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thanksgiving menu

Earlier, I posted a general list of my menu plans for Thanksgiving. Now that everything is over and I know how things tasted, I'm gonna post the complete directions for all of them. A couple people have asked for this, actually, so now it will all be in one place. I'm gonna list these in the order I actually cooked them.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2006
# of diners: 3

Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake
makes 2 pies
2 graham cracker crumb crusts, 8"
3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 small can of unseasoned pumpkin (about 1-1/2 cups)
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tblsp vanilla

Prepare graham cracker crumb crusts in advance according to the recipe (not given as dad bought me prepared crusts). In medium bowl, combine two packages of cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs and vanilla. Cream until smooth. In another medium bowl, combine the remaining cream cheese, egg and sugar and cream until smooth. To this second bowl, add the pumpkin and blend thoroughly. (the pumpkin mixture will have a higher specific gravity than the cream cheese mixture.) Pour half the pumpkin mixture into the bottom of each pie shell. Top with the cream cheese mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until browned on top. Let stand to room temperature and then chill until ready to serve.

Corn Bread with Cinnamon Honey Glaze
makes two 9" cakepans of corn bread
2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups cornmeal
2 tsp backing powder
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
vanilla to taste
salt to taste
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients except honey and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl, dry first, then moist, until well blended and no lumps remain. Pour into greased cake pans and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Combine honey and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix thoroughly (no blender is needed). When bread comes out of the oven, while still warm, drizzle glaze over the top of bread. You may wish to lightly score the top of the bread to get the glaze to soak into the bread rather than drip off the sides. Serve warm.

Stuffing for Two: Pears and Pine Nuts
1/3 cup butter
1 medium onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tart pear, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cups bread cubes (seasoned or unseasoned)
1/2 cup water
tarragon and other seasonings to taste

Melt butter in skillet on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened. Add pine nuts seasonings, and continue cooking until onions start to brown. Combine bread cubes and pears into large bowl. Pour butter/onion/nut mixture along with water over bread crumbs and blend thoroughly. Stuff in bird. The remaining mixture can be baked at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until warmed through. Mixture can be prepared up to a day in advance and kept chilled in the frig until needed.

Stuffing for Two: Sausage and Cashews
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, minced
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1/4 pound sausage
1/3 cup cashew pieces (or substitute your favourite nut)
1/3 cup milk
2 cups bread cubes (seasoned or unseasoned)
sage & tarragon to taste

Brown sausage in small skillet. Add butter until melted. Add onions and cook until softened. Add celery, cashews and seasonings and cook for three minutes. Add milk and simmer for two more. Put bread cubes in a large bowl and pour skillet mixture over cubes. Stir until thoroughly until blended. Stuff in bird. The remaining mixture can be baked at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until warmed through. Mixture can be prepared up to a day in advance and kept chilled in the frig until needed.

Stuffing for Two: Apples and Raisins
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, minced
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1/3 cup milk
1 granny smith apple, chopped
1 cup raisins
2 cups bread cubes (seasoned or unseasoned)
tarragon and othe seasonings to taste

Add butter to small skillet and melt. Add onions until softened. Add celery, raisins and seasoning to skillet and cook for three minutes or until onions begin to brown. Add milk and simmer for two minutes more. In a large bowl, combine apple and bread cubes. Pour skillet mixture in bowl and stir until thoroughly blended. Stuff in bird. The remaining mixture can be baked at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until warmed through. Mixture can be prepared up to a day in advance and kept chilled in the frig until needed.

Cornish Hens
Thorough thaw all cornish hens. Remove giblets, if any. Stuff with appropriate stuffing mixture. Truss legs and wings. Place in roasting pan. Coat outside of bird with oil or butter. Season outside of bird to taste. (In my case, dad's got seasoned pepper, mine got tarragon, and mom's got sage.) Heat oven to 275 degrees and cook for 2 hours. Baste with juices every half hour to one hour. Serve whole or half bird.

Sweet Potato Fries
Use one medium sweet potato per person (peeled if desired)
Oil for deep fryer. (Peanut oil or lard is best for crispiness, but regular vegetable oil will do.)
2 tsbp sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon per potato.

Cut sweet potato into fry-size strips. Heat oil in deep fryer until it's reached the desired temperature. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Carefully drop sweet potatoes into the hot oil, one at a time to keep them from sticking together. Cook to desired tenderness. Less well done: remove from oil as soon as they float. Crispier: allow to cook longer until they begin to brown. Pause between handfuls of fries to allow the oil to return to the proper cooking temperature. Remove from oil and drain. While still warm, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve warm.

Last but not least, we also served Cranberry wine (semi-sweet) from Wisconsin (Three Lakes Winery), and a small salad with baby greens and tomato, and sweet vidalia onion dressing.

We have leftover cornbread, pie and stuffing.

One thing is for certain, I'm NEVER doing all that work by myself again!!

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