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Thread: The Thanksgiving Evolution...1, or 2 Dishes at a Time

  1. #1
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    The Thanksgiving Evolution...1, or 2 Dishes at a Time

    Thanksgiving is such a traditional holiday. It's really hard to change it up. Not like Christmas, where anything goes, so long as you bake the cookies. I've tried over the years to introduce new things at Thanksgiving and I always get some push-back. "Nooooo....don't take off the marshmallows on the sweet potatoes!" "D's gotta have his green bean casserole!" It was a big deal just to get some people to eat cranberry sauce that didn't come out of a can. Hey guys, it is not 1961 anymore. Can't we please try some new things this year? My cook's brain is drained from making the same things year after year.

    While my DH and I could care less about the turkey, I know better than to take that item off the menu. My angle now is to go for the sides....lots of sides...lots of healthy, veggie-based sides made from the beautiful harvest of our gardens. Bountiful dishes of squash, kale, cabbage, tomatoes, berries and other fruits and veggies. To the DH and I, that's what Thanksgiving is all about...being thankful for the wonderful harvest that nature provides for us every fall. I'm not excluding anything from the past, just adding to it. Who knows, maybe they'll like one, or two of the dishes and allow it on the menu next year.

    Some of the extra things I'm doing this year are:

    Noshes:
    Carrot lox, w/almond cream cheese, capers and green onions
    Kale Chips
    Roasted Garbanzo Beans, spicy
    Home-grown almonds, in shell
    Fresh fruit bowl
    stuffed mushrooms
    chutney, all home-grown stuff (pineapple guava, poha berry, tomato, apple,) w/cheese plate
    fresh cider (instead of booze...I hope. My family loves to drink. Too much, some might say.)
    homemade french bread

    Sides:
    Fresh Tomato soup
    Winter squash salad
    Lemon Brussels Sprouts

    The regular stuff will still be there:
    Dressing
    mashed potatoes
    sweet potatoes with marshmallows just around the edges
    cranberries (!)
    Oyster casserole
    green bean casserole (dau is doing that)
    gravy
    rolls
    Pumpkin Pie (dau is doing that)
    Ice Cream

    Oh yeah...the Turkey too. (One family member asked just yesterday if I could do a ham as well, because his mom always did one when he was little. My answer was an emphatic NO!)

    There's a ton of food...I know. The whole crew will be here for 5 days and I'm sure that there will be some more stragglers that show up. I'm cooking all of this stuff just once and it's leftovers for everyone the rest of the week.

    ~ C
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 11-27-2019 at 12:43 PM. Reason: shouting/all caps

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tropit View Post
    Thanksgiving is such a traditional holiday. It's really hard to change it up. Not like Christmas, where anything goes, so long as you bake the cookies. I've tried over the years to introduce new things at Thanksgiving and I always get some push-back. "Nooooo....don't take off the marshmallows on the sweet potatoes!" "D's gotta have his green bean casserole!" It was a big deal just to get some people to eat cranberry sauce that didn't come out of a can. Hey guys, it is not 1961 anymore. Can't we please try some new things this year? My cook's brain is drained from making the same things year after year.

    While my DH and I could care less about the turkey, I know better than to take that item off the menu. My angle now is to go for the sides....lots of sides...lots of healthy, veggie-based sides made from the beautiful harvest of our gardens. Bountiful dishes of squash, kale, cabbage, tomatoes, berries and other fruits and veggies. To the DH and I, that's what Thanksgiving is all about...being thankful for the wonderful harvest that nature provides for us every fall. I'm not excluding anything from the past, just adding to it. Who knows, maybe they'll like one, or two of the dishes and allow it on the menu next year.

    Some of the extra things I'm doing this year are:

    Noshes:
    Carrot lox, w/almond cream cheese, capers and green onions
    Kale Chips
    Roasted Garbanzo Beans, spicy
    Home-grown almonds, in shell
    Fresh fruit bowl
    stuffed mushrooms
    chutney, all home-grown stuff (pineapple guava, poha berry, tomato, apple,) w/cheese plate
    fresh cider (instead of booze...I hope. My family loves to drink. Too much, some might say.)
    homemade french bread

    Sides:
    Fresh Tomato soup
    Winter squash salad
    Lemon Brussels Sprouts

    The regular stuff will still be there:
    Dressing
    mashed potatoes
    sweet potatoes with marshmallows just around the edges
    cranberries (!)
    Oyster casserole
    green bean casserole (dau is doing that)
    gravy
    rolls
    Pumpkin Pie (dau is doing that)
    Ice Cream

    Oh yeah...the Turkey too. (One family member asked just yesterday if I could do a ham as well, because his mom always did one when he was little. !)

    There's a ton of food...I know. The whole crew will be here for 5 days and I'm sure that there will be some more stragglers that show up. I'm cooking all of this stuff just once and it's leftovers for everyone the rest of the week.

    ~ C
    Uff Da ! How many do you expect ?
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 11-27-2019 at 12:44 PM.

  3. #3
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    12 big & 3 little people coming. 21 pound turkey - 2 GSs like to return next day for leftovers so have to plan for that.

    Wouldn't be Thanksgiving without Mom’s Cranberry Salad:

    Day ahead:
    1 lb whole cranberries (throw sack in freezer - you want frozen)
    20 oz can crushed pineapple - drain well - 3-4 hours
    2/3 cup white sugar
    Use food processor: grind up frozen cranberries 1/2 bag at a time or 1/4 bag at a time if you use blender.
    I tried Kitchen Aid mixer grinder attachment but it didn’t work out right.
    Put above in large bowl then fold in 8 oz miniature marshmallows (we like 6 oz better)
    Cover & refrigerate over night. Next day fold in 8 oz thawed Cool Whip or same amount freshly whipped cream.

    Freezes great if you make ahead of time but serve thawed.

  4. #4
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    I totally agree with you but it does take time (years) to modified the "expected" meal. Our holiday meals have changed over time. We have increased health awareness, food sensitivities, allergies and vegans/vegetarians to consider. My family knows that the dinner dishes will be my choices, not the meal they remember from their childhood and I don't want to hear any whining. My family occasionally ask, if we could have a particular dish for Thanksgiving, but know that it might or might not be made. I do keep most of the traditional food, but have incorporated different versions and added new foods too. For example, my stuffing is vegan (cooked in the crock pot with vegetable broth), no cream or cheese sauces on side dishes (milk allergy), mashed potatoes (nothing added just potatoes), salads (healthier versions with more vegetables and less dressing), roasted vegetables etc. The food disappears, we are thankful for each other and for all that we have, and enjoy the time together. For the younger ones, my Thanksgiving dinner version will be the one they fondly remember.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranum View Post
    Uff Da ! How many do you expect ?
    7-10 people, but they will be here for 5 days. I expect them to dig into the leftovers the days after Turkey day.

    ~ C

  6. #6
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    I'm not going to the family Thanksgiving event for various reasons. While I'm staying home I will be sending the hubby with a green bean casserole suitable for the vegans in the family. You can get vegan cream of mushroom soup, but I'll be making it with the vegan nutritional yeast/cheese sauce, fresh green beans, and fresh mushrooms. Easy to make but I do suggest smoked paprika helps it quite a bit. Even the Keto hubby can eat it, carbs are low enough.

    I really like the fresh cranberry relish made with the old fashioned grinder. You could probably do in a Cuisinart but I just grind a package (or two, they've gotten smaller over the years) of fresh cranberries, an entire orange (seeds removed but skin and all, an apple, and maybe some finely chopped walnuts and/or cranberries. I use quite a bit less sugar than usually recommended, maybe 1-2 cups?. Make the day before and the pectin in the apple and cranberries doesn't make it like the gelled variety, but it does thicken up a bit.
    Quilters: Advanced tool using humans.

  7. #7
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    Wow, you are a trooper, Tropit, for cooking all that variety. I cook also but my numbers have been reduced down to 4. Everyone gets one favorite. So I whittled it down. DH does the turkey, stovetop instead of real southern dressing, spinach casserole or roasted brussel sprouts, rolls, sweet potato casserole and cranberry pie. I happily discovered that no one likes green bean casserole around here.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cheshirepat's Avatar
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    I'm actually grateful to miss the 'traditional' dinner with hubby's family this year. Same people make the *same* things...including the dreaded green bean casserole. Even the pies are pre-set/no variation. Sigh. I'm going home to my tiny family gathering w/hubby mom & sis. We're thinking lamb roast, whichever veg is looking good roasted, and a pear/cranberry crumble for dessert. Simple and yum. Your feast sounds delicious!
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  9. #9
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    Wow, that’s a lot of choice. I do Turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, a side vegetable, salad and a dessert.

  10. #10
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    You are a veritable cafe/diner! Not in this house though!! We've discussed it, family wide, and the consensus is, tradition wins. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberries, both fresh and canned, veggie, jello salad, rolls, and pies for dessert. Christmas is prime rib, New years is lobster and egg rolls, and Easter is ham. At least we don't have to plan menus much!

  11. #11
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    I love your post and all the menus posted. After 36 years, please don't mess with my Thanksgiving dinner though. Yes, I'm one of those people.LOL.

    Turkey (20#)
    Stuffing (Bells in a box) w/ cooked and crumbled hot sausage. This was my DMIL secret---box stuffing.
    Rice & Gravy (home-made please)
    Candied sweet potatoes (no marshmallows)
    Green bean casserole (love it)
    Rolls & canned cranberry sauce

    Dessert is always pumpkin pie, dutch apple pie. Added a moose tracks cheesecake this year.

    It's just 3 of us for dinner, DH, Son and me. Later, DD, Gson, and SIL will join us for dessert.

  12. #12
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    There will be 3 of us here for Thanksgiving, so I'm making filet mignon, squash, green beans, mashed potatoes, with pound cake and ice cream for dessert. This will be our first year without company and we eat turkey a lot, so this will be a nice change.

  13. #13
    Super Member luvstoquilt's Avatar
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    We are only 5 this year and while we all love dressing we really don’t care for Turkey. We will have a stuffed loin of pork, Mac and cheese, spinach and artichokes, cranberry salad and pound cake for dessert. We seldom eat sweets and no one wants pie. Sad since I really loved to bake.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do"....E. Roosevelt

    Sharon
    Yorkville, IL

  14. #14
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    My goodness, you fix a !!!! I fix ham, potatoes, salad, rolls, and cranberry nut pie. I much prefer turkey but DH doesn't, so ham it is. As you may guess, I absolutely cooking and it's just 3 of us, unless I invite another person, which this year I have. I did forget the fresh cranberry sauce.
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 11-27-2019 at 12:45 PM. Reason: shouting/all caps

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    We are having ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, home made stuffing, gravy, salad, fried cauliflower, broccoli casserole, no sweet potatoes ( l love them but no one else does) and rolls. We're also having crab dip and a fruit tray for starters. For dessert we're having pumpkin cheesecake, coconut, apple and chocolate pies. We will be 13 for dinner.

  16. #16
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    We fly to the son’s family in PNW. We have figured out to fly on Thursday and eat the meal next day. We are all fine with this. And we are all on a page with the food. Daughter in law is a great cook and baker and a very relaxed hostess. I make the turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy. Sometimes I make a dessert only my son likes - we usually have daughter in law’s sister and family. Had their parents before they passed. We all get along and like each other. We have canned cranberry sauce and sister makes their mother’s traditional jelled cranberry dessert recipe in a bundt pan. We don’t like it but they do. My favorite holiday. Next day Mr Stitchnripper uses carcass to make broth and some leftover turkey and sausage we bring to make gumbo. There are two turkeys so everyone gets what they want. We eat gumbo that night and then they freeze the rest in portions to use during the winter. They always alert us to when they have used the last one!!
    Alyce

  17. #17
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    It's just my son and I. He does the cooking. We're having shrimp and grits and sweet potato pie. (Can you tell we're from Louisiana?) He said something about a vegetable, maybe asparagus. I think I'll make a cheeseball for snacking.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhonda K View Post
    I love your post and all the menus posted. After 36 years, please don't mess with my Thanksgiving dinner though. Yes, I'm one of those people.LOL.

    Turkey (20#)
    Stuffing (Bells in a box) w/ cooked and crumbled hot sausage. This was my DMIL secret---box stuffing.
    Rice & Gravy (home-made please)
    Candied sweet potatoes (no marshmallows)
    Green bean casserole (love it)
    Rolls & canned cranberry sauce

    Dessert is always pumpkin pie, dutch apple pie. Added a moose tracks cheesecake this year.

    It's just 3 of us for dinner, DH, Son and me. Later, DD, Gson, and SIL will join us for dessert.
    Ha ha! We share that secret. We also add crumbled sausage to our stuffing. We also add a can of sliced water chestnuts.

    ~ C

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    You are marvelous and it sounds as if you have great family get togethers. You really enjoy what you do. have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

  20. #20
    Super Member zozee's Avatar
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    I’m a traditionalist for Thanksgiving. “Food is memories,” and one day a year our whole family likes to feast on the memories, so to speak.

    We are going to my son’s tomorrow. 10 adults, and my year-old grandtwins. Hubby will deep fry turkey, I’m making rolls, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, coconut cream pie, and buying an apple pie. Daughter and her hubby love to cook; they’re doing stuffing and sweet potatoes,
    Other son’s wife makes corn pudding and pumpkin pie. The hosting son and DIL will do green bean bundles (they’re wrapped in bacon and seasoned with brown sugar), fresh veggies, and drinks, and I think mashed potatoes?

    We always celebrate my dad’s birthday on Thanksgiving . Tomorrow is his 85th birthday. I think we’ll stick the numeral candles in the apple pie.

  21. #21
    Super Member GingerK's Avatar
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    I find it so interesting that Thanksgiving seems to be the 'major' holiday in the US while I would say that Christmas is tops in Canada. I have really enjoyed reading about your different menus and why they are special/traditional for your families.

    As far as holiday menus are concerned, I suppose we have become non-traditionalists. (This may have something to do with trying to cook a 15 lb. turkey on Christmas day in Australia--when the temp outside was +100 and it was hotter inside!!) It can be anything from totally traditional to ordered in Chinese food. Hosts' choice. Makes for some interesting fare.

    Enjoy your holiday!
    Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down the their level and beat you with experience.

  22. #22
    Super Member luvstoquilt's Avatar
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    In my family Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday. To us it is a day of appreciation and love of each other. I guess that sounds kind of sugary sweet but it is so special and just a time to enjoy being together. We don’t do a lot of gifting at Christmas anymore...just to the children so we discuss where we will be donating for less fortunate families. We adopt families and this is a discussion at our table. We have done this for several years and love how my grandchildren help shop for others. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope your day is special and you are not spending it alone.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do"....E. Roosevelt

    Sharon
    Yorkville, IL

  23. #23
    Super Member JENNR8R's Avatar
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    I can't get past tradition on Thanksgiving day. I'd really miss turkey, whole cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and the sweet potato recipe that I have made for the last 48 years. Fortunately, I only ever have to make the sweet potato recipe. The meal seems off somehow if there aren't those basics.

    I always get invited to someone elses Thanksgiving meal. This year the pastor invited me to come to his daughter's home. She is expecting 22 adults and 23 children... all will be sitting with silver, china... the works! I'll be bringing my favorite Thanksgiving recipe.

    Scalloped Sweet Potatoes and Apples

    3 baked, peeled, and sliced Sweet Potatoes (small to medium size)
    2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and sliced
    1/2 cup Butter
    1 teaspoon Salt

    Put alternate layers of potatoes and apples in an 8” x 8” x 2” (2 liter) Corelle Ware casserole dish. Dot each layer with butter and sprinkle with salt.

    Topping

    3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1 cup chopped pecans
    1/3 cup melted butter
    1/3 cup flour

    In a mixing bowl combine the topping ingredients and mix well. Sprinkle over top of the casserole.

    Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven until the apples are soft (about 45 minutes). Uncover and bake for about ten minutes longer.

    Serves 6 to 8

  24. #24
    Senior Member Dakota Rose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pocoellie View Post
    My goodness, you fix a !!!! I fix ham, potatoes, salad, rolls, and cranberry nut pie. I much prefer turkey but DH doesn't, so ham it is. As you may guess, I absolutely cooking and it's just 3 of us, unless I invite another person, which this year I have. I did forget the fresh cranberry sauce.
    Please share your recipe for the cranberry nut pie. I love cranberries and that sounds so good.

  25. #25
    Junior Member recycler's Avatar
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    It was fun reading everyone's versions of the Thanksgiving menu! My mouth is watering! Our son and his family came ( they just live a few blocks away) and it was decided to have a soup and munchie day! That worked for me, although a small part of me kind of missed having/making the full meal, which until this year we have always done. Christmas will be our big meal holiday this year as our other son and family will join us at that time. So, we all enjoyed the casual day without all the work!

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