(I apologize for the glare- couldn’t get a good picture)
Thanksgiving is somehow only 3 days away! I am hosting the feast this year for a total of 12 people. I finally nailed down the menu and preparation is well under way. Three years ago I held my first Thanksgiving at our townhouse apartment and it was a lot more stressful than I thought it would be. Probably because I, along with my mom, did all of the food prep the night before and the day of the holiday. That’s not the case this time around. We are actually celebrating on Friday because some of our family is driving in from out of state. Nonetheless, I am determined to make it a low stress (no stress is just downright impossible ) day so everyone can enjoy themselves. I’ve tried to space out my to do list over a reasonable amount of time and I feel pretty prepared.
Much to my sister’s distress, we are not doing a taco bar for Thanksgiving- sorry Selby (maybe next year?). The menu is pretty traditional with some beloved family favorites from both my and Robert’s sides. My mom’s bringing the fresh turkey from a local butcher shop back home, my mother-in-law is bringing her delicious date nut pudding, my dad’s bringing the wine, and my sister is bringing the beer .
The menu includes:
- Perfect Roast Turkey (a Martha Stewart recipe that our family’s been using for a few years and it’s the best turkey we’ve ever had!)
- Mom’s Fresh Cranberry Sauce
- Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
- Amish Dressing (Robert’s family recipe)
- Corn Pudding (my childhood favorite)
- Mixed Greens with homemade French, Ranch, and White Wine Vinaigrette dressings
- Herb and Caramelized Onion Dinner Rolls (dough from my favorite Artisan Bread)
- Relish Tray
- Connie’s Date Nut Pudding
- Frozen Pumpkin Pie (my brother-in-law, Kevin’s, favorite)
- Caramel Apple Pie Cheesecake (a tasty recipe I found from Annie’s Eats and made last year)
- Wedding Sugar Cookies (Selby’s favorite)
- Chocolate-covered pretzels (because everyone needs chocolate)
I went grocery shopping over the weekend and I made the sugar cookies, French dressing, cooked the caramelized onion mixture for the rolls, and I also prepared the Amish dressing so that all I have to do is pop it in the oven on the day of the meal.
As I mentioned above, the Amish dressing is a recipe from Robert’s paternal grandmother. She is the ultimate master when it comes to making the dish. My mother-in-law, Connie, makes as close a version as I’ve ever tasted (although she will humbly deny it). It’s somewhat of a right of passage in the family to be able to create the dressing. When I think of Amish dressing for Robert’s family, one word comes to mind- sacred. Each culture has its own special dish that it is known for and dressing has to be towards the top, if not number one, for the Amish.
Here’s how it’s made (Warning-this is not a low calorie side dish; you need to get over any fear of butter before proceeding):
First you dice and cook 3 cups of potatoes.
Then you shred 3 cups of carrots and dice 2 cups of celery.
Next you cook and shred about 2 cups worth of chicken.
Mix the potatoes, carrots, celery, and chicken together and add some chicken broth.
Now it’s time to cut up two loaves of bread and pan fry the cubes of bread until crispy.
After all the cubes are crispy, combine the bread with the vegetable mixture.
Then you whisk together 5 2/3 cups milk, 10 (yes 10!) eggs, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp seasoning salt, and a cube of chicken bouillon. Add the milk mixture to the bread and vegetables and carefully stir to combine. After all that you pan fry the mixture in more butter for about 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into a large greased pan.
At this point, I froze the dressing. On Friday, I will preheat the oven to 300 degrees and bake the dressing, stirring occasionally, until it is cooked through.
Am I a fool for attempting to make this beloved dish? Probably. We’ll see if what I pull out of the oven can even come close to the magic that Grandma Miller can whip up. Stay tuned…