To brine, or not to brine…. not quite Shakespeare, but close enough for the holiday hostesses!
When it comes to the actual turkey for Thanksgiving, there are different schools of thought for how to get the best result for your guests. However, there are so many items that ultimately end up on the table that the turkey becomes just one component. Once it's smothered in gravy... trust me, no one will care what turkey method you used.
For me, I stick with my Grandma’s technique every year for my turkey prep. First, I rub olive oil and herbs all over the top of the turkey, then fill the bottom of the pan with chicken stock, chunks of onion and apples, and cover the turkey with foil.
I let the oven do most of the work for me until about an hour or so before it’s done. At this time I take the foil off, baste a little and enjoy the wonderful smells it creates throughout the house as family members take a peek when I open the oven door. We always take photos of the turkey coming out of the oven and my husband carving a piece as kids sneak a bite off the cutting board!
To be honest with you, we have more conversations in our house about the stuffing than the turkey itself! In all seriousness, I think the stuffing is what sets the stage for each Thanksgiving meal. Each family or friend’s tradition is really all about whether you stuff the turkey or make it separately in a pan (which makes it dressing). Then there is the question of bread crumbs, corn bread, gluten free, vegetarian, etc.
We have all of the above, so we end up with two versions to share on our Thanksgiving table. Once again, I defer to my grandma and stuff our turkey with traditional stuffing that has lots of celery, onion, sausage, mushrooms and fresh herbs. My daughter brings ‘dressing’ in a casserole dish made with gluten free cornbread and lots of deliciousness. It's equally enjoyed by all of us!
There are some great alternatives that can set your table apart from the competition like thiseasy stuffingrecipe from that has blackberries and butternut squash - a perfect side dish that serves as either a vegetable side or dressing.
We are also serious about our cranberry sauce because it is part of the leftover fixings when we get into making sandwiches the next day or later that night watching our first Christmas movie. Cranberry sauce is the ultimate condiment for any leftover sandwich. We make ours from scratch!
This is the easiest, most delicious ‘go to’cranberry-raspberrysauce for sure. I make it every year! All of the flavors work so well together that I highly recommend trying this colorful addition for your Thanksgiving table. Just make sure you save some for the sandwiches later!
Lastly, as we all sit down at the table to enjoy the colorful, flavorful meal, we have one more tradition the kids roll their eyes at every year: taking turns around the table to say what we are thankful for before we take our first bite. Sometimes the kids surprise us with heartfelt thanks for being together and for family. Sometimes, they just say they are thankful for the food and just want to hurry up and eat it. (Who can blame them?)
Wishing you a wonderful and thankful holiday as you enjoy your own shared traditions or begin building new ones this year. Cheers!