Here is the Urban Homemaker Family's Traditional Thanksgiving
Menu and recipes that we have been using for nearly twenty years.
Recipes follow for the * Items.
Turkey, Homemade Gravy*, Herbed Stuffing*
Mashed Potatoes, Aunt Helen's Sweet Potatoes*,
Green Beans Amandine, Cranberry Relish Jello Salad*
Pumpkin Bread*,Fantastic Whole Wheat Rolls*,
Apple Pie*, Pecan Pie*, coffee and tea.
AUNT HELEN'S SWEET POTATOES
The crispy, nutty topping will appeal to children of all ages.
1/4 Cup butter
1/2 C. sugar or honey
2/3 C. evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 lbs. fresh sweet potatoes cooked OR 4 lbs canned, drained sweet
(Note: Sweet potatoes are distinctly and vividly orange colored,
extremely high in vitamin A and often mislabeled as Yams.)
To prepare sweet potatoes in their jackets, drop them into
boiling water to cover and cook until tender, about 25 minutes.
(I usually pressure cook the sweet potatoes in 10 minutes to save
time and money.) Peel and mash the cooked sweet potatoes and mix
with the other ingredients. Place in a shallow 11 X 7 baking dish,
bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes. Then sprinkle the topping
mixture over the sweet potatoes and bake another 15-20 minutes
2 Cups Crisp Rice cereal
1/2 C. chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 C. butter
1/2 C. brown sugar or Sucanat
CRANBERRY RELISH JELLO MOLD
I have served this jello mold at Thanksgiving and Christmas for
nearly 30 years! This recipe can be prepared several days ahead.
Yields 8-10 servings
1. Assemble and prepare the following ingredients:
20 oz. can crushed pineapple unsweetened (drain, reserving
2 pkg (3 oz each) cherry, raspberry, or strawberry gelatin
1 Cup boiling water
1 Cup fresh, whole cranberries
1 - 11 oz can mandarin oranges
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 TB lemon juice
2. Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Add lemon juice and reserved
3. Chill until gelatin begins to set-up about one hour. Meanwhile,
coarsely chop cranberries in blender or food processor.
4. Stir in cranberries, oranges, pineapple, celery, and pecans
to the thickened gelatin. Place this mixture in holiday jello
mold or attractive glass serving bowl. Chill until firm.
Stuffing recipes are easy to make.
1. Cut bread into crouton-size cubes, about 20 slices of toasted
white or whole wheat bread OR use one large bag of Pepperidge
Farm Herb Stuffing Mix (For homebaked whole wheat bread use 15
thin slices.) Place in a large bowl.
2 If you are using the Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Mix, omit this
IF you are using your own croutons, Combine in a separate small
bowl and sprinkle over the bread:
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 TB sage or poultry seasoning.
3. Crumble, brown, and drain the sausage. Add the sausage to
the stuffing mix or bread cubes:
1/4 pound bulk turkey breakfast sausage,
1/4 pound bulk turkey Italian sausage
(Leftover sausage can be frozen for scrambled eggs, pizzas, etc.)
4. Saute the celery and onion in 1 TB of butter:
1 cup chopped celery
1 chopped onion
5. Next, add to the bread cubes/stuffing mixture:
4 TB fresh chopped parsley
1 peeled, cored, chopped Granny Smith or Jonathan apple
3/4 cup cranberries (for color/ optional)
6. Combine together:
1 stick melted butter
2 Cups canned chicken broth or reconstituted chicken broth powder
7. Drizzle all the liquid over the other ingredients and lightly
toss until well mixed.
8. Stuff the bird loosely because stuffing expands during roasting,
or place the mixture in a glass casserole dish and bake the stuffing
separately until hot. It is very hard to ruin stuffing; use the
ingredients you have and like, but don't forget the onion and
celery. I can't wait to make this right now!
PERFECT HOMEMADE GRAVY
Ladies, don't spoil your feast by using store bought turkey
gravy mix. Your guests will notice the difference and remember
this delicious homemade gravy. My daughter was horrified when
she was helping another family clean up the meal and all the turkey
drippings had been discarded! Make lots of gravy, it is perfect
for leftovers, and many turkey casserole variations.
The secret to homemade gravy is to make a delicious stock/base
by simmering the giblets and neck in 2-3 cups of water while the
turkey roasts, and saving ALL the drippings and browned crusty
bits on the bottom of the roasting pan. Canned chicken broth or
commercial gravy mix is a poor substitute, so resolve not to be
tempted to compromise these steps.
Pour all the turkey drippings from the roasting pan into a
large measuring cup (at least 2 Cup measure) and allow the grease
to separate. While the drippings are separating, pour 2-3 cups
of water into the roasting pan and bring it to a boil by placing
the pan on two burners on your stove top. Using a wooden spoon,
stir up these browned bits so they "dissolve" into the
water. This step is essential to wonderful tasting, beautifully
browned gravy and makes cleaning up a roasting pan a much easier
task. Reserve 4-8TB (1/4- 1/2 Cup) of the turkey grease once it
separates from the drippings.
After the roasting pan has simmered with water and turned a
deep brown color, combine this liquid with turkey drippings (not
the fat) and the broth from simmering turkey giblets so that you
have 5-6 Cups of liquid. I use my 6-Cup blender as a measuring
Then combine 1/4-1/2 Cup turkey fat (or butter) with 8-10 TB
flour (whole wheat pastry preferred) until it gelatinizes, or
thickens in a large sauce pan. Keep stirring over medium low heat
for about one minute.
Now, VERY GRADUALLY, pour the liquid from the turkey giblets
and the roasting pan into the fat/flour mixture while you stir
it continuously so as to not have any lumps. Stir continuously
until the entire mixture thickens. Adjust the liquid if needed
so you have a nice pourable gravy. Add 2-3 tsp salt or to taste,
OR use 1-2 TB of Sue's Kitchen Magic for a richer/deeper flavor
and for a lower sodium gravy. Save leftover gravy leftovers for
future meals, open face sandwiches, etc!
FANTASTIC WHOLE WHEAT ROLLS
These wonderful rolls will be a hit for everyday or special occasions.
Halve the recipe for a smaller batch.
2 1/2 Cups warm water
1/2 Cup honey
1/2 Cup dry powdered milk (optional)
2 TB yeast
6-8 cups whole wheat flour*
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 Cup oil
1/2 Cup vital gluten
2 TB dough enhancer (optional)
Combine warm water, honey, powdered milk, and yeast in mixing
bowl. Allow yeast to activate. Add the eggs and 3 Cups flour.
Stir until thoroughly mixed; dough will resemble cake batter.
Cover, let rest until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Add salt, oil,
and enough of the remaining flour until the dough pulls away from
the sides of the bowl. Be careful to not add too much flour. Knead
the dough for 6-8 minutes or until the gluten is developed or
the dough is soft and pliable, not dry. Place the dough on a lightly
greased surface. Grease the baking sheets. Pinch off small round
portions of dough, and roll into an an 8-inch rope. Tie the "rope"
in a single knot. Place the knots in rows on baking sheets, cover,
and let rise until double. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to
25 minutes or until lightly browned. Brush with melted butter
if desired, and remove to a cooling rack. Makes 2-3 dozen.
Multi-grain variation: Substitute 1 cup of 7-Grain Mix, cracked
OR 1 Cup cracked wheat for one cup of the whole wheat flour.
* IF you do not have high quality fresh home milled whole wheat
flour I would recommend that you use half bread flour or all-purpose
flour in place of some of the whole wheat flour in order to avoid
heavy, dense rolls.
AMERICAN APPLE PIE
This is the best Apple Pie Recipe I have ever found. Use tart
apples such as Jonathan, Granny Smith, Gala, Macintosh or a combination
of apples for fabulous flavor. The spices used in this apple pie
version are the best. Serve with real whipped cream or French
Vanilla ice cream.
1 Double Crust Pie Recipe (use your favorite pie crust recipe
or check http://tinyurl.com/2uwal for for Never Fail Pie Crust)
8-9 Large tart cooking apples, pared, cored and sliced thin. (An
Apple Peeler saves LOTS of time)
1/4 Cup fresh lemon juice
6 TB flour, whole wheat pastry flour is good
3/4 Cup sugar or Sucanat, more if desired
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg (key ingredient)
2 TB butter (not margarine)
Place prepared bottom crust in a 9-inch pie pan. Put sliced,
cored, peeled apples into a large mixing bowl and toss with lemon
juice. Preheat the oven to 400° F. In a small bowl, combine
the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle 1/4 Cup of the
sugar mixture on the bottom pie crust and add the rest of the
sugar mixture to the apples and stir to coat the apples. Fill
the pie crust heaping full with the apple mixture. Dot with the
Place the top crust over the filling. Press edges together
and flute. Bake about 50 minutes, until the crust is golden browned.
Serve with favorite topping. Makes one pie.
A simple, easy and delicious classic!
PREHEAT OVEN TO 450°
Line a 9" pie pan with single crust of pie dough (Never
Fail Pie Crust Recipe can be found at http://tinyurl.com/2uwal),
fork it all over very thoroughly to allow steam to escape and
bake it only partially, from 5 to 7 minutes. Allow it to cool.
Reduce oven heat to 375°.
Combine and beat thoroughly:
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup pecan halves
1 tsp. vanilla
Fill the shell. Bake the pie 40 to 50 minutes at 375° or
until a knife inserted in the filling comes out clean. I have
found that when the pie looks browned it is done. Serve warm or
This classic pumpkin bread recipe will make 3 to 4 medium sized
loaves, or lots of muffins, plenty for family and gifts.
4 1/2 C. sugar, white, brown, Sucanat, or combination
1 1/2 C. vegetable oil
2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 TB salt
3 C. canned pumpkin
1 c. water
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
4 1/2 C flour
Combine first eight ingredients and beat one minute. Stir together
the flour, soda and baking powder, then add to wet mixture. Stir
all ingredients until well-combined without overmixing. Pour batter
into greased loaf pans or muffin tins. Bake in 325° F oven
for 50-60 minutes (regular sized loaf pans). Decrease baking time
for muffins and mini-loaves. Test for doneness, cool five minutes
in pan and finish cooling on a wire rack. Wrap completely cooled
product in plastic wrap or bread bags for storage. Variation:
Add 1-2 C. chopped nuts and,or raisins to batter before baking.
TURKEY LEFTOVER RECIPES
With all those delicious turkey leftovers, here are a few recipes
we look forward to each year after Thanksgiving!!! This is absolutely
the best part of Thanksgiving.
My friend, Debi Nancarrow, shared this recipe with me in 1985
that had become not only a family favorite of theirs but also
part of their "Twelfth Night Party" Celebration tradition.
The recipe has been published in a coffee table book celebrating
Colorado Christmas traditions and it is probably in other books
as well. I guarantee this recipe is a winner for those leftover
bits of turkey.
If you make homemade turkey stock from the leftover bones the
flavor skyrockets to a perfect "10"! Even if you can't
try this recipe out this year, be sure to save the recipe for
future use. I usually double the amounts to have some soup for
the freezer. If you let the soup sit a day, the flavor improves
with age. We've eaten this in bread bowls that I've made. Fabulous!
2 C. sliced carrots
3 C. water, turkey broth or canned chicken broth
1 large floret of broccoli OR 1-10 oz box of broccoli
1 C. onion, chopped finely
1/2 C. celery, sliced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 C. ground oat flour (blend rolled oats in the blender to make
2 C. milk or allergy alternative soy product
6 oz. Swiss cheese, grated
1-1/2 C. diced turkey
Combine carrots, broth, onions, celery, broccoli, and salt.
Bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer 10 minutes. Bring to
rolling boil again, and gradually stir in the oat flour, stirring
Let simmer another 10 minutes until lumps disappear. Reduce heat.
Add milk, turkey. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese. Serves 4-6.
Serves: 6-8 servings (2-1/2 qt casserole)
3 cups diced turkey pieces
10 oz whole grain pasta of choice or use spaghetti
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or 6 TB unbleached white flour
1-3/4 cups hot milk, low fat if desired
1 cup Turkey or Chicken broth (homemade is tastiest)
1/4 cup cooking sherry or white grape juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 Cup fresh mushroom slices, sauteed in oil or butter OR 4 oz
can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1. Cook pasta according to package directions until just barely
tender or use leftover spaghetti or other pasta. Rinse, and drain.
2. Make the sauce by blending flour into melted butter and cook
and stir over medium heat about 1 minute; remove from heat. Blend
in milk and chicken broth. Return to heat; cook and stir until
3. Blend in sherry, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and mushrooms. Combine
pasta, turkey, and sauce and place in casserole dish. Top with
Parmesan Cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or
until bubbly. Make two casseroles, one for the freezer and one
GOURMET TURKEY SANDWICH
Sourdough bread, French bread or whole grain equivalent
Jellied cranberry sauce
Leftover turkey meat (white meat, preferably)
Spread cranberry sauce and cream cheese on opposite
sides of bread, and then simply layer on some cold left-
over turkey meat.