This past weekend Will and I had some of my family down for a nice meal before Thanksgiving. For the past few years, Will and I have spend Thanksgiving day with his family, and then Christmas Day with my family. It is a trade off that has worked well for us, but I also want to make sure to get in some quality time with my mom and grandmother at Thanksgiving time! We didn’t do a full turkey dinner, in fact we didn’t do a turkey at all, but we just wanted to invite them down for a nice meal and a nice day together before the craziness of the holiday season goes into full swing. We wanted to make it a delicious meal, but still stay true to the types of ingredients and foods we enjoy in our daily lives.
This was the biggest meal we’ve ever prepped together (not sure what that says about us), so planning and timing was a bit up in the air — we did end up serving about 45 minutes later than planned, but I guess that will help us learn for next time!
Our menu for the day was a perfect medley of fall flavors:
Roasted Chicken – This was delicious, a locally raised (giant) chicken that we bought a couple of weeks ago. We bought two at the time and did a test run last week — I must say, that this one turned out even better!
Butternut Squash Soup – This is something that Will makes throughout the fall, but I think this was his best batch yet. He followed this recipe, and we actually “cooked” it in our Vitamix. That thing really is a miracle! The soup was delicious and extremely flavorful, it was a huge hit with my family.
Green Beans with Caramalized Onions and Almonds — For this I followed Tyler Florence’s recipe, and it was my first time cooking green beans this way. If you’re looking for an alternative to the traditional (and very heavy) green bean casserole, this is absolutely wonderful! Also a huge hit with my family, we’ll definitely be making these again. Next time, I’d probably use yellow onions instead of red, and would make sure to slice them thinner.
Mashed Potatoes — An old classic, nothing special about this dish. Boy were they good though! We used both white and red potatoes, and kept the skin on as usual. That’s the way that I grew up having them, and I really love the texture of the skins mashed into the flesh of the potatoes.
Cranberry Sauce — Will made this, and the great thing about this recipe is that it’s made with honey, not a ton of refined sugar. Yes, honey is still sugar, but we also use organic, pure honey so it makes me feel a little better about eating it. This was not your traditional super-sweet cranberry sauce, so if you like something a little more tart, this is a great option! We ended up adding in a little bit more honey at the end, and it was perfect.
Apple Crisp – I always follow the classic Betty Crocker recipe when I make this, and it has never failed me. I like to use a mixture of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith apples in crisp, which I did here (4 honey crisp and 2 granny smith). The recipe only calls for 4 apples total, but I decided to plump it up a little bit more! This was served with vanilla ice cream, of course!
Readers: What’s a unique item on your Thanksgiving Menu? Do you host or do you travel elsewhere? Happy Thanksgiving! For my non-US readers, I hope you have a wonderful weekend! I’ll be away with family and won’t be posting again until next week.