With Thanksgiving coming up, I thought it would be fun to share with y’all my Thanksgiving must-haves.
Ever since we got our first apartment together, I’ve made it a point to make Shane and me a little pre-Thanksgiving meal for us to enjoy our favorite foods and time together before the inevitable insanity of the next day begins.
Since it’s just Shane and me, I don’t usually cook a whole lot because I know we’re just going to have all the good stuff the next day, but if I’m calling it Thanksgiving (or “Mini Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner”), here’s what we always have.
Okay, yes, this is a given. But I don’t make a whole ass turkey for just the two of us. Almost every grocery store has the cook-in-bag turkey breasts that are about 2-3 pounds. I get those because it’s surprisingly hard to mess up and it’s already seasoned and delicious.
We hardly ever have many leftovers from it because again, it’s just the two of us, but at least we are guaranteed to get our turkey fix.
Before I realized how easy it was to make mashed potatoes from scratch, I was using the powdered ones in the pouches. Once I started making them from scratch, I only make them that way because honestly, potatoes are such a diverse vegetable and can be cooked so many different ways and always good to have on hand.
Anyway, now that we’re done talking about the merits of potatoes…
Both Shane and I love them and, like turkey, they’re a staple of our Thanksgiving (and like, any Thanksgiving?).
Not corn on the cob or anything special. Just canned corn.
Shane loves to mix his corn with his mashed potatoes and our first Thanksgiving together, when I was taking his requests for what he wanted, he specified corn. And then I realized it was the first time I’d ever had corn at Thanksgiving? Not sure why. I mean, any time we have mashed potatoes it is the most requested vegetable side.
But yeah, now it’s a must.
I make my own homemade cranberry sauce. I’m that guy. I really don’t even remember when or why or how I decided to make my own, but all I know is that it’s stupid easy. Like, boiling sugar water and adding cranberries easy. I’ve seen recipes that call for orange juice and orange zest and like, I get it? But also, no. I’ll stick to just cranberries and sugar and water.
Anyway, so I make my own cranberry sauce instead of buying the can of jellied stuff and I just prefer it. And now I offer to bring it to every Thanksgiving event I attend so I can avoid having the canned variety.
I love all things pumpkin, but pumpkin pie wasn’t huge in my house growing up, so I didn’t have it much until I started making it myself. The first time, I used a graham cracker crust because the idea of making a pie with an unbaked crust scared the shit out of me for some reason. Clearly, I didn’t know how easy it was to make pie with refrigerated pie crust.
I still haven’t taken the plunge into making my own pie crust from scratch, but the rest of pumpkin pie is delightfully easy when you consider it’s just mixing together pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, and pumpkin pie spice.
I’m pretty sure it’s only me who ever eats it, but that’s not gonna stop me from making a whole ass pie.
Apparently, what it’s called depends on how it’s cooked and where you’re from? Never knew that and I’ve always used them interchangeably. Either way, if I’m having turkey and cranberry sauce, I’m having this deliciously carbo-loaded side dish.
Growing up we had the Stovetop brand all throughout the year, and my mom even used to make a chicken and stuffing casserole dish that was tasty, but it’s so dang cheap and easy so like, why not.
Shane’s not the biggest fan and doesn’t eat much of it, but he’ll have enough to make it worth making a box of it.
Usually I just get a bag of the King’s Hawaiian rolls and warm them up in the oven right before dinner. Surprisingly Shane isn’t a massive fan of these, either. I know, I know; I married a weirdy.
This year we’re going a different route, though, because since we have an extra person (and we’re making the food on Thanksgiving for a change), I’m making the Sister Schubert’s dinner rolls. You know, the kind that come in their own little pan? Yeah, well apparently they come in a bag now which is kind of weird but whatever. My mom used to make these, so this will be a nice little homage to her.
Everyone jokes about starving on Thanksgiving until the main meal is ready, but I can’t do that. I get legit hangry and no one is safe from my foodless wrath of emotions. In fact, when I’m being overly emotional or irritable, Shane’s first two questions are, “Have you had coffee? Have you eaten anything?” LOL! I mean, I do feel a little bad, but I can’t help what my brain and stomach decide to do without including me, okay?
Anywayyyyyy…. I think the tradition of having cinnamon rolls on a holiday morning started when I was a kid on Christmas, but either way, it’s become somewhat of a tradition in my own home to get up before the Macy’s parade starts to make the cinnamon rolls and then sit and watch the parade while eating.
Sometimes I get to watch the dog show after. Depends what time we have to be somewhere. But this year we don’t have to be anywhere, which leads me to my next part of this blog post!
New Things I’m Making This Year! (Cue applause)
Here’s the deal: not only have I never made pecan pie, I’ve never actually eaten it, either. Yes, I’m from the south. Yes, I love pecans. I’ve just never had the desire to choose pecan pie over other pie options and by the time I’ve had a little of everything, I’m too full for it.
Shane did request it this year, and since his brother is coming over, I asked for his requests as well, and that was it. So, it looks like I’m making a good ol’ pecan pie this year. I might even try a bite, too.
Up until her last holiday on earth, Mom made deviled eggs for every major holiday meal. If we were doing it potluck style, she always claimed them. Unfortunately I never got the recipe but even when I’d ask, she’d just say she measures by taste. Cool. Thanks, Mom. That’s not helpful.
This year, since we’re doing more food than normal, I thought I’d try my hand at some deviled eggs the way Mom used to make them… or at least try.
We usually only have the one type of bread/roll, but Shane’s brother also requested some cornbread this year, and since it’s hella easy to make, I grabbed a box of the JIffy mix, and we’re gonna make us some cornbread. And by we, I obviously mean me. I will be making the cornbread. And everything.
That’s it, my friends! Those are our Thanksgiving must-haves/staples. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when making a holiday dinner, but it really doesn’t have to be. Just try to plan ahead, make as much in advance as you can, and the rest will get done when it’s done.
Also, if you don’t have family to spend the holiday with this year, or any year, try and spend it with friends. And if you don’t have friends, go adopt a shelter pet or foster an animal and spend it with them. I guarantee no one will be as happy to have your company as them.
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving! Catch you back here in December!