Motha vs. Turk-zilla!!

So it’s been a while right!? Well I apologize…it’s been a crazy couple of months. Sine my last post my husband and I have celebrated our 6 year anniversary, purchased and assumed ownership of a Quizno’s Sub shop, and I have returned to school part-time. Needless to say we have been a tiny bit busy.

I needed to take a small break from thinking about blogging because well frankly I needed to find the balance in my life. After a couple months I think that I have found the balance between working mom, student, and wife, or at least I am started down the path of balance.

As far and weight loss has gone, I have maintained which beats gaining. I really haven’t been devoting my energy to it though which is probably why I have maintained and not lost. I do have a great friend though who has been walking with me a few times a week which is super fun!

November is shaping up to be a really big month for us. We are hosting a birthday party for my little sister, hosting Thanksgiving this year (which I am super excited about), we have a huge Black Friday planned for the store, and I am creating an Activity Advent Calendar for my boys this year because I really want to make Christmas a time of magic for them and I don’t want them to get sucked in to the “gimmies” that come with the holidays. If all goes well I will be posting our advent calendar later this week or maybe next week.

Today however I am going to share with you my Thanksgiving recipes!! I know your excited, too excited to show, but I know ;).

Let’s start with this years menu (the revised version you can see the original version HERE):

I am going to be keeping the same multi course format, because I really don’t have to space on the table to do it any other way.

Appetizer- Stuffed Mushrooms (substituting imitation crab for the sausage in this recipe)
Soup- Butternut Bisque
Salad- Pear salad (leaving out the chicken)
Palate Cleanser- Cranberry Lime Sorbet (add lime juice)
Poultry- Turkey w/ mushroom sausage stuffing, rosemary roasted red potatoes, baked onions, and beer/bacon  brussles, Mashed Potatoes
Meat- Ham, green beans w/bacon and onion, yam/carrot puree (I altered this one and by adding 2 tbs maple syrup and about 15 drops Mapaline it took it from good to Fall-tastic!)
Dessert- Sugared/Carameled/Pastry Pears, Pumpkin Pie (This filling with a coconut flour crust), Apple-Nut Pie (THIS filling mixed with roughly chopped salted nuts stuffed into hallowed out apples and baked @350 for 20 min), Pumpkin Butterscotch Cheesecake

I plan on doing all this on a $60 budget (plus whatever is in my garden and p.antry) oh yeah and I am feeding 11-13 people. This should be an interesting test of frugality but I definitely think it’s doable.

I’ll be honest most of these recipes are not mine, or they are mine but they originated from me altering or combining other recipes. So I’m not about to claim credit where it isn’t due, I am not a culinary genius…yet.

Okay we shall start with the Turkey?

About two years ago I learned about brining and it has changed our Thanksgivings for ever! I don’t just brine in water, no that would be too easy haha. I use a Buttermilk-Honey-Apple Brine which is a combination of three different brines and its heavenly. After thawing the Turkey this is Step 1 of Epic Turkey.

Buttermilk-Honey-Apple Brine

  • 1 ½ cup kosher salt
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 2 cups cold raw apple juice
  • 4 quarts buttermilk
  • ¼ cups honey
  • 1 Orange peel
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stick celery
  • Thyme, Rosemary, Sage leaves
  • Black Pepper
  • 5 lbs Ice more water as needed to cover turkey

Dissolve salt in water and juice in a saucepan over medium heat, cool. Mix all ingredients together and soak (thawed) turkey overnight. Soak breast side down, add as much water as needed to cover turkey completely.

Step 2 of Epic Turkey is the under skin rub. Oh this is so good it really should be illegal. Last year I used butter instead of olive oil and it tasted amazing, but it was really hard to spread around even in a warmed state. I feel like the olive oil gets more evenly distributed. The method is pretty simple just gently slide your hand between the meat and skin of the Turkey to create a pocket  then take hand fulls of rub and massage it into the meat under the skin. Be very careful not to rip the skin. I will take pictures of the whole process this year and post a tutorial later, but for now here is my recipe

Turkey Rub

  • 1 Cup (ish) olive oil
  • 4 Sprigs Thyme (leaves only)
  • 2 Sprigs rosemary leaves chopped
  • 1 leaf sage finely chopped
  • Mix together and rub into Turkey meat pre-cooking

Step 3 Ensuring the Golden Brown Crust. This one is tricky. I am still working on it. The first two steps will give you a great tasting turkey no doubt, but this last one is slightly more challenging. I am going to try something new this year. Usually I use a Renolds Turkey bag (and I will again this year) and I have noticed that where ever the bag touches the bird gets beautifully golden brown but the rest remains somewhat colorless. So this year I am going to try rubbing butter on the outside of the turkey and brushing olive oil over that, then for the last 20 minuets of baking opening the bag and moving it so it doesn’t tough the skin. I will post pictures of how well that worked.

Step 4: The bake! Alright this is the tricky part. Just like when smoking meats, it is important to cook your bird low and slow for maximum juiciness, and lets be honest here that is to goal right? So I cook my bird around 350 for the first half an hour then kick it down to 325 for the remaining time which is usually somewhere around 3 hours for a 20lb turkey give or take half an hour (usually take). Just make sure not to over bake the bird. No matter how well you prep the Turkey if you cook it too long your gonna get a nasty bird.

Alright, enough Turkey. Let’s talk soup! I love this soup, the winter squash is so sweet and delicious and thick and almost creamy all on it’s own it just makes sense to make it soup and devour it!

Butternut Bisque; makes 6 servings

  • 2 medium butternut squash
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 medium leeks, white parts only
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp. fresh sage, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 quart chicken stock (or vegetable stock), plus approx. 1 cup more for thinning
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • (You may add 1/2 C. sherry, 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, 1/2 C. sour cream)

To make soup:

Preheat oven to 375, halve the squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and arrange cut side down on an oiled baking sheet. Bake until very tender, 50-60 minutes. Cool to room temperature. When cool, scrape out the pulp. You should have about 6 cups.

Heat the butter in large soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic, thyme and sage, and cook, stirring often until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and 1 quart of chicken stock increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer, stirring often, until the leeks are tender about 10 minutes. Use a processing wand to puree the soup until it reaches desired consistency. If you do not have the processing wand, working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender until smooth. Thin with additional stock. Return to soup pot and season with salt and pepper.

Rosemary Roasted Spuds (feeds 6, so I’ll double it) and Baked Onions

  • 7 or 8 Red Potatoes
  • 2 tbs Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • 1 tbs Dried or Fresh Rosemary
  • 4 small red onions

This one’s easy. Quarter the red potatoes and onions, mix the olive oil and rosemary together, toss the potatoes and onions in the oil mixture. Lay them flat out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Roast at 425 degrees for about 25 min or until potatoes are soft and onions are nearly translucent. Yum!

Green Beans with bacon and onion.

  • 2 lbs Green Beans
  • 1 Pack Bacon (thick ish, but not really thick)
  • 1 medium yellow onion

Snap the ends off the green beans, wash and pat dry with a paper towel. Chop up all the bacon and the onion. Saute the bacon and onion in a large skillet until bacon begins to crisp and onions are transparent. Throw in the green beans and continue cooking until they are dark green and have started to tenderize (about 3-7 minuets). Done. *Note: this will leave your veggies nice and crisp if you like them softer continue cooking until they reach desired tenderness.

Sugared and Carameled Pears

  • Carmel Sauce
  • Egg Whites (whisked until smooth, not fluffy)
  • Sugar Crystals
  • Whole Firm Pears

Sugared: Dip the washed and dried pears in the egg white mixture and then roll in sugar.

Carameled: Dip the washed and dried pears in the warmed caramel sauce and put on a parchment lined cookie sheet to cool.


That’s it! Easy peasy right? Well okay…it may be a lot. But I will be cooking the soup, the pies (only the apple pie filling though), the sugared and carameled pears, the pear salad, the cranberry lime sorbet, prepping the stuffed mushrooms all the night before. I may even do most of the preliminary chopping the night before. So it won’t be too much for one day. Hopefully my timing works out the way I want it to. Oh and my wonderful mom has agreed to cook the Ham at her house as well so that is one less thing!

Thanks for reading!



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