Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My annual Thanksgiving menu, shopping list and recipe post

With love, again!

For a few years now, I've been slowly committing our family's Thanksgiving menu, shopping list and recipes to "paper." It's been a slow process but, by jove, I think I might have it just about finished this year.

I've learned through experience that families often assume that favorite recipes will somehow be passed on through the generation -- but if no one takes responsibility to actually document those recipes, they can easily get lost over time. My father knew this and documented Mom's fingergolatschen and zimptsterne Christmas cookie recipes, but I know that many more recipes could easily get lost if we don't make a concerted effort to document them.

And hey -- why not share the joy?

So, from our family to yours…


…here's our Thanksgiving dinner, presented as a series of lists -- menu, shopping and recipe how-to's. But within this simple list are memories, laughter, joy, and some amazingly wonderful family memories. Some of these recipes, such as the creamed onions and the green bean casserole, can be found pretty much anywhere. But some of the recipes, like my aunt Ulli's rolls (warning: they take all day to make!), Nana's pumpkin chiffon pie or Omi's raspberry cheescake, are dearly beloved and coveted recipes that have been passed on in the family for over 50 years.

Tom's delicious stuffing is absolutely adored by both sides of the family, but when I asked him to sit across from me and recite how he makes it (my mouth is watering as I type this!), his attitude was much like Mom's attitude about both cooking and learning German: "Das fuehlt man!" ("one just has a feel for it!"). "Just use what's around," he says. That's hard to put in a list, but take note!

So from our house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving week! ENJOY!

(Please excuse inconsistencies, formatting issues, typos, etc. This is NOT a professional document! Also, I adore linky-love, so feel free to share this post with your family and friends, but please respect the spirit with which it was posted and only share it with people you know.)

Our Thanksgiving Menu, Shopping List & Recipes

(Serves 10 – 20 people)


  • Hors D’eurves (Apricot brie & crackers, veggies & dip)
  • Turkey (and Tofurkey)
  • Tom’s Stuffing
  • Gravy
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Ulli’s Rolls
  • Creamed Onions
  • Betty’s Cranberry Mold
  • Suzie’s Caramelized Walnut and Pear Salad
  • Nana’s Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
  • Omi’s Raspberry Cheesecake

Shopping List:


  • Turkey
  • Tofurkey for vegetarians


  • Apples (2 - 3)
  • Orange (1 - 2)
  • Potatoes (1 sm. bag Yukon Gold)
  • Baby Greens (2 bags)
  • Green Onions (1 bunch)
  • Yellow Sweet Onions (3 large)
  • Cranberries (2 bags)
  • Celery (1bunch)
  • Baby carrots (1 bag)
  • Cauliflower (1/2 head)
  • Radishes (1 bunch)
  • Pea pods (some)
  • Cucumber
  • Lemons (1 - 2)
  • Baby pearl/white onions (2 pounds)
  • Fresh garlic (lots!)


  • ½ & ½ (1 quart)
  • Whole milk (1/2 gallon)
  • Butter (2 - 3 pounds)
  • Sour Cream (1-2 quarts)
  • Eggs (1 - 2 dozen)
  • Whipping cream (1 qt)
  • Brie with apricots (sold as a package)
  • Cream cheese (1.5 pounds)

Dry, Canned and Packaged:

  • Crackers for Brie (2 boxes)
  • Graham crackers or graham cracker crumbs (2 - 3 boxes)
  • Turkey stock (1 large can)
  • Onion Soup mix (1 box)
  • Olives (1 can)
  • Water Chestnuts (1 can)
  • French friend onion toppers (1 can)
  • Mushroom soup (2 cans)
  • Unflavored gelatin (2 envelopes)
  • Canned pumpkin (2 large cans)
  • Dark brown sugar (1 -2 boxes)
  • Raspberry Jello (1 large box)
  • Flour
  • Wondra flour
  • Pears (1 reg can, or better yet, fresh)
  • Craisins (1 package)
  • Raspberry dressing
  • Granulated sugar
  • Corn starch
  • Yeast (fresh?)
  • Raisins
  • Craisins


  • Pumpernickel
  • Sourdough
  • Cornbread
  • Other breads for stuffing, as desired
  • Bread crumbs (1/2 c at most) for creamed onions

Herbs, Spices & Nuts:

  • Chopped walnuts (1 bag)
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Allspice
  • Garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Bay leaves
  • Salt (including sea salt) & pepper
  • Juniper berries
  • Vanilla


  • French Green Beans (2 bags)
  • Raspberries (2 bags)


  • Red & white wine
  • Beer
  • Sherry
  • Etc!

Other Liquids & Drinks

  • Coffee beans (regular and decaf)
  • Sparkling cider
  • Pop/Soda
  • Juice
  • Bottled Water
  • Chicken broth (you can hardly have too much!)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Olive oil


Brining & Cooking the Turkey:

Brine: Use any aromatic spice or herb you like: rosemary leaves, bay leaves, sea salt, dried apples, juniper berries, lemon peel, garlic, rosemary, thyme, black pepper, and bay leaf. On Tuesday night, soak rinsed turkey in bring ingredients, mixed with water in an ice chest, cover for 24 hours.

Turkey: ½ to 1 pound per person, cook as directed after brining.


Combine dry ingredients: Pumpernickle, sourdough, & corn bread, cubed and dried.

Combine: Sliced black olives, celery, cubed apple, raisins, Craisins, walnuts (if desired), water chestnuts.

Combine: chicken broth, red wine, soy sauce, garlic, onions, Worcestershire, at least 1 stick butter, thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, basil, salt and pepper to taste (be careful with salt!), olive oil, etc per “feel” (das fuhlt man!”).

Mix together in big VAT until it feels right. Loosely stuff some into turkey and put remainder in casserole dish. Bake till done.

Pan drippings
Wondra flour
Chicken broth

Use the pan that the turkey cooked in. Drain excess fat. Place pan over two burners, set on very low heat. Slowly (very slowly!) add Wondra to soak up pan drippings, scraping drippings from side. Slowly add chicken broth as needed to add volume, keeping the gravy thick. (Warning: It’ll thicken further, even after removed from heat.)

Mashed Potatoes:

(12 servings)

  • 5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
  • 2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cube butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons onion salt
  • ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

Place potatoes in a large pot of lightly salted water. Bring to a boil, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.

Drain, and mash.

In a large bowl, mix mashed potatoes, cream cheese, butter sour cream, milk, onion salt, and pepper. Transfer to a large casserole dish. Store in fridge a few days, if desired.

Let stand at room temperature, 30 minutes. Cover, and bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven.

Green Bean Casserole:

  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 4 cups cooked green beans
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/3 cups French fried onions

Mix soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup of the fried onions. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees F. Top with the remaining 2/3 cup fried onions and bake about 5 more minutes, until onions are lightly browned.
Serves 6.

Ulli’s Rolls:

  • 2 cups milk, scalded and cooled
  • 1/4 cup butter, dissolved in hot milk
  • 2 cakes fresh yeast, dissolved in 1 T lukewarm water
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 4-3/4 cups flour

Beat the eggs, add sugar and salt. To beaten eggs and

sugar add milk mixture and dissolved yeast. Then add the

flour. Beat well. It will not be a very firm dough. Let

rise. To make the rolls, you have to keep your hands

well floured, or the dough will stick badly. Pinch off

pieces of dough, roll into a ball, roll in melted butter

and arrange in angel food pan. Let rise. Bake at 400°

for 30-45 minutes.

To serve, invert the angel food pan onto a platter. The

rolls can easily be broken off.

Creamed Onions:

  • 1 pound small white onions
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • chicken broth, milk, or onion cooking liquid to thin sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Splash of sherry

Peel the onions. Cook in about 3/4 cup water until tender. Make white sauce. Melt butter in saucepan over medium low heat then stir in flour; gradually add cream and sherry, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly. Cover with bread crumbs, if desired.

Betty’s Cranberry Mold:

  • 1 large raspberry or cherry Jello

Make Jello according to directions - add 3/4 cup sugar.

When Jello is half set, mix in:

  • 2 cups cranberries - raw and chopped
  • 1 small orange
  • 1 apple, chopped

Fill into oiled mold, refrigerate.

Suzie’s Caramelized Walnut and Pear Salad

(4 servings)
6 cups mixed baby greens/Romaine mix
1 cup Caramelized Walnuts (recipe below)
1 cup crumbled bleu cheese
2 pears, cut in 1/4-inch dice
1 cup thin strips of red bell pepper
1/2 cup Raspberry Vinaigrette
Pear slices and julienne red peppers, to garnish
In a large bowl, toss together the greens, walnuts, bleu cheese, pears
and red pepper in the Champagne Vinaigrette. Place mixture in a salad
bowl, then garnish with red peppers and slices of pear
Caramelized Walnuts
1/2 pound walnuts, about 1 3/4 cups
1 egg white
1/3 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350º. Mix walnuts, egg white and sugar together in a
medium bowl. Place on sheet pan and bake at 350º degrees for 15 to 20
minutes. Let cool, then break into pieces if necessary.

Nana’s Pumpkin Chiffon Pie:

  • 10” pie shell (see ingredients below)
  • ¾ c milk
  • 2 ¼ c canned pumpkin
  • 1 ½ c brown sugar
  • 1/8 t salt
  • ¾ t ginger
  • ¾ t cinnamon
  • 1/3 t nutmeg
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 1/3 c cold water
  • 1 ½ cups cream
  • ¾ t orange rind
  • 1/3 c sugar

CRUST (per crust):

  • 1 ½ c graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ c sugar
  • ½ c melted butter
  • 1/3 t cinammon

Combine ingredients and bake for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.

Heat milk, pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices together over medium to low heat. Dissolve gelatin in cold water. Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Beat egg yolks and add to heated mixture, which is still over low heat. Heat until thickened. Remove mixture from heat and add softened gelatin. Cool mixture until further thickened. Whip cream and slowly add orange rind to cream. Chill.

While both mixtures chill separately beat egg whites and slowly add sugar until peaks form. Remove both pumpkin mixture and whipped cream from fridge and gently fold all three mixtures (pumpkin, whipped cream and egg white) together. Pour into baked pie crust(s) and chill.

Omi’s Raspberry Cheesecake:

  • 1 3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 c. butter, melted (the original recipe calls for margarine)
  • 1 1/4c. sugar, divided
  • 24 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (I use 3)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c. dairy sour cream

Combine crumbs, butter and 1/4 c. sugar. Press on bottom and 1 1/2 inches up side of 8 or 9 inch spring-form pan; set aside.

With electric mixer on high beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, and vanilla until creamy (this is a great time to taste it too

Beat in eggs, one at a time. Blend in sour cream. Spread in prepared pan.

Bake at 350* for 60-70 minutes, or until center is set. Turn off oven, leave door slightly ajar. Leave cheesecake in oven 1 hour to prevent it from falling to much. remove from oven and cool completely. Pour raspberry sauce on top!

Raspberry sauce:

  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • frozenraspberries

Cook all together.

Pour onto cooled cheesecake.


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