Do you guys have round-the-table Thanksgiving traditions? Where someone makes you do something really lame, like making everyone say one thing that they’re thankful for? And you thought it was really lame until you had kids of your own, and now you make them do the same thing?
Thanksgiving was always memorable growing up, but more because every year seemed like an exercise in Who Can Be Most Like The Griswolds? and man, we took that shit seriously. It didn’t seem like a holiday until at least two people were crying and someone was shouting at the top of their lungs “GODDAMNIT, THIS IS A HOLIDAY!”
I say that with love and laughter, because we’re italian. That’s kind of how we do family holidays. (I am thankful for my lineage and family heritage.)
Thanksgiving now is a different deal because, well, time and all that jazz. We’ve now got lots of family, where before it was just my immediate family; we all now like to cook, where before it was just on my poor mother’s shoulders; and we’re all now actually thankful at the dinner table, instead of seeing who could be the most crass when it was our turn to give thanks.
We split up the cooking based on who is the most occupied that year, and most years, I try and bring at least three dishes. Mostly because I really, really like my own cooking. (I am thankful for my own cooking.)
This year, here’s what I’m bringing, linked to where I’ve found the best recipe:
Wild Mushroom & Sausage Stuffing – This has been my go-to for my Thanksgivings than I can count, and it always ends up GONE in the first round. It’s amazingly easy, but packs some great flavor without overwhelming you with any of the main ingredients. (Example: even if you’re not a mushroom fan, this stuffing is still delicious.)
Cornbread Stuffing with Chestnuts - I don’t have a link to this one because I found it in a flyer somewhere, except I can’t really find that now, so I’m gonna wing it. It’s your basic cornbread stuffing with chestnuts, dried cherries, and bacon. This doesn’t seem like something even I can screw up.
Sweet Potatoes - I can’t remember the last time I didn’t make these for a family gathering. I’ve linked to Pioneer Woman’s original recipe, but don’t be afraid to branch out a bit in trying new ways. (For instance, I use coconut cream instead of milk, and I top with crushed ginger snaps instead of pecans.)
Green Bean Casserole – I can’t link to this because this recipe was created when Jesus was a baby. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to green bean casserole, and I SWEAR ON ALL THAT’S HOLY YOU KEEP THOSE DAMN FRIED ONION THINGS AWAY.
Cranberry Sauce a la Slow Cooker - if you want the sappy backstory for my love of cranberry sauce (not to mention lots of great recipes!), head over to the Rocket City Mom round-up. But for now, just know that this is my favorite dish to make because 1) CRANBERRY SAUCE and 2) man, it makes your house smell like HEAVEN. I usually double the batch because everyone wants to take cranberry sauce home. (It’s AMAZING on biscuits the next morning!)
Pecan Pie Cheesecake – there is no reason for me to make this, AND YET. IT APPEARS TO BE MANNA FROM HEAVEN.
So here’s my question: Do you have any staples that are crazy easy that I should be making? Link me up in the comments – I’m especially stumped about rolls/bread this year.