Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

Reality-Based Menu – Talking Turkey Edition

on November 23, 2015

It’s Thanksgiving and I’m not posting a menu because this week, we’re all about Thursday.

It’s funny how the subject of the meal itself can be rather volatile.  In my house it’s something of a sacrilege to even suggest a deviation from the norm. I casually mentioned that maybe this year we would just roast a turkey breast and forego the wings/legs since there are so few of us – Whoa, Nelly!! Break out the smelling salts!  You’d have thought I’d cancelled Thanksgiving.  Suitably chastised, I bought a 20lb turkey.  And I’m going to make them eat every last bite if it takes until Christmas.

This is my menu.  It’s vey similar to the one I grew up with, except that my mother added pearl onions to the carrots; we didn’t have green bean casserole; and there was always corn (because my youngest brother would have expired on the spot it we didn’t have it).  I’m not cooking corn because nobody cares.  Iseult, who doesn’t even tolerate dairy particularly well insisted that we much have the carrots (sans onions).

  • Roasted Turkey
  • Stuffing (but I’m baking it in a Bundt pan – no, that doesn’t mean it’s dressing!)
  • Gravy
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Creamed Carrots
  • Rolls of some kind
  • Green Bean Casserole (super doctored up with cheese and water chestnuts)
  • Pecan Pie (Angarad makes the one from the Silver Palate Cookbook and it’s divine).
  • Chocolate Marshmallow Pie (from the November issue of Food Network Magazine)

I know you’re reading this over and thinking – there are no sweet potatoes!  There is no cranberry sauce!  What is wrong with these people?  What can I say?  We’re kind of weird and I’m not having any guests who will eat them, so, nope, not on the menu.  OK Maevey, but there’s no Pumpkin Pie for cryin’ out loud!  Heh – that’s how we roll.

Anyway, I’d like to just take a small moment to wish all my e-friends a very safe and blessed and joy-filled Thanksgiving.

If you’re up for sharing your Thanksgiving Menu, please do.


PS – Here’s my tip – the best place to thaw your turkey is in a bathtub filled with cold water.  Seriously.  You have to drain it and refill to keep the water cold, but it really does work.



17 responses to “Reality-Based Menu – Talking Turkey Edition

  1. wordsofgold says:

    Our menu:
    Deep fried turkey
    Cranberry sauce
    Green bean salad with bacon (family recipe)
    Garlic mashed potatoes
    Sweet potato souffle
    Carmel apple pie
    Pumpkin pie
    Apple walnut spinach salad
    Deviled eggs
    Cheese plate

    Whew big menu this year and my first time hosting.

    • Maeve says:

      What a great menu! You have me drooling all over the keyboard. Post back and let us know how it went – that first time can be so daunting 🙂

      BTW – Welcome to my sandbox (if I didn’t greet you already).

  2. Elspeth says:

    Our Thanksgiving this year is sort of like yours- low key and low maintenance. Partly because (as you are familiar) my husband doesn’t want me to stress it this year. Takin’ it easy and all that. Partly because our extended families are in two situations: 1) don’t celebrate Thanksgiving for religious/political reasons (I kid you not, LOL), or 2) are in a state of crisis due to illness, etc. So I’m cooking for the 7 of us plus a possible pop in by a couple from our church, and even that’s not set in stone. I’m actually looking forward to the down time and am planning my Christmas decoration and sewing projects.

    Our menu:

    Corn bread dressing
    Cranberry sauce
    Brussels sprouts
    Fried corn (long story…)
    Mac n’ cheese
    Sweet potato casserole
    pumpkin pie bars
    Kentucky butter cake

    We’re already knee deep in Thanksgiving leftover ideas for the weekend following. Luckily I have lots of help. Two of my three older girls are actually pretty decent cooks. The third can follow instructions or a recipe well enough, LOL.

    • Maeve says:

      Great menu, Els. The Fried Corn sounds yum – you’ll have to post the story eventually. I’m really surprised Iseult didn’t’ insist on Man ‘n Cheese – that’s usually a must-have for her (of course there’s still time to make the request).
      BTW – I love Kentucky Butter Cake. When I was in HS, one of my best friends’ mother made the best and she gifted me with her recipe – such a treasure. I always think of her when I make it.

  3. Jenny says:

    we’re traveling to grandparents! I’m only in charge of rolls and a vegetable tray.

    • Maeve says:

      Jenny – you’re practically still moving in! The bread/rolls are actually rather critical at my house. The wrong kind seems to spark all sorts of melancholia in certain members of my household LOL)

  4. Mrs. C says:

    Your girls reaction to cooking a turkey breast reminded me of when my sister’s husband was so disappointed that my mother made her turkey the day before Thanksgiving and warmed the sliced meat in a baking pan on a bed of lettuce leaves on the big day. He missed the smell of the roasting turkey and couldn’t believe anyone would dare to do it any other way. I say he can cook the meal himself if he’s going to complain about how it’s done. I also commit this culinary sin only I reheat the meat in the crockpot with a little turkey broth made from the bones. It always comes out moist and juicy. Personally, I like the sides better. Turkey is somewhat boring IMO.

    The menu
    Celery and Onion Stuffing (baked in a casserole dish)
    Brown Sugar Pecan Sweet Potatoes
    Mashed Potatoes
    Green Bean Casserole
    Buttered Corn
    Cranberry Salad
    Dinner Rolls
    Pumpkin Pie
    Pumpkin Roll
    Sparkling Apple Cider for the toast

    Hope everyone has a lovely day on Thursday. Don’t forget….A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is on tomorrow night at 8pm eastern on ABC. I never miss it if I can help it! Popcorn, jelly beans and buttered toast!

    • Maeve says:

      Mrs. C!!!!! Pre-cooked turkey warmed up in the crockpot? Say it isn’t so, LOL!
      OK – spill on the cranberry salad. I’m trying to learn how to like them.

      • Mrs. C says:

        Oh, it IS so. My family would rather I be the serene mama who is smiling and pleasant on Thanksgiving than out-of-my-mind frantic trying to make ten things at once. Other than mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, everything else is assembled before Turkey Day and only needs to be thrown in the oven or crockpots (I have two) to cook. For a woman, I’ve never been really good at multi-tasking. It drives me batty.

        As for the cranberry salad, why are you trying to like them if you don’t? The one I make is my husband’s grandma’s recipe and has shown up on their holiday tables (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter) for almost 30 years that I know of, but probably more than that. It’s really nothing more than a jello salad as it’s just lemon jello to which cooked mashed cranberries, sugar, crushed pineapple, red seedless grapes and walnuts are added. The cranberries turn the jello red in case you are picturing a yellow salad from the lemon jello. I make it for the sake of tradition for my husband. I grew up on the jellied canned stuff so there was nothing special there I wanted to hold onto.

        recipe here-


        Anyway, I would think cranberry quick bread, cake, cookies or even just dried cranberries and walnuts in a tossed salad with a sweet dressing would be a way to serve them if the traditional salads don’t appeal. I can’t say cranberries are a favorite of mine but I don’t hate them either. I’d take a cranberry-chocolate chip cookie over a cranberry salad any day!

      • Maeve says:

        LOL, Mrs. C – I do like cranberries (in cookies and the like) and I especially like them dried. It was more that I’m trying to appreciate cranberry sauce/salad type things. They’re so pretty that I keep thinking I “should” like them! I remember now that I checked out that recipe of yours last year – this old age thing really bites (I can’t remember a blessed thing these days). I still have to do most of my shopping for the dinner (I kid you not). Le Sigh.

  5. Psalm1Wife says:

    This will be year no. two for me hosting a small number of guests. (Along with my five, there will be 9-10 people in all).

    Last year I made a ham for the same number of guests with no incidences because my husband (who will eat 50% of all the food in the long run) loathes turkey. This year, when I announced the same intentions, a faniky member decides she must make a turkey now to bring along because *who* could dream of Thanksgiving dinner without it. My husband just loved the respect shown to him there in his own home. Anyway menu:

    Ham with pineapple glaze
    Turkey (eye roll)
    Sweet gravy from Ham
    Mashed Potatoes
    Green Bean Casserole
    Mac n Cheese Casserole
    Apple and Pumpkin pie made by my aunt

    • Maeve says:

      LOL – I have to laugh about your relative and his/her turkey.

      Quick (bittersweet) story. The year my ex-husband left, I was so stressed out over Thanksgiving that I did the only sane thing – ran away with my girls to my brother & SIL’s home in CT so that I could avoid the entire situation. Girls were excited because we live in SC and so we didn’t see them often and they’re my only immediate family. So, horribly harrowing ride later, we arrive and my brother announces that he’s cooking PORK ROAST (some weird root vegetable puree, some equally weird other roasted vegetable thing; and some weird salad) because PALEO. The girls look at me with absolute terror in their eyes: NO turkey/stuffing/mashed potatoes/etcetera for Thanksgiving???? What’s wrong with Uncle Paul? A look at my SIL – she just shrugs helplessly and my nephews are all making silent gagging faces.
      So we at the un-Thanksgiving dinner and I took the opportunity to demand that they all come for Christmas, at which point every kid (mine and nephews) shout “AND WE’RE HAVING TURKEY!” (which we did, LOL).

      I think it’s these kind of situations that become part of our “family lore” so to speak. One day, you’ll find the kids talking about how they miss Crazy Aunt Susan and how she couldn’t live without her turkey and brought one every year. I think these get woven into the fabric of our family and over time become rather precious memories.

      My brother passed away a few years ago, but the girls and I often laugh over and even reference that wonderful horrible Thanksgiving (as a matter of fact, when I mentioned the turkey breast a couple days ago, I was met with “It’s Uncle Paul all over again!!!!”

      Your menu sounds great – love the sangria. Do you make your own?

  6. hearthie says:

    I’m going to my mom’s house, somehow we have developed the pattern of her cooking for TG and I cook for the Christmas Eve open house (I highly recommend this to anyone who has trouble organizing the relatives and others they’d like to see on Christmas. We’ll be on year 3 this year and it works wonderfully). (And then we get to spend Christmas afternoon AT HOME in our comfies eating leftovers – WIN).


    Turkey (mom)
    Gravy (mom)
    Dressing (mom)
    Mashed potatoes (mom)
    Peas (mom)
    Avocado salad (mom, this is served before the main meal)
    Sweet potatoes (me)
    Pumpkin pies (me)
    Veggie tray (me)
    Apple pie from frozen (mom – her houseguest doesn’t like pumpkin)
    Bringing over jam and cranberry sauce, in small quantities

    But don’t you worry – there will be turkey cooking at my house, just on Friday. Will it go in the smoker or in the oven? Time will tell. My husband is all about the turkey and the leftovers and I make him an add’l turkey every year, because the take home l/o just aren’t enough. I don’t find the cooking to be all that burdensome if I’m not trying for a perfect home/table and a billion side dishes, so don’t cry for me. 🙂

    Oh, and I support all those who stand by the traditional turkey. I am still traumatized from the year my mom made the barbequed turkey and spicy cranberry sauce. You can do that another day! In fact, do that another day – it’s good!!! But not on TG.

    • Maeve says:

      We’re planning to be laid back and then string lights on the house and back yard.

      I, myself, am not happy if I don’t get one open-faced hot turkey sandwich (on bad-for-you white sandwich bead with the mashed potatoes and stuffing on it as well).

  7. fuzziewuzziebear says:

    I’ll be over at a friend’s house.

    My table manners have hopefully improved.

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