Are you ready? Have you picked up your turkey yet? There’s just something about picking up a turkey that really brings the holidays into the present. Picking out your side dishes and tasty desserts, maybe a little red or white wine, sitting around a candle-lit dinner table with your family and friends….ahhhhh….bliss!
Today was my shopping day and I found the perfect bird! 20lbs of yummy deliciousness!
So….I thought this would be the prefect time to plan my menu. I do the turkey pretty much the same every year and if it ‘ain’t broke’…why fix it? But the side dishes could use a little pep and these are the recipes I have decided to try this year. They’re simple enough for the kids to understand and be able to help out, but tasty enough, that it’ll seem as though they were prepared by a master chef!
Fabulous Southern Italian Thanksgiving Stuffing
Original recipe makes 12 servings
1 1/2 pounds bulk Italian sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces pancetta bacon, diced
2 onions, chopped
7 large stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups day-old French bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 cups crumbled cornbread
1 1/2 tablespoons rubbed dried sage
1 1/2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup toasted pine nuts
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 ounce shaved Parmesan cheese
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a deep 9×13 inch baking dish or roasting pan.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in the sausage. Cook and stir until the sausage is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink. Drain and discard any excess grease. Place the browned sausage into a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the pancetta begins to brown, stir in the onions and celery, and cook until the onion softens and turns translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook another 3 minutes until the aroma of the garlic mellows.
Scrape the onion mixture into the bowl with the crumbled sausage. Add the French bread, cornbread, dried sage, poultry seasoning, salt, and pine nuts; stir well. Pour in the chicken broth and mozzarella cheese; stir until the chicken stock has been absorbed by the bread and the stuffing is evenly mixed. Pack the stuffing into the prepared baking dish, and dot the butter overtop. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, then remove the foil, and continue baking until the top has turned golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Sprinkle with the fresh sage and shaved Parmesan cheese to serve.
Original recipe makes 12 servings
1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup white sugar
1 cup tangerine juice
1 tablespoon tangerine zest
1 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
Combine cranberries, cherries, sugar, tangerine juice, tangerine zest, star anise, cinnamon stick, and whole cloves in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries are all popped, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Discard star anise, cinnamon stick, and whole cloves, and refrigerate until needed.
Original recipe makes 6 servings
1 (29 ounce) can sweet potatoes
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Place sweet potatoes in a medium baking dish. Distribute butter pieces evenly over the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Layer with miniature marshmallows.
Bake in the preheated oven 25 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender and marshmallows have melted.