Aaron and I originally were not supposed to have any of the girls this year for Thanksgiving, so we planned to just stay home, relax, and enjoy some much-needed, but rare, quiet time. Plans changed, though, and we ended up having Harley and Reagan. It is awesome to have them here unexpectedly, but we were sure missing our other girls. I spent yesterday preparing as much of the food for today as I could so that today there would be very little to do other than the turkey.
The girls had a great time just playing and playing and playing today. They played in their rooms, in the family room, in the snow, and they had a blast doing it. I loved hearing their giggles, singing, and squeals all day. It was heartwarming!
I will periodically cook a turkey breast throughout the year for us, but don’t really ever go all out with the meal. This year is the first time in fifteen years that I have had to make the whole Thanksgiving meal myself, and I was pretty nervous. Not about making things – I am a good cook – I was nervous about how each individual item would turn out, especially the things I’ve never made before. Of all the things I made, I had never before made pumpkin or pecan pies. I’ve never been successful making rolls, my gravy is hit and miss, and I had never made stuffing/dressing before. I am happy with everything I made (even with the couple of speedbumps I had). I will say, I had a lot of help from The Food Network, The Pioneer Woman, and genetics – my mom “Anne Burrell” and my aunt “Paula Deen”. 🙂 I didn’t take pictures of each individual item I made, but I do have some.
First up, the pies. I made an apple – which I have done several times, and it turned out great (I had some tonight, so I know it was yummy). The apple pie recipe is from my dad’s mom, Memaw. She was here a couple of years ago, and she spent a whole day teaching my dad and I how to make them. For the pumpkin pie, I had Libby’s Pumpkin Puree already, so I used the recipe on the side of the can, and it’s yummy (I had some of it, too). I’d say for my first time making pumpkin pie, it was a great success! Now then, as far as the pecan pie was concerned, I was terrified. I know if not prepared correctly they can really go bad. I used The Pioneer Woman’s Pecan Pie Recipe, and it turned out beautifully! I also made The Pioneer Woman’s Whiskey Maple Cream Sauce, but instead of whiskey, I used rum – not because I like to experiment, but because I didn’t have any whiskey. Grin. We forgot to put it on our pies this evening, and I’m really disappointed, but it is so very yummy!
I don’t know what I did differently this time making a bread product, but my rolls turned out exceptional! I’m really not trying to brag, but when you’ve failed at something so many times and it finally succeeds, it’s AWESOME!!! Once again, I referred to Ree (The Pioneer Woman), and I used her Parker House Rolls Recipe. They really were delicious, even warmed up the next day (I made these yesterday).
Not a classic Thanksgiving dish, but one we all love is broccoli with a cream mustard sauce made by my grandmother (Memaw again). Steam the broccoli until it’s done. For the sauce (it’s tart, but so very yummy), you need 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup regular yellow mustard, 1 cup sour cream, and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Just dump it all in a sauce pan, heat it up, whisking away, and serve it up with the broccoli. It’s yummy – Harley and I could definitely overdose on the combination!
For the turkey, I used a combination of The Pioneer Woman’s Roasted Turkey recipe and part of the recipe from The Food Network’s Five Ingredient Fix with Claire Robinson’s Classic Turkey in 5. I did not brine my turkey like Ree does, and I did not stuff the bird with dressing. I did use Claire’s recipe and put lemons, onions and rosemary inside the turkey. The rest of the baking instructions I followed were from Ree’s recipe. I am so very glad I did my homework and researched how to make the turkey because ours was so very moist and full of flavor! I loved it. I used the drippings to make the brown gravy, which turned out for once (no lumps, not too thick, and plenty of it).
So far, the meal has sounded like it was perfect, but there was one huge, very smoky hiccup. 🙂 I made The Pioneer Woman’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes, and while the ultimate result was okay, we had tons and tons of smoke in the process. I made the recipe completely according to her recipe, but the one mistake I made was not putting them in a large enough casserole dish before I baked them. As they baked, they expanded and proceeded to bubble over, burning on the oven floor (because I didn’t think ahead to put a cookie sheet under them). Like I said, the end result was very yummy, I will just remember to put them in a bigger dish next time.
So, we had a great meal and spent lots of time together. If you see the haze in the picture of the entire dining room, it’s just leftover remnants from our smoky adventure. 🙂