Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thanksgiving Edition: Meals for the Masses

Good morning bloggers! Welcome to a brand new Thanksgiving edition of Everyday Meals. Today, we have a special treat. Normally, I would post one recipe for the entire family to prepare, but not today. In order to fully comprehend what I'm getting at, let me explain. This upcoming Thanksgiving, I decided to split from the normal and prepare Thanksgiving for just my husband and I. It'll be our first holiday cooking together and I really enjoyed the idea of this. However, I know you all have families of your own and relatives who will be joining you for the holidays, so in respect of that, we have a full-sized turkey for the bigger crowds and a meal perfect for only a handful. Let's get in the kitchen and start prepping these birds!

Herb Roasted Turkey with Apples and Root Vegetables

You will need:

  • Olive Oil No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 1 (10 to 14 pound) whole turkey, thawed if frozen, giblets removed
  • 1/2 cup 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves, crushed
  • 3 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 6 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 large red cooking apples, such as Gala
  • 3/4 cup pecan halves


  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. 
  2. Coat a roasting pan with olive oil no-stick cooking spray. 
  3. Rinse the turkey with cold water and pat dry. 
  4. Place the turkey breast side up in the prepared pan. 
  5. Whisk olive oil with thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, garlic powder, pepper and paprika in small bowl until blended. 
  6. Reserve 1/4 cup olive oil mixture for the vegetables and 1 tablespoon to brush the turkey with after roasting. 
  7. Brush turkey with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil mixture, discarding any not used. 
  8. Roast the turkey for 3 to 3.5 hours or as recommended on the turkey packaging. 
  9. Insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast. 
  10. Roast until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. 
  11. Begin preparing vegetables about 30 minutes before the turkey will be done. 
  12. Combine sweet potatoes and parsnips in large microwave-safe bowl. 
  13. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes. 
  14. Stir and cover the vegetables, then microwave on HIGH for an additional 5 minutes. 
  15. Coat TWO (2) 15x10 inch baking pans with olive oil no-stick cooking spray. Stir the reserved 1/4 cup olive oil mixture, brown sugar and 1 teaspoon salt with the hot vegetables until evenly coated. 
  16. Core the unpeeled apples and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices, then cut in half cross-wise. 
  17. Add the apples and pecans with the vegetables and toss to coat. 
  18. Layer the mixture evenly in the prepared baking pans. 
  19. Remove the turkey from the oven. 
  20. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. 
  21. Brush the turkey with reserved 1 tablespoon olive oil mixture. 
  22. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes. 
  23. Roast the vegetables for 15 to 20 minutes or until fork tender. 
  24. Place the turkey in center of large serving platter. 
  25. Arrange the roasted vegetables around turkey. 
  26. Serve with pan drippings, if desired.
  27. Enjoy!

Are you still with me? Great! Let's continue now.

Cornish Hens with Almond Stuffing

You will need:

  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 cups crushed seasoned stuffing
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 Cornish game hens
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika

  1. In a large skillet, saute the celery and onion in 1 tablespoon butter until tender. 
  2. Stir in the stuffing, broth, almonds, parsley, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. 
  3. Spoon about 1 cup stuffing mixture into each hen and tie the legs together with kitchen string. 
  4. Place the hens breast side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan, then cover with foil. 
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. 
  6. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the remaining butter with garlic and paprika. 
  7. Uncover the hens and baste with butter mixture. 
  8. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes longer or until the juices run clear and a meat thermometer reads 180 degrees for hens and 165 degrees for the stuffing.
  9. Enjoy!

As we can all tell, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to holiday cooking. Kudos to you people who pull this off yearly! You can't hear my round of applause, but it's there. I will be back soon with more Thanksgiving recipes and ideas for everyone. Happy blogging to all! <3