Saturday, November 26, 2011

Our first Thanksgiving at our home

This is the first year that we had Thanksgiving at our home.  We were blessed to be able to host family and share a meal with them.  This year we made grilled asparagus, brown sugar ham, italian sausage stuffing, and mashed potatoes.  I got a little bit to involved in my multitasking at times to remember to take a few steps may me missed.

A few facts to chew while you read.  Did you know that Thanks giving dates back to 1621 when the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast? This is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two hundred years, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn't until 1863 that President Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

So for the grilled asparagus you need a bunch of asparagus, a plastic bag, olive oil, and minced garlic. 

Take said asparagus and pull of any weird bits.  Then you're going to break off the woody stems.  If you don't then you'll have some of the asparagus really chewy and basically an inedible bite.  This is easy.  Take the stalk of asparagus and bend it towards the end and let it break naturally.  Really the stalk does all the work.

Add everything to your plastic bag and let sit.  It only takes about 5-10 minutes on your grill, just make sure it's nice and hot...and watch for flare ups since you're using olive oil!

Ok so my confession here is that we didn't want to mess with the grill so we broiled them.  Same charred flavor but don't have to remember to check a grill and the oven.

The ham is a cinch.  Really we  found this recipe Slow Cooker Ham from All Recipes and it is so good.  I added orange zest for a little bit of change this year.  If you don't have a slow cooker (you should snag one this holiday) you can do it in a roasting pan covered with foil.

I have to add in here that I just got this pampered chef Microplane zester and I LOVE it! You can get one from my great friend Angela .  It zests and orange without getting the bitter pith!! Does nutmeg like a charm.  It's awesome!  Oh and after you zest that orange toss it in a pot of cider with cinnamon sticks, and whole allspice and perhaps a few cloves, let it simmer a bit and you'll bit super pleased with the results!

My happy little helpers!

Hubby really did most of the ham!  He is the best.  I am so very thankful that he loves to cook as much as me. 

Now we have a large crock pot but the lid never fits on the ham when we do this.  So we cover it with foil and a few hand towels and it does the trick.  Man was this good.  Don't forget to make ham gravy!  Basic rue (flour and butter) then add the ham juice and cream/milk if you like.

Now for the stuffing I saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs Our Best Bites and my hubby really likes Italian sausage so I gave this a whirl.

Brown the sausage.  Now I'm one of those who likes my ground meat cooked and chopped in tiny crumbles.  I do not like the big chunks of taco meat, or in my sauce but I assure you, bigger chunks are ok here.  Really!  Don't chop it up. 

Add the celery, onion and garlic.  I omitted the mushrooms because I love my hubby and care about what he likes.

Then the grated apple.

Stuffing mix.  No it's not cheating if I use a stuffing mix, so there!

Pour the chicken broth over the stuffing then add the pecans and craisins.

Bake and here are the yummy results.  Next time thought I'll definitely use a spicy sausage!

Ok mashed potatoes!  Oh my these are such a great comfort food to me.   They go with almost any meal.  My mouth is watering thinking of them again...ok I'll be right back.

Ah, now that's better.  Let me say these potatoes are not for the dieter or the faint of heart.  Potatoes form Trader Joe's (I <3 Trader Joe's).  Peel and cube them.

I add pepper, cream, butter, and garlic salt.

Again one of the many uses of my Kitchen Aid mixer.  I ended up using about 1/3 c cream, 2 sticks of butter, 1 tsp garlic salt and fresh ground black pepper (the grinders are just about the same price as the containers of already ground pepper).  YUM!  Topped with that ham grave I mentioned earlier or with my chicken noodle soup...mmm.

Ok so there you have it!  My Thanksgiving dinner.  Ok, I didn't take pictures of the rolls since they were frozen and my guests brought dessert (apple and pumpkin pie...YUM!) and I totally forgot to take picture the night before of my homemade cranberry time my friends!

Is there something you love to make for the holiday meal? Hate to make?  Tell me all about it!

Until we eat again.

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