So now I prepare a thanksgiving feast for him every March the 6th (this is only our second year, but I'm sure he will continue to request this for years to come).
Last year I prepared what, in my mind, was the perfect thanksgiving menu. It turned out very well and everyone enjoyed it...including Sonny. However, when I sat down to plan the menu this year I thought, "I should really ask Sonny what his idea of the perfect Thanksgiving menu would be, since it's his birthday after all". His menu was different from mine and I was happy to honor his requests. (I'll likely post my favorite Thanksgiving recipes in November)
Sonny's Thanksgiving Feast
Very large roasted Turkey and Gravy
Macaroni and Cheese
Broccoli Casserole (I added this because he did not mention a vegetable in his perfect menu...imagine that, haha)
Cranberry Sauce (the jellied kind that comes out of a can)
Brownie Bottom Cheesecake (his cousin actually made a chocolate cake instead, which he loved just as well)
Apple Pie (I added this, too, because I can't make Thanksgiving without an Apple Pie)
- Fresh or thawed Turkey (I usually make 18-20 lb turkeys...but this would work for smaller ones)
- Salt and Pepper
- Head of garlic
- Large onion
- Bunch of Fresh Thyme
- Bunch of Fresh Rosemary
- Bunch of Fresh Sage (sometimes I don't use this)
- Butter (1 or 2 sticks)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove all the bags of gross stuff from inside the turkey. You can use these to make gravy, but I don't really get how to do that yet...I'll have to ask my mother-in-law (she does it for me).
- Rinse turkey with water and pat dry. Place the turkey in a roasting pan and tuck it's little wings under the body (this feels kind of violent...but it keeps them from drying out). Generously salt and pepper the inside of the turkey.
- Cut the head of garlic in half. Cut the onion, lemon, and orange into quarters (or slices...whatever fits best). Grab several sprigs from each bunch of herbs and remove the leaves. Chop the herbs leaves and put aside.
- Stuff the inside of the turkey with both halves of garlic, slices of onion, lemon, and orange (if it doesn't all fit, that's OK...just shove as much up there as you can). Stuff the bunches of herbs in there as well (not the leaves you chopped up...you'll use them later).
- So here is where I have two suggestions. I've done the butter part in two different ways, and they've both been successful.
- One way is to use softened butter and mix the chopped herbs into it. Massage the butter into the skin of the turkey (even lifting up the skin a bit near the opening of the cavity and putting the herb butter in between the meat and the skin)
- Another way is to melt the butter completely and pour it over the turkey. Then sprinkle the turkey with the chopped herbs. Salt and pepper the turkey. Tie the legs together with butcher's string. Put in the oven, covered in tin foil. I let it roast for an hour and then baste it with some of the pan juices. Continue to do this every 45 minutes or so until about 3 1/2 or 4 hours. Then take the tinfoil off to let the skin get brown and wonderful.
- I'm being vague because the timing depends on the size of the turkey. This time, it was done in about 4 1/2 hours for a 17 lb turkey. The way to test for done-ness is to cut between the thigh and the breast to see if the juices run clear. You can also use an instant read thermometer inserted in the breast. It should read 165 degrees or higher (try not to overcook it...it's so awesome when it's moist). Sometimes I get scared of poisoning my guests and will actually cut into one side a bit to see if it's done)
~My neighbor gave me this tip on how to make these the night before~
- Yukon Gold Potatoes (I used about 8 lbs for 13 people)
- Whole Milk (you can use lowfat...but this makes it sooo creamy)
- 2 sticks of butter
- Buttermilk (not as fattening as you think)
- Salt and Pepper
- Low fat or regular Mayonnaise (I can explain...)
- Fill a large pot with water. Peel potatoes and cut into pieces (I usually quarter them).
- Put the potatoes into the water and allow it to come to a boil. Let it boil for 10 minutes or so and then check to see if the potatoes are fork tender.
- Drain the water and put potatoes into a large bowl.
- Melt the butter and add to the potatoes. Pour some milk into the potatoes (it's hard to say how much...maybe 3/4 cup). Use a hand mixer to begin whipping the potatoes. Add buttermilk until desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread potatoes into a casserole dish (I use a glass 9x13). They can sit overnight in the fridge. When your ready to serve them, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Here's were the mayo comes in. Spread a thin layer of mayo over the potatoes. It makes them moist and allows them to brown a bit in the oven...which looks great.
- Bake for 20 minutes or so...until they are hot. You can sprinkle fresh chives over them, if you'd like. These taste just as good as if you just made them!
~My mom makes this every year at Thanksgiving...I just love it~
- 2 packages chopped broccoli
- 1 can cream of celery soup
- 1/2 cup buttered Ritz crackers
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
- Mix broccoli and cream of celery soup. Spread into oven safe dish.
- After buttering 10-12 Ritz crackers, smash them up. Sprinkle them onto the broccoli mixture. Then sprinkle chedder cheese.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.
- Yeah, it's really that simple. It can be made ahead and it tastes awesome.
So, in conclusion,