Instead of our usual weekly family menu, the girls and I decided to each share some easy Thanksgiving recipes that could possibly help you plan the big day.
Honestly guys, I still don’t have mine figured out. I went to the store one night last week (alone!) for Thanksgiving supplies and was there for HOURS and then stayed up until midnight trying to fit all the groceries into our teeny pantry. And then I was so proud of myself for getting it all done a week ahead of time!
And now I’m wondering if I need to double all the recipes.
Today I’m going to be sharing a couple side dishes for the big turkey day. I know side dishes are the hardest thing for me to come up with so when I was asked to come up with a couple using I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, I jumped at the chance. I’ve worked with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter in the past and was even lucky enough to make some brownies in the Unilever kitchens:
Anyway, I’m obviously a big fan of using I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. I almost always have it in my fridge and I absolutely love the sticks for baking! Plus it has 0 grams of trans fat!
For my side dishes I went with a basic mashed potato recipe but jazzed it up with some roasted garlic. If you’ve never roasted garlic, it’s super simple. You cut off the top of the garlic bulb to expose all the little cloves, rub it with some olive oil, and then roast it for about 30 minutes. The little cloves practically fall out after that. Once roasted, the garlic doesn’t have quite the punch that raw garlic has – it’s absolutely delicious and you could easily mix it into a ton of different foods.
These Roasted Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes are perfect for Thanksgiving because they can be made ahead of time. Which means less stress on you! You simply refrigerate them until the bird is ready and then quickly bake them until they’re heated through. The roasted garlic and the Parmesan are perfection together and they are really fantastic with gravy poured all over.
Roasted Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
For the roasted garlic:
1 bulb of garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
For the potatoes:
5 pounds yukon gold potatoes
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 stick (1/2 cup) I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, melted
1/2 - 1 cup milk, warmed
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
salt and pepper to taste
To make roasted garlic:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Slice off the top of the garlic bulb, making sure to expose the top of each clove of garlic. Rub the olive oil over the exposed tops. Wrap in aluminum foil and roasted for 30 - 35 minutes or until the cloves easily slide out. Set aside.
To make the potatoes:
Wash, peel (if desired - I leave mine with peels), and dice. Place in a large pot; fill with water to a couple inches above the potatoes. Boil until fork tender. Drain and mash.
Place the potatoes in the bowl of a stand mixer; add cream cheese, melted I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, and warmed milk. Beat slowly at first to combined everything and then at a higher speed to further mash the potatoes. Continue beating until the potatoes are as mashed as you prefer. Beat in 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
Spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon the potatoes into the dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
At this point you can cover and refrigerate overnight if you need to.
To bake the potatoes:
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are hot.
The second recipe I chose to make is inspired by something I got from one of those fancy health food store hot bars around this time last year. It was a rice dressing that had a ton of cranberries in it. I thought it was the strangest thing when I loaded it into my little cardboard box but I definitely fell in love once I tasted it.
I used a wild and brown rice mix but if you can’t find it, an equal amount of wild rice and brown rice works just the same. This version is loaded with cranberries, pecans, fresh thyme, fresh parsley, all the good stuff. It’s absolutely scrumptious and is perfect for Thanksgiving.
Wild Rice Stuffing
2 tablespoon I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups wild rice blend
4 cups vegetable broth (or a mixture of broth and water)
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
In a large pot, heat I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and olive oil over medium heat until butter is melted; add onion. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add rice; stir to combine. Gradually pour in vegetable broth. Bring to a boil; cover and lower to a simmer. Let cook for about 50 minutes (check package instructions).
Stir in cranberries, pecans, parsley, thyme, and salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
I hate to admit this, but I don’t eat turkey on Thanksgiving. I don’t. I’m not a turkey person. I would rather load up on stuffing and green beans and mushrooms and oh my goodness, the gravy.
I set out to make a turkey that I couldn’t resist and resist this turkey I could not. You start with a turkey breast (which btw, I expected to be small. The smallest breast I could find was 7 pounds! Seven!) and you brine it in a mixture made from cider, brown sugar, and sage. Then when you cook it, you baste it with butter, more cider, and more sage. I cannot begin to explain to you how good my house smelled as this bird was cooking.
The best part, of course, was the gravy! It was sweet from the cider and the sage just put it over the top. I think I am officially obsessed with sage.
I couldn’t stop taking little pieces every time I walked past the kitchen. It was fantastic and I’m hoping my husband will let me cook one of his turkeys using this method for the big day.
¼ cup chopped fresh sage or 1 tablespoon rubbed sage
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
1 bone-in whole turkey breast (5 to 6 lb), thawed if frozen
For the basting sauce and gravy:
¼ cup butteror margarine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
Reserve 1 cup apple cider for basting; cover and refrigerate.
In 6-quart bowl or stockpot, stir remaining cider, the brown sugar, kosher salt, ¼ cup fresh sage and the peppercorns until salt is dissolved. Add turkey breast. Cover; refrigerate at least 12 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
Heat oven to 325F. Remove turkey from brine; rinse thoroughly under cool running water, and pat dry. Discard brine.
Place turkey, skin side up, on rack in large shallow roasting pan. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is in the thickest part of breast and does not touch bone. Roast uncovered 1 hour.
In 1-quart saucepan, heat reserved apple cider, the butter, 1 tablespoon fresh sage and the garlic over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is hot.
Roast turkey about 1 hour longer or until thermometer reads 165F and juice of turkey is clear when center of thickest part is cut, basting turkey generously with apple cider mixture and pan juices every 15 minutes. Remove turkey from oven, and let stand 15 minutes for easier carving.
Meanwhile, pour pan drippings and scrapings into measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes. Skim fat from top of drippings, and place in 2-quart saucepan; skim and discard any remaining fat. Add enough water to remaining drippings to measure 2 cups; set aside.
Stir Â¼ cup flour into fat in saucepan, using wire whisk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Gradually stir in reserved 2 cups drippings and the salt. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir about 1 minute or until gravy thickens.