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Need some last-minute inspiration for Thanksgiving menu ideas? Here is what I’m making:

Roast Turkey - Barefoot Contessa’s hands-off approach to turkey hasn’t failed  me yet. No brining. No basting. Moist and delicious. Her recipe is for a 12 lb. turkey; I adjust accordingly for my 20 lb. bird. I make this gravy (minus the business with the giblets) and it’s easy breezy.

Mashed Potatoes - Again, love Barefoot Contessa’s. I don’t bother with putting them through a food mill, however. I gently mash them by hand and then use a stand mixer. The thing with mashed potatoes is that they have to be made last-minute. Last year I attempted a baked version from The Pioneer Woman and I have to say, it just wasn’t the same. To give yourself a little extra time, you can keep mashed potatoes warm for a while in a bowl over a pot of simmering water.

Carrots – I’m trying these for the first time this year because they look easy and I’m interested to see how the chili powder and the pumpkin pie spice come together.

Cranberry Sauce – Pioneer Woman’s is sweet and a touch tart. I’ve tried other ones that are too citrusy or too lumpy but this is just right. I like mine a little smoother so I put half the cooked batch in the food processor and pulse two or three times to break up the cranberries.

String Beans – I don’t really know what I’m doing here. Probably blanching them, and then sauteeing with butter and shallots.

Sweet Potato Casserole - I’ve made a half-dozen different versions and loved and them all but I think I’m sticking with the copycat recipe for the Ruth’s Chris Sweet Potato Casserole. It’s dessert on the dinner table.

For appetizers I’m doing the basics, cheese and crackers, hummus and veggies, and spinach dip in a bread bowl.

I love Thanksgiving because it’s a holiday that everyone celebrates. It’s food and it’s family and it’s the intro to Christmas and the holiday season. What I DON’T love is that tons of stores are opening on Thanksgiving. I have plenty to say about the hypocrisy of people cutting time short with their families to go buy gifts for…their families. And what about all the poor people who have to work these stores?? Ugh, that’s a post for another day.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Thanksgiving 2009

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