few hours, and then was ready for brine! I prepared the brine the night before Thanksgiving and stuck the turkey in the brine and put the whole container in the garage to keep it cold throughout the night. I let my turkey sit in the brine for about 12 hours total. Then I added an Herb Rub under the skin before I cooked it. It was the best-tasting, moistest turkey I’ve ever had!!!

Tammy with Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle and Jennifer with Cherry Pie

Along with the turkey, I made some white wine gravy, buttermilk mashed potatoes, roasted season vegetables, ears of corn, cranberry sauce, and rolls. For dessert, I made a pumpkin gingerbread trifle, and Jenn made a wonderful cherry pie. That girl has a knack for making great pies! She makes her own crust, and it comes out so good and professional looking!

You’ll find some of the recipes I used below. Enjoy them, we sure did!

Hawaiian-Style Turkey Brine

* 4 quarts pineapple juice
* 2 cups brown sugar
* 1 1/3 cups soy sauce
* 1 cup light maple syrup
* 1 cup salt (1 1/2 cups Kosher or coarse salt)
* 6 cloves garlic, cut into halves
* 4-6 whole bay leaves
* 2 tablespoons red pepper, crushed

Combine all ingredients. Place turkey in large dish or container and pour brine over. Cover and allow to brine for 1 hour per pound.
Herb-Rubbed Turkey

* 2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
* 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
* Coarse salt and ground pepper

1. In a small bowl, combine sage, thyme, marjoram, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lowest position. Place turkey on roasting rack set in a large roasting pan. Working from both ends of the turkey, slide fingers under skin to separate it from the flesh (being careful not to tear skin). Spread herb rub under skin.
3. Loosely fill neck cavity and large cavity with 4 cups stuffing. Using kitchen twine, tie legs together securely. Rub all over with butter, and season generously with salt and pepper. Place neck, giblets, and 3 cups water in bottom of roasting pan.
4. Cook according to time and weight on package.
White-Wine Gravy

Prep: 35 minutes Total: 35 minutes

For a silky-smooth gravy, whisk constantly as you gradually add flour to the pan. You can make this recipe to accompany any turkey, but it’s particularly delicious with the Herb-Rubbed Turkey.

Serves 8.
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
* Coarse salt and ground pepper

1. While the turkey rests, place the roasting pan on the stove across two burners (if using a disposable roasting pan, scrape drippings and browned bits into a medium saucepan). Heat drippings over medium-high, scraping up browned bits, until thickened, about 10 minutes.
2. Add wine; cook, stirring constantly, until syrupy, 5 to 6 minutes. Gradually whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1 minute. Gradually add 1 cup broth; cook, whisking, until flour is a deep caramel color, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Gradually stir in remaining broth and 4 cups water. Bring to a simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, until gravy reaches desired thickness, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove neck and giblets, and strain gravy through a fine-mesh sieve; discard solids. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

* 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk
* 2 Tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces

Place potatoes in a large saucepan; add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil; add 1 tablespoon salt, and cook until potatoes are very tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 20 to 25 minutes.
Drain; place in a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher, then add buttermilk and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Mash until combined.
Serves 4
Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

* 1 (14-ounce) package gingerbread mix
* 1 (5.1-ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
* 1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
* 1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping
* 1/2 cup gingersnaps, optional

Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cardamom into the pudding. Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped topping. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped topping. Sprinkle of the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired. Refrigerate overnight. Trifle can be layered in a punch bowl.

*** The only difference we will make to this recipe is…instead of putting the frozen Cool Whip on the top, we will use the spray can of whipped topping, and only put it on right before serving. We tried it with the cool whip and then put it in the refrigerator, and it ended up expanding and making a mess all over our fridge! ***

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