Monday, November 29, 2010

A Day To Be Thankful – The Meal

After the trials and tribulations I posted about yesterday, we finally got down to the eating about an hour late – fortunately we’d served salad and hot rolls, so we were pretty content.  The salad was provided by our friends Kathy and Ashley (mother/daughter) and it was beautiful.  Here's the link to our menu.

The bottom line is the turkey turned out fine – the breast was perfect – moist and tender and the dark meat could have been a little more done but it was fine, none the less.  We used a maple-cider glaze recipe from the newspaper, which the sweet toother’s loved, but us savory folks wouldn’t use again.  The dressing that went with it, which included the normal mirepoix along with apples and pecans was the same – very good if you like the sweeter dressing. 

All of the items cooked in the smoker turned out fine, except for not browning the dressing top - which I forgot.  Since I grew up on moist, unbrowned, stuffing from the bird, and not dressing, from a pan, I thought it was cooked just right.

I was so busy, and frustrated, I only remembered to take two pictures – here’s the buffet layout.  Counterclockwise from lower right , it was turkey, pork chops w/ dressing, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, broccoli casserole, brussel sprouts, baked sweet potatoes, cranberry salsa - Bev delivered the rolls hot to the table.

 We used The Pioneer Woman’s mashed potato recipe, which includes cream cheese, and they got some best I ever ate” comments.

The pork chops with dressing turned out well from the smoker, except for failing to uncover and brown the dressing top.  I had just sliced up a pork loin into ¾” chops and covered them with Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Mix.  The chops were tender and juicy, but we decided at the last minute to toss some dried cranberries into the dressing, which meant we ended up with sweetness in both dressings.

The broccoli casserole was your basic recipe, but the foil didn’t get sealed tightly and it picked up a little smokiness (from the smoker), which some just loved.

We steamed the sprouts, al dente, the day before, then sautéed them in butter, garlic, and lemon juice to reheat and added some chopped bacon just before serving.  This was our normal sprout treatment, except for the bacon, which I would do again, but with a different bacon.  Bev had bought one labeled “apple smoked, maple bacon” which smelled and tasted like it had been soaked in and injected with maple syrup.  It would have been great with pancakes, but it over powered the sprouts.

Bev makes her bread from a sour dough starter that she’s kept going for 2-3 years and she used it for the rolls.  Some of the guests raved about them and they also got “best I ever had” comments.

Here’s my plate and as you can see, I go for the things that can accommodate gravy - pork chop with dressing, regular dressing, mashed potatoes - I prefer turkey made into leftover dishes.  I could easily just eat dressing (the un-sweet version) with gravy and hot rolls and forget the other stuff.

The desserts were provided by the guests and they were all outstanding.  We had pumpkin, pecan, and chocolate pies and pig licking cake, which is a yellow cake containing coconut and pineapple with a whipped cream icing.  I think I, also, heard some “best I ever ate” comments during dessert. 

While everything turned out fine, I think we’ll save the riskier new recipes for non-holiday meals from now on, and since everyone stayed around to visit until 10pm, we must have been having a good time – I hope yours went as well.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.



  1. It all looks delicious Larry! Looks like you had a great holiday!

  2. Glad you got past the turkey issues - looks like a feast! We used to buy smoked turkeys in Texas and the leftovers were fantastic for bean soup.

  3. Everything looks really good Larry! I had a bit of a problem with my stuffing too... I actually went for the crisp topping and went a little too far.. it was a bit burnt on top... Oh well...not everything can be perfect, right?? :)

  4. I could easily eat the mashed potatoes and gravy and forget the rest until leftover time. They're an indulgence for me. As you know my big meal was last night. Everything was good and I do like the browned dressing top and didn't get it cooked long enough for that. But really, browned or not, dressing is delicious. I'm with you, no risky on TG. Even though the traditional meal is pretty easy to make, it's long hours with lots of attention. I sure slept good last night as I'm sure you did after your event. :-)

  5. I was just getting ready to close out your post and noticed that Polish pottery in the photo. Love that stuff.

  6. it's a holiday meal all right. Love Thanksgiving, no gifts and other nonsense... all about the food and family

    well done buffet!

  7. Yum! Looks like a great feast Larry!

  8. Hi Larry, Caught up on your posts... WELL---even though you had a frustrating time, it looks as if Thanksgiving dinner turned out perfectly....

    I've read that several bloggers had brussel sprouts for Thanksgiving dinner... I had never heard of that... I do like brussel sprouts---but just hadn't heard of them as being a part of Thanksgiving... Interesting!!!!

    Have a great Monday.
    P.S. My daughter in law uses cream cheese in her mashed potatoes --and they are delciious!!!

  9. Mishaps happen, and they are what we laugh about in years to come. Looks like your dinner was great in spite of the mishaps!

  10. Well, it all looks great. I like the doggie in the corner waiting for his/her share!

  11. It looks like you had a wonderful meal... glad you had a happy Thanksgiving.

  12. Larry, I just looked at the photos of the Thanksgiving spread...and the hunger pangs started up again! Yum! It's a good thing that we're about to hunker down over some of your smoked hot wings! The grill is on so I crisp them up and the wing sauce is ready to go! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  13. Frustrated. I think I can definitely identify with that one in my more "orchestrated" cooks like this one. Yeah, pictures took a low priority for me too!

  14. Hey Larry, sounds like that maple cider glaze coulda used a bit of bourbon maybe LOL! ;)

    I don't experiment over the holidays except for maybe with a dessert or one minor additional new side dish. We have the same traditional stuff that is expected and there would probably be a riot if anything changed. Honestly it all looks and sounds marvelous! You should be proud of that spread. I have a feeling you are a worse perfectionist than I am! And, actually I forgot to take ONE SINGLE picture LOL, so how's that??!!

    BTW, I use Big Martha's mashed potato recipe (as in the mother of The Martha) for the holidays - it doesn't have the extra Lawry's seasoning but who needs it with butter, heavy cream, whole milk and cream cheese?! :) I get raves over it. Try it sometime - I even make it in a big batch for 30!

    And for the record, I'm a fan of the bird stuffing myself. Can't beat it in my opinion.

    Thanks for sharing your holiday meal - and I'm guessing everybody left happy and full.


I appreciate and enjoy your comments