Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: White or Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

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These white rolls are incredibly light and fluffy. Perfect for sopping up gravy, or spreading with cranberry sauce and filling with leftover turkey. The recipe is from one of my favorite food blogs: Our Best Bites. You could also shape them into crescents before baking.

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For a heartier roll: try this recipe for
Whole Wheat Honey Pull-Apart Rolls


The whole wheat recipe is a simpler recipe than the white rolls, as it uses instant yeast (which only requires one rise) and there is no need to heat and then cool milk. But as they are made with 100% whole wheat, they are not as light and fluffy. I happen to prefer a hearty roll, but my kids prefer the white ones.

When making rolls for big gatherings I like to prepare and prebake them a few days ahead. To make and freeze: Bake rolls on a large parchment paper lined baking sheet, leaving a little more space between rolls than if they were in a 9×13”pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until rolls just barely begin to brown. Remove from oven. Cool. Place in Ziploc freezer bags. Freeze.

On serving day: Place frozen rolls on a baking sheet, bake for about 7-10 minutes, or until hot and golden brown. Brush tops with butter.


White Dinner Rolls

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2 cups whole milk
½ cup + 1 Tbs sugar, divided
1/3 cup (5 1/3 Tbs) butter
2 tsp Kosher salt
2 pkg active dry yeast (or 4 ½ tsp)
2/3 cup warm water
8-9 cups all-purpose flour
3 beaten eggs

Combine milk, 1/2 cup sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm.

While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 Tbs sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour and milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes. Add beaten eggs.

Stir in as much remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. This dough should be very soft–it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still stick to your finger when you touch it. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a clean towel; allow to rise 1 hour.

Punch down dough. Lightly flour your work surface and turn dough out onto surface. Divide in half.

Spray 2 9×13 glass pans with cooking spray. (You can also use large baking sheets) Shape each half of dough into 12 balls and place in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan. (Dough can also be formed into crescent rolls by rolling each dough half into a circle and cutting into 12 wedges, then rolling up in crescent shape)

Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go, preheat oven to 375°F.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown. When done, remove from oven. Rub a stick of cold butter over the tops of the rolls.

Yield: 24 rolls


Recipe from Our Best Bites

Whole Wheat Honey Rolls


2 ½ cups warm water
2 eggs
6 Tbs honey
¼ cup olive oil
5 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup wheat gluten
¼ cup dry milk
1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs instant yeast ***
1 – 2 cups additional whole wheat flour

In a large mixing bowl (preferable a stand mixer), add wet ingredients. Add 5 cups flour, gluten, powdered milk, salt and yeast. Mix until well combined. Knead in enough additional flour so that dough just begins to form a ball. Knead for 5-6 minutes. Let dough rest for 10 minutes before shaping rolls.

Shape into balls (or other shape: knots are my favorite). Place in greased pans; brush with oil, cover and let rise until doubled in size. For a shiny roll: brush with slightly beaten egg  just before baking (or brush with butter immediately after removing from oven). Bake at 375°F for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

***Note: If using instant yeast, the dough only needs to rise once (after being shaped). If you are using regular yeast, allow dough to rise before shaping dough, then rise again in pans before baking.

Yield: about 3 dozen rolls

**To prebake for serving another day: Bake rolls on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving a little more space between rolls than if they were in a 9×13”pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until rolls just barely begin to brown. Remove from oven. Cool. Place in Ziploc freezer bags. Freeze.

On serving day: Place frozen rolls on a baking sheet, bake for about 7-10 minutes, or until hot and golden brown. Brush tops with butter.



Filed under Breads

Thanksgiving: Roasted Garlic Stuffing


When it comes to stuffing, I stand firmly on the “outside of the turkey” argument. I am not a fan of soggy stuffing straight from the bird. Or that you have to overcook your turkey in order to bring the stuffing to a safe temperature.

The problem with this can be: how do you fit everything in the oven that needs to be baked and have it all hot at serving time. Especially when you only have one oven. I am experiencing some serious Dual-Oven-Envy at my house. Especially at holiday times.

Solving the problem of competing oven-needing foods is doable with a little advance preparation. Pies can be cooked the day before. Rolls can be prepared and partially pre-baked (more on this later this week). But what about things that need to be cooked same day?

An appliance that can be used to your advantage here is your Crock Pot. With stuffing, however, I really like the crispy bread edges that you can only get in the oven. So I compromise: early in the day, before I put the turkey in the oven, I bake my stuffing at 400°F for 30 minutes, ensuring perfectly crispy edges. I then transfer the stuffing to my crock pot, set it on the lowest heat possible, and keep it warm in the crock pot while the turkey cooks. If you are not making a huge amount of stuffing, some oval casserole dishes will fit directly into the bottom of a large crock pot. If not, just scoop the stuffing into the crock pot, trying to keep the crisp top edges on the top in the crock pot as well.


This is a pretty standard bread stuffing recipe, with the addition of roasted garlic and dried cranberries. I love the contrast between the smoky flavor of the roasted garlic and the sweet tang of the cranberries. Need help roasting garlic: click through to How To . . . Roast Garlic. It is pretty simple.

You can also add mushrooms, but I usually leave them out to appease my Mushroom-Hating-Children. Occasionally, however, I will chop them finely in the food processor, and then no one is the wiser.

You can use store-bought bread cubes, or make your own (highly recommended). Cube several different varieties of bread: white, wheat, rye, English muffins, bagels—all those ends that no one wants to eat. Spread in a single layer on large baking pans. If you have the time, and the humidity is not too high, just leave them sitting on the counter for 2-3 days to dry out. Stir them around occasionally. Be careful though: these sandwich ends that no one wanted to eat yesterday become just like candy to little fingers when they are turned into bread cubes. So start with more bread than you think you will need. Also: the bread will shrink as it dries, so start with more fresh bread than the dried cubes called for in the recipe.

If you are short on time, dry them in the oven at a very low heat (200°F max), stirring often. It will take about 1 hour to dry the bread in the oven.


Roasted Garlic Stuffing


½ cup butter
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup sliced or finely chopped mushrooms, optional
1 head of garlic, roasted (about 10 cloves)  <see How To. . . Roast Garlic>
12-13 cups dry bread cubes
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 Tbs fresh sage, finely chopped or 1 tsp dried sage
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped or 1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp marjoram
2 cups turkey or chicken broth (additional if needed)
1 cup dried cranberries, optional

Sauté onion, celery and mushrooms in butter. Crush roasted garlic cloves and stir into skillet. Pour vegetables over bread cubes in a large bowl. Mix in seasonings. Stir in enough broth to moisten. Stir in cranberries, if desired. Place in a covered casserole dish and bake at 325°F for 1 hour (or 400°F for 30 minutes).

COOKING TIPS: Stuffing can be prepared the day before and refrigerated overnight. If oven room is a problem, cook stuffing early in the day (before you put the turkey in the oven) for 30 minutes at 400°F. Transfer stuffing to a crock-pot and heat on very low heat until serving time.

Yield: this makes a lot! About 15-20 good-sized servings



Filed under Side Dishes

Thanksgiving: Cranberry Sauce with Orange & Cinnamon

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Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. Now is the time to start planning your menu. Over the next week, I will share some of our family’s favorites.

We love our cranberry sauce around here, especially on leftover turkey sandwiches the next day. The addition of orange peel and juice, and a hint of cinnamon gives this cranberry sauce a nice tang. The picture above is a Sugar Free version, made with stevia. The recipe below includes instructions for making it with full sugar or a sugar substitute. In the past I have had problems getting a proper gel with sugar substitutes, so I now add a little unflavored gelatin (Knox). I like it sprinkled with toasted finely chopped pecans, but the kids don’t like it as much this way, so I usually leave it plain.


Cranberry Sauce

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½ cup water
½ cup fresh orange juice (or additional water)
1 cup sugar or sugar substitute (Stevia, erythritol, Splenda) **
1 tsp Knox gelatin (only if using sugar substitute)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp fresh grated orange peel
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup toasted pecans, optional

Place water in a medium saucepan. If using a sugar substitute, sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand 5 minutes. Heat to a boil. Stir in orange juice, sugar (or substitute), cinnamon stick and orange peel. Return to a boil; boil 5 minutes. Stir in cranberries, return to a boil. Boil 5 minutes or until cranberries pop. Remove from heat and remove cinnamon stick. Serve warm or cold with toasted pecans.

**NOTE: Sugar substitutes vary a lot in sweetness, especially stevia. I use Sweet Leaf brand powdered stevia and usually use about 1/2 tsp. Start on the low side; taste cranberry sauce and add more to your taste, if necessary. You can also use part sugar/part sugar substitute.



Filed under Condiments/Sauces

A Word of Gratitude

Today, on the biggest food day of the year, there will be no recipes and no amateurish pictures of the food that regularly graces our table. Instead, I just wanted to share a short (and very incomplete) list of some of things that I am most grateful for:

  • I am ever grateful to God, who has granted me life, and who blesses that life on a daily basis.
  • I am grateful for an amazing husband, who loves and supports me in all of my adventures, and who has never, in 20 years of marriage, uttered a single derogatory or demeaning comment to me. I love you Brian!
  • I am grateful for 5 wonderful children, who teach me far more than I could ever teach them.
  • I am grateful to be a full-time Mom. This has provided me more joy in my life than I could have ever imagined!
  • I am grateful, again, for a husband who works so hard so that I am able to be that full-time Mom.
  • I am grateful for the knowledge that families can be together forever, and that I will always be that full-time Mom.
  • I am grateful for the family that raised me and who continue to teach and support me. I have terrific parents and sisters that are a constant source of blessings to me.
  • I am grateful for a country where I am free to worship as I believe, participate in the democratic process, have opportunity to make my own way in the world, and the freedom to write a silly-little food blog.
  • I am grateful for the armed forces who established and maintain that freedom for me at the risk of their lives, and for very little reward. Extreme gratitude also to all of their families for their many sacrifices.
  • I am grateful for amazing friends who share daily in my joys and sorrows and are a constant source of strength.
  • I am grateful for the far-away friends that I have made across the seven states and four countries where I have lived, for long or short periods of time. You have helped to shape me into the person that I have become today.
  • I am grateful for the opportunity to serve others, because I always receive so much more in return.
  • I am grateful for the bounty of the earth that allows me to experiment and play with my food!

On this Thanksgiving day, I hope that your turkey is moist and your plates are full, and that you are surrounded by people that you love. Most of all, I hope that you have as much to be grateful for in your life as I do in mine. My best wishes for a gratitude-filled day of Thanks.

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