Thanksgiving Dinner: Panic and Frenzy

Okay, not ACTUALLY panic and frenzy yet….but it could happen. Most years we try to spend most of the month of November sharing our favorite recipes and tips for Thanksgiving holiday food. This year…evidently not so much!

For a couple of reasons, our posting has been sparse this month. Laura is working and managing a busy chaotic household. I, Barb, have been inundated with guests, events, and crises. Most recently, our dad had a heart attack while visiting us. He will be having bypass surgery tomorrow, Friday, at a hospital about 2 hours from my house. Needless to say, our plans for a lavish Thanksgiving dinner have been put on hold as wait for things to develop here.

Good thing we have all our favorite recipes and foods well-documented here! There will be no new, inventive, innovative recipes this year but all our old favorite standbys are here.

We don’t want to leave y’all in the lurch for Thanksgiving-Dinner-like-grandma-used-to-make so here are some suggestions as you plan your Thanksgiving feast.

To start with, we recommend that you click on the category link for Thanksgiving holiday foods. There are SIX pages of links to all our favorites so check it out!

Onions for Thanksgiving turkey stuffing

I’ll try to get back here to share a little more on the topic of Thanksgiving but I’m not making any promises.


– don’t forget that we’re on Facebook AND Twitter! “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the very latest in the Kitchen. You can alsosign up to get emails every time we post something new here in the Kitchen. Look on the sidebar the link to subscribe.

Quick and Easy Orange Pecan Rolls

I’m always on the lookout for quick, delicious recipes to add to my holiday lineup…even at this late date! This past weekend I spent time with three of my oldest, dearest friends, laughing, talking, and eating great food. Loretta treated us to her delicious Orange Pecan Rolls for breakfast and sent us all into a food coma on Saturday morning.  I KNEW I needed this recipe for a quick, yummy breakfast on Thanksgiving Day!

Pecan orange rolls for Thanksgiving Breakfast

These rolls will go together quickly on Thanksgiving morning because you use cans of biscuits or rolls you find in the refrigerator case at the grocery store. That makes these the perfect addition to the bounty in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day.

Quick Orange Pecan Rolls

Preheat oven to 350°.


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tsp grated orange peel (this will be roughly the zest of a large orange)
  • 1/2 c. melted butter
  • 2 cans refrigerator biscuits

Mix together the sugar, pecans, and orange peel.

Gently reshape biscuits or rolls into balls. (Loretta used cans of croissants and those were YUMMY! I’d like to try this with balls of freezer dough sometime.) Don’t compress or flatten the dough too much.

Drop the dough balls into the melted butter and then roll them in the sugar/pecan mixture.

Place in baking dish (a Bundt pan, a springform pan, or a angel food cake pan will all work.) If you want to be really naughty, drizzle some of the butter and the sprinkle the remaining sugar/pecan/orange picture over the top.

Bake 35 – 40 minutes or until brown.

Pour icing over top and turn out onto a large plate as soon as you remove the pan from the oven.


Whisk together:

  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 T. orange juice
This recipe reminds me of my easy Pull-apart Caramel Sticky Buns that would also make a nice, easy Thanksgiving morning treat!



– don’t forget that we’re on Facebook AND Twitter ! Please come “Like” us on Facebookand follow us on Twitter for the very latest in the Kitchen. You can also sign up in the sidebar to get emails every time we publish a tasty new recipe.

It’s time to plan for Thanksgiving!

It’s November 1 today and last night’s Halloween party food is already a thing of the past. It’s time to start looking ahead to the Next Big Food Event. (Does it sometimes seem like we live from one Big Food Event to the next?) It’s time to start collecting Thanksgiving recipes and even start shopping for the Homemade Thanksgiving Feast.

I start by brainstorming a list of all the must-haves for our traditional Thanksgiving Dinner. My list looks like this:

Bowl of Thanksgiving Pumpkins, squash and gourds

I’m sure that Laura’s list looks a little different as will yours. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sharing the specifics and the recipes for the dishes on The List. I also plan to add to the list. For example, I just learned how to make Italian refrigerator pickles. They’ll be a perfect addition to our Thanksgiving table.

After I’ve made my list, I start looking for recipes. (You can browse through the Holiday Recipe category here in the Kitchen where you’ll find a lot of favorites. Like I said, I’ll be adding a few new ones this year, but the ones listed are definitely my family favorites.)

After I find my recipes, I make my shopping list. I like to start early so that I can spread the expense of a large special meal over several weeks. More important, there are some stores that start putting sale prices on the key components of Thanksgiving dinner early. I try to keep my Master List in my wallet so that I’m ready to jump on the great deals whenever I see them.

If you plan to buy a turkey, check out your local grocery stores for specials. All the stores have them. In some parts of the country, turkeys are loss-leaders. I don’t quite understand why this is different in different parts of the country, but I sure do miss living in CO and getting their $4 turkeys. (When we lived there, I’d have a dozen turkeys in my freezer by the end of November! Stocking up on sale birds is a great way to save money over the winter months if you can do it.)

I also try to buy 80 to 120 pounds of sweet potatoes each year from a local grower. These sweet potatoes will debut in our Thanksgiving dinner and then go on to get top billing in a lot of other meals over the next year.

Boxes of Saura Pride sweet potatoes

Right now is still a good time to buy a pie pumpkin. Halloween may be over but many stores still have pumpkins. Fresh pumpkin for your pumpkin pie can make a world of difference. There are a lot of other goodies you can make with pumpkin too, so don’t let this season pass without grabbing a couple of these orange beauties.

It’s also a good time to be shopping around for Thanksgiving table decorations. I like to keep my decorating simple and basic; it’s not too early to shop for gourds, squash, and pumpkins if you decide to go that direction. Add a splash of color and some nature to your table decorations by sending your kids out to collect pretty fall leaves whenever the color is at its peak. If you press the leaves in a big heavy book like a dictionary, they’ll still be useable by Thanksgiving (in case your leaves peak earlier than late November.)

All the actual work of Thanksgiving dinner still lies ahead, but having a plan can make this Big Food Event entirely do-able. Having a plan also helps me deal with the stress of a big holiday meal and lots of guests.

So woohoo! It’s November 1 and today, I get to start planing for Thanksgiving Dinner!



– don’t forget to follow us on Facebook AND Twitter ! Sign up on the sidebar to receive emails when we post something new here in The Kitchen.

Thanksgiving Dinner: Vegetable Side Dishes

What kind of Thanksgiving side-dish personality do you have?  Are you the kind of cook that has to make every side dish exactly the way your mother did, every single year?  Or do you like to switch things up?  We’ve got you covered, whichever profile fits you:


Here’s the our favorite traditional version of stuffing or dressing.  Here’s an amazing Victorian Stuffing complete with chestnuts–scrumptious! And here’s another Turkey Stuffing recipe another version that has chestnuts AND pork sausage.

Onions for Thanksgiving  turkey stuffing

Green Beans and other green vegetables:

Here’s the standard green bean casserole. If you want a lighter version, try a quick sautée of the beans in a little chicken stock, and finish with a splash of soy sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

One of my very favorite Thanksgiving sides is my sister-in-law Kim’s Blue Cheese & Cherry Salad. Barb loves Auntie Shirl’s Pear, Bleu Cheese and Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad.


Finally, we have several ways to present cranberries–and NONE of them involve that nasty canned stuff. My favorite version is sister-in-law Kari’s homemade cranberry relish. Or there’s one from Barb’s sister-in-law Claire, with cranberries and pears here with Cranberry Ginger Pear Chutney. Another version with orange here with Cranberry Orange Relish.  And yet another with orange and ginger here in this Cranberry Orange Relish, #2.

Thanksgiving Dinner: Bread or Rolls

Over the next couple of weeks, Laura and I will be posting recipes (LOTS of recipes) for Essential Foods in the Thanksgiving Feast.

The bread plays a humble, unobtrusive role (roll?)  at the Thanksgiving feast. There are so many delicious sides AND the turkey that bread might almost seem unnecessary. BUT a slice of bread or a Parker House roll is your best tool for mopping up the last of the turkey gravy off your plate, a small but critical job. And the bread group bears the heavy responsibility of being a conveyor of butter, a job not to be underestimated.

loaves of homemade bread for Thanksgiving dinner

We have an entire tag devoted to bread, containing links to many types of breads.

Here are a few of our favorite breads for a holiday meal.

Of course, sourdough is good with every meal, holiday or otherwise.

A hearty oatmeal molasses bread is a good addition to Thanksgiving dinner. A 9-grain bread is great too.

You can even use some of the extra sweet potatoes to make a delicious sweet potato bread.

sweet potato bread

One of my favorite tricks is to use my favorite cool rise sweet dough to make into dinner rolls. Without the cinnamon sugar and raisins, this cinnamon roll dough does a great job of filling the bread role (roll?) at dinner.

And for those of you who can’t imagine adding homemade bread to your list of to-dos this Thanksgiving, we have three suggestions that will work just as well.

1. Check out your nearest local bakery and their bread selection. Many bakeries also sell dough by the pound for pizza crust or dinner rolls. You could totally fake everyone out with home-BAKED rolls!

2. Check out the brown-n-serve breads available in your local grocery store. There are some really nice options nowadays.

3. No guilt. If bread isn’t your thing, don’t worry about it.

cranberry walnut whole wheat bread for Thanksgiving dinner


– don’t forget that we’re on FacebookAND Twitter now! “Like” us on Facebookand follow us on Twitter for the very latest in the Kitchen.