Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014


I already posted recipes for 3 of the dishes from yesterday’s feast (see these posts for Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie, Cinnamon Roll Turkeys, and Baked Brie with Apricots & Almonds), but I thought I’d share some photos of the rest of our meal. 

Most of my contributions this year were pretty unhealthy, but I did make coconut Brussels sprouts (recipe I posted a few months ago here). They are one of my family’s favorite veggies.  If you don’t think you like them, try them this way, because I guarantee you’ll change your mind.  My Grandpa Jon apparently wasn’t a fan of Brussels sprouts, but my dad said that even he would have eaten these ones.  



For something else healthy, my mom put together a veggie platter arranged like a turkey! 

My favorite dish is the sweet potato casserole – which is basically a dessert by the time it’s topped with the brown sugar pecan topping and toasted marshmallows. 

My Grandma Pat actually cooked the stuffing separately from the turkey this year and it was amazing!  It was her grandmother’s recipe – so my great, great grandmother’s – with sausage and plenty of veggies.  I’ll try to get the recipe from her to share. 

The turkey was stuffed instead with oranges, cranberries, and spices.  My dad had photos gnawing on a huge turkey leg from his very first Thanksgiving, so we recreated the picture this year!


The Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie was devoured quickly – it was the best pie I’ve ever made.  My dad went all out with his birthday slice (you can barely see the pie under all the whipped cream & ice cream…)


We had our meal pretty early, so after a few hours of digesting, we went to celebrate more with my dad’s side of the family.  My cousin Marty’s family made ten different types of pies.  I had slivers of several different kinds, but the one that really stood out was the Crack Pie, which was made using the official recipe from Momofuku Milk Bar.  It has a crumbly oat cookie crust with a sweet gooey filling.  Averie Cooks has a copy of the recipe if you want to try it out yourself. 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone from my family to yours!   

Thanksgiving 2014 – Baked Brie with Apricots & Almonds


My mom normally makes baked brie for Thanksgiving, but since her oven was occupied with the turkey on Thanksgiving, she asked that I make it at my place.  The puff pastry came in a 2-pack, so I used the extra to make a decorative lattice crust on top. 

It’s actually pretty easy to make, but you can impress your friends and family with a fancy looking dish! 

Baked Brie with Apricots & Almonds

  • 1 large wheel brie cheese (I used a 28.2 ounce size)
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • 1 egg

1.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  While it’s heating up, toast your almonds until slightly browned (keeping an eye on them so they don’t burn).

2. Spray your cooking dish and spread out the first sheet of puff pastry.  Place the brie on top, then spread the jam on top, and sprinkle with dried apricots and almonds.

3. Wrap the sides of the pastry around the brie wheel.  Cut your other sheet into long, even strips. 

4. To make your lattice crust, lay half the strips across the brie vertically.  Fold back every other strip, and then place another strip going across horizontally, perpendicular to the others. 

5. Unfold the strips and fold back the opposite ones this time.  Lay another strip horizontally.  Keep repeating the process until you have a lattice top (the photo below from Gimme Some Oven explains it in more detail).

5. Tuck the ends of the lattuce under.  Whisk one egg with 1 T water, then brush the egg wash over the top of the puff pastry.

6. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve with crackers, apple slices, or anything you like dipping in cheese! 

Thanksgiving 2014 – Cinnamon Roll Turkeys

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite day of the year – it’s an excuse for me to try tons of exciting new recipes!  I especially love any dish that lets me get creative with decorating. 

I saw these Thanksgiving cinnamon rolls on Pinterest and knew I wanted to try them out.  It only makes 5 (since they are Pillsbury Grands and not the normal smaller rolls), but that was perfect since it was just my parents, brother, Lance & myself at breakfast yesterday morning. 

The original recipe used candy corn for the beak – since it’s a month past Halloween, we couldn’t find any, but I liked the almond better anyways.  Candy corn just tastes like wax to me.  I also substituted the small red M&M candy for a Craisin instead – the dried cranberry looked more like the gobbler thing that hangs from a turkeys beak, and the flavor seemed more appropriate for the holiday. 

Cinnamon Roll Turkeys (adapted from Pillsbury)

  • 1 can Pillsbury Grands cinnamon rolls with icing
  • 10 slices of bacon, sliced in half and cooked very crispy.
  • 5 almonds
  • 5 Craisins
  • 10 candy eyeballs
  • 15 mini pretzel sticks


1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Set icing aside.  Separate the dough into 5 rolls and place them about 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet.  Unroll each roll about an inch and tuck the dough slightly to create the turkey heads.

3. Bake 15 – 20 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet and put on serving plate.

4. While still warm, tuck the bacon halves into the back of each cinnamon roll to create tail feathers. 

5. Drizzle the tops of the rolls with icing.  Add the candy eyeballs, almonds, and craisins to create the faces, then add the pretzels to create the feet.  
In addition to Thanksgiving, it was ALSO my dad's birthday yesterday!  He was pretty excited about his breakfast...