A North-meets-South Thanksgiving Meal

  
    
    
 

I’ve been reading this book called A Southern Thanksgiving by Robb Dew, and it’s been really intriguing to learn about the origin of various Thanksgiving dishes and how some are native to the South, while others are from the North. For instance, who would have thought that mashed potatoes are a Northern dish? It turns out, rice and gravy is the Southern carb of choice. I was also surprised to learn that Pumpkin Pie is a Northern dish too, whereas sweet potato pie is a more southern fare. 

Dew suggests doing your Thanksgiving meal-planning way in advance to protect yourself from added day-of stress that might end up in a pile of tears, trying to get hair out of your vacuum cleaner with a coat hanger when your first guest rings the doorbell–which in Dew’s experience, is always a rough way to greet your guests. 

So, I thought I’d gather up my favorite recipes for those Thanksgiving Day must-haves–all of them tested and tried (except for the sweet potato casserole) and all of them a compilation of north-meets-south Thanksgiving fare. My thought for Thanksgiving is to make food that is simple but excellent, so some of these recipes come directly off ingredient cans or pie-dough boxes, and why not if the recipe is that good? So, I try to be as simple as possible, and get a little fancy only as needed. 

If you’re looking for a compiled, safe-bet Thanksgiving meal, consider it done.

  1. A Southern Spiced Bird–the Turkey – check out the recipe below, that I’ve adapted from a few others to meld together simple technique with big flavor. 
  2. The gravy – this simple recipe uses the drippings from your turkey and just a bit of flour. Super simple and flavorful. Make sure you give yourself time to separate the fat from the drippings or buy yourself one of those contraptions that does it for you!
  3. (Northern) Mashed potatoes – this recipe is simple and effective, but try elevating it, by boiling your potatoes in chicken stock rather than water, and adding 1/2 cup cooked stock plus 1/2 cup milk to your mashed potatoes rather than just 1 cup of milk. 
  4. Green bean casserole – Follow this recipe from French’s–simple and delicious. 
  5. Honey Ham – Can’t go wrong with buying one of these from the store & following the directions 🙂
  6. Rolls – make it easy on yourself and just buy them! We prefer King’s Hawaiian Rolls
  7. Cranberry Relish – also go easy and buy this in a can–you know it tastes like home
  8. Sweet Potato Casserole – who can resist carbs covered in sugar and marshmallows? Get the recipe here
  9. Southern Living Mac n Cheese – this is one of the best mac n cheese dishes I’ve ever had, let alone made. It was in the September issue of Southern Living but not on their website, so I’ve made it into a recipe card below. 
  10. Grandma’s Cornbread Dressing – my Grandma is from Michigan and makes the best stuffing (note: a northern dish) I’ve ever had. It is still, however, a family secret and must also be stuffed into your turkey, which makes turkey cooking a little complicated, so I have added a recipe card below for Cornbread dressing (a most-southern dish) that has been in Matt’s family for years. 
  11. Pumpkin Pie from the North – I grew up making and eating this recipe off the Libby’s Pumpkin can. Don’t buy the Pumpkin Pie ready in the can, but follow their recipe. And make sure to use this pie dough. 
  12. Apple Pie – You’ve possibly heard me swoon about this apple pie recipe, because I’ve blogged about it multiple times so it had to make the Thanksgiving Day must-have list.

 **Check below the recipes for a free, downloadable ingredient list of this delicious Thanksgiving meal!

A Southern Spiced Turkey
Serves 15
A simple, Southern Spiced Turkey
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
2 hr 15 min
Total Time
2 hr 40 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
2 hr 15 min
Total Time
2 hr 40 min
Ingredients
  1. Turkey 14 lb
  2. 1 tbs flour
  3. salt
  4. pepper
  5. butter (2 sticks)
  6. Reynolds Oven Bag
  7. 1 onion
  8. 1 apple
  9. 2 carrots
  10. 1 tbs smoked paprika
  11. 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  12. 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  13. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  14. 1 teaspoon dried thyme
Instructions
  1. Thaw your turkey if it is frozen. 24 hours per every 5 lbs in the fridge to thaw.
  2. Pull your turkey out of the fridge and let sit on a sheet tray to get to room temperature for about 2 hours before you need to start cooking it.
  3. Use a Reynolds Oven Bag and put 1 tbs flour in the bag and shake. Place bag in your trukey roasting pan.
  4. Cut your vegatables (apple, onion, carrots) into large chunks and place in the cavity of your turkey. Mix your spice rub (paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper and dried thyme as well as 1 tbs salt and 1 1/2 tsp pepper. Rub the spice rub within the cavity, underneath the skin and over the entirety of the bird (make sure to get the underside).
  5. Melt 1 stick of butter for about 20 seconds and smother underneath the skin. Melt the second stick.
  6. Place your spiced bird into your turkey bag in the roasting pan. Pour second stick of butter over the turkey in the bag, and then add just a bit more salt and pepper over the turkey.
  7. Close the bag with the tie and poke six 1/2 inch slits into the top of the bag.
  8. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees according to the instructions for the oven bags (typically between 2-2 1/2 hours depending on size).
  9. Once the turkey is done, pull it out of the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.
Notes
  1. Prep time does not include time needed to de-thaw or let turkey rest.
Adapted from Food Network - Patrick & Gina Neely
http://www.wherethepineapplegrows.com/
Southern Living Mac n Cheese
Serves 6
A delicious and quick mac n cheese that everyone will love!
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Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt divided
  2. 1 qt. milk
  3. 6 tbs butter cut into pieces
  4. 6 tbs flour
  5. 1 lb pasta - rotini
  6. 1 8oz package shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  7. 1 8oz package shredded monterey jack cheese
  8. 1 tsp hot sauce (tabasco)
  9. 1/2 tsp pepper
  10. 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  11. 2 tsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat broiler with oven rack 8-9 inches from heat.
  2. Bring 1/4 cup salt and 4 qt water to a boil in a large pot over high heat.
  3. Meanwhile, microwave milk in a glass bowl covered with plastic wrap at high for 3 mins. While milk is heating, melt butter in a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium low; add flour, and cook, whisking constantly for 2 mins. Gradually whisk in hot milk. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a low boil, whisking often.
  4. Add pasta to boiling water, cook 7 mins.
  5. Meanwhile, continue to cook sauce, whisking often (for about 6 mins). Remove from heat and whisk in cheeses, hot sauce, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Cover.
  6. Stir together bread crumbs and olive oil.
  7. Drain pasta and fold into cheese sauce. Sprinkle with panko mixture and broil for 1-2 mins.
http://www.wherethepineapplegrows.com/
Grandma's Cornbread Dressing
Serves 8
Simple and yummy cornbread dressing
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 large pan cornbread, precooked and crumbled up
  2. 1 bag Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing
  3. 2-3 cans chicken broth
  4. 1 medium onion chopped
  5. 1 raw beaten egg for each pan of dressing
  6. Finely chopped celery - 3 or 4 stalks (or more if you like celery)
  7. 1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons sage
  8. Salt and Pepper
Instructions
  1. Heavily grease a casserole dish.
  2. Mix cornbread, stuffing, onion and celery with broth and raw egg until almost runny in consistency. Add sage, salt and pepper.
  3. Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 30 minutes, then uncover and cook another 10-15 to brown top.
http://www.wherethepineapplegrows.com/
So here’s the deal. Everyone loves to make yummy recipes, no one loves to do the meal-planning along with it. So to make your Thanksgiving Day even easier, you can download a color-coded ingredient list of everything needed to make this exact Thanksgiving meal! We needed this for our own meal, so I figured I’d share the wealth. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to you and yours!

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