Central Maine
I'll go first.

The closest family is 500+ miles away, so that's out of the question. We check with our friends to see if they're going to be with loved ones for the holiday, if not, we have them over. This year it's just us. That makes it easy.

Since it's just the wife and myself we have only the 2 of us to make happy. Normally we'd cook a turkey, but this year the indoor oven took a hike. It broke with my help, but that's been overdue for 7 years (it was overpriced  junk from day one). The new oven will never be installed in time even if it's delivered before Thanksgiving and I won't rush the installation. So we had a powwow and decided to simplify things even more than normal. Certain dishes are non-negotiable and simply translate into Thanksgiving Day comfort foods for us.

We'll have our roasted turkey after the new oven arrives. But we must have certain dishes on Thanksgiving. I poached a mess of chicken breasts for chicken a la king (yeah, I know it's not traditional and not a comfort food but we wanted poultry), I'll make our favorite dressing as a base for the chicken a la king. We have the makin's for homemade cranberry sauce. That takes care of the protein, carb', and veggies since the 1st two are both loaded with veggies; the cranberry sauce is because we both want it. We've got to have pumpkin pie for dessert, but lately I just make pumpkin pudding, which is more like the custard that fills the innards of the pie shell. That gives us our comfort foods for the day and lots' of it can be cooked in advance so Thanksgiving Day is relaxed and more enjoyable than the hustle and bustle and without all of the cleanup we had in years past.

We've been doing much the same for a few years now and enjoy the holiday so much more. It gives us time to do what we want to do during the day. More positive, much less negative.

For Christmas we do much the same if it's just us. If friends will be alone we get together and go to the community Christmas dinner that a bunch of churches put on (7?). I have no idea how many people show for this, but the place is large, crowded, and noisy. Lots of people think that it's for the needy, but it's just for folks who don't want to be alone for Christmas. Of course it's open to everyone; including the needy. Last year our friends and we attended and then came back to our place to watch a movie and have drinks.  It's starting to be a tradition with us, but we only go when friends can attend. Here's the link to the information >>>>>>>>> click here<<<<<<<<<<
Brian. Lover of SE razors.

Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
Brian, Thanksgiving is my time to be alone and that is by choice.  Because it is just me, I stopped roasting a turkey a long time ago as it was just too much for one.  I like leftovers and it was still too much.  For the last few years I have roasted a chicken, which suited me fine.  This year, however (and because I'm basically a lazy slug), I decided to make a turkey meatloaf.  I like it, it's easy to make, and I'll get a couple of days of leftovers from it...perfect.  Along with it will be my "must haves" including mashed potatoes (mashed with the skins), roasted Brussel sprouts, stuffing, whole cranberry sauce, and for dessert some of my favorite cookies from Trader Joe's. (I absolutely loathe pumpkin pie.)  While the dinner is cooking, I relax with my book and some classical music while sipping a Bellini.  I know the meal is totally unconventional but I thoroughly enjoy it and really am thankful for it and the alone time.

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North Carolina
(This post was last modified: 11-25-2015, 12:32 AM by DavidJames.)
On this years menu:  Brined and roasted Turkey with sage and sausage stuffing, spiral brown sugar ham, green bean casserole, garlic mashed potatoes with Irish butter and brown gravy, candied yam casserole with natural vanilla bean glaze, pineapple and cheddar casserole, fresh baked Hawaiian rolls, Key Lime pie, pumpkin pie and egg nog pie....whew...and leftovers  for WEEKS..... Smile

Los Angeles
I've been roasting a turkey for our dinner 25 years in a row, it's the only thing I cook, but kinda tired already! It's only 25 turkeys, but feels like a lot more Big Grin
It's going into the brine tonight and coming out Thursday morning to see how warm the oven is.

Austin, TX
My wife and I joke around and refer to ourselves as orphans. My dad passed unexpectedly when I was 20, my mom lost her fight with cancer a few years ago, my father in law passed 3 years ago and my mother in law fell to lung cancer 2 years ago.

Being the case we usually either travel or share the holidays with friends. Not this year- just she and I hanging out (been under water with work lately) but we are still going somewhat large but very traditional.

Roasted turkey breast, cured and subsequently oven roasted ham, stuffing (in this case really dressing I suppose), mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, green beans. Only real departure from the throw back Thanksgiving is a pumpkin trifle that my wife makes and I pleaded for again this year.

The ham is really overkill but we take the majority and make a large batch of split pea soup. Another friend is battling leukemia and loves the soup so we make, freeze and deliver for the holiday season.

Pretty much straight up but I am very much looking forward to stuffing my turkey!

Central Maine
Kevin I sure would appreciate that pumpkin trifle recipe.

For those who have never made their own cranberry sauce here's a recipe that can be made 2 ways, cooked and jelled, or raw like a relish. Either way I guarantee that you'll never buy the canned version again. Oh, and it's incredibly easy to do. The raw does require a food processor, or we use a meat grinder, if you don't have something like that make the cooked version.

Cranberry Sauce (Brians)

Time: 5-10 minutes


12 oz Cranberries
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 whole organic* Orange, less seeds

Pick over the berries and wash them.
Wash and chop the entire orange.

Place everything in a saucepan start with a low heat until juice begins to develop in the bottom of the saucepan. After the juice begins, stir frequently. Then bring to high simmer to release all the juices and to get he cranberries to split their skins. Reduce the heat to a med simmer and reduce the liquid . It’s done after the juices have reduced and thickened a bit and the cranberries have broken up. One or 2 may need to be broken between the spoon and pot. Place in suitable container for cool down, refrigerate.


If you wish to not cook the sauce, a relish can be made.

Just put everything (except the sugar) through a food/meat grinder. After grinding mix with the sugar.

The sugar can be increased slightly to taste (another 1/3 cup), and apples can also be added if desired. But apples are sweet so take that into account when adding sugar.

Allow to stand refrigerated for a time before serving. This is best done a day ahead.

* Why organic? The vast majority of commercial oranges today are floated in an aniline dye bath. If your orange is completely orange, it’s had that treatment. An untreated orange is also slightly green. OK, why should you care? Aniline dye is based on benzine and benzine is a known carcinogen. By consuming the orange rind, as required in this recipe, you’d be consuming a known carcinogen.

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Brian. Lover of SE razors.

Austin, TX
I forgot, we bought some cranberries too- may have to follow your recipe Brian. Thanks much.

As to the trifle, I am savory and my wife sweet so she handles all things dessert. I will ask her for the recipe and either post or PM you though. Sometimes she gets cagey and pretends there is no recipe and she just wings it but I will know it's all an act Smile

Central Maine
A friend of ours has a mother something like that. But in her case she leaves out a critical ingredient so that it never comes out correctly and hers is always better. Our friend isn't like that, just her mom. She does that to her own kids too. :-) If your wife can't remember it I'm sure google will have one, but it would be nice to have a proven one.

If you do make the fresh cranberry sauce/relish be sure to use an organic orange; don't knowingly consume carcinogen. If you do make it get back to me and let me know how you like it, and don't think you'll ruffle my feathers if you don't like it; you won't. When I post something like that recipe, when made from a fresh ingredient and grown locally, I have no idea if they are available throughout the nation. There has to be a reason canned cranberry sauce was ever made popular if you get my drift. I made ours today as the wife made the pumpkin pudding. The cooked version needs time to jell in the cooler. The relish version can be made minutes before eating. Just a heads up that it might require time.
Brian. Lover of SE razors.

Posting Freak
Freddy, can you post the turkey meatloaf recipe? It sounds great. Have you ever tried cooking the meatloaf in a pressure cooker? Its a great way to go - takes about 25 minutes and doesn't ever dry out. If you're a fan of crispy burnt pieces you won't get those and might want to stick with the conventional approach.

Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
(11-26-2015, 12:45 AM)Marko Wrote: Freddy, can you post the turkey meatloaf recipe?  It sounds great.  Have you ever tried cooking the meatloaf in a pressure cooker?  Its a great way to go - takes about 25 minutes and doesn't ever dry out.  If you're a fan of crispy burnt pieces you won't get those and might want to stick with the conventional approach.

Any traditional meatloaf recipe should work, Mark.  Just know that this isn't necessarily a lower fat/cholesterol version.  Using only breast meat is a non-starter as the loaf will be way too dry and almost inedible.  If you want a fast and lazy recipe, try this:

2 pounds ground turkey
1 (6-oz.) package turkey stuffing mix (such as Stove Top, if that is available in Canada)
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup ketchup, divided

Combine ground turkey, stuffing mix, eggs, ¼ cup of the ketchup.  Mix well.

Shape meat into an oval loaf into the center of a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Spread remaining ¼ cup of ketchup over loaf.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour.

As I stated, this is a lazy way.  A more traditional method with bread crumbs, tomato sauce, and chopped onion should work just as nicely.

As for pressure cooking, I do not own a pressure cooker and have always been a bit leery about using one.

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