Thanksgiving-An Intimate View (Redux)

This post is an update from a Thanksgiving post in 2009 and features new text/ photos, printable recipes, and more.

While some Americans are having a larger Thanksgiving, quite a few are again limiting numbers and thinking about a smaller menu. A turkey roulade (roo-LAHD) — a rolled up, stuffed turkey breast served up with a pan or two of roasted vegetables is for just that more intimate occasion and will serve 1-2 with plenty of leftovers, 4 with some, and 6 without much at all in those pesky where-are-the-lids Tupperware containers. (You can double it all for a larger group if need be, but do plan on more time. I also include a couple of other options for one-pan sides.) With some prep, this beautiful meal goes into the oven all together and is done in less than an hour — which makes it a lovely small dinner party menu as well. If you can get a boned turkey breast and don’t have to bone it yourself, you are way ahead of the game. Not Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes and gravy or …? You can surely add other dishes though you don’t need them. (See TIPS below for links to Brussels sprouts I made, gravy without drippings, my spicy cranberry sauce, etc.) Easily purchased appetizers and a bakery pumpkin pie help give you most of the day off, a lot less dish washing, and time to watch “Home for the Holidays,” with Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, and Charles Durning– one of my favorite Thanksgiving movies. No movies, but want music? Here are some listening ideas.

Note: While this meal is basically gluten-free, do check all purchased ingredients, including turkey, for GF labels. Our Honeysuckle frozen turkey breast did not contain gluten, but other brands might.

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Turkey Minestrone

Do you have a container of frozen turkey from the holidays in the freezer?

Just a short drive from our house in Colorado Springs is our favorite Italian market and deli Mollica’s, which is perhaps best known as a popular, packed lunch spot on Garden of the Gods Road just west of I-25. Mollica’s is the happy kind of place that still serves old school “red sauce” meals like spaghetti and meatballs or a very good lasagna (all made with fresh pasta) as well as yummy pizza and calzone — though I couldn’t call it a “pizza place.” A large part of the lunch menu has always been devoted to stellar sandwiches (think grinders from house made sausage, scratch meatballs, heroes, and hot Italian beef) and a full line of filling salads that of course are served with fresh bread and butter. While I’m ready to eat anything Mollica’s makes –check out their dinner specials, too — I nearly always choose a salad because I can also get a cup of their minestrone–a simple and herby vegetable soup that just hits the sweet spot in my tummy. Occasionally I wonder why I don’t make some minestrone at home, but for some reason, I rarely do. That just changed.

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Cheesy Ham and Turkey Chowder

When Thanksgiving is over and Advent has begun within a few days…

Advent, (from Latin adventus, “coming”), in the Christian church calendar, the period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas and also of preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. In Western churches, Advent begins on the Sunday nearest to November 30 (St. Andrew’s Day) and is the beginning of the liturgical year. In many Eastern churches, the Nativity Fast is a similar period of penance and preparation that occurs during the 40 days before Christmas. The date when the season was first observed is uncertain. Bishop Perpetuus of Tours (461–490) established a fast before Christmas that began on November 11 (St. Martin’s Day), and the Council of Tours (567) mentioned an Advent season.

britannica.com

(below: Next-door neighbor Mike carving the charcoal grilled turkey at his house. He cooked the bird in a disposable pan, collected the juices, and I made yummy gravy from it. I whisked a 1/4 cup or so flour into a cup of water and added that slurry to the pan- right on the stove- along with salt, pepper, and a drop or two of hot sauce.)
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Black Friday Breakfast Turkey Stack

This version includes the cheese sauce. Sure, we need just a little more gooey cheese the day after Thanksgiving. You know it!

Working ahead on Thanksgiving food is truly a happy, hearty, fulfilling, and filling part of my job as a food blogger. That activity usually includes coming up with something new to do with Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s a fun occupation that keeps me, and, of course my husband Dave and the babies (see below), right on top of our game this week.

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A Tale of Three Turkey Soups

For how long are those leftovers edible? 

It’s all over but shouting. Hopefully you gave thanks with the best of them and enjoyed a feast fit for you.  If  the shouting turns out to be what goes on a day or two after Thanksgiving when you get on the scale, no worries. You’ll not eat like that again for…oh, probably a month.  Meantime, you’re back to your regular life and my guess is those extra couple of ounces–ok, pounds–will jump right back off the scale in a few days. And if they don’t? Salad and soup for a week could fix it. So how about some soup?

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Sheet Pan Dinner: Dijon Salmon with Garlicky Green Beans and Mushrooms + Leftovers for Salmon Tacos or Salad

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I adore Thanksgiving. It loves me back. It is my favorite holiday out of the whole year.  There’s nothing that makes me more thrillingly anticipating than to bring the last of the sage in, save bread for dressing, take stock of my canned pumpkin supply, or bake cranberry bread along with any pie you can name. To say nothing of the fact that I don’t like Christmas decorating (or shopping or wrapping), but can’t wait to put up pumpkins, corn stalks, leaves, scarecrows, and all things autumn come October. Ok, September. Continue reading