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Welcome to 44-D’s Annual Thanksgiving-Palooza 2009. Whether you’re looking for turkey recipes, stuffing, side dishes, pies or other desserts, we’ve got you covered. Find great advice and Thanksgiving recipes to plan your Thanksgiving dinner menu. Also, please feel free to add your own special family recipes in the comments section!


Click here to read: Thanksgiving Letter From First Lady Michelle Obama

Giving Thanks to Our Heroes This Holiday

Posted by Dr. Jill Biden

There is nothing like the warmth of home during the holidays. In this spirit, the Vice President and I hosted an early Thanksgiving Dinner last night for servicemembers and their families at our home, the U.S. Naval Observatory. It was the Biden family’s small way of saying thank you to these heroes, and we could not have been more honored to share a table with this group. As my husband said, “Never before has this place been accorded such an honor as tonight. No individual group has walked through that door that has lent more dignity than you.”

read more: The White House Blog

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10 Easy Preparation Tips for Thanksgiving

Make desserts the day before Thanksgiving. This really makes sense. It’s so hard to bake everything at the same time because everything seems to bake at different temperatures. Even if you aren’t baking this easy preparation tip comes in handy. Having your pies, candy, etc already made will give you more time to work on preparing the turkey, vegetables, etc.

Peel potatoes the day before Thanksgiving. This easy preparation tip may not seem to save a lot of time, but it really does. The day before Thanksgiving I peel the potatoes, place them in a bowl of water, and then put them in the refrigerator. This way, they won’t oxidize and turn brown. When you are ready to cook your potatoes, simply drain off the water and cook them like normal.

Make cornbread for homemade dressing the day before Thanksgiving. I can’t believe I went so many Thanksgivings without doing this. I used to bake my cornbread while my turkey was baking and hope I could get my dressing mixed and baked before the turkey was done. Now, I always bake my cornbread the day before and then all I have to do is mix up the ingredients and bake the dressing.

Cut up vegetables the day before Thanksgiving: This also saves a lot of time. Whether you need vegetables for homemade dressing or you’re putting out a vegetable platter, this is an easy preparation tip that will make your Thanksgiving more enjoyable.

Thaw turkey well ahead of time. Nothing is worse than going to fix your turkey on Thanksgiving and it’s still partially frozen. By following this easy preparation tip, this Thanksgiving, you will be able to get everything finished on time rather than having to wait longer because you turkey still isn’t done.

Purchase rolls rather than making them from scratch. You may be completely against this easy preparation tip, but believe me you can buy rolls that will be just as good as homemade. There are rolls in the freezer section that you thaw and then let rise. There’s also wonderful crescent rolls found in the dairy section next to the biscuits. If you honestly cannot do this, prepare you dough in advance and freeze it before it rises. Then remove it from the freezer and allow it to thaw and rise before baking.

Buy desserts from a local bakery. If you think making desserts from scratch will drive you over the edge this Thanksgiving, use this easy preparation tip. Go to a local bakery and choose desserts that you can pass off as homemade.

Have someone else do the little things. Whether it’s buying precut vegetables from the produce section or buying pre-made mashed potatoes, this is an easy preparation tip that just makes sense. Why should you waste your time this Thanksgiving cutting vegetables or baking rolls?

Share the responsibility. This Thanksgiving ask your friends and family to bring different dishes and then all you have to do is cook the turkey. This is an easy preparation tip that will truly allow you to have an enjoyable Thanksgiving.

Order a Thanksgiving dinner from the store. In this day and time you can get wonderful Thanksgiving dinners from your local grocery store. If you aren’t comfortable with having the whole dinner catered, only buy the items you dread making the most.

I hope these easy preparation tips will help you easily get through Thanksgiving this year and many years to come.

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Food Network Star’s Thanksgiving Menus

Alton Brown’s Thanksgiving Menu
Alton Brown’s flair in the kitchen developed early with guidance from his mother and grandmother, a budding culinary talent he skillfully used later as a way to get dates in college. On Feasting On Asphalt, Alton had only his motorcycle, a few buddies and the clothes on his back during a nostalgic trip across the country to rediscover the disappearing people, places and stories of great American road food.

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Alton Brown shares the best techniques for carving the perfect Thanksgiving turkey.

Paula Deen’s Thanksgiving Menu
Who would think that a housewife from Albany, Ga., with no formal training in food, would become one of the country’s most beloved celebrity chefs? Paula Deen is a self-made success story who learned the secrets of Southern cooking from her Grandmother some 30 years ago. She had no idea at the time that the love for Southern cooking her grandmother instilled in her would lead to a life-long career.

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Download Paula’s free Holiday Hosting Guide

Paula Deen bakes a terrific sausage stuffing for a Thanksgiving feast.

Good Old Country Stuffing Recipe

Ina Garten’s Thanksgiving Menu
In 1978, Ina Garten went from working on nuclear energy policy to running a small specialty food store in the Hamptons. Ina has been a columnist for Martha Stewart Living magazine and O, the Oprah magazine. Since March, 2006 she has been a columnist for House Beautiful. She shares her cooking expertise in a series of cookbooks and on her show, Barefoot Contessa.

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Ina remembers her favorite Thanksgiving memory, favorite dessert (Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart), favorite place to be at Thanksgiving, favorite Thanksgiving meal highlight, favorite Thanksgiving short cut, and her Thanksgiving confession.

Giada De Laurentiis’s Thanksgiving Menu
Born in Rome, Giada grew up in a large Italian family where the culture of food was a staple in and of itself. As the granddaughter of film producer Dino De Laurentiis, Giada consistently found herself in the family’s kitchen. Giada is a master at transforming simple, everyday ingredients into dishes that are quick, healthy and satisfying.

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Try her recipe for Turkey with Herbes de Provence and Citrus.

Rachael Ray’s Thanksgiving Menu
According to Rachael Ray, she grew up in food. “My first vivid memory is watching my mom in a restaurant kitchen. She was flipping something with a spatula. I tried to copy her and ended up grilling my right thumb! I was 3 or 4,” says Rachael, who insists that cooking is a way of life she was simply born into. Rachael has parlayed that birthright into a wildly successful career as an iconic Food Network television personality, bestselling cookbook author and editor–in-chief of her own lifestyle magazine.

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Rachael Ray whips up the best and creamiest butternut squash soup.

Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Bobby Flay’s Thanksgiving Menu
Bobby Flay’s versatility is evident in the multiple talents he brings to the field as a chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, and media personality. He is also the Resident Chef and Lifestyle Correspondent for The Early Show on CBS and CBS Sunday Morning, where he regularly informs a national audience about seasonal dishes and ingredients. Bobby works tirelessly to challenge the way Americans view and taste food – making it bold, zesty and always fun.

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Bobby Flay helps viewer Elizabeth prepare Thanksgiving appetizers for the love of her life.

Pat and Gina Neely’s Thanksgiving Menu
As co-owners of Neely’s Bar-B-Que, Pat and Gina Neely have turned their family restaurant into one of the most successful barbecue restaurants in the South. Now they share the secrets behind their favorite dishes and their passion for food, family, and fun on Food Network’s Down Home with the Neelys. The Neelys launched a second Food Network show in July 2008, Road Tasted with the Neelys, a cross-country search for specialty stores and family-run businesses that make hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind edibles. In May 2009, the Neelys released their first cookbook entitled Down Home with the Neelys, which quickly earned a place on The New York Times‘ best-seller list.

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On Road Tasted with the Neeley’s Thanksgiving Special David and Barbara Barber’s Three Square Grill and Picklopolis are featured. This is a great way to ease the amount of work you have to do for Thanksgiving, order it from a professional.

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Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes from the 44-D Family

Audiegrl’s Broccoli Cornbread

Ingredients:

  • 2 (8.5-ounce) boxes corn muffin mix
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 (8-ounce) container cottage cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Cheddar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter or margarine
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed but not drained

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix together all ingredients except 2 tablespoons Cheddar to create a batter in a bowl.

In a 10-inch cast iron skillet melt butter. Saute onions and broccoli until soft. Pour batter over the vegetable mixture and sprinkle top evenly with remaining cheese. You can also place the ingredients in an 11 by 17-inch baking dish.

Bake in oven until golden, 30 minutes. Note: this tastes better in a cast iron skillet, but if you don’t have one, you can use another pan.

Creamy Cornbread CasseroleBluedog89’s Creamy Cornbread Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 (8.5 ounce) package dry corn bread mix
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14.75 ounce) can creamed corn
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbls sugar (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and lightly grease a 9×9 inch baking dish.

2. In a medium bowl, combine butter, eggs, corn bread mix, whole and creamed corn, sour cream and sugar . Spoon mixture into prepared dish.

3. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden brown.

Buellboy’s Cavatappi-n-Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 3 pinches kosher salt, for pasta water
  • 1 pound Cavatappi pasta, cooked al dente
  • 6 tablespoons butter (for roux)
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour (for roux)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1 pound 8oz Velveeta cheese
  • 12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup sugar (to taste)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In large pot filled with water add 3 pinches of salt and the macaroni and place over high heat. Bring to a boil and let cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Sprinkle flour over butter and cook 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat, whisking until a roux or paste forms. Add cold milk and whisk vigorously until dissolved. Cook sauce on medium-low heat until thick and bubbly. Add heavy cream, Velveeta and 1 cup Monterey Jack cheeses. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until cheeses are fully melted, stirring occasionally.

Pour half the pasta and then half the melted cheese sauce in a greased 13 by 9 baking dish. Repeat with the remaining pasta and cheese sauce. Top with remaining 4 oz of Monterey Jack cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: If your family does not like Monterey Jack cheese, please feel free to substitute with Sharp/Mild Cheddar, Asiago, Romano, or White Cheddar cheeses.

Cardinals19’s Cowboy Beans

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) pork and beans
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) lima or butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 lb thick bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, bacon, beans, onion, green pepper, brown sugar and ketchup. Transfer to a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour. Uncover, bake 30 minutes longer.

COgene’s Thanksgiving Poundcake with Pomegranate Glaze

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar (use special “baking sugar” found in baking isle in grocery store – cake comes out smoother)
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted before measuring
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter. With mixer on medium speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Beat in cream cheese. Add flour, alternating with the eggs. Stir in the vanilla. Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt cake pan. Bake at 325° for about 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 25 minutes, until a wooden pick comes out clean when inserted in the center. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup POM 100% Pomegranate Juice

Gradually stir the juice into the cup of powdered sugar. Mix until smooth. Drizzle over warm cake.

GeoT’s ‘How to Brine a Turkey

The purpose of brining is to tenderize the meat while adding flavor. A solution of salt is dissolved in water and meat is then submerged for a set amount of time, changing the cell structure and making it more moist and, often, more flavorful. The basic formula for a brine is 1/2 cup to 1 1/2 cups kosher salt for every gallon of liquid (whether water, juice, stock or beer). You can also add sugar and any other seasonings to taste; try herbs, garlic or peppercorns. Brining saturates the meat with the flavor of these seasonings. Unlike marinating, which flavors the outside, brining gives you deeper flavor and increased moisture.

The larger the meat, the longer it should brine; while shrimp only need about half an hour, a whole turkey takes 6 to 8 hours or so. Add ice to the brine to keep it under 40 degrees Fahrenheit in case you don’t have room in the refrigerator.

Once you’re done brining, remove the meat from the brine, pat it dry and cook it the same way you would otherwise.

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GiaT’s Holiday Cranberry Punch

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 gallon cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1 large can pineapple juice
  • 1 6 ounce can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 1-2 bottles club soda (to taste)

Mix together cranberry juice, pineapple juice, and frozen limeade.
Chill for one hour, then add club soda and serve.

Perfect with:

Supplies:

  • 1 large freezer-safe Bundt® pan or ring mold
  • 1 12-oz. bag of Fresh Cranberries
  • Fresh mint leaves, if desired
  • Water *

Directions:

Rinse cranberries in cold water. Drain.

Fill pan 1/2 inch to 1 inch deep with water. Place on even surface in freezer and freeze until solid. Remove pan from freezer. Add an additional 1/4 inch water over the ice surface. Arrange cranberries and mint leaves in desired pattern then return pan to freezer. Once set, add an additional 1/2 inch to 1 inch of water and freeze until solid.

Note: Cranberries float, so if you add all the water at once, the cranberries will float to the surface. When you unmold the frozen ring, the decoration will be on the bottom of the ring.

To unmold, run briefly under warm water to loosen.

* Note: Ice ring can also be made with White Cranberry Juice Drink instead of water.

HerselWellingtonIV’s Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy. Garnish with chopped pecans and/or a fresh raspberry or strawberry.

LibbyShaw’s Texas Pecan Pie

If you live in Texas and have a pecan tree, gather up enough pecans for at least 2 cups of pecans. 🙂

Make your favorite pie crust. If in a time crunch I recommend the prepared Pillsbury crusts in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

Glaze pie crust with egg yoke.
Place in 350 degree oven until warm.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of pecans
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½-1 C light corn syrup
  • ½-1 C of sugar
  • (I use only ½ of each b/c pecan pie tends to be too sweet for my family’s taste)

  • 5T unsalted butter
  • 1t of vanilla extract or 1 T dark rum. (I use the rum.)
  • ½ t salt

Directions:

Toast the pecans at 350 for about 6-10 minutes.

After removing the pecans turn oven up to 450.

Combine all ingredients above except for the pecans.

After they are toasted, add the pecans.

Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 and bake for 35-45 minutes.

Let cool for 1 ½ hours before eating.

Some recipes call for brown sugar instead of white. I use white for a lighter texture and taste.

Bon appetite and Happy Thanksgiving!

Ogenec’s Vodka-Marinated Rib Roast

Ingredients:

  • One 11- to 12-pound prime rib roast (5 ribs), chine bone removed
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Set the roast in a large roasting pan, fat side up. Using a sharp knife, make 12 shallow slits in the fat and insert the bay leaves. Rub the vodka, salt and pepper all over the roast and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Roast the meat in the lower third of the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° and continue to roast for about 1 3/4 hours longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 120° for rare to medium-rare meat. Transfer the roast to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 30 minutes.

Set the roast on its side and run a long, sharp knife between the bones and the meat; remove the bones. Turn the roast right side up. Carve the roast into thick slices and transfer to plates. Pour any carving juices over the meat and serve at once.

Notes:

Although rib roast is carried at many butcher shops and supermarkets, you may have to order this cut in advance, so plan ahead. Because the meat is so simply prepared, buy the best beef you can, preferably USDA Prime. Lobel’s Prime Meats in New York City is a great mail order source (lobels.com).

Removing the bones after cooking as described in this recipe makes carving quite easy, but don’t discard them. The meat nearest to the bone is tastiest, so pile the bones on a platter next to the carved meat for people to eat them like spareribs.

Shanti2’s Spinach and Green Apple Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 5 cups lightly packed)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple

Directions:

1/3 cup walnut pieces, toasted in a dry skillet over a medium-high flame until fragrant, about 2 minutes

In a small bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the spinach with the dressing until evenly coated then divide the spinach among 4 serving plates.

Core the apple and slice it into matchsticks. Sprinkle a quarter of the apple pieces on top of each salad. Follow with the walnut pieces. Serve immediately.

SouthernGirl2’s Mustard Greens

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sliced onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 1/4 salt or to taste
  • 1/4 pepper
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 slices of chopped bacon
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 lb Mustards washed thoroughly & torn into pieces

Directions:

Cook until Mustard Greens are done and wilted.

TheLCster’s Pumpkin Crunch

Ingredients:

  • 1 tspn Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tspn Salt
  • 1 cup Butter (2 sticks)
  • Whipped Topping
  • 1 package (box) Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 can (15 oz) Solid Pack Pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 oz) Evaporated Milk
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Pecans (halves)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom of a 9×13 inch pan. Combine pumpkin evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Pour into a 9×13 inch pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture. Top with pecans. Drizzle melted butter over pecans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-55 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool…serve chilled. Top with whipped topping when served.

President Obama Pardons White House Turkey

The President grants the traditional Thanksgiving pardon to Courage, this year’s Official White House Turkey in a ceremony on the North Portico of the White House. November 25, 2009.

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