I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Thanksgiving is marathon; not a sprint. I love surrounding my table with family and friends on Thanksgiving. However, this annual gastronomic extravaganza only works because I pace myself. As of this minute, there are ten days until Thanksgiving. For anyone who’s cooking this year, here are ten tips to get you from here to there in one piece.
On the FIRST day of Thanksgiving – that’s today – finalize your guest list but assume there could be last-minute additions or changes. While you’re at it, find out about food allergies or issues. If you haven’t done it yet, order the turkey
To anyone alone this Thanksgiving: let friends and neighbors know. Assuming you are a decent sort, one or more will be delighted to invite you … but they can’t if they don’t know of your predicament.
On the SECOND day of Thanksgiving – finalize your menu. If you’re having trouble deciding how to cook the spuds or whether to bother with creamed onions, stop dithering. Now is also a good time to decide how you want to handle those food allergies and issues.
My attitude – except for real allergies, true health issues and deeply held beliefs, don’t worry about it. Twenty years ago, the Atkins diet was all the rage. Trend followers then demanded gluten-free everything before moving on paleo eating and keto. Omnivore, carnivore, pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan – it’s one dinner. There’ll be loads of delicious food to pick and choose. Relax, no one will starve.
On the THIRD day of Thanksgiving – create your detailed shopping list; actually, two detailed lists. The first list includes anything with a week to ten-day or longer shelf life. The second covers everything else, including the turkey.
On the FOURTH day of Thanksgiving – shop for everything on list number one.
On the FIFTH day of Thanksgiving – make soup. Try one of my Thanksgiving favorites; butternut squash or mushroom. Both soups freeze beautifully. Spend the afternoon making as many quarts as you can stuff into your freezer. Enjoy some on Thanksgiving and the rest on a cold winter night.
On the SEVENTH day of Thanksgiving – make the cranberry sauce. Yes, it IS much better than the canned stuff and takes very little time and effort. Due for a change? Try cranberry chutney.
On the EIGHTH day of Thanksgiving – pick up the turkey and everything else on list number two.
On the TENTH day of Thanksgiving – Make or finish any of the side dishes and desserts that didn’t get done on Wednesday. Stuff the turkey and pop it in the oven. Take a long walk and relax.
Happy Turkey Day and bon appétit!
Delicious as a side for omnivores or a festive Thanksgiving main dish for vegetarians. Enjoy!
Serves 6 as a main and 12 as a side dish
- 3 (12-16 ounce) delicata, sweet dumpling or acorn squash
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup brown rice
- 1/4 cup wild rice
- 1/4 cup quinoa
- 1 pound mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 carrots finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
- 1 teaspoon sage
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 12-16 ounces baby spinach
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
- 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (optional)
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. If serving as a side dish, cut the halves in half. Brush the flesh side of the squash with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash cut side down at 375 degrees until tender, 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.
Put the rice in a fine mesh sieve and rinse well under cold water. Put 1 3/4 cups water in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice and cook for 30 minutes.
Put the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse well under cold water. Add the quinoa to the rice and cook 10-15 minutes more or until the grains are tender. Remove from the heat and reserve.
Meanwhile, lightly coat a large skillet with olive oil and heat on medium. Add the mushrooms, onion, carrots and celery, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon thyme, the sage and smoked paprika, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook 2-3 minutes more. Add the spinach and toss until wilted. Remove from the heat.
Add the grains and nuts to the vegetables and toss to combine. Cool to room temperature, add the cheddar and toss to combine. Arrange the squash in a lightly oiled baking dish and spoon the vegetable mixture into the squash cavities.
Put the Parmigiano-Reggiano, breadcrumbs and remaining thyme in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Drizzle with a little olive oil and toss again. Sprinkle the tops of stuffed squash with the cheesy breadcrumbs.
Can be made ahead to this point, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking.
Bake uncovered at 375 degrees until piping hot and lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates and serve.
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- Three Years Ago – Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter
- Four Years Ago – Thanksgiving Leftovers
- Five Years Ago – Cranberry Clafoutis
- Six Years Ago – Black Friday Enchiladas (Enchiladas with Turkey & Black Beans)
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- Ten Years Ago – Roasted Beans
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Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!
Are you cooking this Thanksgiving? Feel free to share your favorite tips!
Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2019