for years i have been making thanksgiving and i am pretty sure i go overboard. this year we are making it simple, easy, and of course full of good healthy food. my main goal this year is not to spend all day in the kitchen and actually enjoy my company.

yesterday i posted our list of appetizers. i’m pretty excited, those are always my favorite. i can’t forget everything else though can i?

this year we are starting out with a simple salad full of fresh greens from our garden (yes, i still have lettuce growing!) as well as local apples and a simple vinaigrette. for our sides, well, this year we are taking it easy:

that’s it. easy, simple, and with the turkey, the perfect meal.

during the past year i have made many of soups, salads and starters that would be a great addition to any thanksgiving meal. here is a quick list.

  • while everything else is in the stove or on your stove top try making soup in a crock pot. this apple squash is amazing. serve in it smallish ramekins to keep the portions small enough not to ruin your whole meal. some other soups that might interest you:  onion fennel, barley soup with bacon and sausagecorn, potato & leek soup.
  • as well as the roasted apple salad with pumpkin seeds i am making i have made a couple great salads in the past, how about a quick wedge? if your family are beet lovers something like a beet salad with goat cheese would be a great addition too.
  • potatoes, yes, you have to have potatoes on thanksgiving. we are taking it easy, in our house this year it’s a simple mashed with garlic (with the possible addition of chives). there are many other different ways to make potatoes. you take the whole mashed potatoes in a whole different direction and mash celeriac with potatoes, the flavor combination is amazing and different. if no one is into the whole mashed thing (it’s possible) a simple smashed potatoes would be perfect for you.
  • veggie side? this is my favorite part of the meal. brussels sprouts are real popular now a days. if your strictly only veg, leave out the bacon (but it’s the best part). simple string beans steamed, sauteed, or even in a casserole would be a great side to your turkey. this is my favorite string bean recipe. it’s simple, tastes great and is a nice light side.
  • i almost forgot about the cranberry sauce, usually i make 2 different kinds, this year i am taking a whole different route, i found a recipe for a ruby port cranberry mold that i couldn’t resist.

whew…all this just makes me realize how much work i have left to do…there is still the turkey!

every year i brine my turkey. i buy a pre-made mix from fresh direct (a food delivery service in the nyc area) this year however i decided to make my own. i am addicted to anne burrell. i happened to dvr one of her shows the other day on brining a turkey. i just did it and it was very simple, the hardest part, getting everything to fit in the pot holding my turkey!

a simple brine    this recipe is from ann burrell‘s cooking show, secrets of a restaurant chef

  • 7 quarts water (24 cups)
  • 1 quart apple cider (4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large onion sliced in half
  • 2 carrots whole
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1 head garlic, cut in quarters
  • bunch fresh rosemary (about 5 sprigs)
  • 1/2 bunch fresh sage (about 5 stems + leaves)
  • 6 bay leaves
  • turkey

i like to use a bag, much less of a mess. if you have a huge pot to not only hold your turkey but all the liquid, go ahead.

  1. add all the ingredients in to the bag close it up, place in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
  2. when the brine is ready, clean and dry off turkey, cook as usual.

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