Thanksgiving Dinner, Compliments to My Amazing Mom

This is a little late, but I wanted to combine the recipes for each dish my mom and I made for our small family Thanksgiving dinner. I will say, although I helped my mom find the recipes, she did most of the work. Mad props to my mother for putting this all together. You truly are incredible and I love you so much!

The lineup!

  • Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad
  • Whiskey Sausage Apple Stuffing
  • Turkey from Package Recipe
  • Hawaii Sweet Potatoes
  • Bacon Mashed Potatoes
  • Costco Gravy with Turkey Meat
  • Cranberry from Package Recipe

Thanksgiving Dinner

Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad

This was ridiculously amazing! What do you expect with fresh delicious ingredients. This was probably my personal favorite of the entire dinner, but that’s just because I love a fresh, colorful, delicious salad! I found this recipe while hunting around on Pinterest. Here’s the original recipe. It’s amazing as-is, but my mom suggests using goat cheese rather than feta.

Thanksgiving Dinner

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and halved
  • 6 cups halved cherry, grape, and pear tomatoes in varied colors
  • 1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup sliced basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Boil asparagus in a large pot of salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Mix asparagus with remaining ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well (coat evenly with dressing or serve on the side)

Whiskey Sausage Apple Stuffing

As said by everyone in my family, this is the best stuffing we’ve ever had. Personally, I despise stuffing, and even I went back for thirds! I found this recipe on CountryLiving and it sounded so unique, I just had to give it a shot.

Thanksgiving Dinner

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cup(s) (2 large) Diced Apples
  • 1/2 cup(s) Raisins
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) Apple Juice, unfiltered
  • 2 teaspoon(s) Nutmeg, ground
  • 1 pinch(s) Cayenne Pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon(s) Cinnamon, ground
  • 1 teaspoon(s) Chopped Fresh Sage
  • 1 tablespoon(s) Salt
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) Butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup(s) Whiskey
  • 8 (1 pound) Sausage Links, Chicken, Turkey, Or Pork, About 2 Ounces Each, removed from casings and cooked
  • 8 cup(s) Cornbread Stuffing
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) Pecans, chopped and toasted

PREPARATION

  1. In a bowl, combine apples, raisins, apple juice, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, sage, salt, butter, and whiskey. Mix to combine and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, add cooked chunked sausage, cornbread stuffing, and pecans; mix together.
  3. Ladle apple-raisin mixture over bread and sausage mixture. Mix to combine.
  4. Transfer mixture to a non-stick or greased loaf pan or deep cast-iron skillet. Bake uncovered at 400°F for 35-45 minutes or until set and top crusted.

Turkey from Package Recipe

Nothing too crazy here. The recipe on the package was great! And to make it even better? My mom’s secret: After roasting the Turkey, take it out and keep it covered with aluminum foil for at least an hour. This keeps the turkey juicy and tender.

After slicing it up for serving, we boiled the neck to get the small pieces off – putting this into the store bought gravy to make it tastier. We also boiled the carcass to get all the left overs and made a turkey soup for lunch the next day.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Hawaii Sweet Potatoes

This is a strong contender for my favorite dish. My mom planned to make her usual sweet potato recipe, which requires yams rather than sweet potatoes. Since the family has always called yams, sweet potatoes, we ended up picking up sweet potatoes by accident. For all of you who don’t know the difference, here’s a quick lesson:

Yams – closely related to lilies and grasses. Compared to sweet potatoes, Yams are starchier and drier.

Sweet Potatoes – members of the morning glory family. Skin color can range from white to yellow, red, purple, or brown. Flesh can be white to yellow, orange, or orange-red. There are two varieties, ‘firm’ and ‘soft.’ When cooked, those in the ‘firm’ category remain firm, while the ‘soft’ becomes soft and moist. It is the ‘soft’ varieties that are often labeled as yams in the United States.

Unless you specifically search for yams, which are usually found in an international market, you are probably eating sweet potatoes!

So we were probably eating ‘firm’ white sweet potatoes, regardless, they were much sweeter and we all enjoyed them more than the yams we’ve picked up in the past.

Thanksgiving Dinner

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows (optional)

PREPARATION

  1. Cook potatoes in water until fork tender; drain and mash.
  2. Add brown sugar, butter and seasonings. Beat until well blended. Fold in pineapple and beaten egg. Pour in buttered casserole and bake in oven at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes or until browned.
  3. If desired, sprinkle marshmallows on top and bake 1-2 minutes until browned.

Bacon Mashed Potatoes

You can never go wrong with some basic mashed potatoes. This was a recipe my mom found in one of her cook books. I forgot to take a picture of the recipe, but it was pretty much basic mashed potatoes with bacon bits and green onion. A good contrast to the other strong-flavored dishes.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Costco Gravy with Turkey Meat

The gravy was very good. There wasn’t enough time (or enough dishes) to make homemade gravy, and Costco’s “homemade” gravy was good on it’s own. My mom boiled the Turkey neck after roasting and added the meat to the gravy for some extra flavor and consistency.

Cranberry from Package Recipe

You know, there’s nothing wrong with just using the recipe that comes with the package. This cranberry sauce was fantastic! My fiancé, who isn’t much of a cranberry sauce guy, went back for seconds. That tells you just how mild and sweet it was. We threw the package away, but this is a very similar recipe.

Thanksgiving Dinner

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1-12 oz bag fresh cranberries

PREPARATION

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring orange juice, brown sugar, and sugar to a boil.
  2. Add cranberries and reduce heat to medium. Cook sauce for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat. Allow cranberry sauce to cool and serve.

Thanks to my Family

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year and this meal was one of the most memorable and definitely the best. I look forward to experimenting with more recipes in the many years to come. Here are some more pictures from this awesome weekend.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Lemon Meringue Pie from my Uncle

Thanksgiving Dinner

My incredible Mom

Thanksgiving Dinner

My loving Dad – he did all the dishes!

Thanksgiving Dinner

My hilarious, loving, uncle & god father

My fiancé, growing his beard for no-shave-November <3

My fiancé, growing his beard for No-Shave-November ❤

And I couldn’t miss out on the cats, especially with all their fury with one another.

Taffy, my dad's new 2yo orange tabby.

Taffy, my dad’s new 2yo orange tabby.

Tifa - my sweetheart of 3 years

Tifa – my sweetheart of 3 years

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

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