Cranberry Sauce

I hosted Thanksgiving for years before I tried making my own cranberry sauce. I always assumed it would be difficult and not worth it.  It’s not – and it is.

This only takes about fifteen minutes to make and tastes so, so much better than the canned version. It’s also make-ahead friendly and is the perfect dish to bring with you if you’re travelling because it can be served warm, cold, or at room temp.

CranberrySauce

Cranberry Sauce
(from Savory Sweet Life)
Makes about 2 cups

1 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries
3/4 cup orange juice
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is mostly evaporated.

You’ll hear the cranberries popping as this cooks – that’s okay! You want them to open up!

This can be served warm, chilled, or at room temperature.

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Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

It’s officially November which means my Facebook feed is all “hey! let’s do Christmas!” Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and I totally have Christmas prep going here (like, the fill-it-yourself advent calendar I bought about a month ago and have been obsessing over what to put in it), but I also don’t want to brush other holidays under the rug. We did Halloween big (as it should be!) and now I’m thinking about Thanksgiving.

One of the hardest things about coordinating a Thanksgiving dinner is getting everything on the table at the same time. Either space in the oven/on the stove top is at a premium or there are just too many balls in the air to keep track of it all. Using other kitchen appliances other than the stove can help things go more smoothly. I’ve always been a big fan of the slow cooker, but this year I’m excited to throw the instant pot in the mix.

These mashed potatoes are basic, but they’re hands-off and perfect for your Thanksgiving meal. I used my stand mixer to make things go super fast but if you don’t have one (or it’s tied up with other Thanksgiving prep!) a hand mixer would work just fine too.

IPMashedPotatoes

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
(adapted from The Baker Upstairs)
Serves 4-6

2 lbs. potatoes
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

Wash the potatoes. Peel, if desired, and quarter.

Add the rack to the instant pot, then the potatoes. Pour the chicken stock over the potatoes.

Using the manual setting, set to cook for 8 minutes and then quick release the pressure.

Drain the liquid and add the hot potatoes to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add remaining ingredients and mix until you reach the desired consistency.

Turkey & Chorizo Hash

My Dad would love this breakfast. Growing up, he’d make eggs every weekend and use up whatever meat and veggies were left in the fridge. This hash is essentially the Thanksgiving turkey version of that – turkey, eggs, and a few other things and you have a great clean-out-the-fridge breakfast. The recipe below reflects how I made it but you could do your own swaps based on what you have handy.

I’m pretty sure this is going to become our new post-Thanksgiving breakfast tradition. It was delicious.

TurkeyChorizoHash

Turkey & Chorizo Hash
(adapted from From Away)
Serves 3

1 Tbsp. olive oil
6 oz. fully-cooked chorizo, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced
1 large russet potato, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 cups roasted turkey meat, white and dark meat, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. taco sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 eggs
Sriracha hot sauce

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chorizo, onion, garlic, red pepper, and potato. Cook about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the sausage and potatoes are beginning to brown. Stir in the turkey, heavy cream and taco sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Using a spatula, press mixture into the pan and cook 2-3 minutes without stirring. When a crust starts to form, scrape up and repeat. Continue about 10 minutes, until there are browned bits throughout.
Make 3 wells in the hash and crack an egg into each. Cover and cook for 4-6 minutes, until eggs reach desired doneness. Drizzle on Sriracha and serve.

Chipotle Ranch Turkey Panini

I wanted to sneak in one last Thanksgiving leftover post before the big festivities tomorrow. This is pretty much the perfect day-after sandwich – super quick to throw together in the midst of shopping trips but it doesn’t feel like leftovers.

The crunchy onions and cranberries are staples in lots of Thanksgiving dishes so I’m guessing you’ll have them (and turkey!) on hand. A few extra ingredients and you’re good to go.

I made a few of these during the last week and I’m genuinely looking forward to refreshing my turkey stash tomorrow so I can have another.

TurkeyPanini

Chipotle Ranch Turkey Panini
(a Kate’s Recipe Box Original)
Makes 1 sandwich

3/4 cup chopped turkey
1 Tbsp. dried cranberries
1 Tbsp. crunchy onions
1 Tbsp. real bacon bits
2 Tbsp. chipotle ranch dressing
2 slices provolone cheese
1 Ciabatta roll

In a small bowl, toss together the  turkey, cranberries, onions, bacon bits and dressing until evenly combined.

Slice the roll in half, top with turkey mixture and cheese. Press in a Panini press until warmed through and crunchy on the outside.

Cranberry Pumpkin Walnut Spread

I’m thankful for a lot. My husband who works so hard for our family in so many ways. My little guy whose smiles just make my day. That we’re all healthy, fed and safe. And my friends – because I really don’t know where I’d be without them.

Last night, we had some friends over to celebrate an early Thanksgiving. Friends I went to middle school with who have loved me since before I’d really learned to love myself. Friends from college who have been supportive of us as we dated, got married and grew the family. And newer friends, who helped me stay sane during the early months of motherhood. It was just a small cross-section of our friends, but as I looked around the table it reminded me just how lucky we are.

I think something that often gets lost in prep for these big meals is that the goal is really to spend time together – not hours cooking. With that in mind, I whipped up a few no-cook appetizers. This one is whipped up in about five minutes and can be ahead of time. For a busy day like Thanksgiving, it’s a definite winner.

CranberryPumpkinSpread

Cranberry Pumpkin Walnut Spread
(from Pen and Fork)
Makes about 2 cups

8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup dried cranberries, plus a tablespoon for garnish
3/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients, except cranberries for garnish, in a food processor and pulse until nearly smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with crackers or toast points.