Monday, November 23, 2009

The Menu

Commenters to the last post asked about my Thanksgiving menu, as well as a reminder-link to one of the best appetizer recipes ever. And because I love my readers who stick with me even when I go days between posts (as I seem to do frequently of late), I will grant both of their wishes.

First the Mexican Cheesecake recipe. It is oh so good.

Second, the menu. Last year I wrote a post two days before I was supposed to cook my first Thanksgiving dinner (for 10 people, 3 of them being my in-laws who for some reason I still try to impress), panicking because I realized I didn't know how to make any of the key dishes. You all were very helpful and I just read back through the comments because I realized today that I still don't have much of an idea what I'm doing- I haven't made those dishes since the last Thanksgiving, though they did all turn out very well.

And so without further ado, this year we will be eating:

Appetizers: Crackers, various cheeses, a delicious pesto cheese ball, summer sausage, smoked ham, and cut up veggies with ranch dip (and maybe plain potato chips with onion dip because I have had very strong cravings for that lately, even though I generally don't like potato chips and haven't had onion dip in years). And probably left over chili because I'm making a big pot for dinner on Wednesday and JP cannot subsist for more than a few hours on mere crackers and cheese.

1. The Turkey. We went to Costco to pick up our butterball (20 cents/lb. cheaper than HEB!) and Landon was very upset that it did not look like the pet turkey he thought we'd be taking home. I tried to assure him that he should be very glad it looked nothing like the original turkey, but settled for explaining to him that a turkey can appear two different ways. One is the pretty bird with bright feathers that he carries around the house and the other is a frozen ball shrink-wrapped in plastic. He seemed okay with that. As far as cooking the big bird, I will try to recreate what I did last year because it was easy and delicious. It involved butter, onion chunks and other vegetables at the base, chicken broth, fresh herbs, and foil. And then many hours wishing I had two ovens.

2. The stuffing. I made mine outside the bird last year for our Indian guests, but this year my Grandma Jim is coming and he always makes the stuffing and it always goes in the turkey. So in the turkey it will go.

3. Mashed Potatoes. I'm making a version of Pioneer Woman's with the cream cheese and sour cream and lots of butter. I think I could eat a pound or two all by myself.

4. The Gravy. We had delicious gravy last year because I used so many of your suggestions for random produce to stuff into the turkey and put in the bottom of the roaster. It made for delicious drippings that I thickened in to gravy. I hope to do the same this year.

5. Green Bean Casserole. On the back of the French's Fried Onion can, it needs no other explanation and it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it.

6. Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole. My Grandma Jo's mother's recipe and the only time all year I get to eat sweet potatoes because JP refuses to like them.

7. Cranberry Relish. Also my Grandma Jo's recipe. I can't remember if I like cranberries but I'm sure hers are delicious. I really only use them to make the water in my water dispenser extra pretty.

8. Corn Pudding. The one dish that is an absolutely necessary part of a Lag Liv family Thanksgiving. Really, it's a necessary part of every holiday from Easter to Christmas Day brunch. If you're looking for something a little different this year, give it a try. I've had other corn puddings and found them mushy and rather tasteless; this one is neither of those things.

Corn Pudding
2 cans cream style corn
2 eggs
3/4 c. cornmeal
1 tsp. garlic salt (3/4 tsp.)
6 Tbl oil (2/3 c.)
1 can chopped green chilies, drained
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese (2 c.)
1/2 tsp. baking powder (or not)

1. Mix everything together except the chilies and cheese. Put 1/2 of mixture in greased baking dish.

2. Mix cheese and chilies and layer over corn. Adding the remaining corn mixture.

3. Bake at 350 for 45 min to 1 hour, until set (i.e., the center isn't jiggly).

LL's notes: This recipe is my Grandma Mary's. She got it from a fellow air force wife when they were stationed at one of the 25 places they were stationed during my grandfather's illustrious military career (obviously, I need a few more details on the backstory). There are currently two competing version- may aunt's and my mom's. Both claim to have the original so I'm not sure where the variance came from. I've written out the way that I make it now and left the alternative in parentheses. Both taste pretty much the same, so I take that to mean it's a recipe you can't mess up. I usually skip the 2nd step and just mix everything together as I like my cheese evenly distributed and I love a recipe with only one step. And it is delicious. We make it every Easter to eat with our ham and every Thanksgiving to go with the turkey. It also goes great with Mexican food (it's a must on fajita night) and brunch (it goes very well with eggs and other breakfast casseroles). In college I used to make it and eat it alone as an entree for several days at a time. Delicious!

So-- what are you eating?


  1. That all sounds fantastic! I'm in grad school, so we're having Lab Thanksgiving at school on Wednesday, then all my friends that can't fly home are having Thanksgiving potluck-style Thursday at my house. I'm making the stuffing (well dressing) for Wednesday, and since I'm hosting Thursday I'm doing the turkey and gravy. I smiled to see you're using one of Pioneer Woman's recipes! I've never made any of these before, so I will be heavily relying upon her step by step pictures!! Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. yummy! sounds so good! You are right- wouldn't be thanksgivign without the green bean casserole! Oh and it is SO hilarious how Landon reacted to the store bought turkey! so funny!

  3. this year i will be making my first attempt at pie from scratch! since this might be my last year in texas, i'm going with pecan pie w/local pecans.

    seriously, lag liv... so impressed by all that you manage to do. what a super wife/mommy/lawyer/gal you are :)

  4. Everything sounds so delicious. Despite the fact that the Canadian Thanksgiving was few weeks ago I must admit that your Thanksgiving menu is very inspirational for me. We had similar menu but without the Corn Pudding and I think that it's exactly the dish what makes Thanksgiving menu perfect. Thanks for sharing it.

    Happy Thanksgiving,

  5. Might have to make that Corn Pudding recipe sometime (not this year, I'm going to the in-laws for Thanksgiving, unfortunately). I'm not sure how it will go over in my family, because we have a beloved Baked Corn recipe from my late grandmother, but this sounds so much tastier! I would also be interested in the Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole recipe (HINT, HINT!!!)

    Not sure what kind of onion dip you're craving, but I've found that lipton onion soup mix and sour cream makes the best. :)

  6. Hi Anon, I would totally share the sweet potato recipe, but it's my great-grandmother's and I don't have it! If my grandma brings a copy and she says it's okay I'll post it later in the week. You should definitely try the corn pudding sometime, it is so tasty.

  7. YUM! I had Thanksgiving on Sunday with my family and I made Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoes and they were a huge hit! And one of the appetizers was potato chips and onion dip...and I honestly ate half of it--you totally need it. Have fun!

  8. Happy Thanksgiving all you US of A-ers from New Zealand.

    Green Bean Casserole on A fried onion can? Needs a little more explanation.

    Can you post a photo? We don't have fried onions in cans here (unless they're from the Asian food store and are fried onion flakes to put in Pad Thai and Malaysian food)

    I wonder if your creamed corn and our are the same - the Creamed corn I bought in the UK was more Chinese Chicken and Corn soup consistency.

  9. Ha, when I first saw the recipe for "Mexican Cheesecake," I was expecting actual cheesecake with either some sort of margarita-inspired flavoring or cheesecake with mexican chocolate. While your dip does sound good, it just wasn't what I was expecting.
    I am making our signature Chocolate pie, which our family had along with pumpkin pie every year. Now that we kids are grown up and on our own, we ditched the pumpkin and kept the chocolate pie. I put my own twist on it and top it with a liquer flavored whip cream.

  10. I am totally using that corn pudding recipe tomorrow! This is the first time EVER that I'm not going home for Thanksgiving, so I'm having a few friends over who also aren't from here or going home to family. Someone else is doing turkey breast, salmon, and shrimp; I'm making a sweet potato casserole (mashed with a pecan/brown sugar topping), green bean casserole (of course!), carrots with honey and dill, and your corn pudding! Should be great! Have a very happy thanksgiving, Lag Liv family!!!

  11. LL...Pioneer Woman is so fun, isn't she? Have you DVR'd her appearance on The Bonnie Hunt show? I don't watch much daytime TV but she appeared a few weeks ago and will appear again next week, I believe (again I'm DRVing it). This past summer, I went to Costco and purchased the glass jug you highlighted in a post months back (maybe for the housewarming party?) and all my guests loved it! Thanks for sharing that. Hope you had a smooth Thanksgiving! Can't wait to see a pic of Landon enjoying the festivities.