I love Thanksgiving. I'm not sure if I love it as much as Christmas, but I don't think it's fair to compare since I really just love it in a different way. You get a few days to relax, hang with friends, eat food, and watch football. There's also the best leftovers that last for days. For the past few years, I've hosted Thanksgiving for friends who stay in the city (we call it orphan Thanksgiving) and I've loved it. The first year I was really nervous, but I found out that making dinner isn't really that hard. But, my Thanksgiving dinner wouldn't be complete without a few things that I consider necessities. No matter how many new things I add to the menu, I have to have these things or it just doesn't feel like Thanksgiving. Here are my three Thanksgiving must-haves.
1. Turkey with dressing (aka stuffing).
Ok, thanks Mrs. Obvious. But really, turkey and dressing is a must-have at my table. And not just any dressing, the kind my mom makes. The kind she's made for as long as I can remember. I am sure there are other tasty recipes that I could try, but I always crave that dressing. I actually salivate over it all year. I guess I could make it anytime, but it just wouldn't feel the same to me. I don't know what it is. Maybe it makes me feel close to her even though she's not here or maybe it's just that I want to have Thanksgiving the way I'm used to because it feels like tradition. Anyway, here's how I make it (I'm sure a lot of Midwest ladies make it similar):
- 1 package bread crumbs for stuffing
- Celery, chopped
- Onion, chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- Sausage, raw
- Chicken broth
- Follow package instructions for chopped onion, celery, and butter
- Crumble raw sausage and mix in bread cubes
- Add sautéed onion, butter, celery, and egg.
- Toss in hot chicken broth.
- Stuff as much as you can in the bird to cook with turkey. If there is any leftover then just cook it in a separate dish in the oven.
Yep, I mentioned them again. But I honestly look forward to leftovers every year. That's probably partially why I make enough food to feed the entire city of New York (that and the fact that making food for an army is in my genes). My favorite thing to do is make an open faced turkey sandwich. Just take some bread (I prefer wheat or rye) and then heat up some dressing, mashed potatoes, turkey, and gravy and put it on top.
3. Pumpkin pie.
I have similar feelings about pumpkin pie. I will only make my grandma's recipe. It's honestly because I think it tastes the best. Seriously. The. Best. I think it's because her recipe calls for butter and milk and a lot of recipes I've seen don't include that. It's also the fact that my grandma passed away so many years ago and I really like carrying on her recipes at my table. I first made these my first Thanksgiving in New York. It was actually the only piece of Thanksgiving I had that year (I literally had Chinese food and pumpkin pie with a friend and it felt so sad to me). That year I vowed to never feel that sad on Thanksgiving and no matter what I would try my hardest to never have a sad Thanksgiving ever again. I was really nervous at first, but they turned out great. Now Mr. T takes usually takes care of baking them since that's his thing.
Bonus: My sister's pecan pie.
Unfortunately since I haven't been with my family on Thanksgiving in a few years I haven't had the luxury of having that. I can't bring myself to make it just yet, but maybe next year. And, alas, I don't have the recipe.
What are some of your essential Thanksgiving must-haves?