Tag turkey

Top Thanksgiving Recipes and Tips for Holiday Success

Thanksgiving is approaching so bring out the seasonal garland, gourds and get ready for the tryptophan induced food comas!

One of tastiest turkeys I have ever had was created from our Parties That Cook team. This brined turkey recipe calls for soaking the whole bird in a brine which is essentially a solution of salt and sugar, flavored with spices. Brining the turkey helps even the white meat stay moist and flavorful when roasted to perfection. But if you don’t have time or the space in your fridge, our easy 3-step turkey breast is the perfect solution. You’re guests will not believe how quick and easy this dish is!

Can’t decide which side dishes to create? Here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes that are a delicious departure from the traditional spread of pureed root vegetables and pearled onions:

Sweet Pea Galettes with Bacon and Sour Cream Recipe

Butternut Squash and Cider Soup with Sage Crème Fraiche Recipe

Easy Spinach and Roquefort Bread Pudding Recipe

And the gravy! Quite possibly the best part of Thanksgiving (a three-way tie between the turkey and stuffing of course). Try this recipe: Pan Gravy with Bourbon Recipe

In my opinion, the food alone serves as the perfect Thanksgiving decoration, but here are some easy tips to spruce up your spread:

Place Cards: HGTV.com has created the perfect touch for your table with these printable place card designs. Print them onto cardstock and write your guests’ names for each table setting.

Fringed Tweed Table Runner: Tweed is not only a fall trend in fashion, but in holiday tabletop decorations as well. This rustic design from the craft guru herself, Martha Stewart, is an inexpensive and simple design element for any table.

Gourds, Gourds and more Gourds: Of course, the quintessential fall decoration cannot be overlooked! Gourds and pumpkins add the finishing detail to your Thanksgiving spread. Place them at your front door and use Indian corn or acorns for an extra autumn touch.

Got any favorite tips and recipes? Share them with us! Check out the rest of our favorite recipes. Until next time, bon appétit!

Thanksgiving Dinner Test Drive

Contributed by Guest Blogger Julie Reitz

thanksgiving stuffing

I was the lucky gal picked to recipe test Parties That Cook’s Thanksgiving themed menu items.

I’m the (unexpected) perfect candidate for this assignment because: a) I love cooking and can follow a recipe, but b) I have no culinary training and have never cooked a Thanksgiving turkey, let alone an entire Thanksgiving feast in my life! Which means… if I can’t make these recipes work, they’re clearly not idiot-proof and should be re-written. And, with those disclaimers recognized, I said: Bring on the bird!

I shopped the day before our faux thanksgiving feast, prepared a game plan and began cooking at 9am on the big day. Everything was unfolding beautifully – no major snafus to note – just a couple of pandering kitties (“what about us?”). My goal was to avoid any accusations like “What have you done?!” from Executive Chef Bibby, who was keeping a curious eye on my cooking.

I started by baking the yams for the Smashed Yams with Maple Syrup and the garlic for the Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes. I then prepped ingredients for the simple Gratin of Spinach. I popped the gratin into the oven straight away and began to prep the Easy Breezy Cranberry Sauce. The kitties were getting restless and I too was starting to hear my stomach growl….

About 6 hours later, we had a table full of beautiful dishes and I called the master chef in to taste the goods. The menu included Brined and Roasted Turkey with Pan Gravy with Bourbon; Apple, Cornbread, Sausage Stuffing and Pumpkin-Gingersnap Tiramisu.

I held my breath, as Bibby pondered each taste test: “let’s put those yams under the broiler for a couple more minutes…”, “less alcohol in the cranberries, and a little more salt….” Several suggestions later, the recipes had been completely tweaked, and it made all the difference. Times like these make me wish there was such a thing as a “pocket chef!”

As a final test, Bibby suggested I prepare the giblets for her hungry kitties. “Giblets?” Even though I’m from Texas and love meat, its preparation and overall handling is not my cup of tea. In fact, the first time I roasted a chicken, I left the bag of goodies in the bird and the house filled with smoke!

Meanwhile, this turkey and I weren’t exactly on good terms- he simply would not listen to me physically urging him to tuck his wings under – after a brief wrestling match, Bibby came to the rescue. With a trepid look of fear on my face, I presented the kitties with boiled turkey innards, and endured suggestions from Bibby for the next day or two along the lines of: “How about giving the cats some heart today?”

In the end, my first Thanksgiving feast turned out fine and the test menu a success. My boyfriend and I got to celebrate an early Thanksgiving, Bibby and I enjoyed subsequent days of turkey soup, and I simply had the best time cooking those yummy recipes and snapping photos of the finished product.

But those giblets…