Friday, November 20, 2020

An Intimate Thanksgiving

A cozy intimate Thanksgiving menu is being planned for this year's holiday meal.  Come join the fun!

I know that the Thanksgiving holiday is going to look different to everyone this year due to the COVID-19 restrictions we are all facing during the the 2nd wave of this horrendous virus.  My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone that has been touched by this.  As sad as it is most of us must scale back our holiday guest list and that calls for scaling back your menu as well.

Most, but not all people I've talked to, are still doing some form of turkey dinner.  Although it may not be the all out traditional dinner with loads of side dishes a smaller version still seems to be the plan.  That's what we will be doing as well.  With that I wanted to bring you some ideas for creating menu for around 4-6 people that still feels like Thanksgiving.  

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Why not save on some of the cooking and oven time that goes into a whole turkey and cook a turkey breast, or half breast instead? A half breast will feed 4 people easily, and full turkey breast would be for 6 or more.  Everyone loves turkey breast meat and if someone has to have dark meat then you can buy turkey legs separately and cook them on the side.

Here's my favorite turkey breast recipe.  The glaze is key here so don't skip this.  It's the perfect blend of sweet and savory.  Double the recipe is cooking a full breast.

Citrus Rosemary Glazed Turkey Breast

serves 4-6

1/2 c apricot preserves
1/4 c orange juice
2 Tbls honey
1 Tbls Dijon mustard
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 c white wine
1/2 bone-in full turkey breast (about 3-4 pounds)
Garnish:  rosemary sprigs, thyme sprigs, orange wedges, pomegranate arils

In a medium saucepan over medium heat add apricot preserves, orange juice, honey, Dijon, garlic, and rosemary sprigs.  Bring to a boil and then remove from heat and allow to cool.  Once cooled discard the rosemary.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Pat turkey breast to dry the outside.  Place rack in a roasting pan and spray with non-stick spray.  Place turkey breast on rack.  Pour wine in the bottom of the roasting pan.  

Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and brush breast with glaze.  Continue roasting until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reaches 155 degrees. (depending on size of the turkey breast possibly 1 hour more)  Brush with glaze every 30 minutes.  

Transfer turkey breast to a cutting board and tent with foil.  Allow to rest  20 minutes before slicing.  Turkey will continue to cook during this time and reach the proper temperature.  Remove the breast in one piece from the bone and then slice the breast crosswise into slices.  Place slices on a platter and garnish with rosemary sprigs, thyme sprigs, orange wedges, and pomegranate arils.

Mashed potatoes are a classic and something we can't do without at our holiday dinner.  This is a classic version that's been scaled down for an intimate dinner.

Classic Mashed Potatoes


3 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cups half-and-half, heated
salt & pepper

Put the potatoes and the 1 tsp. salt in a large pot, add water to cover the potatoes by 3 inches and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently cook the potatoes until they are tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well in a colander.

Place hot potatoes in the large bowl of a mixer.  Mix on medium low speed until potatoes are smooth.  Add butter and a little half and half at a time until your desired consistency is reached.  Add salt and pepper to taste.   Serve immediately. Serves 4-6

A good salad is always welcome.  This one is a favorite of ours and came from Ina Garten.  This is a wonderful winter salad with the best combination of flavors.

Winter Slaw

serves 4-6

adapted from: Make It Ahead a Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

4-5 cups chopped kale leaves
3-4 oz Brussels sprouts, trimmed halved and cored
1/4 small head of radicchio, cored
1 lemon, juice freshly squeezed 
1/4 cup good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 oz Parmesan cheese, shaved
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup toasted pecans

With a sharp chef's knife cut the kale, Brussels spouts, radicchio crosswise into thin shreds, as you would cut cabbage for coleslaw, and place them in a large bowl.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour enough dressing on the salad to just moisten it, reserving the rest.

Shave the Parmesan in big shards with a vegetable peeler.  Add the cheese, dried cranberries, and pecans to the salad and toss it carefully to avoid breaking up the cheese. Check for seasoning and add more vinaigrette if necessary, and serve cold or at room temperature.

Make it ahead:  Prepare the salad ingredients, store in plastic bags, and refrigerate for a day or two.  Make the vinaigrette and refrigerate for up to one day.  Toss together a few hours before serving. 

You always need something green on your plate and these Balsamic Glazed Green Beans are a winner!

Balsamic Glazed Green Beans 

serves 4-6

3/4 lb fresh green beans
1 T. butter
3 T. shallots, minced
2 T. garlic, minced
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper

Blanch 3/4 lb. of fresh green beans in boiling water for 4-5 minutes, until tender crisp.  Remove from water.  While beans are cooking melt 1 T. butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 3 T. minced shallots and 2 T. of minced garlic.  Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, allowing to thicken slightly.  Add green beans and toss to coat.  Serve.

You have to have something pumpkin for dessert. This dish is quicker and easier than making a pie.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cobbler

serves 6-8

2 eggs
1/2 15oz can of pumpkin
1/2 12 oz can of evaporated milk
1/2 c sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 pkg of yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted  
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat eggs and mix in the next 7 ingredients.  Pour into an un-greased 8x8 pan.  Sprinkle the cake mix over the top and drizzle with the butter. Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove and sprinkle chopped nuts over the top. Bake another 15 minutes or until golden brown and top is set.

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