I decided to cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this week for my family. It was delicious and reminded us of the many wonderful Thanksgiving celebrations we have had in the past.
This week I brought back a family tradition to mix things up during our “stay at home” time. I cooked a Thanksgiving dinner. And it was fabulous.
I know it’s seven months until Thanksgiving but I will be honest with you. Why do we only enjoy this fabulous meal once a year? It makes no sense.
Plus the leftovers are a nice bonus.
We have six of us living at our home and even the smallest of meals are a production. Last week when I was placing my grocery order with Instacart, a frozen turkey popped up on the screen. That’s when I got the idea to cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
I ordered two thirteen pound turkeys, cornbread, potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, and onions and decided I could make it happen. Of course, the sweet potatoes didn’t make it in the order so I tried again. Fortunately, I found them and had them delivered by Amazon Fresh.
Because the weather has been so warm, we have been enjoying dinners outside on the back porch. And that is where I decided to serve our Thanksgiving Dinner in April.
You. might remember when I did a table setting inspiration for Thanksgiving on our back porch last year.
I have listed here some of the items you can find on our back patio.
Of course, things were a bit different this week as the only flowers I could find online were tulips and my kids set the table while I was cooking, So it wasn’t fancy, but to be honest, it didn’t matter. This meal was all about family and good food. And enjoying traditions while “sheltering at home”.
We filmed a movie here called “The Way Back” last year and they filmed a Thanksgiving scene on our back patio. (The movie was released in March and is on pay per view right now.) It seemed an unusual Thanksgiving dinner location at the time, but we decided to re-enact the dinner, just as if Ben Affleck was sitting at dinner with us.
Ok, just kidding.
(Although I do remember watching this scene being filmed at our home and wondering why they didn’t have the dinner in our dining room?)
The Thanksgiving Dinner Menu
I have always said that thanksgiving is an easy meal to prepare. This was even easier than the last Thanksgiving because I was cooking for six instead of thirty-five.
Our menu consisted of turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (with brown sugar topping), gravy, apple butter, and fresh cranberry sauce.
If you are wondering where I found the cranberries this time of year, don’t forget I freeze about 15 bags of cranberries every year. If you haven’t started doing this, I highly recommend it! It allows me to cook recipes, such as my Cranberry Orange Scones, with fresh cranberries all year.
We cooked one turkey in the oven and cooked the other one in the Green Egg smoker. (Instructions on how to smoke a turkey can be found here.) I didn’t even start cooking the meal until 3 pm. because it is that easy! It was ready and we all sat down on the back porch to enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner at 7:30pm.
And the meal was fabulous.
My Favorite Thanksgiving Dinner recipes
I wanted to share some of my recipes because they are classics and ones I have cooked for years.
- One 16 oz. package of cornbread mix
- 10 slices white bread, stale or dried in the oven
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 6 TBL butter
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Make cornbread according to the recipe on the box.
- Toast the bread on the oven rack at 350 degrees for three minutes per side until crusty. Crumble.
- Cook celery and onions in butter until soft, about eight minutes.
- Combine all ingredients.
- Bake at 350 degrees until warm, about 30 minutes.
- Sweet potatoes
- • 22 ounces red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams; about 4 large), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
- • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- • 1 large egg
- • 6 tablespoons sugar
- • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- • Pinch of salt
- • 1 1/2 cups cornflakes, crushed
- • 1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
- • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cook sweet potatoes in a large pot of boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; transfer potatoes to a large bowl and add butter.
- Using an electric mixer, beat until smooth. Add egg, sugar, spice, and salt; beat to blend.
- Transfer mixture to an 8” x 8” baking dish. (Can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill.)
- Meanwhile, prepare the topping and mix together all ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Spoon topping evenly over potatoes.
- Bake until beginning to brown around edges and slightly puffed, about 25 minutes.
- One 12-oz package (4 cups) of cranberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring to boil water, orange juice, and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries and return to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes until cranberries burst.
- Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.
- 5 medium cooking apples, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- Prepare apples. Heat apples and water over medium heat. When the mixture starts to boil. reduce heat and simmer for about ten minutes until tender.
- Stir in brown sugar and spices. Heat to boiling and stir until apples are soft.
- Cool apple butter and place in mason jar and store in the refrigerator.
I hope you are inspired to try some “not so traditional things” this month. Hosting Thanksgiving dinner in April was a blast. And it was delicious. And it reminded us of a time when things were much simpler.
And did I mention how great it is to have leftovers?
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