Thanksgiving Recipes

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cranberry relish

We discovered this relish at a family-owned Germany restaurant in Frankenmuth, Michigan. We asked for seconds on this relish which I devoured by the spoonful. This relish is amazing mixed with mayonnaise for leftover turkey sandwiches.

Fresh Cranberry Apple Relish
Prep time: 10 mins Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 10

recipe courtesy of Bavarian Inn
3 medium sized apples like Northern Spy, or Granny Smith
1 lb. bag fresh cranberries (frozen)
2 naval oranges
2 c. sugar (you can use less)

Freeze cranberries 4 hours or overnight.
Core apples but leave peel on.
Place half of each in food processor and pulse into ¼ inch pieces.
Empty into bowl. Repeat with other half. Add into bowl. Add sugar and mix thoroughly.
Leaving peel on oranges, chop off ends.
Chop oranges with peel on into ¼ pieces. Mix carefully into cranberries.
(I have also had this with chopped pecans mixed in)
Let set one hour.

Great leftover tip, mix with mayonnaise to spread on leftover sandwiches. Divine!

For the rest of our meal, I swear by the techniques and recipe in Cooks Illustrated!

The countdown timeline is extremely helpful to make the actual day of Thanksgiving leave you feeling Thankful.

mashed potates

Make ahead mashed potatoes are great. Putting them in a slow cooker tableside keeps them at a perfect temperature.


I like to peel my potatoes the day before and store them in cold water in a large pan in the refrigerator overnight. Be sure to boil the potatoes until they are very tender; err on the side of over- rather than undercooking. You can use a hand-held mixer instead of a standing mixer, but the potatoes will be lumpier.


5 pounds yukon gold or russet potatoes (about 8 medium), peeled and cut into cubes (about 1″)
3 cups heavy cream (or milk), hot
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted

1. Peel potatoes and cut into quarters (you can do this the day before).

2. Boil potatoes until tender.

3. Drain potatoes (you can retain some of the water as a gravy thickener). Break the cooked potato flesh down into small pieces using a fork, potato masher, or rubber spatula.

4. Transfer half of the potatoes to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can also use a hand mixer). Beat the potatoes on high speed until smooth, about 30 seconds, gradually adding the rest of the potatoes to incorporate, until completely smooth and no lumps remain, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in 2 cups of the hot cream (or milk), followed by the butter and 2 teaspoons salt. Gently fold in up to 1/2 cup more of the cream as needed to reach your desired serving consistency. Once the desired serving consistency is reached, gently fold in an additional 1/2 cup cream.

6. To Store: Transfer the mashed potatoes to a large microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.

7. To Reheat: Poke lots of holes in the plastic wrap with the tip of a knife, and microwave at medium-high (75 percent) power until the potatoes are hot, about 14 minutes, stirring gently halfway through the reheating time.

leftover mashed potato pancakes
After Thanksgiving, I love making potato pancakes:

Leftover mashed potatoes
1 egg
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. chopped or minced onions
Little salt & pepper
Use left over mashed potatoes, add egg, baking powder, onion, salt and pepper. Mix up and cook in hot frying pan.


Recipe courtesy of Cooks Illustrated (with my personal alterations noted):


This recipe makes enough gravy to accompany a 12- to 14-pound turkey with leftovers. If you are roasting a very large bird and want to double the recipe, prepare the gravy in a Dutch oven. White wine adds a welcome note of acidity to gravy, but in a pinch you can use more chicken broth in its place. Make sure you’ve added 1 cup each of chopped onions, carrots, and celery along with fresh thyme sprigs and 1 cup of water to the roasting pan before the turkey goes into the oven.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Reserved turkey giblets and neck
1 onion, unpeeled and chopped
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
2 sprigs fresh thyme
8 parsley stems
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine

1. Make the Broth: Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Brown turkey giblets and neck for 5 minutes. Cook onion for 3 minutes. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. (This can be done the day before)

2. Add chicken broth and water, scrape pan bottom, and bring to boil. Add herbs and simmer, skimming foam from surface, for 30 minutes.

3. Pour broth through fine-mesh strainer. Reserve and dice heart and gizzard. Refrigerate broth and diced giblets until ready to use.

4. Make the Roux and Thicken the Broth: Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until nutty brown and fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes. Bring reserved turkey broth to simmer.

5. Gradually add hot turkey broth to roux. Vigorous and constant whisking at this point is key to avoiding lumps. Reserve 1 cup of broth for deglazing roasting pan (see #9).

6. Simmer gravy, stirring occasionally and skimming scum from surface with spoon, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Set aside, covered, until turkey is done.

7. Deglaze the Pan and Add the Drippings To the Gravy: Pour drippings through mesh strainer set over measuring cup. Let liquid settle until fat rises to top. Return vegetables in strainer to roasting pan.

8. Tilt measuring cup and use wide, shallow soup spoon to skim fat off surface. Reserve defatted drippings. Return gravy in saucepan to simmer.

9. Place roasting pan over two burners at medium-high heat. Add wine and reserved 1 cup broth and scrape up browned bits in pan. Boil until liquid reduces by half, 5 minutes.

10. Strain roasting pan liquid into gravy, pressing on solids to extract all liquid. Add defatted drippings to taste. Stir in giblets and serve.

A secret ingredient in my homemade turkey soup is to use some leftover gravy.

turkey soup


Basic Turkey Stock
1 turkey carcass from 12- to 14-pound turkey, cut into 4 or 5 rough pieces to fit into pot (I use a crock pot)
1 large onion, peeled and halved
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped coarse
3 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled and smashed
1 large rib celery, about 4 ounces, chopped coarse
2 cups dry white wine
1 bay leaf
5 sprigs fresh parsley leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme

For Soup
1 medium onion, diced medium
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (or smaller)
1 large rib celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Salt and ground black pepper
2 – 3 cups cooked egg noodles (I cook the noodles separately and only combine at the end)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1. For Stock: Bring turkey carcass, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, wine, bay leaf, and 4 1/2 quarts water to boil in 12-quart stockpot over medium-high heat, skimming fat or foam that rises to surface. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 2 hours, continuing to skim surface as necessary. Add parsley and thyme; continue to simmer until stock is rich and flavorful, about 2 hours longer, continuing to skim surface as necessary. (You can also do this in a crock pot overnight)

2. Strain stock through large-mesh strainer into large bowl or container; remove meat from strained solids, shred into bite-sized pieces, and set aside; discard solids in strainer. Cool stock slightly, about 20 minutes; spoon fat from surface. Use stock immediately or cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate up to 2 days. (I pour boiling water over the strainer with the turkey parts several times to make more stock).

3. For Soup: Bring turkey stock to simmer in large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt; cover and simmer until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add pasta (I cook separately) and reserved shredded turkey meat from stock; simmer until pasta is al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in parsley, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper; serve.

Per Serving:

Cal 170; Fat 3.5 g; Sat fat 0 g; Chol 20 mg; Carb 17 g; Protein 15 g ; Fiber 1 g; Sodium 1940 mg

Note: Sodium level depends how salty the broth is; this is calculated using the same amount of salt as in commercial broth.

brussel sprouts

Best Brussel Sprouts


If you are buying loose Brussels sprouts, select those that are about 1½ inches long. Quarter Brussels sprouts longer than 2½ inches; don’t cut sprouts shorter than 1 inch.


2 1/4 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (you can also buy smaller and cook them whole)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon water
Salt and pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Toss Brussels sprouts, oil, water, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in large bowl until sprouts are coated. Transfer sprouts to rimmed baking sheet and arrange so cut sides are facing down.

2. Cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook until Brussels sprouts are well browned and tender, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Transfer to serving platter, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

corn souffle
Baked Corn

I’ve grown up enjoying various versions of this recipe. My Mom called this “corn pudding” and made it with a can of creamed corn and ritz crackers on the top. A few years ago a caterer featured this in all of her fall dishes and I was completely smitten. After paying her thousands of dollars through events, she finally shared the (very simple to my surprise) recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp sugar
3 cups fresh/frozen corn
1 1/2 tsp salt
ground pepper

Beat the eggs well. Add the milk and sugar, combine well. Add salt and pepper, combine again. Stir in the corn (if frozen, you may need to break apart the frozen clumps).

Bake in 350 oven for 55 minutes (if making ahead, I undercook slightly to 40 minutes and then reheat the next day like Thanksgiving).

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