Our First Thanksgiving Dinner Party

AAHHH… That’s my sigh of relief and happiness.  Our dinner party couldn’t have gone any better.  I am so pleased.  My dad, mom, stepdad, Zack’s parents, two brothers and his brother, Caleb’s, girlfriend all came!

We have tons of leftovers, though.  I sent two whole trays of food home with my dad.  Next year, I won’t double the recipes like I did this time.

Everyone said everything was really good.  I’m so thankful for both of our families and for the fact that everyone gets along so that we can have dinners like this.

I spent all of today and yesterday cooking.  I am exhausted.  It feels so good to be sitting on my couch with my Zack doing nothing right now.

I’m just going to share all of the recipes from today in this post.  I hope you enjoy.

Be thankful for your families and for the time you get to spend with them.  I know I am.

Appetizer Course:

Here’s our appetizer table:


No Bones Chicken Wing Dip

Prep: 15 minutes

– 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

– 2 c (16 oz) sour cream

– 1 c ranch dressing

– 1/2 c buffalo wing sauce

– 2 1/2 c shredded cooked chicken

– 1 block (8 oz) Monterey jack cheese, shredded

– baby carrots, celery ribs, and crackers

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, salad dressing, and buffalo wing sauce until blended.  Stir in chicken and Monterey jack cheese.

Transfer mixture to a greased 2-qt baking dish.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Serve dip warm with baby carrots, celery, and crackers.

Yield 6 1/2 cups.

Main Course:

Our main table.  We used the oreo turkeys and little name cards as place cards.  I think it turned out adorable.


Roast Turkey

– 1 large turkey, neck and giblets removed

– 1/2 c butter, melted

– 2 large onions, peeled and chopped

– 4 carrots, peeled and chopped

– 4 stalks celery, chopped

– 2 sprigs fresh thyme

– 1 bay leaf

– 1 c dry white wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Thoroughly rinse turkey.

Brush turkey with melted butter.  Place breast side up on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan.  I cooked mine in an oven bag in a roasting pan.  Stuff the turkey cavity with 1 onion, 1/2 the carrots, 1/2 the celery, 1 sprig of thyme, and the bay leaf.  Scatter the remaining vegetables and thyme around the bottom of the roasting pan (in the bag for me) and cover with white wine.

Roast uncovered 3 1/2 – 4 hours in preheated oven until internal temperature of thigh reaches 180 degree.  Allow the bird to stand about 30 minutes before carving.

 Side Dishes:


Butterflake Rolls

1 t yeast

– 3/4 c very warm water

– 1/4 c sugar

– 1 egg

– 2 egg yolks

– 3/4 t salt

– 1/2 c buttermilk

– 2 1/2 – 3 c AP flour

– 1 stick butter, softened

Prepare a muffin tin for baking by spraying it with nonstick cooking spray, or tossing a small pat of butter into bottom of each cup.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix yeast in 1/4 c warm water until dissolved.  Add the sugar.  Whisk in the salt and eggs.  Beat in milk and remaining water until well mixed.

Use a wooden spoon to stir in about 2 1/2 cups of flour, adding more (up to 3 cups) as necessary to make a soft dough.  You want to be able to knead the dough and not have it stick to your fingers, but still have the dough be soft and pillowy.  Less is definitely more here.

Knead dough a few times.  Roll out dough to 1/2″ thickness and spread with a thin layer of butter (it should be about 2 tablespoons).  Fold dough in half, then spread with butter.  Repeat this 4 more times.

Once you’ve finished buttering, roll into 1/2″ thickness and cut dough into 1×1 inch squares.  Place 3-4 squares in each non-stick sprayed muffin tin.  Let rise about 45-60 minutes or until well-risen.

Bake in middle rack at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.


Stuffed Ham & Provolone Rolls

– 2 c herb flavored stuffing cubes

– 1/2 c boiling water

– 2 T + 2 t butter, divided

– 8 slices deli ham

– 8 slices provolone cheese

– 1 egg, beaten

– 1 T water

– 1/2 c dry bread crumbs

Combine stuffing, boiling water and 2 T butter.  Cover and let stand 5 minutes.  Top each ham slice with a cheese slice.  Spoon 1/4 c stuffing mixture over center of cheese; roll up and secure with a toothpick.  Whisk eggs and water together.  Roll ham rolls in egg mixture, then roll in bread crumbs.  In a large skillet over medium heat, saute ham rolls in remaining butter for 4-5 minutes, or until golden, turning only once.  Discard toothpicks before serving.

Yield: 8 rolls

Turkey Gravy

Prep: 10 min.  Cook: 7 min.

– 3 cans (14 oz each) chicken broth

– 1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup

– 1 t poultry seasoning

– 1/2 t black pepper

– 1/4 t garlic powder

– 1 c milk

– 1/3 + 2 T AP flour

– 2 T corn starch

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan.  Stir in soup and season with poultry seasoning, pepper, and garlic powder.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer.

Warm the milk in the microwave and whisk in the flour and cornstarch with a fork until there are no lumps.  Return the gravy to a boil, and gradually stir in the milk mixture.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until thickened.  Be careful not to let the bottom scorch.


Stuffing

– 4 T butter

– 1 medium onion, chopped

– 3 celery stalks, diced

– 1/2 t salt

– 1 t ground sage

– 1 t dry thyme

– 10 c dried unseasoned bread cubes

– 1 1/2 c chicken broth

– 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in a large pan.  Saute onions, celery, salt, sage, and thyme for 5 minutes on medium heat.  Turn off heat.  Add bread cubes and gently stir them into the onion mixture.  Slowly pour chicken broth over the bread cubes folding everything so the bread cubes do not break apart too much.  In a small bowl, gently whisk the egg and add it to the stuffing mix.  Continue to fold everything until the egg is incorporated.  Scoop uncooked stuffing into a medium casserole dish and bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until nice and toasty on top.

 

Creamy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

– 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

– 3/4 c evaporated milk

– 1/4 c butter

– 1 c (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese

Place potatoes in a large saucepan.  Cover with water; bring to a boil.  Cook over medium high heat for 15-20 minutes or until tender; drain.

Return potatoes to saucepan; add evaporated milk and butter.  Beat with hand-held mixer until smooth.  Stir in cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.



Sweet Potato Souffle

– 6 c mashed sweet potatoes

– 2 c sugar

– 1 t salt

– 4 eggs

– 2/3 c stick butter, softened

– 2/3 c milk

2 t vanilla

Combine with mixer and pour into greased casserole dish.

– 2 c brown sugar

– 1 c flour

– 2 c chopped pecans

– 1 stick melted butter

Mix well and distribute over potatoes.  Bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees.

 Deviled Eggs

See Deviled Eggs for recipe.

Green Beans

Just take some green beans, I used about 3 lbs here and then add a bouillon cube (1 per lb).  Bring to a boil then simmer.  The longer you let it simmer, the better they are.

Desserts:


Pecan Pie

Prep: 20 minutes.  Bake 50 minutes.

– Pastry for 1 crust pie

– 2/3 c sugar

– 1/3 c butter

– 1 c corn syrup

– 1/2 t salt

– 3 large eggs

– 1 c pecan halves broken halves

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt and eggs in medium bowl with wire whisk or hand beater until well blended.  Stir in pecans.  Pour into pastry lined pie plate.  Bake 40-50 minutes or until center is set.

 


Colossal Caramel Apple Trifle (COLOSSAL = key word)

Prep: 40 minutes

– 1 package yellow cake mix

– 6 c cold milk

– 3 package (3.4 oz each) instant vanilla pudding mix

– 1 t apple pie spice

– 1 jar ( 12 1/4 oz) caramel ice cream topping

– 1 1/2 c chopped pecans, toasted

– 2 cans (21 oz each) apple pie filling

– 2 cartons (16 oz each) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Prepare and bake cake according to package directions using 2 greased 9-inch round baking pans.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

In a large bowl, whisk milk, pudding mixes and apple pie spice for 2 minutes.  Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft set.

Cut one cake layer if necessary to fit evenly in an 8-quart punch bowl.  Poke holes in cake with a long wooden skewer.  Gradually pour a third of the caramel topping over the cake.  Sprinkle with 1/2 c pecans and spread with half of the pudding mixture.

Spoon one can of pie filling over pudding; spread with 1 carton of whipped topping.  Top with remaining cake and repeat layers.  Drizzle with remaining caramel topping and sprinkle with remaining pecans.  Refrigerate until serving.


Pumpkin Pie

Prep: 20 minutes.  Bake 1 hr 10 minutes.  Cool 2 hours.

– pastry for 1 crust pie

– 2 large eggs

– 1/2 c sugar

– 1 t ground cinnamon

– 1/2 t salt

– 1/2 t ground ginger

– 1/8 t ground cloves

– 1 can (16 oz) pumpkin

– 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk

– whipped cream, if desired

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Make pastry for unbaked one pie crust; before adding filling, partially bake pastry (carefully line pastry with double thickness of aluminum foil, gently pressing to bottom and sides of pastry. Let foil extend over edge to prevent excess browning.  Bake 10 minutes; carefully remove foil and bake 2-4 minutes longer or just until pastry begins to brown and has become set.  If crust bubbles, gently push bubbles down with back of spoon..

Beat eggs slightly in medium bowl with wire whisk or hand beater.  Beat in remaining ingredients except whipped cream.

Cover edge of pie crust with 2-3 inch of aluminum foil to prevent excess browning; remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking.  To prevent spilling filling, place pie plate on oven rack.  Pour filling into hot pie crust.

Bake 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake about 45 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack 2 hours.  Serve with whipped cream.  After cooling, pie can remain at room temperature up to an additional 4 hours, then should be recovered and refrigerated.


Oreo Turkeys

– Double Stuff Oreo Cookies

– Candy Corn

– Whoppers

– Peanut Butter Cups

– Chocolate Frosting

– Writing icing (any color) for eyes

Grab a cookie and put some chocolate icing in the edge.  Stick some candy corn in.  The icing makes it stick better.  It’s easier if you do all the cookies through this step.

Next, secure the opposite end of those cookies to a bottom cookie with a gob of icing.  If they are not sturdy, you can set them against the wall until the icing hardens a little.

While they are drying, unwrap the peanut butter cups.  Take a sharp knife and cut a sliver off of one end.  It helps to gently cut in a sawing motion so you don’t break the peanut butter cup.  Cut from the bottom.

Place a gob of icing on the peanut butter cup and place it on the bottom cookie.

Glue a whopper on top of the peanut butter cup with icing.  I put frosting on the side of the whopper touching the peanut butter cup and the cookie.

Use another gob of icing and glue on the white tip of a candy corn for a beak.  Put two dots of your writing icing for eyes.


Hot Mulled Cider

Float a few apple slices and some cinnamon sticks in the drink as it warms.

– 2 qt apple cider

– 1 orange, quartered

– 1/4 c brown sugar, packed
– 1/4 t pumpkin pie spice

– 2 (4-in) cinnamon sticks

– 6 whole cloves

Combine all ingredients in a 3-quart slow cooker; cover and cook on low 2-4 hours.  Remove orange sections and spices before serving.

 

Chinese Sweet & Sour Sauce

Zack LOVES sweet and sour chicken.  It is his absolute favorite Chinese food.  We rarely ever go eat Chinese food anymore, because it is all fried and there’s nothing there for me to eat.  I know he misses it, so when I saw a recipe for the sauce I was pretty excited to try it out.

I made some baked chicken strips to serve with the sauce and I waited anxiously as Zack tried it out.  Turns out it tastes exactly like the restaurant sauce!  I was so happy.  Now we can have Chinese night whenever we want – the healthier way.

In fact, I just made this last week and Zack is already asking when I am going to make it again!

If you like the sweet and sour sauce at Chinese restaurants, definitely give this a go.  I liked it a lot, too.

Don’t judge the pictures too harshly.  How exactly are you supposed to photograph sauces?  If anyone has any pointers, let me know please! 🙂

Chinese Sweet & Sour Sauce

– 1/2 c vinegar

– 1/2 c ketchup

– 3/4 c cold water

– 2 T lemon juice

– 1 1/2 c white sugar

– 1/2 c brown sugar

– 2 T cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 c cold water

Combine all ingredients except cornstarch mixture and bring to a full boil.  Simmer for 3 minutes.  Add cornstarch mixture.  Simmer until thickened, stirring continuously.  May be bottled and refrigerated.