Growing up we often spent Thanksgiving morning watching the Macy’s Parade in Manhattan from the restaurant at the top of the Marriott Marquis hotel. My dad always had a conference that weekend, and the whole family tagged along. I don’t think my mom ever once cooked a turkey in her life, and I don’t remember ever having eaten a Thanksgiving turkey as a kid.
I’ve hosted Thanksgiving several times now. The first time I hosted, I did a Thanksgiving brunch with no Thanksgiving-ish foods. Here’s that menu. Here are some photos of the food. In 2010 I put together a Thanksgiving lunch menu, but our plans changed last minute and I never got to follow through. I remember baking a sweet potato casserole, but I don’t remember the rest.
All that to say that I’ve never cooked a turkey. It’s about time that I do, especially as I consider myself to be a good home cook. What home cook can’t pull together a Thanksgiving feast?
So this year we’re doing just that. We’re hosting a very small group of people for a classic Thanksgiving meal. I need help!
What is your go to turkey recipe? What are your best tips for cooking a turkey?
I already have the rest of the menu worked out in my head, and I will share that soon. Before I share it I need to figure out my turkey though!
Please share your favorite turkey recipe and turkey tips below. Gobble gobble!
I am thankful for…
What I learned from my first Thanksgiving with PB
Thanksgiving 2009 Prep
Thanksgiving Lunch Menu 2010
Thanksgiving Brunch Menu 2009
Sweet Potato Casserole
Pumpkin Pie Cake
Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut Squash Mashed Potatoes
Pumpkin Cream Sauce for ravioli or other pasta
Crash Hot Potatoes
Doughy spiced bread
My kids are in a food rut. Ali has now joined Raffi in the crusade to not try foods that are all mixed together. She will at least try new basic foods without more than quick glance, but anything in a combination is O U T.
I’m having a tough time with this. I know the day will eventually come where we will all eat from the same meal, but we’re not quite there yet. I always say my kids eat what we eat, but in reality they eat components of what we eat. For example, if I make chicken and dumplings, they will eat sliced carrots, peas and chicken. If I make pasta with a bolognese sauce, they will have plates of pasta with butter, bolognese sauce on the side, and a pile of cheese. I also make it a rule that they need something green every day. For example, if it’s a weekend and we are all eating grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, I will add a side of cucumbers for all of us.
My basic formula is main + vegetable + fruit + crunch/fun for their meals. I also try to make their lunches look fun. Sometimes I do a color theme. Other times I break out the cookie cutters.
Here are a few examples:
- grilled cheese + sliced cucumber + orange slices + Goldfish
- pasta with butter + steamed broccoli + defrosted blueberries + shredded cheese
- rotisserie chicken + avocado slices + whole apple + 3 M&Ms
When I add something fun like Goldfish or M&Ms, they both know the rule is that they must finish something else on their plate before they can start eating the fun food. Raffi is really good about this and will even tell me before I have to tell him.
I’m thinking that I’m doing it all wrong though. This is a dinner from a few nights ago:
Trig and I had chicken and dumplings and the kids had rotisserie chicken, Armenian string cheese, grape tomatoes and avocado slices. Everyone’s dinner was kind of a leftover because I finished work at 6 and the kids were starving right then. Raffi ate everything but the tomatoes, and Ali ate everything but the chicken. Sure, their plates look cute, but is that they way they should be eating dinner?
Growing up my mom served everything family style.
I would love to do that now, but it just seems like so much more work. Aside from the pots and pans I use to cook, I will then have to clean up all the serving dishes. I don’t know how she did it every single night. The only time we sat down to individual plates of food was when she made her vegetable soup, which, if we’re being honest, I hated. My goal is to serve dinner family style 2 nights a week to see what happens. I got the idea from my favorite veteran “Rookie Mom” mom Heather, who has tried a few different things to see if her picky eater will try new foods.
So far it’s actually worked to get Raffi to try new things. On those family style evenings I still keep some components of our meal separate so they can enjoy them that way, but I serve it family style instead. Raffi actually ate a bite of bolognese sauce one night which was his first time consuming red meat since he was a baby. He also now enjoys red pepper slices, plain raw purple cabbage, and sometimes the white of a boiled egg. It might seem like no big deal but he didn’t eat any of those foods before. It’s a challenge though, especially since the kids are hungry the minute I’m done with work and I need to whip up something FAST with them waiting by my legs.
I will say that I never worry if my kids will be hungry. I trust their appetites. I’m comfortable feeding them what we eat, but I also understand that at their young ages it is more comfortable for them to eat their meals in components. A few times Raffi has chosen not to eat a single thing on his plate, and on those nights I don’t stress about it. Sometimes he will later ask for a snack, and sometimes he doesn’t.
I’m curious to see how this changes as they get older. I hope that by the age of 5 I won’t have to worry too much about separating their meals out into parts. And I really wonder if Raffi will continue to be mostly a vegetarian as he has chosen to be for most of his life (aside from occasional chicken).
I was recently reminded that we can’t control how much our children eat, but we are responsible for offering a healthy varied diet. I try to keep that in mind on those nights we battle mealtime.
Do you serve dinner family-style? I’d love to hear what works for you.
Today I’m linking up with Munchkin Meals. I love reading what about what other kids eat to get ideas for my littles. Check it out – there are always lots of great ideas.