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Thanksgiving Is My Favorite Holiday! The Menu and The Smiles Are The Best Part Of The Day!

Updated on November 18, 2010

I Have Always Loved Thanksgiving!

The Thanksgiving menu is the same every year! It is the meal I enjoy making the most and it is a day I love! Watching my family smile as they eat, drink and laugh is the greatest! I start preparing two weeks before, buying almost everything I need, taking advantage of holiday sales! A 21 pound turkey for $7.00? That works for me! A sirloin tip roast for the one that hates turkey on sale for $2.99 a pound? Good deal! The rest is usually bought using some coupons and the rest in cash, and the feast will easily serve ten of your hungriest family members or friends.

Another tradition I love is making the turkey soup on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. While everyone else is out shopping on Black Friday, I am home, cooking away, making enough turkey soup for my oldest daughter to take home several containers and enough to fill my freezer! Even though she doesn't like turkey, she loves turkey soup. In my 57 years on earth, I have never shopped on Black Friday. I call it Turkey Soup Friday! There have been times that the soup is made on Saturday, but not too often. Regardless, I never shop on Black Friday.

I know that after dinner on Thanksgiving Day, I am unable to move a muscle; not because I have eaten too much, but because I have cooked too much. Everyone else does the mountain of dishes and they put the food away. My older daughter and her husband put everything in containers for me. They even bring their own containers from home to pack up what they are going to take home to eat. It makes me smile knowing that they love what I have made.

Every year on Christmas Day, we have the traditional Italian meal, lasagna, stuffed shells or homemade raviolis, meatballs, sausage, pork. antipasto, etc. but on Thanksgiving we are not Italian-American, just American.

The Thanksgiving Menu At Grandma's!

There will be no pre-packaged, factory made items on this table! That is the first rule of the Thanksgiving menu!

  • Turkey, tented and in the oven. (15 minutes per pound and then an extra hour because it is stuffed. Baked at 350 degrees and during the last half hour, the tent comes off and the heat is raised to 375, browning the skin.)
  • Oven roasted sirloin tip roast (seared first on all sides, then roasted at 375 degrees for 20 minutes a pound. The roast eaters like it rare.)
  • Homemade stuffing, using sourdough and french bread. (mushrooms, onions, some finely chopped turkey giblets and lots of butter and turkey stock made from those giblets, including the neck. Once made, most of it is stuffed into both ends of the turkey. The rest is baked in a casserole dish.)
  • Mashed potatoes, instant potatoes are cheating! (mashed with the electric mixer, butter and half and half)
  • Homemade turkey gravy (using an onion, turkey drippings and chicken broth in a box)
  • Homemade cranberry sauce (this is the best! Used later on a turkey sandwich with mayo, tomatoes and lettuce on sourdough toast, it is a taste bud treat.)
  • Dinner rolls, from the bakery.(I can't do everything myself! This is where I cheat!)
  • Antipasto salad (marinated cauliflower, carrots, pepperocini, mozarella, pepperoni, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and green beans over romaine lettuce with a red wine, parmesan cheese and olive oil dressing.)
  • Fruit salad (not just any fruit salad, but one made with fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges, cherries, bananas, crushed pineapple, marshmallows and real whipped cream. This is the most-requested recipe I have!)
  • A vegetable. This one varies from year to year. (oven roasted carrots, brocolli with cheese sauce or fresh green beans, cooked with onions, mushrooms, red bell pepper, sauteed in bacon drippings are the usual three choices I use. No one ever eats the vegetable and this is one day that it doesn't bother me.)
  • Fresh pumpkin pie, apple pie and pecan pie with real whipped cream on top (my oldest daughter always makes the best pies. Occasionally, she will make lemon meringue instead of the pecan.)
  • Homemade applesauce (6 apples, some sugar, some water, cinnamon and nutmeg served warm. Some people like this with their turkey instead of cranberry sauce.)

The Preparation Begins Early!

Two weeks before Thanksgiving I start to prepare. I make my shopping list well before Thanksgiving week, and then try to shop early based on the holiday sales. I spend well over the national average of $45.00. This year I have had to seriously consider prices because money is tight, but we are fortunate enough to have enough. Most years, I make it a practice to give an amount equal to what I have spent for food to the Salvation Army. They do such good work and they feed so many. I wish everyone would make this part of their family tradition.

If any of you reading the menu want the recipe for anything on my menu, leave a comment and I will gladly share with you.

I have no idea why this day is so important to me, I only know that it has always been. I am sure that when I get too old to cook the meal, I will still muster up every bit of strength I have and try. When that time comes, I hope that I will not be too sad, but I know I will. Until then, Happy Thanksgiving!


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