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Thanksgiving just happens to be one of my favorite holidays of the year. A holiday that is not overshadowed by gifts, costumes, eggs, beads, fireworks…not that I don’t love all of those things! Ok, the truth is that I really love all celebrations and all of the “thraka” that comes with each one (just give me a reason to put on a costume or a sparkly holiday shirt!)…but Thanksgiving is different, except for the Thanksgiving vest with a giant turkey on the back that I have had for 20 years!

Thanksgiving…a holiday that is centered around family, friends…and yes, food! Giving thanks for all that we have in our own little world – a whole day where everyone’s glass should be “half full”. Not that I haven’t had my share of “not so perfect” Thanksgivings! But, I quickly forget and start planning for the next year… always picturing that perfect Thanksgiving Day…

So, here we are – the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving…that is when my cooking begins! I create the menu, go shopping, then bring out the pots…whatever can be prepared ahead of time, gets done tonight and tomorrow night. It is really nice to just have to roast your turkey and prepare those last-minute dishes that just can’t be done early. It is always my goal – to be able to relax and leave plenty of time to enjoy the day…not always accomplished, but I try!

My menu doesn’t vary much because everyone (including myself) wants their favorites…you know, those dishes that scream “Thanksgiving”!

This year’s menu:

Roasted Turkey

Cornbread Dressing:

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground pork

1 onion – chopped

1 bell pepper – chopped

2 stalks celery – chopped

1 Tbsp dark roux

2 small containers of Dressing Mix (preferably Harold’s, but I have a hard time finding this brand, so I use Richard’s or Savoie’s)

1 cup chicken stock

2 boxes Jiffy Cornbread

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup green onions – chopped

To prepare:

Cook cornbread as directed on box and set aside;

Brown ground beef and pork;

Add chopped veggies and cook until soft and tender;

Stir in roux and chicken broth over medium heat; Once the roux has dissolved, simmer on low for about 30 minutes;

Add defrosted dressing mix and cook for another 10 minutes;

Stir in cream of mushroom soup until well blended;

Crumble in cornbread and mix well – add additional chicken broth, if needed. This dressing should not be too dry – sort of “wet” without being soggy…don’t let the cornbread overtake the meat mixture! Add salt and pepper to taste.

I make the dressing mixture ahead of time – then heat and add the cornbread and up to 1 cup of chicken stock while the turkey is cooking.

Sprinkle in green onions before serving.

This was my mother’s recipe and I can assure you that everyone loves and asks for every year!

Broccoli Rice Casserole

Macaroni and Cheese

Glazed Carrots

Sweet Potato Orange Cups (Topped with Marshmellows)

Buttered Petit Pois

Cranberry Relish

Rice and Turkey Gravy

Homemade Bread

Mexican Pasta Salad

Desserts:

3 Layer Delight

Mincemeat Pie

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gosh, I love Thanksgiving! Three days of preparing – for one glorious meal, followed by football, movies or naps…works for my family, always has!

Happy Thanksgiving…let the cooking begin!

(Pictures coming!)

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