We all know Thanksgiving Day can be kind of hectic. We have Turkey bowls, Turkey Trots, and the Thanksgiving Day parade in the morning, then we get to the kitchen only to leave it when dinner is ready and go right back in afterwards to do the dishes. How can we make it so the day goes smoother and you don’t feel the aches in your back and feet with all the standing you do? Well, we had an amazing event at our model home for the community. We called it our “Thanksgiving Day Hacks Event”, we taught everyone how easy frying a turkey is, and showed some simple, easy and delicious sides and pies. We had Heather Fujikawa of Habitat Studio teach us how to create a beautiful tablescape perfect for Thanksgiving and something that the kids can help out with.
Stunning right? Heather is our new interior designer and she was gracious enough to help us out with our event. Her main points for the tablescape were, recycling things around the house from Halloween (pumpkins), having the kids find things around the yard or on a walk (acorns, leaves, etc) and going for more of the eclectic vibe by mix matching silverware and drinking glasses. She also touched on how greenery can really make the table decor come together. Her favorite greenery is eucalyptus because of the incredible smell and it dries really nicely as well, making it something that you can save for years to come. Keeping it simple is something that will help your day go smoother and give the kids something that they can do and be proud of.
The owner of Newport Homebuilders, Kent LeSueur, taught everyone that frying a turkey is not some daunting task but is actually a lot easier than everyone thinks, just as long as you have the right equipment and the turkey is thawed. Kent has been frying turkeys for years now and that is the only way that his family will eat it. It is still incredibly tender and flavorful.
Some easy and delicious sides included the III Forks creamed corn, butterfly rolls and homemade gluten free stuffing (can be substituted for regular bread). The LeSueur Family has been making the III Forks creamed corn for at least 15 years and it is a staple at any family holiday. It is honestly the best creamed corn I have ever had. What is amazing about this recipe too is that you can make it with gluten free flour for those who have a gluten allergy or just keep it as is, but it tastes the exact same either way. Once I have the recipe I will attach it so you can start adding it to your recipe list.
Now when it comes to rolls, this is by far the easiest recipe I have ever used and it turns out EVERY. SINGLE. TIME! There is 8 ingredients and the hardest thing about it is waiting for it to rise, and it really isn’t that hard. Rolls are something that you can make the day before, and pop back in the oven for a couple minutes to warm them up so there is one less thing to make the day of. My grandma has been making this recipe since before I was born and in my family if there aren’t these butterfly rolls it isn’t really Thanksgiving. My favorite Thanksgiving day memory with these rolls is having my grandma come to my aunts house where we were to eat dinner with 6 white trash bags full of these rolls, only to have the rolls last that dinner and through lunch the next day, because they are sooo good!
Recipe: 2 cups boiling water, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup butter (softened or room temperature), 2 eggs, 2 Tablespoons yeast (2 packets), 7-8 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder.
- In a large bowl, mix together boiling water, sugar and butter until combined.
- Add yeast and eggs, beat well.
- Add flour, salt and baking powder. Mix well and beat with a wooden spoon.
- Cover with a towel and let rise. (I let it rise for a few hours, if I need it to rise quicker I preheat the oven to 350 degrees, place the bowl in front of it and turn off the oven)
- Shape and let rise again on a pan. (Think crescent rolls when shaping them, cut into skinny triangles and roll them)
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Until golden brown on top.
Like I said, this is a simple and delicious recipe and it makes delicious sandwiches with all the left over turkey.
Growing up stuffing was always the item that was left off of the dinner table, because my mom didn’t like it and so we did not like it. My first year hosting Thanksgiving I wanted to have a classic dinner spread and decided to try out a homemade stuffing recipe (because everything is better homemade right?), I came across this stuffing recipe, and it was truly life-changing and now I make it every year. I have Celiac disease and wanted to make sure that I could eat every item that was on the table. This recipe is something that I can prepare ahead of time by chopping all the vegetables, and bread (make sure to cut it and leave it out to dry for a couple days before making this recipe), and placing into a ziploc bag until I am ready to cook it.
Recipe: 1 1/2 lbs sausage, 4 Tablespoons butter, 1 onion (finely diced), 4 stalks celery (diced), 2 apples (peeled and diced), 3 cloves garlic (minced), 10 cups bread cubes, 3 teaspoons parsley (fresh or dried), 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning, 1 teaspoon ground sage, salt and pepper to taste
- Dry bread cubes for at least 24-48 hours before making this
- Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until crumbled and evenly brown. Drain and set aside.
- In same skillet, add butter, onion, celery, apples and garlic. Cook until soft.
- In a large bowl, combine sausage, onion mixture and bread cubes. Toss together.
- Add the parsley, poultry seasoning, sage, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
- This can either be used to stuff a turkey or eaten by itself (we tend to eat it by itself)
- To eat by itself, grease a 13×9 casserole dish. Put stuffing into dish, cover with lid or foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, uncover and bake for another 15 minutes.
This recipe has the perfect texture, not too crispy but not soggy either. The sausage gives it a little bit of a spice but overall it tastes delicious and has become something that even the stuffing haters will eat.
Now, everyone’s favorite part of Thanksgiving…the pies! The most tragic thing about Thanksgiving day is that most of the time we eat too much of the food and don’t save room for the dessert!!! In my family we would spend all day baking pies, and go over to my aunts house for the food, but we always prioritize desserts. I know other families who have a night specifically for pie, which I think is wonderful as well.
I made three pies that are simple and easy so you don’t have another stress of making something perfect, it turns out delicious every time.
The first is called an “Arizona Sunshine Lemon Pie” you literally blend all the ingredients together and pour it into the pie crust. I found the recipe here: https://recipe-me.com/arizona-sunshine-lemon-pie/
Ingredients: 1 large lemon, 4 large eggs, ½ cup butter, melted, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1½ cups sugar, 1 (9 inch) piecrust, unbaked (I used a frozen deep dish)
Topping (optional) 1 cup whipping cream, 2 Tablespoons sugar
- Take your pie crust out of the freezer or make your own. I used a frozen deep dish pie crust and it worked perfect. I placed it on a cookie sheet because the metal pan was not that strong but if using a glass pie plate you won’t need to do this.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- Wash your lemon then cut up and remove all the seeds. (Don’t peel it, you will blend the whole lemon!) Place in your high powdered blender (such as a Vitamix).
- Add the eggs, butter, vanilla and sugar. Blend till smooth. I started at power 5 then moved up to 10.
- Pour the mixture into your piecrust. Bake for about 40 minutes or until set.
- Let cool then chill in the fridge.
- For the topping: Place your mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Add your whipping cream and sugar. Whip till peaks form.
- Slice pie and serve chilled with a dollop of the whip cream on top. This can be enjoyed warm (is just won’t be as firm) or room temperature but we preferred it chilled.
This tastes like lemon bars, and it is seriously the easiest pie I have ever made. I did not use whipped cream on top, I just dusted powdered sugar and it was delicious.
The next pie is my absolute favorite and since we discovered it 15 years ago we make it every chance we get. It is a brown paper bag apple pie. Like I said earlier, I substitute all flour for gluten free flour. In this crust I have also substituted almond flour and it turned out delicious as well.
Ingredients: CRUST: 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 cup high quality oil (olive or vegetable), 2 tablespoons milk FILLING: 6 Granny Smith apples (almost 3 pounds), 2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 4 tablespoons flour, 2 teaspoon almond extract (I recommend almond emulsion, the almond flavoring doesn’t bake out as easily and it is a great compliment to the apple) TOPPING: 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup salted butter
- Adjust oven rack to the lowest position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a 9- or 9.5-inch pie pan, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt with a fork. Mix the milk into the oil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the oil mixture. Mix with a fork until the dough come together and ingredients are evenly combined. Flatten and press the dough into the pie pan to form a pie shell. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the cinnamon, sugars, flour, and extract. Set aside.
- Peel, core, and cut the apples into thin slices. Then add the apple slices to the bowl with the cinnamon mixture and toss to coat. Dump the apples, mounding in the center, into the unbaked pie crust.
- For the crumb topping, add flour and sugar to a medium bowl, then use a pastry blender to cut the cold butter in until the mixture is crumbly. Cover the pie filling with the crumb topping.
- Place the pie in a large brown paper grocery bag. Fold the open end of the bag and staple it shut. Place the bagged pie in the oven and bake for 90 minutes.
- Let cool for 15 minutes before opening bag, and be careful when doing so not to burn yourself.
The crumb topping comes out so perfect, and nothing burns this way. The pie pan will more than likely be stuck to the paper bag, but you can get it off pretty easily with water once it cools down. This is incredible with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or just by itself. Thinking about it makes me want to make it tonight….maybe I will…I have all the ingredients I need. After all, pie is always a great idea.
Hope you are able to enjoy some of these recipes this holiday season!