Pre Thanksgiving Dinner

Mike and I don’t usually spend Thanksgiving together so I make a Thanksgiving Dinner Not On Thanksgiving a week or so before. Usually I make him listen to cheezey Christmas music while we’re eating but this year I forgot! Doh!

It’s pretty much always the same menu, a copy of the first Thanksgiving (which really was on Thanksgiving) we spent together when he was still living in Phoenix:

  • Appetizers- this year it was spiced nuts, olives, and potato chips with blue cheese dip
  • Roast chicken
  • Mashed potatoes- this year it was cream cheese mashed potatoes
  • Green beans with onions
  • Stuffing- usually I get a mix, this year it was from scratch
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Gravy
  • This year I also made baked sweet potatoes with honey butter, too
  • Pumpkin Pie- this year I made it with bourbon whipped cream
  • I also made hot buttered rum this year


  • Spiced Nuts– usually I follow this recipe except I mix everything together and coat the nuts, THEN roast them for a few minutes in the oven
  • Blue cheese dip– be sure to get sturdy chips for this dip! I don’t usually use Maytag Blue and it turns out great anyway.
  • Olives are from a can or the olive bar at Whole Foods
  • Roast chicken is easy. Rinse and clean a whole chicken. Dry it off really well. Rub it with softened butter or brush it with olive oil. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper and dried herbs if you want. Roast in a preheated 400 degree oven. Starting after 45 minutes of cooking, test with an instant read thermometer. It should register 160-165 degrees when it’s done. Mine usually take about an hour for a 4 or 5 pound chicken. Let it rest outside the oven for 10 minutes before carving.
  • This year I made cream cheese mashed potatoes.  Clean and peel potatoes (I used 2.5 pounds and it made enough for about 4 servings). Cut into quarters and put into a pan. Cover with water to just over an  inch above potatoes. Add a bay leaf. Cook them till they’re soft. Drain them, remove the bay leaf,  and then put them back in the pan with the heat on and toss them till they are very dry and sort of crumbly. In another pan put in about a cup of milk and 4 oz cream cheese and cook it on low till the cream cheese melts into the milk. Then add it to the potatoes and whip them with a mixer. Add some chopped up chives or green onions.
  • Green beans with onions- I meant to make this one that I always make. But I made this one on accident and it wasn’t nearly as good.
  • I am not good at making stuffing. I usually get the instant kind from Whole Foods but they didn’t have it.  So instead I bought their dried bread with a recipe on it and it came out way too salty. It was OK, tho. But I need to really get a good stuffing recipe going if they aren’t going to carry the instant anymore.
  • I thought that Whole Foods also made their own cranberry sauce. But I didn’t see that either so I bought their canned kind. It was pretty good. Maybe next year I’ll make my own.
  • Gravy recipe from The Joy Of Cooking.
  • Baked sweet potatoes with honey butter- Scrub a couple of sweet potatoes, dry them well, prick them with a fork, and wrap them in foil. I had to bake mine in the oven with the chicken so they were in a 400 degree oven for about an hour. They weren’t done then, tho so I turned the oven up to 450 degrees and cooked them another half hour or so. If you have two ovens you can cook them at 450 the whole time and they’ll take less time. Or just start them before the chicken if you have to share the oven. The honey butter was really easy, just soften a stick of butter then whip it with a mixer and add about 3 TBS of honey- more or less, depending on taste. Whip it really well. You can serve it soft or put it in the fridge to harden.
  • Almost all pumpkin pie recipes are the same. Here’s how I did mine:

Pumpkin Pie:

  • Your favorite pie crust
  • 3/4 cup combined white sugar and brown sugar
  • 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1  15oz can pureed pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Cream for making whipped cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees while you’re making the filling. To make the filling you just whisk together all the ingredients from the sugar down thru the 1/2 cup of heavy cream till smooth. Then pour it into a pie shell and cook it about 45-55 minutes, till a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. You should make this pie the day before your dinner, or at the very latest, early in the morning the day of your dinner. It needs to completely cool before serving, which takes several hours.

Serve it with whipped cream. I made bourbon whipped cream this year but I like the plain kind better. I usually make it really plain,  just whipped cream, not even any sugar. The bourbon way is just 1 cup of cream, 2 TBS sugar, and 3TBS bourbon whipped together.

Hot Buttered Rum goes great with fresh pumpkin pie! I did not use the slow cooker, I did it on the stove, but I did simmer it for at least an hour. I also left out the cloves because I didn’t have any. If I were to ever serve this at a party I’d for sure do it in the slow cooker. Next time I’ll try to have cloves on hand so I can try it with them.

Thankgiving Appetizers: Spiced nuts, blue cheese dip, olives
Thankgiving Appetizers: Spiced nuts, blue cheese dip, olives
The annual Thanksgiving Not On Thanksgiving Dinner
The annual Thanksgiving Not On Thanksgiving Dinner
We usually have chicken instead of turkey
We usually have chicken instead of turkey
Roast chicken, stuffing, cream cheese mashed potatoes, green beans with balsamic onions, cranberry sauce, and gravy
Roast chicken, stuffing, cream cheese mashed potatoes, green beans with balsamic onions, cranberry sauce, and gravy
Pumpkin Pie with bourbon whipped cream
Pumpkin Pie with bourbon whipped cream
Hot buttered rum- Yum!
Hot buttered rum- Yum!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!