Week 32: Turkey Day

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The first year the boys deep fried a turkey at Thanksgiving in Mason, TX

My favorite day of the year has almost arrived and I am SO excited! I LOVE Thanksgiving probably more than any one person should (some of my nearest and dearest can attest to this…). I love cooking on any normal day so a day that is completely dedicated to cooking for one big feast is right up my alley. I am also super traditional about the foods I like to eat with approximately zero room for flexibility. Just ask my family. There can be extra dishes, but there absolutely have to be a few dishes that are traditional from my childhood Thanksgivings with my mom’s family. Growing up we spent most of our Thanksgivings at my mom’s parents’ house. It’s her mother’s favorite holiday as well so getting everyone together always seemed like a pretty easy thing to do to make her happy. My grandmother is not much of a cook, her words not mine, but a turkey is something she does well. My mom, much to my brother’s disgust, always insists on mashed turnips. This is something I have given up as an adult; not all together but just on Thanksgiving. My mom’s stuffing with roasted chestnuts and dried cherries is another dish I have to miss out on every other year when we have Thanksgiving with Travis’s family. There is just not enough time in the day to make it all. But what I do make and insist on every single year with no exceptions is my grandmother’s cranberry-raisin pie with a beautiful lattice crust and sweet potato Anna, a dish with layers of thinly sliced sweet potatoes and leek sprinkled with fresh thyme and drizzled with ample butter. It is “simply divine” to quote my grandmother. A deep-fried turkey has also made its way onto my “must have” list. That is something Travis and my brother-in-law dreamed up four years ago and my life has never been the same. I also feel like I need to state that I do love that this day brings family together. That is probably a given, but since it is clear how much I love the food I didn’t want to miss stating the obvious. I am not holding my breath this year since Stella doesn’t seem to be very into food, but I hope in years to come she will share my excitement and joy in preparing and eating all the deliciousness that Thanksgiving is about. No pressure though. Since we are away for the week and I am not responsible for meals, I will be back to meal planning in two weeks. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! Meal Plan & Grocery List

Monday: Sweet & Savory Beef Stew with Whole Wheat Egg Noodles & Broccoli

  • I genuinely look forward to making this dish every year when it is finally cozy enough to call it fall/winter. It is yum!
  • I’ve used onions or shallots and butternut squash or sweet potatoes and it is always good.
  • This time around I didn’t have time for an hour in the oven so I just let it simmer away on the stove for 20 or so minutes until the squash was done and it worked out just fine. I am sure the meat would have been more tender the other way, but it was by no means tough.

Tuesday: Goat Cheese & Bean Enchiladas with Green Salad

  • I hesitate to even post a recipe here since it was merely inspiration, but for those of you who want a recipe, here it is.
  • I bought a large can of red enchilada sauce and used that instead.
  • For the filling I mixed a can of black beans, refried black beans, goat cheese, other random cheeses I needed to use up (ricotta and fresh mozzarella), scallions, diced bell pepper, green chili, and lime juice.
  • I filled the corn tortillas and baked them as instructed and served them with sour cream, avocado, cilantro and lime. They were super good and pretty easy.

Wednesday: Chicken Katsu with Creamy Slaw

  • I failed to pound my chicken thin enough so it took longer to cook, but Travis helped fix my raw chicken dilemma thankfully.
  • For the slaw I used a combo of red and green cabbage since we had both and cooked it for a little longer than suggested. I really liked the slaw but wish I had used less mayo or substituted half of it for sour cream. I really dislike the taste of mayo and could get a hint of it. Sensitive, I know, with only 2 Tbsp but that was my verdict for other non-mayo fans.

Thursday: Salmon Eggplant Curry with Brown Rice

  • I’ve made this many times and always prepared it differently than the recipe says to give my veggies extra time to cook. I start by stir-frying the eggplant with some oil until it is very soft. Remove it and then stir-fry any other veggies I am including, which is typically more than the recipe calls for, with the curry paste and garlic as the recipe suggests in step 1.
  • I’ve done this with green and red curry, so take your pick, and then serve it over brown rice. The basil and lime juice add some excellent flavor, so don’t leave them out!

Friday: Crockpot Lasagna with Veggies

  • This is from the food blog my friend introduced me to the other week and so far we are two for two. This was super easy. I made it in about 15 minutes with Stella awake and no one got hurt which is saying something. The layers are all straight from the can so there is no pre-cooking or mixing involved.
  • I diced up 4 zucchini but any mix of veggies would be great.
  • I opted for cottage cheese over ricotta since I think ricotta is a bit bland.
  • I used a combo of spaghetti sauce and plain canned tomato sauce with a sprinkle of Italian herbs over top.
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