OK if you don't already know this, you should know that this is my all time favourite holiday (and Christmas DUH!)
I've attached a sample of my menu which often changes based on what my husband and extended family want, however; we don't deviate too much from this list. Also for all my vegetarian friends out there - I have got you covered!
The week off Thanksgiving, I try to cut and prep most of the veggies I'll need so they are ready to go. I also make my compound butter for the turkey, which is lemon zest, thyme and salt this week as well. Also, do not forget to pull out your turkey, if you bought it frozen, it needs time to thaw out. Here are some of our family favourites!
For the Best Sausage and Apple Stuffing, you'll need:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 tart apple (Granny Smith), cored and chopped
1/2 teaspoon each: dried sage, kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 large egg, beaten
3 cups cubed toasted bread or dry stuffing mix
Preheat oven to 375 degrees°F. Lightly coat an 8x8-inch or other medium-sized baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, crumbling with a spoon. Once sausage begins to brown, add butter, celery, onion, apple, sage, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in broth and egg. Add stuffing mix and stir to combine.
Pour into prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 15 minutes uncovered. Remove foil and bake until crisp. 15 to 20 minutes more.
***take out the sausage and substitute with veggie broth***
Vim's favourite Sriracha & Honey Brussel Sprouts!
1 1/2 lbs brussels sprouts
3 tbsp olive oil separated
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp sriracha
2 tsp honey
Preheat oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet
Trim off the outer, dry leaves, cut the bottom off and slice sprouts lengthwise.
In a large bowl, toss brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to coat thoroughly.
Transfer the brussels sprouts to baking sheet and roast until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes.
Place brussels sprouts back in bowl. Add remaining tablespoon olive oil, sriracha and honey and toss to coat evenly. Taste and season with kosher salt if necessary and serve.
***could substitute sriracha sauce for balsamic vinegar***
The crowd pleaser appetizer Mushrooms with Cream Cheese:
20 fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons minced garlic
8 ounce package cream cheese
3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees°F.
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and set aside, you’ll need these in a minute.
Use a damp cloth to wash the mushrooms.
Cut the hard part off the mushroom stems and discard. Chop up the remaining mushroom stems so that they are really fine.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Sauté the chopped mushroom stems and garlic for 5-10 minutes. Turn the heat to low. Stir in cream cheese, parmesan cheese, black pepper and oregano. Stir well.
Spoon about 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of mixture into each mushroom cap.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the mushrooms are nicely browned.
***Can also add italian sausage to this as well***
And now for the Vegetarian Entree!
This Quinoa Acorn is a great alternative to turkey
1/2 c. quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
1 c. vegetable broth
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 apple, cored and diced
1/2 c. shredded sharp, aged or smoked cheddar cheese
1/4 c. dried cranberries
2 tbsp. chopped sage
2 tbsp. chopped walnuts
salt + pepper to taste
1 egg, whisked
3 small acorn or sweet dumpling squash, cut into 1/2-inch slices (remove seeds & guts)
1 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tbsp. maple syrup
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray two rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray or oil and place squash rings on sheets.
Cook quinoa in broth according to package directions. Cool slightly.
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion. Cook about 10 minutes, or until onion is just beginning to brown. Add apple and cook about 5 minutes more, until apple is softened. Allow to cool slightly.
Combine quinoa, apple and onion mixture, cheese, cranberries, sage, and walnuts in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in egg.
In a small bowl, combine butter and maple syrup. Brush tops and insides of squash rings with butter mixture; season with salt and pepper.
Stuff quinoa filling into the center of each squash ring, pressing down to fit as much stuffing as possible without overflowing. Spray centers of squash rings with oil or cooking spray. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and squash is tender.
Hope these help you plan your Thanksgiving menu! In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have to say that I am so thankful for my wonderful husband and family. We've had some big life changes with moving back to Vancouver and starting new jobs, however; through it all God is faithful and always reminds us that He is watching over us. I pray you and your family have a great time making memories together as in the end, memories are what we have.