roast turkey and cranberry sauce

A Perfect Thanksgiving – Preparation, Sides, Cranberry Sauce and the Turkey

As the song goes.. I’m back, back in the New York groove, except for the fact that I’m not in NY but I’ve got my groove back for blogging. Yes it’s been awhile and yes I don’t have a perfectly valid reason or explanation on why I stopped writing and sharing new recipes. Partly because I didn’t have any idea on what to cook anymore, I was stuck in a rinse and repeat cycle of the same recipes, the creative side of my brain sort of shut down. Yet I couldn’t help but think about Thanksgiving being just a few days away!! This holiday makes me so happy, I think any day that involves feasting on delicious comfort foods and spending all day in the kitchen in order to see people smile afterwards is a great day. In turn I had to make my comeback sharing great recipes, some of mine, but mostly of things I have been drooling over this past week.

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I decided to make a little Thanksgiving guide for those in need, for those that are cooking it for the 25th time and want some ideas, and for those who are staring at a huge frozen turkey (maybe right about now in the store) and trying to figure out what to do with it. To make life easier I have also pinned all the recipes described and more to a board I made just for you, I know with food it’s always best to drool a little at a photo before you decide to cook it.  

1. Pre-Prep the Turkey – The first dilemma is fresh or frozen, and I don’t mean the turkey is running around your kitchen, I mean which one to purchase and what to do with it. Most supermarkets sell both varieties and it’s up to you to decide what fits in your fridge or freezer. It’s best to buy fresh (I always loved TJ’s pre brined Turkeys) and go by the sell dates for freshness. If you go the route of frozen here is a great guide on how to and not to defrost your turkey. Big note in bold, Don’t forget to DEFROST the TURKEY, this happens to many many people and hours before dinner they have a stone cold rock of a turkey staring back at them

When you are ready to start preparing the turkey, remove the fresh or defrosted turkey from the refrigerator. Each turkey is sold differently but most have a temporary plastic truss and giblets inside. Take out the giblets (could be used for other recipes) and wash the turkey with cool water, pat it dry and place it on a clean flat board or table. Finally let the turkey warm up to room temperature 30 minutes to an hour. 

 2. Plan your sides – Now this this is something you want to decide while grocery shopping and stocking your pantry and fridge. Depending on your guests you can decide if you want to stick to traditional sides or shake it up a bit with some new flavors and lighter sides.

There are millions of recipes for sides everywhere you look..bombarding your emails and here is another list, just because I love you guys:

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 3. Cranberry Sauce – All in it’s own category, cranberry sauce is a must have side on the Thanksgiving table. Luckily I have a great recipe for you that is tart, (but can be made as sweet as you want it) doesn’t have any rigid shapes, and is not more jelly than actual cranberries. Homemade cranberry sauce is one of the easiest things you can make and you can freeze any leftovers for future turkey sandwich use.. or even eat along side some ikea meatballs. The best thing about cranberry sauce is that you can make it in advance alongside the pumpkin pies and cheesecakes. 

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4. The Turkey (or not) – Now that you have an idea on what to do with your T-Day menu it’s time to talk about the big one… the main dish.. the center of attention on the table, the TURKEY. In our family we have tried a few methods over the years, yet this Roast Turkey Recipe is one I stick to, not only because its flawless each time, but its also super easy and the turkey always comes out moist, breast, thighs and all. I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried to deep fry or split my turkeys just yet, but maybe in the next few years I’ll experiment a bit more when I have a bigger oven or a backyard. 

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Now for the non-Turkey crowd, or more specifically the vegan option, I found this great looking and what I can imagine great tasting Thanksgiving option. The Vegetable Wellington is labeled the “The Ultimate Vegan Plant-Based Holiday Roast” As for now our Thanksgiving is my husband and myself, oh and the cat, so I am looking forward to trying this recipe when our holiday table grows. 

This is just the beginning, I didn’t forget about starters, drinks, and sweets!

Tomorrow’s post will be all about what to start and end the holiday meal with including sparkling fall drinks, cozy soups, tasty snacks for eagerly waiting guests and “I’m so full but I still need/want/must have pumpkin pie!”



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