I was sad to learn that some dear friends who are invited to our family Thanksgiving dinner aren’t going to be able to make it this year.  An amazing, any turkey for $6.00 sale intervened and made an early Thanksgiving just for them possible!

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The cranberries are simmering in an orange juice concoction.  No more can shaped cranberry sauce for me, since my daughter, Molly, showed me how incredibly easy it is to make homemade cranberry sauce!

2 bags fresh cranberries

1 c. orange juice

1 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie seasoning

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I baked the 18 lb. turkey using the inject able butter marinade from Tony’s since it was buy one get one free at the local market.  I also filled the cavity with onions and seasoned the top with some great Tuscan rub I picked up somewhere along the way.

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The turkey was frozen, and I needed it defrosted as quickly as possible.  The good old Butterball site, and Martha Stewart, etc. etc. all show two safe methods of defrosting.  The easiest being defrosting in the refrigerator, but I didn’t have 3-4 days, I had one.  I did the water defrost method, which involved immersing the frozen turkey in water in a cooler, and changing out the water every 30 minutes or so.  It defrosted in less than 9 hours, the time they recommended.

I made mashed potatoes ahead of time, so as not to have to cook in front of everybody.  I adapted a recipe from Ree Drummond.

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5 lb. russet potatoes

1 block cream cheese

8 oz. sour cream

1 1/2 sticks butter

Salt and pepper to taste.

Cut up and boil potatoes.  No peeling necessary, just a good scrub on the skin!

Mash and add in cream cheese, sour cream, and one stick of the butter.   Season to taste.

Spread into a 13 x 9 baking dish.  Cover and refrigerate up to overnight.  Bring to room temperature before baking.  Top with remaining 1/2 stick butter cut up into little pieces.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley before serving.

We had gravy we didn’t even need.  These potatoes stand alone!

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I roasted some shaved brussel sprouts in the oven with the potatoes.  I tossed the shaved sprouts with olive oil, seasoned salt and a little pepper, and let it sit in the fridge to marinate for a few hours before roasting them.  I don’t even usually like brussel sprouts, but these were delicious.

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My guests brought a yummy salad to top off the meal.  I did take a picture of my plate, but my camera has been acting up lately and I lost that shot and the one of the turkey before it was carved.

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We had a nice red blend with it, which was on sale at my local market with a BOGO deal.  Two bottles for $19.99.  So smooth and good enough to buy again for Thanksgiving!

We had an ice cream cake planned for dessert, which has been in the freezer since my son Elliot’s 25 birthday on the 10th, but he didn’t make it home in time, so thank goodness it’s an ice cream cake.

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