Thanksgiving Recipes, Tips & Tricks

Thanksgiving is my favorite American holiday, mostly because I refuse to worry about fat, calories and more calories.  It’s the one day where you get a free pass on being a total fatty.   Thanksgiving is when I will enjoy every savory and sweet bite.

I’ve been in charge of making Thanksgiving dinner for 3 years.  In the past 3 years, Thanksgiving has consisted of 6 to 10 people including myself.  Each year has been equally delicious!

Unfortunately, most Americans are freaking out, stressing out and putting “fun” in family disfunction on Thanksgiving.  To create a less stressful and daunting Thanksgiving, I will provide you with my tips, tricks and recipes that I’ve been using for the past 3 Thanksgivings.

Marlee’s Thanksgiving Menu

Phyllo Cups with Brie and Cranberry Orange Sauce
Herbed Butter Turkey Breast
Mashed Potatoes
Ruth Chris’s Sweet Potato Casserole
Traditional Green Bean Casserole
Honey Cornbread Muffins
Turkey Gravy
Cranberry Orange Sauce
Pumpkin Pecan Pie


Phyllo Cups with Brie and Cranberry Orange Jam
Place unbaked phyllo cups (found in your grocery store’s frozen baked section) on a sheet tray with a cube of brie. Bake until the edges of the phyllo cups have started browning and brie melting. Finish with any tart jam. I use the cranberry orange sauce I made the day before.

Herbed Butter Turkey Breast
1 Stick of Room Temperature Butter (Breast Only) or 2 Sticks (Whole Bird)
Chopped Thyme
Mince Garlic
Lemon Zest
Salt & Pepper
Onion (Quartered)
Lemon (Quartered)
Thyme Sprigs
Garlic Bulb (Cut in half)
Chicken Stock

The day before, mix the room temp butter with the chopped thyme, minced garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Place mixture in plastic wrap and shape into a log.  The day of, prep your bird and place in your preferred cooking device.  Pat the skin dry with a paper towel.  Rub with kosher salt.  Rub the room temp. compound butter over and under the skin of the bird.  Place the quartered and halved onion, lemon, garlic and thyme sprigs in the cavity of the bird.  Place a shallow amount of chicken stock at the bottom of the pan.  Cook and baste the bird as the directed packaging informs.

Ruth Chris’s Sweet Potato Casserole

Traditional Green Bean Casserole

2- 3 Boxes Stovetop Turkey Stuffing
Chicken Stock
1/2 to 1 Sweet Onion
4-6 Stalks Celery

Rough to finely chop your celery and onion.  Saute in butter (amount of butter as indicated on packaging) your celery and onion, Cook until translucent.  Add your chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Add the contents of the Stovetop box. Cook as directed.  Use measurements for butter and chicken stock according to the Stovetop packaging.

Honey Cornbread Muffins
The Neely’s Honey Cornbread Muffins  These are super moist and absolutely delicious.  My go-to cornbread recipe!

Cranberry Orange Sauce
1 Pound Fresh Cranberries
2 Cups Sugar
1 Orange (Zested and Juiced)
1/3 C. Water
Dash of Cinnamon
Splash of Vanilla Extract

Place all ingredients in a pot.  On medium heat, occasionally stirring, cook until cranberries have burst open and the sugar has completely dissolved.  Place in a serving bowl and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Tips & Tricks

1.  Make as many dishes and prep as much as you can the day before.
The dishes I make and prep the day before:
Compound Butter
Cranberry Orange Sauce
Cornbread Muffins
Pumpkin Pecan Pie
Chop the vegetables for the stuffing
Green Bean Casserole (Not baked)
Sweet Potato Casserole (Not baked)

2.  Designate a family member that is in charge of dish duty.  If you’re cooking, you shouldn’t have to do the dishes too, that’s just cruel.  Wash your dishes as you go.  Don’t just pile them up until the very end of the meal.

3. Set your table the night before.  One less thing you have to do the day of.

4. Stick to what you know, don’t decide to experiment with overly complicated recipes the day of.  You will be sitting on your kitchen floor having a tantrum like Julie in the movie Julie & Julia.

If you have some tips and tricks that are helpful, please provide them in the comment section! Your tip might help someone else!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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