Cooking Thanksgiving dinner is fun! Really!!

That is once you know the secret… Are you ready for it? Planning.

My favorite guide to a “stress-free” Thanksgiving can be found here by the fine minds at Serious Eats. Trust me, it makes a big holiday meal exponentially easier. I’m also a huge fan of the KISS rule when it comes to cooking for a crowd – keep it simple stupid. Less is likely to go wrong when the menu isn’t overcomplicated. I love to overdo it in the kitchen, but not on Thanksgiving. If I’m going to experiment, I’ll attempt the dish a couple of weeks in advance just to be sure.

So what am I cooking for Thanksgiving? Glad you asked!

What I love most about this menu is that nearly everything can be made in advance. The dishes that can’t be prepared ahead of time require very little attention the day of. The exception is turkey roulade, but it’s only a few added prep minutes and the roasting time is substantially less than a traditional turkey.The only other secret? Make your own turkey stock. I usually throw on a 2 gallon version the weekend prior and freeze half of it for use later in the Winter. It’s easy, cheap, and contributes a much richer (aka better) flavor than the canned variety.I’ll be taking a lot of pictures this week, so next week this entry will look a lot different and contain much more information. If you have any questions prior to that update, email away! Happy Thanksgiving!!

 

Update: As it turns out – I got distracted and took very few pictures. Oops! The good news is all of the food turned out amazing. The turkey roulade, though, goodness.. that was the star. It was a simple and impressive dish with a perfect balance of texture and Fall flavor.

Making stuffing the day before:

The stuffing went into the turkey roulade, but there was so much I ended up with a pie pan full in addition to what in the turkey breasts.

I roasted the garlic for the compound butter in advance. Adding compound butter to the mashed potatoes = lots of flavor and much less time.

Even the apple crumble was assembled in advance! I prepared all of the ingredients in the morning and placed in the fridge. That way, after dinner, I could place dessert in the oven to bake, set a timer, and spend time with family rather than prepare more food.

Vinaigrette ingredients for the salad.

The Apple, arugula, manchego salad with almonds and an apple cider vinaigrette is easy to toss together right before dinner is served. Prepare the vinaigrette in advance and use a fork to whisk together before adding to the salad.

A very large turkey breast was cut in half, pounded thin, and filled with apple, sausage, bourbon stuffing. And then it was wrapped in bacon to hold everything together.

And the final plate…

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