A Thanksgiving Feast Fit for a King!

It's mid-afternoon the day after Thanksgiving and I feel completely out of my comatose to blog about our first successful Thanksgiving meal all on our own. First, let me say it was GREAT FUN! Some people talk about horror stories, but we floated right through our day. I can credit this to a couple of things - we deep fried our turkey, which took a lot of the extensive bird watching off of our plate; I prepared some of the staple items the day before - I made the corn bread for our stuffing, I cut the the onion, garlic, sausage and celery for our stuffing and got the remainder of the spices and cheese cut for other things, too. This was essential and I would recommend that to anybody! Although I did not make our pie the day before, I did bake it earlier in the day so that it could cool down. That, too, was a great help! 

Now let me walk you through our Thanksgiving feast -- try not to be too jealous!!

First things first - Tom the Turkey

We bought a fresh bird; however, if you don't remember thawing is key for deep frying. The rule of thumb is to allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 pounds of turkey thawed in the refrigerator!


  • Insure the turkey is completely thawed and FREE from all water and ice. Remove neck and giblet bag
  • Fill pot with oil to the bottom of the max fill line -- typically for a 12 to 14 pound turkey you need 2 gallons of peanut oil
  • Set your turkey fryer to 375 degrees F and allow plenty of time to preheat.
  • While fryer is preheating, prepare the turkey
    • use a dry rub on the outside of the turkey and inside the turkey cavity... making sure that every crevice is thoroughly seasoned so that everybody gets a yummy taste
    • also, with similar spices used on the dry rub, melt some butter and mix spices in
    • using a syringe, inject the buttery mixture into the turkey in several places so that the seasoning makes its way throughout the whole turkey
  • calculate cooking time - THIS IS IMPORTANT
    • the rule of thumb here is to fry the turkey for 3.5 to 4 minutes for every pound of turkey
    • since Nick and I had a 12.50 bird, we fried it for 50 minutes [airing on the side of caution by cooking it for 4 minutes]
  • after the allotted time passes, carefully remove the turkey from the fryer and let rest on a platter for approximately 30 minutes, covering with foil 

Now onto the second dish - Sausage Cornbread Stuffing 
Here is what you will need:
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 large onion, small dice
  • 3 ribs celery, small dice
  • kosher salt
  • 1 pound spicy sausage, casing removed and broken into bite size chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely diced
  • 10 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 10 cups day old cornbread, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 to 4 cups chicken stock
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Coat a large saute pan with olive oil, add the onion and celery and saute over medium heat
  • season with salt and cook until the vegetables start to become soft and very aromatic
  • add the sausage and cook until the sausage beings to brown
  • stir in the garlic and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes
  • add the sage and rosemary and cook for another minute, then remove from heat
  • In a medium sized roaster mix together the cornbread and sausage mixture
  • add the chicken stock and knead with your hands until the bread is very moist
  • taste to check for seasoning and season with salt
  • bake the stuffing until it is hot all the way through - between 30 and 40 minutes

Now to the yummy Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 8 ounces aged extra sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeño peppers [approximately 1 medium sized pepper]
  • preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl
  • in a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs and butter
  • with a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved [don't over mix!!]
  • mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar and jalapeños then allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes 
  • pour the batter into a 9 x 13 greased baking pan
  • pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar
  • bake between 30 and 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean
  • cool and cut into large squares

Onto another dish - Cheddar Cheese Mashed Potatoes 

  • 8 medium to large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup butter (2 (4oz) sticks), cut into chunks
  • 8 ounces shredded Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Boil the potatoes with the bay leaves until the potatoes are tender
  • drain the potatoes well and discard the bay leaves
  • using a potato masher, mash the potatoes by hand, then stir in chunks of butter and shredded Cheddar
  • Cover and set aside to let the cheese melt
  • stir in heavy cream, season with salt and pepper, then beat until creamy using an electric beater

Now to the Perfect Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients and Directions:
  • Empty a 12 ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries into a saucepan and transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl
  • add 1 cup sugar, a splash of lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of water to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft
  • increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes
  • reduce the heat to low and stir in the reserved cranberries
  • add sugar to taste and cool to room temperature before serving

Now for desert - Sweet Glazed Cherry Pie
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 - 16 ounce package frozen unsweetened pitted dark sweet cherries
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 purchased or homemade pastry for two 9 inch pie crusts
  • 1 - 21 ounce can cherry pie filling
  • 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon milk
  • preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  •  In a bowl stir together granulated sugar and cornstarch. Add frozen cherries and vanilla. Toss. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or until a syrup forms; stir occasionally
  • Prepare pastry. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the pastry into a 12-inch circle. Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry. Place 1/2 cup of the almonds in bottom of pastry-lined pie plate. Stir sweet cherry mixture; spoon on top of almonds. Spoon pie filling over sweet cherry mixture; spread evenly
  • Trim bottom pastry to edge of pie plate. For top crust, roll remaining pastry into a 12-inch circle. Cut slits in top crust. Place on filling; trim 1/2 inch beyond edge of plate. Fold top pastry under bottom pastry; seal. Flute edge; cover edge with foil to prevent overbrowning
  • Bake for 50 minutes. Remove foil. Bake about 30 minutes more or until top is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Remove from oven; cool on a wire rack 1 to 1-1/2 hours
  • Stir together powdered sugar and enough milk to make of drizzling consistency. Drizzle over pie. Sprinkle remaining almonds on top of pie. Cool completely

In addition to all of these yummy dishes we also had 4 cheese macaroni and cheese compliments of momma! It was all so delicious. We ate a feast yesterday and will in the days to come... I seriously made enough to feed a small army! I had a lot of fun making my first Thanksgiving feast and I cannot wait to perfect it in years to come!!

Check back in the days to come to see awesome twists on Thanksgiving leftovers. I have something special for that left over [regular] cornbread and our sausage stuffing!

Until next time, Happy Feasting!! :)

our whole feast!
stuffing mixture
our respective plates!!
perfect turkey breast