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Let's Talk Turkey--Recipes for Your Thanksgiving Meal

Updated on August 2, 2017

“What we’re really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?”

— Erma Bombeck

This morning Andy Williams is singing in my head.

If you were born in the last three decades you are probably asking yourself "who is Andy Williams"? Mr. Williams began his singing career in the late 30's and early 40's as part of a quartet with his three older brothers. In the 50's he began singing on his own--his big break was singing on the Steve Allen "Tonight Show". Recording contracts and Grammy awards soon followed, and then his own variety show.

So, why Andy Williams, and why today?

He sang "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year". Yes, I know it's a Christmas tune, but I prefer to think of it as a Thanksgiving song--for foodies, this is definitely the most wonderful time of the year and it's time to start planning the menu for Thanksgiving Day.

Slow-Roasted Turkey

Carb Diva's Thanksgiving Stuffing

Cranberry Sauce Two Ways

When I was growing up, I hated cranberries. We ate them only once a year, at Thanksgiving, but the appearance and taste was memorable enough to stretch from one year to the next. A jiggly blob that looked exactly like the can it had just slid out of--it looked a bit like Jello, but the taste was horrible!

I just didn't "get" cranberry sauce.

Then I started shopping and cooking on my own, reading recipes and I found bags of fresh cranberries and countless ways to use (and flavor) them. I have two favorite cranberry sauce recipes--one uses fresh berries and takes only seconds. The other one is cooked, but hands-on time is only about 10 minutes. Both taste great--and aren't shaped like a tin can.

Fresh Cranberry-Orange Relish

  • 1 12-oz bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 large naval orange
  • 1 cup sugar

Wash and sort the cranberries, removing any stems or berries that appear shriveled. Cut the orange into 4 quarters. Remove the seeds and cut off the stem end. Place cranberries and orange quarters (unpeeled) in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Stir in sugar to taste, cover, and chill at least one hour.

Triple Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 cup frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 12-oz bag fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tsp. orange peel
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice

Combine cranberry juice and sugar in medium saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add fresh and dried cranberries and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until fresh berries begin to pop, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and chill.

Best Mashed Potatoes

I never thought that mashed potatoes could be a problem. Peel potatoes, cut them up into chunks, place in a pot, cover with water, boil until soft, drain, and then flog with a potato masher until all of the lumps are gone or you are exhausted (whichever one comes first).

I was raised in the 50's. I'm not sure if mashed potato flakes existed at that time. But even if they did, they probably would have been much too expensive for our table.

However today there are so many choices--in addition to simply mashed, you can also have red mashed, Yukon gold mashed, garlic mashed, chive mashed, mashed with all-the-fixings, mashed with bacon. And, if you can't boil water, there's even mashed already prepared in the freezer case.


Let's go back to the basics. Mashed potatoes are easy. But I am cheating a bit. I have a gadget in my kitchen that was never available to my mom.

The Potato Ricer

In my humble opinion, this is the most amazing invention since the bread slicer. If you want to create fluffy, cloud-like, ethereal mashed potatoes you must purchase a potato ricer.

Once you have that in hand, I guarantee that your mashed potatoes will be perfect.

Carb Diva Mashed Potatoes

  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup milk,heated in a saucepan or in the microwave
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and boil until soft (about 10 minutes). Drain and place in bowl.

Process the potatoes through the ricer into the saucepan.

Stir the heated milk into the riced potatoes. Stir in the butter, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes


Several years ago, in an Lucy Ricardo-type of insanity, I thought it would be fun to invite all of my side of the family to our house for a Thanksgiving Day dinner/potluck. Please don't misunderstand--there's nothing wrong with any of the members of my family. We all get along marvelously and love each other dearly. It's just that...........there are so many of us!

Since it was my kitchen, I elected to roast the turkey and make the gravy and stuffing. I used the Internet to calculate meat-to-bone ratios and how many pounds of turkey are needed per person and quickly discovered that I would need a bird the size of a sumo wrestler. I settled for a 28-pounder.

We borrowed dinnerware from the church and even brought in the chipped plates from the camper. We borrowed chairs from neighbors, and set up the display tables we use for garage sales. And then the doorbell rang. And rang. And rang again. After the 30th person entered our house, I stopped counting.

The remainder of the day is a bit of a blur. There were no leftovers. But one thing does stand out in my mind. My lovely niece Donna brought a sweet potato casserole that did not include marshmallows. Praise God!

Donna's Pineapple Sweet Potatoes

  • 6 cups mashed sweet potatoes (no milk or butter added)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 can (8 oz.) pineapple slices, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

In a mixing bowl combine the first 9 ingredients (sweet potatoes through nutmeg); mix well. Place in a slow cooker. Top with pineapple slices and pecans. Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours or until an instant read thermometer registers 160 degrees. Makes 12-14 servings.

Green Bean Casserole (Without the "Cream of Clump" Soup)

green bean casserole
green bean casserole | Source

Cornmeal Biscuits


Pumpkin Pie in a Glass


All of us love pumpkin pie, but with just one oven it can be difficult at times to get pies, casseroles and turkey all prepared at once. So I visited and found a great pumpkin mousse that not only tastes like pumpkin pie, but is fast and easy and doesn't require an oven. I'll give you two versions--the original recipe from Kraft, and then the changes I made:

Jello Pudding Pumpkin Mousse

  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
  • 2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
  • 1-1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
  • 1/2 cup chopped PLANTERS Pecans
  • 1 Tbsp.butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar

Beat first four ingredients in large bowl with whisk 2 min. (Mixture will be thick.) Stir in COOL WHIP. Spoon into dessert glasses.

Refrigerate four hours. Meanwhile, toss nuts with butter and sugar. Sprinkle nut mixture over desserts just before serving.

Carb Diva Pumpkin Mousse

  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
  • 2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) JELL-O Pumpkin flavor instant pudding
  • 2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping1
  • /2 cup chopped crushed gingersnaps
  • 1 tablespoon toffee bits (i.e. Heath Bar bits)

Mix together milk, pumpkin and pumpkin-flavored pudding mixes in large bowl. Beat 2 minutes. Stir in thawed Cool Whip. Spoon into serving bowl or individual parfait glasses. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Top with crushed ginger snaps and toffee bits just before serving.

© 2014 Linda Lum


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    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Peg - I guess you and I are of the same generation. I love to cook, and wouldn't mind having Andy Williams on continuous loop playing in the ground (toss in some Nat King Cole too). Thanks for your support.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      You have this meal totally covered! This sounds so good my mouth is watering. I love to cook nearly every thing you have listed here. I even have a granite wear roasting pan that I've used for years. Can't wait for the day. And I truly love Andy Williams, too.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 3 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, it seems I can always count on you to say something sweet. Glad you liked the intro; hope you and Bev try some of the recipes.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Being a writer first and an eater second, I loved the introduction and yes, I definitely remember Andy Williams. :) Moon River anyone???