Thanksgiving Dinner Menu
Green bean casserole
Sweet potato casserole
Sparkling apple cider
This is our family’s menu choices for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Our menu choices have varied very little over the years. The turkey was simply roasted in the oven using its own juices and/or a little oil to keep it moist for years now I do either place a fresh, quartered lemon or orange inside the body cavity and add dried or fresh rosemary and/or thyme placed just below the skin on the breast and legs. The same with the gravy which used to be a simple mixture made from the pan drippings. Now I may add some of the same herbs used for the turkey to the already flavored pan drippings. The cranberry sauce used to always be the plain, jellied sauce in a can. Now I purchase fresh cranberries and cook them. They are so easy to prepare and the flavor is excellent. I must say that there have been no changes to the mashed potatoes or the green bean casserole. We added the sparkling apple cider a few years ago and do enjoy it. The dessert, pumpkin pie, has also remained unchanged. There is no need to change a thing about pumpkin pie.
One other menu item that we enjoy at both Thanksgiving and Christmas is a dish we refer to as “green stuff”. It is a gelatin based dish which could be classified as dessert or fruit salad. We just place it on the table and it is eaten as both. The recipe our family prepares for our “green stuff” is a modified fruit salad recipe that was popular years ago. I will share it with you:
2 small 3 oz or 1 larger 6 oz package of lime gelatin
1 can crushed pineapple (10 or 12 oz)
1 package of cream cheese, 8 oz
½ cup chopped nuts
½ cup chopped celery
1 cup sliced and seeded grapes
1 small container of whipped topping
Drain the pineapple juice into a medium sauce pan and stir in the gelatin; bring to a boil stirring to dissolve gelatin. Remove from heat. Cut the cream cheese into small cubes and place in the warm gelatin and add the crushed pineapple. Allow the mixture to cool. Stir the cream cheese into the gelatin when it has softened. Place the pan with the gelatin and cream cheese mixture in the refrigerator to cool. Stir the nuts, celery, and grapes into the cooled mixture then fold the whipped topping into the mixture. Place the mixture in a serving dish and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Our favorite part of the meal is the leftovers. As much as we enjoy the Thanksgiving dinner we love the leftovers even more. The sliced, roasted turkey becomes part of a turkey sandwich. The green bean casserole is even tastier (if there is any left!). The mashed potatoes and gravy may be saved to make hot turkey sandwiches later. And the dressing is great warm or cold. Any remaining “green stuff” quickly disappears. And pumpkin pie is always wonderful.
Families develop their own favorite menu items and the Thanksgiving meal becomes a welcome tradition that beacons the family to gather round the table. Giving thanks is a whole other tradition and also develops as the family grows. As our families change, as children grow, as our family grows larger or smaller our family traditions grow, develop and give meaning to our Thanksgiving gathering.