Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Hosting Duties

So, as I've previously mentioned, I am scheduled to work on Thanksgiving. It's kind of a bummer, I know. But that's life when you work at a hospital. The good news is that my last day of work before maternity leave is December 23rd! So I'm off the hook for Christmas and New Year's this year!! Woo Hoo!

Anyway, Brad's family (mom, dad, brother and brother's girlfriend) is actually going out of town to visit family in Louisianna this year. So the only option for us for Thanksgiving is my family, who likes to procrastinate when it comes to holidays. Ever since I found out that I was working this Thanksgiving I've been asking my mom about what our family's plans are. Usually we eat at my aunt's house but again, they like to procrastinate and I wasn't getting any info. A little over a week ago my mom called and wanted to talk about Thanksgiving. I thought she had heard about some plans for the family but she hadn't. Instead she suggested we have our own Thanksgiving Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving with just Brad and I and my mom and my grandmother.

At first, I was worried that I was being volunteered to host and cook everything a week before the big day. But my mom went on to say that it could be very low-key and we could all split the cooking. The more I thought about it the better it sounded! I asked if she minded if I hosted so that I wouldn't have to make the 1 hour commute to their house the day before I work a 24-hour shift 2 hours away. And if we could have it early in the day so that I could cook and host and clean and still be done early enough to rest and go to bed at a reasonable hour. She said that's exactly what she was thinking. Then I asked if I could plan the menu and assignments and go pretty low-key on the spread (knowing that my grandmother likes to go overboard with the cooking). Again, she agreed! So I planned a simple but yummy menu with everyone making things that they did really well but were also pretty easy. Here's what I came up with:

Herb Roasted Whole Chicken (me)
Green Bean Casserole (me)
Honey Yeast Dinner Rolls (me)
Fresh Sauteed Corn (my grandmother)
Mashed Potatoes (my grandmother)
Salad (my mom)

Blackberry Cobbler (me)
Chocolate Pound Cake (my grandmother)

I was trying to think of an alternative to a huge turkey since we are only serving 4 people and Brad suggested my roast chicken. (Not surprising since he loves it!) It's really easy and only takes a hour in the oven but tastes and looks amazing with golden brown, crispy skin and really moist meat. The green bean casserole is again a favorite of Brad's that was originally his family's recipe. Of course, over the years I've tweaked it to make it my own. It's the only green bean casserole I've ever seen that doesn't use canned soup (which I'm not a fan of) and I think that's what makes it so good. Now we can't have a holiday meal without it.

The honey yeast rolls are a phenomenal recipe that I got off a wonderful blog. Last year, I got the baking bug and started experimenting with quick breads, then no-knead yeast breads and finally traditional yeast rolls/breads. I tried these last, fearing that they'd be too hard for me. While they do require patience and planning ahead, they are easy and amazing. So soft, so sweet. . . seriously the perfect dinner roll. My grandmother and mom are in charge of the rest of the sides. Since they are traveling I wanted to go easy on them. My grandmother makes amazing fresh corn, right off the cob, really tender and sweet. (I personally think good corn is one of the best sides ever. Maybe it's a southern thing?) So I asked if she'd bring that. And we are rounding out the meal with mashed potatoes and a salad. Simple but yummy.

And for dessert, I had my heart set on making a recipe I'd be eying forever. First you have to know that I absolutely love fruit desserts; cobblers, crisps, gallettes, pies, buckles, all of them! But Brad isn't a fan. But since my mom and grandmother like them I could finally have the perfect opportunity to make a recipe I've been wanted to try for ages! Meanwhile, I can't leave Brad high and dry in the dessert department (the boy really loves his sweets!) So I'm having my grandmother bring over some of her famous pound cake. She makes it in virtually every flavor imaginable but Brad's favorite is her chocolate version with chocolate icing. She almost always has one around so I bet she won't even have to bake one fresh!

So that's my plan for Thanksgiving lunch. I'm actually really excited because I love cooking and I don't get to host and prepare meals for people (other than Brad) very often. I actually hosted Thanksgiving last year at our house with my parents and Brad's parents and prepared the majority of the food, with each family bringing one side dish. I absolutely LOVED it! This year is a little more crazy so I'm not sure that I would be up for all that but this is great! It's the perfect compromise between preparing a few favorite recipes for the holiday and going overboard at the last minute and burying myself in holiday hosting.

So those are my Thanksgiving plans! What are yours?


  1. Mmmm sounds like a delicious meal! We're having a small get-together too. My husband's family is very small, so we'll just have 5 people, which cooking-wise will be nice! Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving! :)

  2. We are going home to FL for Thanksgiving. My best friend is also throwing me a shower while we are home. Yay! :) Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. I am having 15 for dinner but not until Friday. On thanksgiving we are having steak and all the trimmings and going to see the Harry Potter movie!