Our Menu & Our [Theoretical] Recipes

Posted on November 20, 2011


This is [at least for now] the menu and the recipes that we’ll use for our Thanksgiving meal.

Main Dishes

1. Turkey

Once my mom made turkey with colgin’s liquid smoke and my older brother and I ate nearly half of the turkey before it was to be served. We got in a great deal of trouble, but it was probably the best turkey ever.

Oven Smoked Turkey Recipe Using Colgin Liquid Smoke

Serves 10 to 12.

1 (10 to 12 pound) turkey
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup seasoned salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup fresh ground black pepper

Instructions: Grease a large brown paper grocery bag with vegetable oil and set aside. Preheat oven to 350F.
Wash the turkey and pat dry with a paper towel.
Combine ¼ cup of vegetable oil, seasoned salt, garlic powder, Liquid Smoke and black pepper and mix together to make a paste.
Rub the turkey well with the paste, inside and out.
Place the turkey in the greased bag and tie the bag closed with a piece of string.
Place on a baking sheet and roast 3½ hours.
Remove from the oven and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before untying the bag and removing the turkey.

(I am NOT using a brown grocery bag. We use those for tinder. Why would I put that in my oven greased at 350 degrees? I’ve set enough things on fire inside the house in my day. Thanksgiving won’t be one of them. I’ll just use those standard issues turkey bags)

2. Cranberry Crunch

This is a Thanksgiving traditional. I’ve never made it myself, I don’t think, but I know my roommate loves cranberries and I have taken to liking them more now than I used to.


1 1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1 can (16 ounce size) jellied or whole berry cranberry sauce


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, mix together oats, flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Use half of the mixture in a greased 8 inch square baking dish. Spread with cranberry sauce.
Top with remaining crumb mixture. Bake 45 minutes.

3. Green Bean Casserole

You know, the recipe on Frenchies onions? Does anyone actually use a different recipe? You don’t need to. This is traditional. Just do it.


1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
4 cups cooked green beans
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup milk
1 1/3 cups French fried onions:


Mix soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup of the fried onions. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees F. Top with the remaining 2/3 cup fried onions and bake about 5 more minutes, until onions are lightly browned.
Serves 6.

4. Mashed Potatos

For real instructions on how to make mashed potatoes from scratch (something easily messed up by someone who grew up on instant potatoes – HEY DON’T JUDGE ME!), watch Alton Brown’s Good Eats Season 1, Episode 2 “These Spuds Are Made for Walkin'” where he details all the finer points of potatoes and how to mash them. Prior to watching that, my only attempt by myself at making homemade mashed potatoes actually resulted in what may have made perfect potato rolls, but not even edible potatoes because they were whipped into dough. We like red potatoes. Maybe half a stick of butter. A large dash or splash of heavy whipping cream and maybe a smaller splash of whole milk if it’s around. And excessive salt.

5. Stuffing

We are using Stove Top. It’s what my mom used. It’s hard to screw up. I’ve never made stove top, let alone stuffing for scratch. Consider the fact that we don’t have a microwave, I’m not so great at multi-tasking, least of all in the kitchen, and you’ll forgive my acquiescence to a boxed food. I also don’t make my own pie crust. That I’ve done before, but we don’t have a food processor [yet], so I have my reasons.

6. Sweet Potato Pie

So what, maybe it’s a casserole and not a pie, but I’ve always called it a pie and I’m not about to stop now simply because it isn’t entirely correct or something. Especially since in the handwritten recipe book my mom made for me, it says Sweet Potato Pie.

3 c. cooked fresh sweet potatoes – mashed up to measure
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
1/3 stick of butter
1/2 t. each cinnamon & nutmeg

Mix well and put in an 8×8 inch cake pan.

Top with:
1 c. brown sugar
2 1/2 T. melted butter
1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. chopped nuts (this is not specific enough for me, mom! I got pecans, but I don’t remember what we used when I lived at home.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Will be bubbly and slightly crisp.


Now you may be saying to yourself, but the sweet potato pie should be in the desserts section.

You are wrong.

Sweet potato pie may be called pie (you thought this was incorrect to start, so don’t use it against me now!), but it has sweet potatoes in it, and nuts. Do you know how healthy sweet potatoes are for you? Don’t worry. I’ll tell you.

The numbers for the nutritional sweet potato speak for themselves: almost twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, 42 percent of the recommendation for vitamin C, four times the RDA for beta carotene, and, when eaten with the skin, sweet potatoes have more fiber than oatmeal. All these benefits with only about 130 to 160 calories!

All this to say, between that and the nuts, this doesn’t count as a dessert. It also means I’m allowed to eat the leftovers for breakfast as much as I want. Not that you have to convince me it isn’t a dessert. I like to eat chocolate cake, root beer floats, and cookie dough for breakfast if I have it on hand.

1. Pumpkin Pie

I don’t have the recipe for you. At Cafe Hey where the owner taught an awesome Tampa Free Skool class on how to make vegan pumpkin pie, I was so engrossed in the dough and pumpkiny goodness, that I forgot to take home the sheet with the recipe on it. My bad.

The crust is made of a molasses cookie recipe.

The pie filling we made has probably 6 times as much ginger as the recipe calls for. Some people don’t like recipes. They squash them in order to make them better. I like when that happens. I discovered I like ginger more than I thought. Fresh ginger. Ginger run through a food processor. Oh right. I don’t have one of those. I need to invest in one.

2. Apple Pie

Duh. What would Thanksgiving or Autumn be without apple pie?

I mix and match recipes for this.

1 box of pie crusts from the section near the butter. Don’t use those pans with the breadcrumb crusts. That would be unacceptable. I like to make my own pie crusts, and would love to weave them like a basket over my pie, but again, no food processor makes that a complete nightmare to do. So settle for your local store brand or pillsbury pie crusts.

7-8 medium to large apples of mixed variety. Make sure that you include at least 3 gala apples. I like to vary it and this Thanksgiving I have half honeycrip and half gala. I never ever EVER use granny smith apples in my pies. They aren’t bad apples, but they are tart. Apple pie is not tart. I don’t ever use red delicious apples in my pies, or if I have on accident in the past, there should never be more than 2 of them. They are too soft. You want crisp apples. Golden delicious are good. Honeycrip are amazing. Pink ladies are great. Jonagolds are decent. Braeburn are good. Fujis have a good crunch. Anyway you get the idea.
The recipe for pie in my mom’s cookbook calls for 5 1/2 c. apples. I don’t know what that amounts to except that I’m fairly certain that 7-8 apples amounts to much more than that. I never measure my apples, and if I can comfortably get the pie crust over the apples, there aren’t enough. My pie should be bursting at the seams and be difficult to top and put in the oven without fear of explosion and much leakage. There is always something underneath the pie pan to catch juice. My pies cannot be cut. They must be spooned out. Maybe that makes them non-pies. I don’t know. I just know this pie has won a pie contest and many hearts.

A splish splash of lemon juice that amounts to a bit over 1 T. (the recipe calls for that amount, but since I have extra apples, I tend to pour probably 2 T. worth into the bowl of sliced apples)

1/2 c. white sugar (I measure this)
1/4 c. packed brown sugar (just use the 1/2 c. that you used to measure the white sugar and don’t pack it. It works just as well. If a few chunks fall over the side, don’t worry about it. Exact measurements are sometimes overrated. Especially when it’s pie)
3 T. flour (I measure this)
Several shakes of cinnamon (this is something I commonly overdo. Not that I use too much, but that I use much more than several shakes. So, go wild. You can even smack the cinnamon shaker on the bottom for that fun POOF that is akin to powdered sugar going everywhere)
A pinch of salt (the measurement in the recipe that I’m botching is 1/4 t. If you’re paranoid about your salt use, don’t be. Use a pinch or 2 pinches. Unless you have huge giant sausage fingers the size of goliath, you won’t be using too much)
2 pinches of nutmeg (See above for instructions on a pinch)

Quarter, peel, core, and slice all of your apples. I do this in that exact order. Don’t slice too larger or too small. Too small, however, is better than too large. Try for a quarter inch or so at the fat part.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Get your pie pan. Get some buttah. Use your tiny sausage fingers and smear some butter all over than pan. Your hand will get gross and buttery. Make sure you get the corners and the crevices so it’s nice and buttered up. Roll in your bottom pie crust. Oh, btw, make sure you keep these in the fridge while you’re prepping. If they get too warm, they’ll start to stick together and be impossible to unroll. That’s a problem.

In the large bowl holding all of your sliced apples put all of your other ingredients. It doesn’t matter what order. Mix it up with a wooden spoon or whatever other kind of spoon you have handy.
Arrange apple mixture in pie pan. I say arrange rather than pour, because remember? we have excessive apples. That means pouring would make a mess. Arrange the bottom so that it’s even and then pour the rest on top and scrape out andy juicyness in the bowl.

Place top pie crust on top. Squish the top into the apples, but not too hard, you don’t want to break it on purpose! Smush the sides together so that it’s sealed. Then take a fork and poke holes in the top. Designs are fun, but basically you want to make sure the steam can get out and your juice doesn’t reach volcanic pressure in there.

Put pie in oven with your safety net underneath. Tin foil can work, but you need a piece large enough to fit under the pan and maybe with sides to hold any juice. Bake about 50 minutes. I always set a timer for 45 so that I can check in on the pie. Check the crust. If the crust is still doughy on the sides or looks like it on the bottom (I use clear pie pans), it’s not done.

Spoon out into your respective bowls (or plates if you’re brave) and enjoy ASAP. Fresh pie is good pie.

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