Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for all that we have and have achieved in the past year. I include here some traditional blessings you can use, or allow your thanks to flow straight from your heart.
I know these things must always be
To keep our nation strong and free.
One is good health from food nourishing and dear,
Eating elegantly with loved ones far and near.
One is ready heart and hand
To love, and serve, and keep a peaceful land.
One is the Word and following His Way
Where people, daily, eat, work, witness and pray.
So long as these are kept alive,
Nation and people will happily survive.
We thank you, Lord, for all you give;
The food we eat, the lives we live;
And to our loved ones far away,
Please send your blessings, Lord, we pray.
And help us all to live our days
With thankful hearts and loving ways.
Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you, God, for everything!
~Edith Rutter Leatham~
God, we thank you for this food,
For rest and home and all things good;
For wind and rain and sun above,
But most of all for those we love.
God is great, God is good.
Let us thank Him for our food.
By His hand we are fed,
Give us Lord our daily bread. Amen.
Lord, bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies,
And our bodies to your service. Amen.
Thanksgiving has always been a big traditional holiday in my family. Friends and family from far and near gather to give thanks for all of God’s gifts. We celebrate with a big feast. My memories of thanksgiving center around the time I spend in the kitchen cooking with my mother and my own kids. We work all day to create the feast, but the conversations we shared are more important than the food.
It is so many times easier to do the cooking yourself, rather than ask for “help” from children. However, I encourage you to avoid taking the easy way out. Cook alongside your children, teach them not only to cook, but also to love.
I hope this menu helps you plan your own Thanksgiving feast. While this menu has quite a bit of cooking to be done, I will do some of it the day before. You can downsize it to fit your family and time available or ask the guests to bring one dish each. I am serving smoked turkey this year, it is so much easier, but I have included links for Roasted Turkey and Deep Fried Turkey for your conveniece. If you are roasting your turkey, consider brining it, if you have the time. All the recipes are posted her on Easy Southern Cooking. Enjoy! Diane
Toasted Pecans / Deviled Eggs
Smoked Turkey , Roasted Turkey or Deep Fried Turkey
Giblet Gravy or Turkey Gravy
Sausage Apple Pecan Stuffing
Creamed New Potatoes
Grated Sweet Potato Pudding
Green Beans with Bacon and Onions
Baked Squash Casserole
Holiday Cranberry Salad
Sweet Potato Pie / Pecan Pie
Pre-Smoked Turkey is an Easy Holiday Entree
My Thanksgiving meal is always a very traditional meal, just like my mother always made. My only concession to convenience is my smoked turkey. I purchase a pre-smoked turkey at the grocery store. The turkey is pre-cooked, and requires only thawing and reheating. It is tender and moist, with wonderful smoked turkey flavor. It is so easy, and my family likes it so much, that we occasionally cook one for parties or busy weeks and freeze the leftovers. Without the long cooking time of a raw bird, turkey can be enjoyed anytime. The downside of this is that you don’t get the giblets, so you have to settle for regular turkey gravy. To cook, simply follow the reheating instructions on the package.
Other Turkey Tips
Did you know that you can get the butcher to cut your turkey in half? If you have a small family and don’t need a lot of leftovers, have the butcher cut the (frozen) turkey in half lengthwise. Place one half in the freezer for a future meal and use half for your holiday meal.
You can also have the turkey sliced in 3/4 inch slices crosswise for easy turkey nuggets. Thaw a slice, remove the bones, batter and fry for cheap and easy turkey nuggets. Even easier is to slice a turkey breast for boneless nuggets and turkey tenders. Stock up while prices are low.
By Amanda Jade
I grew up on this stuffing. One year, Mom bought a massive monster of a bird, almost 30 pounds, and stuffed it to the brim with her cornflake stuffing. The roasting pan was not sturdy enough and Mom ended up losing almost half the stuffing to the floor when it collapsed. She didn’t bat an eye. We still had enough stuffing to feed a half dozen people and have leftovers for Thanksgiving sandwiches for a week.
- 4 tablespoons Butter or Fat
- 2 large Onions, chopped
- 3 large Carrots, diced
- 1 large Green Pepper, diced
- 4 Celery stalks, chopped
- 2 pieces Wheat Bread
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
- Salt, Pepper, Old Bay Spices
- Heat the butter or fat in a large skillet and add your vegetables. Sauté until soft but not too done. In the last minute or so of heating, liberally add salt, pepper, and Old Bay seasonings.
- In a large bowl, add the corn flakes. Drizzle a little bit of water onto the bread and break it apart with your hands into the corn flakes.
- Add the vegetables, mixing gently to avoid breaking too many of the corn flakes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, until the mixture is sticky but not soaked, usually 3 or 4 eggs.
- Stuff your bird loosely as the stuffing will swell when cooking. You can use the rest around the bird itself in the pan to soak up the juices from the turkey or just bake it in a casserole.
This stuffing is very versatile because you can add or exchange just about every vegetable you would like to it. My mom always used Old Bay, but Bell seasoning can be used as well, or even Adobo if you prefer that flavor profile. Go nuts, be creative! This will give you a softer stuffing, which has its advantages. My family’s favorite use for this stuffing is as a base for pan fried Thanksgiving sandwiches, but that’s another recipe!
By: Amanda Jade
Deep fried turkeys have become all the rage in recent years for a delightful Thanksgiving bird, and for good reason! The skin is left crispy and full of flavor and the meat is moist and delicious without tasting greasy or oily. Unfortunately, deep frying a turkey safely can present a challenge to the new cook. With a bit of preparation and planning and a few key tools, these safety concerns can be left by the wayside on your journey toward a wonderfully tasty turkey.
Tips for Deep Frying a Turkey
Here are a few key things to remember about deep frying a turkey:
- Always keep gloves and a fire extinguisher nearby. Not needing them is great, but not having them can lead to disaster.
- If you purchase a kit to deep fry your turkey in, always read and follow the directions. Most will be designed for a specific weight range of turkey and may have special instructions.
- The optimal weight for a turkey to be deep fried is between 10 and 20 pounds. At 10 pounds, it should take 3 minutes per pound and at 20, it should take 3.5 minutes per pound to cook through.
- Always ensure that your turkey is completely thawed. If there is any doubt, do not fry the turkey. Hot oil tends to explode violently when exposed to cold water or ice, which can cause severe burns and even burn your house down. A 20 pound turkey takes about 4 full days to thaw in the refrigerator.
- Set up your turkey frying station outside on the pavement, never on a deck or in a garage. You want to be free of overhangs and on a level surface.
- Never leave your frying station unattended once the oil has begun heating. Make sure to keep small children and pets away from the frying station. The turkey could take up to an hour or more to cook and at least 3 hours for the oil to cool.
- Use an oil with a high smoking point, 450 degrees F if possible. The best options are canola or peanut oil.
- Always lower the turkey into the oil carefully and slowly. This is best achieved with a small pulley attached to a board, supported by a ladder. Use gloves. Hot oil will burn skin instantly if it splashes. Using a pulley also means that you can allow the turkey to drain when finished without straining your arms or dripping scalding oil.
- Once fried and drained, allow the turkey to sit for 10 to 20 minutes before carving. This oil can be strained and used up to three times.
- To avoid staining caused by oil splatters, place a flattened, broken down piece of cardboard under the fryer. You can also use a large plastic drop cloth with sand or kitty litter to soak up the oil.