Big Mama Blog

I will give thanksgiving for sleep

I feel like I need to apologize in advance because I’m going to talk about being tired. Honestly, I just googled “sleeping sickness” to make sure I don’t have it.

As it turns out it’s generally only contracted in Africa after being bitten by a tsetse fly. And tsetse flies don’t live in South America. I know this is true because the google told me so.

But maybe I’ve become a narcoleptic at some point in the last week because all I think about is when I can sleep again. And I’ve really gotten a decent amount of sleep, but I think I’m working off a major Ecuadorian sleep deficit.

I’m also enjoying the luxury of flushing toilet paper down the toilet and brushing my teeth using water right out of the tap. It really is the little things.

Anyway, there isn’t much going on here right now. I got home late Saturday night and spent the next twenty-four hours with Caroline sitting as close to me as she could possibly get. Not that I was complaining. I was overjoyed to see my people.

And at some point I realized I had to tackle a giant pile of laundry, including the jungle attire I brought home in a garbage bag inside my suitcase because it smelled so bad that I was afraid it might contaminate all my other clothes. Thankfully P had done his own laundry before I got home, but Caroline’s clothes hamper was overflowing.

Of course after I started sorting her dirty clothes into whites and colors I realized it was largely due to the fact that she just threw everything into her hamper whether she’d actually worn it or not, including several shirts still on the hanger, a down puffy vest and three stuffed animals. And so we’ve since had many discussions about what actually constitutes a dirty clothing and navigated the skill of hanging clothes ON HANGERS instead of just shoving them into a hamper for your narcoleptic mother to deal with.

But I’m happy to report that all our clothing was clean for at least six minutes. It was a tremendous accomplishment although short lived.

I also made a marathon trip to HEB to buy milk, eggs, every other item of food you can possibly imagine, chocolate and wine. The wine and chocolate were to help me recover from all the laundry.

And now I’ll spend the rest of this week going to a Thanksgiving lunch at Caroline’s school because I never miss an opportunity to eat instant mashed potatoes. Then there’s a fun run fundraiser at her school on Friday and I volunteered to count laps as the kids run. And then I will officially give thanks that next week is Thanksgiving and I’m done with fundraisers and packing lunches and braiding hair at seven o’ clock in the morning for an entire week.

Of course there is the small detail of Thanksgiving lunch. I’m hosting the entire thing at my house which I’ve never done before. And I’m trying to plan the menu. All P cares about is dressing and chocolate ice box pudding for dessert. All I care about it is dressing and broccoli rice casserole. But I feel like there should be more. Obviously a turkey. Even though I personally believe the turkey is just a vehicle to get the dressing in your mouth. I guarantee the Native Americans ate turkey because it’s all they managed to shoot that morning and I don’t know why we insist on perpetuating the tradition of serving tasteless, dry bird. Why couldn’t they have killed a nice cow so we could all gather around and eat steak instead?

What do y’all have for Thanksgiving? Are there any dishes I need to try? Last year I made roasted Brussels sprouts with pomegranate molasses and I felt that the molasses was a mistake. Which was sad considering I went to eight different stores to find it. I’d love to hear what’s on your MUST HAVE Thanksgiving list.

Unless it involves green bean casserole with french-fried onions on the top. There was a year in my childhood when I got into a can of those french-fried onions and didn’t know that a little goes a long way. It was unfortunate.

I still bear the french-fried scars.

Now excuse me while I go to bed. After all, it’s 9:45 and Mamaw needs her rest.

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Comments

  1. 1

    My Meme’s stuffing is at the top of the list for my ‘must haves’ and cranberry relish too. We make extra to spread on turkey sandwiches the next day.

  2. 2

    Pie. I gotta have pie. Pumpkin, apple, pecan, lemon meringue, cherry… I don’t really care what kind. I need pie.

    I grew up having Thanksgiving with my dad’s family and their traditional dish of ‘corn noodles and cheese,’ which is exactly what it sounds like and nothing more. Apparently when you’re raising 12 kids on a small Kansas farm in the 1950s, corn noodles and cheese is a luxury, so my dad and his siblings loved it. … Yeah, I don’t fix that now.

  3. 4
    Brittany D. says:

    Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday because of the food! I also love it because it’s 4 solid days of PJ wearing-football watching fun! I am big on dressing as well – dressing made with cornbread!!! I also love my Grandmothers cranberry salad (with marshmallows and pecans) and my husbands grandmothers cream corn. Both are pheonomal! I could skip the turkey and eat an entire plate of those 3 items!!!

  4. 5

    Turkey. I order a whole roasted turkey from Luby’s, and pick it up Thanksgiving morning. It’s very good and moist. Worth the money to not have to mess with the raw bird myself. When I have cooked my own turkey I have usually done it the day before, carved it and sprinkled with the broth and then reheated for the big meal.

    Ham. Love a Honeybaked, but refuse to stand in line. A Hormel Cure 81 is always good. I heat it with a little water in one of my crock pots.

    Dressing. Corn bread and Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix. In use a recipe from an old Southern Living cook book

    Mashed potatoes. Last year I used the Ore Ida Steam and Mash. I cooked a bag in the micro then dumped it into a crock pot. Once I got all the bags cooked I mashed them right in the cp. No one complained that they weren’t home made. I may never peel potatoes again.

    Sweet potato casserole with mini marshmallows on top cause it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving unless the smoke alarm went off when I burn the marshmallows.Recipe from my first Southern Living cookbook which is almost 40 years old.

    We kicked the traditional green bean casserole to the curb several years ago when we found green bean bundles: fresh green beans wrapped in bacon and baked in a garlic, butter and brown sugar sauce.

    Corn. If it’s just my family we have Hot Corn;shoe peg corn in a cream cheese and jalapeno sauce. If my nephews are here we have corn casserole.

    Some sort of fruit salad.

    Deviled Eggs, Olives, Pickled Okra, Cranberry Sauce, the jellied kind right out of the can.

    Rolls, usually Sister Shubert, sometimes Crescents

    Pumpkin Pie

    M&M cookies made with the Fall colored M&Ms

    Some other dessert depending on what I feel like making and who is coming for dinner.

    It’s a high carb holiday for sure, but I love that I can count on it tasting just the same every year. And the leftovers are even better, especially for the two days full of college football that follow Thanksgiving.

    • 6

      Will you share your green bean bundle recipe? Sounds great. I am trying to move away from green bean casserole.

  5. 7

    Try roasting your turkey upside down. The fat from the dark meat will render out, making the white meat much juicier.

  6. 11

    We have to have cheeseball made with Kraft Roka blue, pecans, cream cheese etc. black olives, this salad that is made with pistachio pudding, walnuts, crushed pineapple, Cool whip and maraschino cherries (the name escapes me. Oh, it’s called Watergate salad. If you forget to drain and rinse the cherries, the green pudding and red juice made brown salad. Still good, just ugly.
    Ham is the best part but we make a token turkey breast.
    No, mashed potatoes are the best part. Pioneer Woman’s are hands down the best ever. And her raw egg chocolate pie. My husband dreams all year about it.
    And Pinot grigio.

    • 12

      I laughed at this because my husband also dreams about PW’s raw egg chocolate pie all.darned.year. If your husband also loves her cube steak sandwich, I’ll send my husband on over, and the two of them can go out on a date.
      We’ll sit home and drink the Pinot together. ;)
      Enjoy your food!

    • 13

      Are you talking about PW’s French silk pie or the mocha silk chocolate pie?

  7. 14

    Hmmm well you can go got chicken instead. I mean you can go for Turkey but since you don’t like the bird, chicken would be a good alternative.You can also try beef if you like.I know saying is a lot easier than cooking!! I don’t cook so I don’t really have much idea but hey why don’t you try out online recipe websites,I’m sure they will help you out! Coming to thanksgiving I am thankful to Lord for many things , for my relationships, for my present , for my past and also for my unseen future which I know will be best!
    Check this if you want –
    Thanksgiving Day IQ Test
    How much do you know about this day?
    http://www.3smartcubes.com/pages/tests/thanksgiving-iq/thanksgiving-iq_instructions.asp

  8. 15
    Dawn Irmscher says:

    You have to try Paula Dean’s Strawberry Pretzel Salad! YUMMY! I’m not a Pumpkin Pie fan, so I just have this for dessert!

  9. 16

    I’m a HUGE fan of Carrot Souffle – don’t knock it before you’ve tried it. It was handed down from my mom (who believes that she might have cut it out from the Tulsa World newspaper about 40 years ago), and it’s tradition to have it each year at Thanksgiving. About 10 years ago, it became tradition for ME to make it for Thanksgiving – and so I do. Happily. If you want the recipe, I just shared it (and four other family favorites) on my blog this week. Happy Resting and Happy Cooking and Happy Early Thanksgiving! :-D

    http://www.carriesbusynothings.com/2011/11/stockings-were-hung-favorite-recipes.html

  10. 17
    Christine in Maine says:

    Hey, I made those Brussels Sprouts with pomegranate molasses last year too. An expensive flop! I also went to a whole lot of stores looking for the pomegranate stuff before finding it. This dish will definitely NOT be on the list this year! Which is too bad because the bottle of molasses is still hanging around in my cupboard.

  11. 19

    Brine your turkey! It will taste a lot better and be really moist. Worth the extra effort. I usually use a cooler, add my brine, turkey then top it with some ice and let it set overnight. That way it doesn’t take a lot of room in the frig. My mom always makes dumplins with the turkey. The family has to have Oriental Chicken Salad too.Bit o Brickle Bars are on the dessert list too. Happy Thanksgiving.

  12. 20

    Were those the Brussels sprouts with pomegranate molasses that Bobby Flay made on the throwdown with the Pioneer Woman? I made those too! But, living in a very small town, I never could find the pomegranate molasses, so I had to MAKE it. We enjoyed them, but they weren’t good enough that I’d go to the trouble again.

    • 21

      I am SO very glad to read the whole brussel sprouts dish isn’t that good because I have been thinking about it for an entire year, debating on giving it a try, but still a little scared because, well it is brussel sprouts! Now I have a perfectly good excuse to forego the whole thing! However, I would be drummed off the face of the earth if I didn’t bring my green bean casserole, which is NOT the casserole you think of – it has fresh green beans with a yummy white cheddar cheese sauce, topped with browned bread crumbs and more cheese!

  13. 22

    Could you share your recipe for broccoli rice casserole?

  14. 25

    Ever since my dad was diagnosed with diabetes, I’ve felt really guilty serving dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, rolls, cheese grits, pecan pie, etc. Its amazing how much of our traditional thanksgiving we really shouldn’t be eating!

    So I changed up the menu to turkey, baked sweet potatoes, herbed green beans, rolls (my kids would starve without these) and homemade cranberry sauce. Still do pecan pie for my husband, but mom uses Splenda for Dad’s Pumpkin Souffle.

    The interesting thing is how it really simplified the meal! The colors on the plate are still vibrant and traditional, but my goodness it is easier!!! And I get to enjoy the day now, too!

  15. 26

    My family always insisted on the sweet potato casserole with the crunchy pecan topping. I’m sure it was because they could basically call a dessert a vegetable, and let’s face it, anything with that much butter, sugar, brown sugar and pecans is going to be FANTABULOUS.

    Both our kids carry on the tradition in their own homes now, which makes me happy in ways I cannot explain. Now that my husband and I live overseas, and are the only Americans in our area, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s also usually 100 degrees and I have no desire to turn my oven on and make the heat index go up any higher. But I do try to make the casserole for me and the hubby at least once every winter (usually July when it’s the coldest).

  16. 27

    My family (mom, grandparents, etc.) must have oyster dressing which I find BEYOND revolting. They stand around the pan with forks and dig through the dressing trying to find the oysters and stabbing each other in the hand along the way.

    My favorite is starburst pie – which is a layer of coolwhip/cream cheese/sugar on the bottom of a pie crust topped with raspberry jello/cranberry juice/cranberry gel. It is a MUST have – even before the pumpkin pie!

    • 28

      Oh, oyster dressing. That’s almost as bad as entail dressing, which one of my aunts (by marriage, not blood, and she’s gone now, thank heaven) conjured up one year. She didn’t tell anyone what was in it until one of the kids stabbed something odd and freaked out. I’m sure the raccoons had a great time with the trash that weekend!

    • 29

      The first Thanksgiving I spent with my Italian in-laws there was nary a turkey in sight, no mashed potatoes, no buttery rolls, nothing resembling the food I associate with Thanksgiving – except for dressing……and oh I was so happy to see that dressing for it is my favorite food at the Thanksgiving table.

      It was OYSTER dressing………I actually had to go into the bathroom and have a little cry. (I later found out I was pregnant during this time and would like to blame that on my overreacting……)

  17. 30

    banana salad!!!! sounds gross, but it’s amazingly yummy!

  18. 33

    Have P deep-fry the turkey!! It stays super moist & juicy that way & one less thing for you to deal w/in the kitchen. Love me some fried turkey! And I’m w/you on the green bean casserole. Blech. My favorites are dressing (I try my grandma’s recipe but it’s never quite as good), sweet potatoes, corn casserole & broccoli & rice.

  19. 34

    One of our go-to favs is Corn Pudding (not anything like P’s chocolate icebox pudding something or other)! Seriously easy–and yummo!!! Let me know if you want the recipe–guaranteed success with young and old!!!

  20. 35

    You can’t go wrong with a brined turkey. That is THE best! This is our menu so far for the big day: brown rice, butter beans, broccoli casserole, potato casserole, pecan pie, turkey, cheesecake, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, collard greens, gravy, dressing, ham, deviled eggs, creamed corn and some other dessert one of my sisters is making. OH and sweet tea! We have a large family so there is always plenty of food.

  21. 36

    Our family must-haves are cornbread dressing cooked as a side, gravy, turkey (purchased already cooked from a local meat store), cranberry sauce, squash casserole, sweet potato casserole, green beans, turnip greens, pecan pie, and apple crisp. Several other sides we have served include pineapple casserole or another baked fruit dish with apricots, pears, and pineapple chunks. Strawberry Pretzel Salad is yummy and we use it as a dessert when we make it.
    My family never turns down leftovers–one of my favorite words in the English language.

  22. 37

    I found out a few years ago that if you buy a fresh turkey from the store, one that hasn’t ever been frozen, you don’t have to thaw the thing and it is so much juicier!
    We have cornbread stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, rolls and cranberry sauce. My daughter decided to add sweet potato casserole 2 years ago! : ) We have pumpkin, and pecan pie as well. I well remember how daunting the whole Thanksgiving meal seemed to me, but once I started doing it, I realized it wasn’t as hard as it looked. The key is the poultry seasoning in the dressing, some years I get it right, others, not so much! : ) Don’t stress, really all people want is to eat with family and loved ones!

  23. 38

    Glad you had a safe trip back–we missed ya around these parts!

    I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year for my parents and in laws. I saw a new green bean recipe with a crust on top instead of onions so I will be trying that. It also has no cr mushroom and has BACON in it. I will most certainly be trying that bad boy :)

    Fried turkey b/c that’s how we do it in South LA. Oyster dressing maybe? Rolls from scratch, I’m being brave. Two kinds of veggies b/c I love broccoli and not many others do. Yams maybe? Definitely pumpkin and sweet potato pie b/c well I’m a fat girl and I love those pies! Ham from my dad, oh and my FIL decided to be brave this year and fry a pork roast too. Bring on the triple bypass for my family!

  24. 39

    We’ve definitely simplified from the Thanksgiving feasts my Mom would put together. I do a turkey oven-baked in a bag to keep it moist and the usual sides. I don’t do that green bean casserole with the fried onions. Have to have pumpkin pie, apple pie, cranberry bread, and chocolate chip cookies. Don’t you just love Thanksgiving — it’s all about family, food, and football!

  25. 40

    Cornmeal rolls.

    It’s some super old recipe from my great grandma that she probably got from her great grandma.

    We take all the leftover turkey (there’s always a lot because, hello, it IS dry – unless my brother makes it in his deep fryer) and we shred it all up, put it in the crockpot with stuffing and a little gravy (just to keep it moist) and let it cook all day.

    Then we put it on the cornmeal rolls.

    Best. Food. Ever.

    I could eat that, sweet potato casserole and corn pudding all day. And of course the desserts, but we all should know that by now already.

  26. 41

    We have to have cornbread dressing and my mom’s sweet potato casserole. You know, the casserole that has so much brown sugar and cinnamon and pecans in it that you can’t even taste the sweet potato…because, well, I don’t like sweet potatoes. :)

  27. 42

    I hate green bean casserole too—HOWEVER, you should try PW’s fresh green bean casserole. It is wonderful! And no cream of mushroom or French’s French Fried Onions! We tried it last fall and will forever be on the official Thanksgiving menu.

  28. 43

    I’ve never commented on here before, although I faithfully read your blog. I too despise dry turkey. A friend of mine recommended this: rub the bird with a whole stick of butter and then pour a bottle of white wine over it. Baste it with the butter and wine while it’s cooking and it makes the most delicious juice that you can pour over the turkey once it’s sliced. My husband won’t eat it any other way and neither will I. You just can’t drink the wine before it makes it to the turkey!

  29. 44

    More than likely, the Puritan had deer, not turkey. Maybe some random birds they killed on the side. But I feel this fact removes any obligation I might feel to an actual turkey. Instead, pretend they had a pig, too. This allows me to serve honey-baked ham with little effort and no guilt. :-)

  30. 45

    Sweet Potato Casserole-dessert disguised as a vegetable. Southern Living has a good recipe. And the best part about turkey is eating it on white bread with miracle whip the next day. Yum!

  31. 46

    Ree’s Sweet Potato Casserole is SO good!! Also google Pumpkin Lust cake (or search for it on the Pinterest). AMAZING

  32. 47

    First thing stop making dry turkey you will enjoy it more. Stop putting the dressing inside the bird, it draws the moisture out of the turkey and makes it dry. Stuff the bird with citrus, cut into quarters, orange, lemon, lime or if you don’t citurs just onions cut into quarters, make sure to get both ends of the bird, also put sprigs of rosemary, sage and thyme inside the bird along with the citrus. On the outside make a rub of butter, fresh citrus and herbs, loosen up the skin from the turkey breast and rub the butter combo under the skin, rub the outside with butter. I also don’t use salt on the turkey dries it out, use Mrs dash on the inside before stuff with citrus. You will get a beautiful moist with a hint of citrus tasting turkey. If you need more info look up Ina Garten’s (Barefoot Contessa) recipe for roasting turkey or whole chickens. I’m also putting my turkey on the grill, will get up early, put it on low with a pizza brick underneath, will take all day but comes out really good. I make my stuffing seperate, day old french bread with herbs make it in a casserole dish and either use the turkey juices on it while it bakes for use chicken broth.

  33. 48

    Where o where do I start? From scratch Baked Mac & Cheese, Broccoli/Rice Casserole, Sweet Potato Cassarole, Homemade Potato Rolls and sweeeet tea …. and yes, you MUST have all of these items on your plate at one time. :)

  34. 49
    Nelson's Mama says:

    My Mom’s cooking this year – all of my family will be there, plus all of my husband’s family.

    Turkey with cornbread dressing
    Green beans with hamhocks (from their garden this summer)
    Cream-style corn (from the garden too)
    Baked apples
    Macaroni & cheese
    Turnip greens (from the garden)
    Cranberry Salad
    Homemade Bread
    Sweet Tea that’ll make your teeth hurt!

    Tons of dessert (but no pumpkin pie, it’s not popular with this crowd!)

  35. 50

    Sorry for the mispelled words I was in a hurry.

  36. 51
    Erin Seaman says:

    If you have a convection oven, use it to cook the turkey. It cooks faster and is so much more moist than the regular way. Course I’m partial to turkey slathered with gravy – it makes me so happy! And homemade cream corn. And did I mention gravy? Good thing we only eat this meal once a year!

  37. 52

    Well, down here in New Zealand we don’t have Thanksgiving, but we DO have sleeping sickness. In sheep. I didn’t know there was a people variety too!

    (It’s when their glucose levels get too low during late gestation or early lactation. I’m guessing that’s as unlikely as a tsetse fly in your current situation.)

  38. 53

    I say serve steak! Why not if you all enjoy it? I make prime rib because that’s what we all enjoy and I’ve never heard a complaint about not having turkey. Good luck with your menu!

  39. 54

    I personally could live on sweet potato casserole, stuffing and pumpkin pie. After which I fall into a massive sugar/carb induced coma, but at least I’ve gotten all my Vitamin A requirements for the month of November.

    P.S. If you added a small can of crushed pineapple into the sweet potato casserole it is to DIE FOR. Also, that gives some more sweetness but also Vitamin C which cancels out the bad stuff. You’re welcome.

  40. 55

    Pioneer Woman soul sweet ‘taters are the best. I made them last year for the first time and we all loved them. We also have all the “normal” Thanksgiving dishes.

  41. 56

    Yes, I tried Bobby Flay’s brussel sprouts last year too, although I never did find pomegranate molasses. I think I used strawberry syrup and blamed that for the so-so results. Where in the world did you find pomegranate molasses?

  42. 57

    One year when we hosted Thanksgiving we made beef tenderloin, since turkey isn’t a big fav of my husband’s. It was expensive, but good. We will be having Thanksgiving at our house, but it might just be my husband, brother and my son, so might do brisket if that is the case. If friends come over, then we’ll include a turkey. For me, I must have, mashed potatoes (trying Ree’s this year), corn, stuffing, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie. Will also make a pecan pie for hubs. If time allows may do a broccoli and rice casserole. Whew!

  43. 58

    Ok….this has nothing to do with your question about Thanksgiving but I just had to share with you the headlines of the world section of The Bryan Eagle. The headline read “Piranhas swarm at Brazilian beach!” They even warned that if you are bitten, you should get out of the water rapidly and not allow the blood to spread. I couldn’t help but laugh and think how very fortunate you were that the piranhas in the Amazon didn’t get you. Also, I had to wonder why the Bryan Eagle would even bother to have that headline since it is really not relevant to Aggieland.

    My advice to you for Thanksgiving is to go to the Greenberg Turkey site today and order one of their wonderful smoked turkeys. They will deliver it right to your door! They are wonderful. I get one every year.

    Can’t wait to see you……love you!

  44. 59

    We must have cornbread casserole…it is so easy and there are never ever any leftovers! Another favorite is broccoli casserole, with cream cheese and velvetta cheese and stuffing…also a very big hit!

  45. 60

    Chestnut dressing. I. Must. Have. It. I only make it once a year, and I’m getting quite antsy to eat it now :-)

  46. 61

    I love your wit. You are a true Texan wanting steak for Thanksgiving. haha

    We have both ham and turkey. Or just ham for the meat. My favorite is the dressing. I miss my Grandma Yoho’s dressing. It was heaven on earth! Now she is in heaven and I don’t know that anyone has the real receipe. Pecan Pie is a must. If I have both of those I’m golden.

    This year I have been wanting peanutbutter fudge. Don’t even know why. I’m normally not a huge fan. I like it. But, it’s not normally something I am looking forward to. My mom would make it for my husband each year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Tomorrow is the day she passed away 4 years ago. Maybe that is why I have it on my mind.

  47. 62

    If someone has already said this, I apologize for the repetition, but anytime I’m having trouble getting back to a normal sleep pattern after a trip, I pull out the melatonin. I’ve seen it in 3 mg and 5 mg pills, and I take the 3 mg about an hour before I’d like to go to sleep. It worked wonders after returning from a whirlwind trip to China (which makes me sound much more exciting than I actually am), and I use it occasionally when I’m just in a sleep funk.

    And really, Sister Schubert’s rolls are one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving.

  48. 63

    My nana’s sweet potato souffle… it is heaven in a casserole dish covered with brown sugar and cinnamon and pecans and cornflakes…

  49. 64

    Fried Trukey! Fried Turkey! You will have a whole new love for the bird after eating one.
    Make sure you brine the turkey first.

  50. 65

    Well, since La Madeline is cooking for us this year (there will only be three of us) and they have ALL the bases covered, all I need to do is heat stuff. And that’s okay. But I must have turkey, and I must have pumpkin. And the Boss must have the canned cranberry stuff, so I will make sure I get some when I go to HEB for my coffee.

  51. 66

    Corn casserole is my very favorite! Along with broccoli casserole and crockpot macaroni & cheese. yum! Can’t wait for Thursday to get here!

  52. 67

    Okay. I realize that you were probably not asking for a bajillion different family recipes (named for various deceased family members) when you asked what everyone eats. And you can probably live without another jello recipe. However. We make Great-Gamma Larson’s Jello Salad and it is perfection. It is all my husband requests beyond turkey, stuffing, and mash. You get three small (NOT two large) boxes of wild STRAWBERRY jello and mix it according to directions. Add two or three sliced bananas, a box of frozen strawberries (thawed) and small can of crushed pineapple (drained). Get everything evenly mixed. Pour half in a casserole dish and set it in fridge for an hour to set. Then, spread 16 oz. of sour cream on top (I know, but it is SO good, and I am not a fan of the sour cream). Let it set in the fridge for another hour. Then, pour the rest of the jello mixture on top and put back in the fridge to set. Obviously, there is time involved, but it is super easy and just wonderful. It is a salad/dessert. Which are the best kind of “salads”. So. Try it. People will rave. :)

    • 68

      Do you leave one half of the jello out of the fridge so you can pour it onto the 1/2 thats been setting in the fridge?

      • 69

        Yes. That’s how I do it. You can do the steps faster if things set up quickly in the fridge.

      • 70
        Show-Me Sooz says:

        Thanks, Julie. I was wondering the same thing!

        • 71

          Julie and Show-Me Sooz,
          I checked with my Mama, and she said that each layer should set up after just half an hour in the fridge each. So, just check each layer until it’s firm.

    • 72

      This is Aunt Joan’s strawberry salad in our family. Try mixing in some cream cheese and chopped pecans to the sour cream before you spread it over the first layer. Very yummy. And at Christmas, make one layer with strawberry jello/strawberries and the other layer with lime jello/pineapple-red and green!

  53. 73

    My husband is the turkey fan in our family. I personally wouldn’t miss it at all. The sides are what I love about Thanksgiving. Garlic mashed potatoes, dressing, strawberry pecan salad, any yummy fresh green beans or asparagus, rolls.

  54. 74

    Baked Pineapple…my grandmother’s recipe. It’s like warm applesauce, only yummy. I still make it every year, even though I decided post-divorce that ordering the majority of my Thanksgiving meal from Moncla’s was WAY smarter than suffering all of those nice burns on my arm from trying to remove a HUGE turkey from the roaster or pies from the oven. I don’t know how people do it. I suffered severe burns EVERY Thanksgiving and still had the trauma of a pecan pie that wouldn’t exactly set.

    Try to talk P into frying the turkey. It’s much juicier and he is man, hear him roar. If you can’t sweet-talk/force him into that, make sure you buy those oven roaster bag things. (I’m sure that’s EXACTLY what it says on the box.) It makes the turkey very moist. Gosh, the irony of ME having advice for anyone in a kitchen. I barely know where mine is, except for the chocolate that’s stored in mine.

  55. 75

    I could also do without the turkey. Even when it’s moist, it’s still not as interesting to me as all the side dishes. We do sweet potato casserole (but not as sweet as the traditional), green beans roasted in the oven with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, mashed potatoes and gravy, grape/cranberry salad, cranberry-orange relish and a minimum of five kinds of pie (pumpkin, apple, cherry, chocolate pecan, cranberry walnut). Usually there are several families contributing to this, but this year it’s just us. I said the other night, “Dang it, that means we can’t have five kinds of pie,” and both my boys looked at me like I was crazy. “Why not??” So I guess we’re having lots of pie.

  56. 76

    My husband and I both don’t really care for turkey either, so we instituted a new tradition in our family and we make duck instead. We get duck breasts, pan fry them then finish them in the oven and make orange sauce from the drippings. Then we have regular Thanksgiving stuff (cornbread and sausage dressing, apple pie, pecan pie) along with it, though we sometimes add in scalloped potatoes too.

    When I was growing up we always had chocolate mousse for dessert on Thanksgiving. I’m not sure why, but it sure is tasty!

  57. 77

    Make a carrot jello mold, super easy and delish. Big box of orange jello and some shredded carrots from the bag. Also, deviled eggs and a relish tray.

  58. 78

    This Ocean Spray cranberry sauce recipe is SO easy and SO tasty. You’ll never go back to the canned stuff. It may be a good project for Caroline. :)

    Ingredients:

    1 cup sugar
    1 cup water
    1 12-ounce package Ocean Spray® Fresh or Frozen Cranberries

    Directions:

    Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 2 1/4 cups.

  59. 79

    I must have the ye ol’ sweet potatoes with mini-marshmallows — the classic recipe from the 1950s. Yum. IMHO the only way to eat turkey is on Wonder bread with lots of mayo and cranberry sauce (the one from the lovely can) — the next day. Oh, and I have a friend who makes the all time best pecan pie. Her version has very little of that goopy stuff just lots of pecans. *Sigh*, I’m getting hungry and it’s how many days till Thanksgiving? I’ve never had instant mashed potatoes. Should I?

  60. 80

    I love a good dressing! I have a great recipe for sausage stuffing —so yummy. My husband’s family raves about their fried turkey, but it honestly just tastes like regular old turkey to me. I’m more interested in the dessert. His mom is making butternut squash pie, and the idea of that makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit. I like pumpkin pie, but I feel as if something chocolate needs to make an appearance in the buffet rotation.

  61. 81

    I have never hosted Thanksgiving. We have, however, smoked a turkey the last two years. We won a turkey or something one year so we had to cook it. We cooked it in our electric smoker and it was so good! Juicy and tender and flavorful. After that, we were asked to bring a smoked turkey to go with the oven turkey. So we did. But I am all about the dressing and potatoes and rolls.

  62. 82

    I love Thanksgiving and like most everyone else could do without the turkey and just stay with the sides :) This year the husband and I decided we had had enough of turkey so we’re having tri-tip (it’s a CA thing), PW’s burgandy mushrooms, baked potatoes and a salad, most likely with goat cheese, pears and candied walnuts. We’ll pretend the Pilgrims killed the fatted calf and have at it :)

  63. 83

    My mother-in-law’s recipe for twice baked potato casserole has turned into a staple for MY family’s holiday meals for the last almost-40-years. And my daughter roasts a wonderful combination of broccoli, cauliflower, vidalia onion, red pepper and garlic. YUM! and just as delish reheated the next day. As for my favorite item on the menu, its gotta be pie. Pumpkin, cherry, ohhhhhh pecan. . . .

  64. 84

    Do the sprouts again, but this time with craisins and pecans and balsamic. Lots of recipes out there for it. OH MY WORD. I wanted to lick my plate, but I didn’t think my in-laws would approve.

  65. 85

    We just had our office Thanksgiving party — I could use a nap as well. Reading this post made me wish for a pillow even more.

    Our Thanksgiving favorites are my sister in law’s cranberry relish and Paula Deen’s corn casserole, which is the easiest recipe to make and has cheese on top. Hurrah for cheese!

  66. 86

    Corn Casserole … super easy to make and Sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top are a must for my fam … which will not be present this year. My kids are going with their Daddy and my parents are going to the wine country. The WINE COUNTRY!!

  67. 87

    MARINATED GREEN BEANS! (no french-fried onions required!)

    All I do is put my green beans in a casserole dish.
    Add salt/pepper to taste.
    Add crumbled up bacon, or REAL bacon bits.
    Cover with Catalina dressing.
    Bake on 350 for about 45 mins-an hour.

    DELICIOUS-NESS!!!!

  68. 88

    I’m all about the cornbread dressing. And creamed corn. (Found a knock off on Rudy’s! that involves putting all the ingredients in a crockpot and walking away for 6 hours. Perfect! Message me if you want the recipe.)

    Turkey? I stopped roasting them several years ago for several reasons. First, we don’t like dry turkey. Second, we only eat the white meat. Now, I purchase sliced smoked turkey from a local joint the day before. I sprinkle it lightly with chicken broth and cover it while I reheat it slowly. Always, always moist!

    AND, it frees up my oven on Thanksgiving for my extra big dish of dressing!!!

    • 89
      Louise in NE OK says:

      Nothing better than Rudy’s creamed corn…..Would love to have the recipe….I know that I’m not Mel, but would appreciate it anyway! Happy Thanksgiving!

  69. 90

    Broccoli and rice casserole is the thing for me; everything else is just fluff!

  70. 91
    Jo the teasnob says:

    If you use an oven baking bag for your turkey, it will turn out perfect, and not one bit dry. Idiot proof, as I have demonstrated for the past 10 years.

  71. 92

    We have turkey, which I brine so it stays moist. But I also always have squash cassarole and sweet potoato cassarole-with crumble topping on it.

  72. 93

    We have a grape salad that is to die for. We also have this rice dish made with mushrooms, beef consummee and onion soup, lots of butter. You can add water chestnuts but we don’t. So good.
    All the veggies are from the garden. All the desserts you can imagine.

  73. 94

    First of all, buy only FRESH, never frozen turkey (sometimes you have to order one in advance from your grocer, but all grocery stores usually have a section of fresh turkeys.) Fresh is juicier for obvious reasons….freezing dries things out. Squeeze a lemon into the roasting pan. The citric acid also helps to keep the meat tender. I use a separate counter-top roaster oven instead of my regular oven, because that also makes the turkey juicier. I think it has to do with the turkey being confined to a smaller space. Periodically, I baste it with the drippings with the lemon juice. I make the dressing on the stove, not in the turkey, because it’s safer. I’d be perfectly happy with only the turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie, but jellied cranberry sauce is a bonus. Being the Mexican foodaholic you are, you would love cranberry/jalapeno compote to spoon over your turkey slices. It’s YUMMY!!

  74. 95

    Sweet Potato Casserole… with a brown sugar and pecan topping. mmmmmm.

  75. 96

    I’m trying to forget the awful Thanksgiving lunch I had today with my five-year-old at school. Blech. Words cannot describe it. School lunches have gone downhill. Way down. I did eat the roll. The rolls are still delicious. Milk in a bag? NO thank you. I brought a water bottle. But even the dessert was awful. I paid $4 for that food. FOUR DOLLARS! I don’t recall lunch with her older siblings being this awful. Someone please intervene!

  76. 97

    Raspberry pretzel cream cheese salad/dessert thing. Thinking about trying the sweet potato souffle that is everywhere. Usual dressing and mashed potatoes and pie. Broccoli casserole if I’m not too tired. Homemade cranberry sauce. Whole Foods sides are sounding better and better.

  77. 98

    We love baked stuffed artichokes! So easy and yummy! Check out my site for the recipe! Also must have cheesecake!

  78. 99

    We always have German red cabbage with our turkey dinners. it’s the German answer to cranberry sauce. sweet and sour and so good with turkey. my non-German husband now insists on it.

  79. 100

    We have honey baked ham and a turkey breast. We have to have some sort of jello salad, chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, broccoli casserole, dressing, a relish tray and pie. I’m still considering whether to have pumpkin cheesecake.

  80. 101

    FRY the turkey…once you taste it fried you won’t go back to dry oven roasted. Don’t get one of those crazy propane fryers (do you drop the i when adding ers?)…there is one at Wal-Mart for $112 that says indoors…but you don’t want to do it indoors and smell the grease for the next week. My dad just fried one at my house when he came to visit. ABSOLUTELY delicious! Not dry at all. Who am I kidding? A dirty sock would taste good fried! I suggest Creole butter seasoning.

  81. 102

    Turkey and mawmaw’s cornbread dressing (not stuffing). Mashed Potatoes, and I have discovered that the Bob Evans taters you can buy at WalMart are better than any I can cook, which is a HUGE plus. Pumpkin pie, or my 29 year old son would not come home. Sweet potato casserole, the kind with chopped pecans, melted butter and brown sugar sprinkles over the top. Coleslaw. Pink eyed Purple hull peas, a staple in Alabama, fried cream style corn like mawmaw used to make, scraped off the cob and fried in a cast iron skillet. Now substituted with McKenzies frozen cream style corn in the sausage shaped tube. Dont judge me…I work 48 hours a week and prepare this meal all by myself. Finally, King’s Hawaiian Rolls, or Sister Schuberts rolls, and Pioneer Woman’s apple dumplings for the ones who dont like pumpkin pie. Or 4-layer chocolate pie, which will make you slap your mawmaw. AND, my future son-in-law who is a new fixture on family meals’ favorite is….green bean casserole with french fried onions on top, if you have a recipe, cause I’ve never made it.

  82. 103

    This is a MUST at Thanksgiving: Maw Maw’s Corn Casserole…here’s the recipe… http://refusingtotiptoe.com/2011/10/22/maw-maw-dubees-corn-casserole/ (but it’s not healthy). :)

  83. 104

    I hate to say this, but I love turkey! Being from Texas, I can understand your preference for beef :)
    Our family loves green bean casserole too. My brother in law makes the most wonderful green beans with bacon that are divine.
    We also love pumpkin crumble for dessert, rather than pie. Even the kids who would not eat pumpkin pie love it. It’s super easy and serves a crowd.
    Here the recipe:

    1 can of pumpkin
    1 can of evaporated milk
    4 eggs
    2 tsp vanilla
    2 tsp cinnamon
    2 tsp nutmeg
    1 yellow cake mix
    1/2-1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
    1/2 c. butter or margarine

    Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs. Blend well with mixer. Pour into a greased 9 X 13 pan. Sprinkle with dry yellow cake mix. Top with nuts (I really prefer the pecans.), then drizzle with melted butter/margarine. Put into oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes, to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

  84. 105

    Oops I put the wrong web-site on that last post- sorry, don’t know how to edit it. So posting this now. Thanks!
    Cory-Lynn

  85. 106

    We have ham instead of turkey. We’re rebels that way. But I do make cornbread dressing. We also have to have the sweet potato casserole with the brown sugar and pecans on top. It seriously is like a dessert! My girls are also asking for corn casserole.

    I have one daughter who will eat none of the above, so I will make PW’s Fettuccine Alfredo for her (and the rest of us, too!).

    And, because that’s not enough food, we also have to have pecan pie. PW’s recipe is the best I’ve had! It even impressed my skeptical brother-in-law!

    Happy eating!

  86. 107

    I’m a day late, but had to comment on the whole turkey business…my husband pretty much hates Thanksgiving because turkey is the main dish (and because he feels like it’s a holiday purely devoted to stuffing ourselves and watching football constantly which he can’t bring himself to embrace – that is when I call him “pastor” and remind him that the real reason we celebrate is to be thankful! :)), but my feeling on this is, if we had beef instead, I’d be too full on the beef to enjoy the sides. The sides are what make me happy about the Thanksgiving meal (dressing and corn casserole being at the top!). We hold out for beef for our Christmas dinner (a standing rib roast to die for). It makes the turkey easier to swallow knowing Christmas is only a month away. That and the fact it’s covered in dressing and gravy.

  87. 108

    I found Martha Stewarts recipe for Perfect Roast Turkey some years ago and it’s always moist, delicious AND looks just like those beautiful turkeys you see in magazines. Just google to find it but it involves basting w a mixture of wine Nd butter. Fresh not frozen turkey. Makes out-of-this-world gravy.
    Love the idea of combining turkey and dressing y’all (not stuffing) in a crockpot and cooking all day the next day, am doing this.

  88. 109

    Turkey — 1 smoked; 1 fried
    Cornbread dressing with giblet gravy
    Mashed potatoes — REAL potatoes
    Sweet potatoes with brown sugar & pecans on top
    Homemade yeast rolls
    Butterbeans
    Peas
    Turnip Greens
    Corn
    Congealed Salad
    Chocolate Pie
    Coconut Cake
    Caramel Cake
    cookies
    Pecan Pie
    Sweet Tea & Coffee
    Extra tables all over the place to seat the 4-5 generations present
    Football
    Cool Weather
    Leaves
    Naps
    Planning Friday shopping

  89. 110

    brine your turkey my dear…it makes all the difference

  90. 111

    We do a fried turkey! It’s much easier because you can inject it (we use a creole butter one) and it only takes about an hour (read no getting up at 5:30 ;). Just make sure you defrost it ahead of time. We learned about fried turkeys from our Austin friends and haven’t looked back.

  91. 112

    I have a killer dressing/stuffing recipe that has cornbread and tamales in it. Yes…tamales. It is awesome with a capital A.

    Formerly known as Apathy Lounge

  92. 113

    Broccoli rice casserole? Sounds yummy! Would you share? And YES to roasting your bird upside down! It makes a tremendous difference. I always get raves because the meat is so moist.

  93. 114

    Going to a friend’s house, and she’s doing BBQ ribs for Thanksgiving. Yum! Then she’s doing another T’giving on Sunday for the rest of her family, and that’s when she’ll cook the turkey. She uses a bag, and it always comes out moist. It could also be the real butter she rubs all over it before baking. I’m taking Spinach Madeline, which is completely delicious. I saw it at Whole Foods, and just Googled the recipe; they’re all basically the same.

  94. 115
    Elizabeth Cisneros says:

    I’m with you on it being about the dressing. For me, also the hashbrown casserole and creamed corn. And pumpkin praline pie.

    My husband’s family never has turkey for Thanksgiving, because none of them like it. I can’t think outside the box, so I have to have turkey, but I much prefer it in a sandwich with some of the leftover cranberry sauce and dressing the next day.

  95. 116

    Reading all the comments makes me mindful again of how much we have to be thankful for! In our house, we really enjoy the following recipe for Cranberry Relish. Tastes good on the leftover turkey sandwiches!

    CRANBERRY RELISH
    2 bags cranberries grated in food processor
    1 large orange chopped into small pieces
    1 large tart apple grated
    1 cup sugar (I start with 1/2 cup and add more IF needed)

    Grind cranberries; add sugar, mix and let rest. After an hour or so, mix in the rest. Refrigerate. Enjoy!

  96. 117

    Turkey makes me sick, so I don’t eat it but I cook it for everyone else since my in-laws have been with us every Thanksgiving except for one since we were married (and that year I cooked a turkey for my husband!)
    Don’t buy frozen and cook it in those Reynolds
    Bags – stays super juicy and according to my family delicious – and I don’t think they are lying based on how much they eat;)

  97. 118

    I’ve done Thanksgiving dinner at our house for a few years now. A few of the must haves are PW’s mashed potatoes, dressing, and sweet potato casserole.
    I make brussel sprouts in a pan with olive oil, garlic and bacon. Not healthy at all but delicious! The cranberry salad I make calls for one bag of cranberries and 16 oz of Pomegranate juice with a little bit of splenda. Cook that down and it is so yummy!

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