I had two Thanksgivings this year. One was the usual lovely big family gathering. The other one was a day of me in the kitchen trying my hand at cooking 100 things at once for a small gathering of me, my husband and my dog.

There was not one dish that left unscathed. Crust in the pumpkin pie? Forgotten in the oven and left to get too brown. The sweet potatoes? Forgot that I halved the recipe, and added the full amount of butter to half the amount of potatoes (can't complain too much about that one). The mashed potatoes? I ended up skipping them because I was worn out. The Turkey Roulade was supposed to be one big Roulade. Instead it became a mess and turned into two. Oh well.

In the end everything turned out fine and TASTED GREAT. Isn't that something to be thankful for?

So as I unwind from Thanksgiving, I'm taking notes so I learn from these mistakes for next year. And I'm not even hosting!

Basic Cranberry Sauce

Sweet Potato Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Before it hits the oven, Turkey Roulade Stuffed with Mushroom Stuffing

Check out the Turkey

Basic Cranberry Sauce
adapted from Everyday Food, November 2008

12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
3/4 c sugar
1 t grated lemon zest

In medium saucepan, combine all ingredients plus 1 c water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Refrigerate to store, up to one week.

Sweet Potato Casserole
Compliments of Judy Frazier
Makes 8 servings

3 lbs sweet potatoes (7 or 8 medium-sized)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 t vanilla (or almond) extract
1/3 c milk

1/3 c melter butter
1 c light brown sugar
1/2 c flour
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/8 t cloves
1 c chopped pecans

Peel potatoes. Boil in water until softened and drain. Then mash with potato masher. Add sugar, butter, beaten eggs, vanilla and milk. Put in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of the potato mixture. Bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Green Bean Casserole
2 cans reduced sodium condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 c milk
2 t soy sauce
1/4 t ground black pepper
8 c green beans cut and steamed until tender
1 can (6 oz) French fried onions

Stir soup, milk, soy sauce, pepper, beans and 1 1/3 c onions in casserole dish (3 qt). Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until hot. Stir. Top with remaining onions and bake for 5 minutes more.

Turkey Roulade
Adapted from Everyday Food, November 2008

1 boneless, skinless turkey breast (about 3 lbs)
1 recipe Mushroom Stuffing
12 slices of bacon

Preheat oven to 400. Place turkey, skinned side up, on a work surface. Hold a sharp knife parallel to the cutting board. Start on the thicker side and cut all the way through. Open like a book. With a meat mallet or small heavy skillet, pound out to 1/2 inch thickness. Spread Mushroom Stuffing on turkey breast, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Starting at the long end, roll the turkey over stuffing, pat and tuck turkey to form a uniform log. (Mine was not so uniform, and it was messy. Just do what you need to do to make it work. Once it bakes it works out!)

Place turkey seam side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Lay bacon crosswise over the turkey, overlapping the slices slightly. Roast until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165 degrees, about 45 minutes to an hour. Let rest for 15 minutes. Slice crosswise and serve on a platter.

Mushroom Stuffing
adapted from Everyday Food, November 2008

1 c cubed bread with crusts removed (ciabatta or similar)
1/2 c whole milk
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small celery stalk, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 5 oz package mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 c white wine
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t rubbed sage
salt and pepper

In large bowl, toss bread with milk and set aside. In large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 7 to 10 minutes. Spoon out most of the grease. Add onion, celery and garlic. Cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook until they have released their liquid, about 4 minutes. Add wine, cook until evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Squeeze excess milk from bread and return to a bowl. Add mushroom mixture, eggs, thyme, sage, 1 t salt and 1/2 t pepper; mix well. Use immediately or refrigerate up to 1 day.


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