What Are You Having For Thanksgiving Dinner?

momlogolihI love Thanksgiving! If my mom heard me say that, she’d laugh. Starting in 1960, it became tradition to have Thanksgiving Dinner at my parents’ house.  My mom cooked Thanksgiving Dinner every year for close to 40 years. By the twentieth time or so she’d had enough, but she kept going until I took over.  Considering we always bought the biggest turkey in the store, I’m guessing she baked close to a half-ton of turkey. thanksgiving-turkey

That’s a lot of white meat. And a lot of drumsticks! It’s also a tradition I want very much to continue in our new home. My sons love my turkey, a skill that came directly from my mom. She passed away in July and I’m miss her a lot. I also know she’s quite happy to not be baking yet another turkey! 

Here’s how she taught me to do it.  I bake the bird on a rack so the drippings get nice and brown. That makes for wonderful gravy!  I also cover the turkey with a tent made of heavy-duty aluminum foil.  I have no idea what the tent does, but the turkey comes out great.

My stuffing recipe came from my dad’s side of the family.  It includes Farmer John pork sausage, onion, celery, Mrs. Cubison’s stuffing mix (or Pepperidge Farms if I can’t get Mrs. C’s), giblets diced down to powder and–most important of all–a grated green apple.  It all gets mixed together the night before, cooled in the fridge and then baked in the bird. 

thanksgiving-mrs-cubbisonLet talk gravy.  Any tips to get rid of lumps?  My trick is to mix the flour in cold water until it’s the consistency of thin pancake batter and lump free. When I add the mix to the drippings, I have a glass of cold water on hand.  If the flour mix sticks, I pour in a bit of water.  It works!  No lumps.

thanksgiving-rhuttabagaHere’s a Bylin family tradition that usually makes people say, “Huh?”  Does anyone else have rhuttabagas as Thanksgiving?  They’re also called yellow turnips.  They’re good when mashed with lots of butter and a little sugar.

The rest of the menu is pretty standard. Mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes. Green beans or peas and carrots.  For dessert, though, I switch out pumpin pie for cheesecake. That’s another of my mom’s recipes. She cut it out of a newspaper back in the 1950s.  Here it is.

Mom Bylin’s Cheesecake

 Graham Cracker Crust

My mom use to grind up crackers with a rolling pin. I follow the directions on the box of ready-made crumbs.  Trust me, the box kind is much easier and just as good. I use a 9-inch glass pie plate and follow the directions for the baked crust. You’ll need butter or margerine and sugar.  Be sure to keep out about an 1/8 cup of the butter/sugar/crumb mix for a topping.

Filling

9 oz regular cream cheese (This used to be 3-3 oz squares, but I haven’t seen those in years)

1 8 oz carton of sour cream

1/2 c. granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

 

Soften the cream cheese. (My mom used to let it sit on the counter. I do it in the microwave on the lowest power, being very, very careful not to liquefy it.) Blend the cream cheese and the sour cream in a small bowl until it’s lump free (or as close to lump free as you can get it; tiny lumps will melt when baked.)  Set this bowl aside.

In a bigger bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add the cream cheese / sour cream mix and blend thoroughly.  Pour into the already made graham cracker crust and baked at 325 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the middle looks done.  Let it cool.

 

Topping

1 8 oz. carton of sour cream

2 tablespoons of sugar

1 tsp vanilla

 

Blend in a bowl, then spread gently on the baked cheesecake.  Sprinkle with the leftover crumbs from the crust.  Bake for 5 minutes (sometimes less) at 450 degrees.  Refrigerate overnight and enjoy!

 

What about you having for dinner today?  Are you checking out Petticoats and Pistols after getting your turkey in the oven?  Or maybe you’re going out to eat? That’s fun, too. Either way, Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful time to count our blessings.  Here’s wishing everyone a time full of peace, love and the joy of family and friends.

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Victoria Bylin is under contract with Bethany House Publishers for two inspirational contemporary romances.Prior to jumping to the present day, she wrote westerns for Harlequin Historical and Love Inspired Historical. Her books have finaled in the ACFW Carol Awards, the Rita Awards and RT Magazine’s Reviewers’ Choice Awards. She and her husband live in Lexington, Kentucky and have two grown sons. You can learn more about Vicki at www.victoriabylin.com

8 thoughts on “What Are You Having For Thanksgiving Dinner?”

  1. Vicki,

    Happy Thanksgiving. Yes, I came to visit Petticoats and Pistols after I got the turkey in. Now I am going to fix the deviled eggs my family love so much.

    I hope you have a wonderful day.

    I give thanks to the Great Spirit for providing me with my wonderful husband, and my two loving kids

    Walk in harmony,

    Melinda

  2. The cheesecake looks wonderful, Vickie! I have almost everything prepped – turkey, stuffing, brussel sprouts (yes, you heard me :)). I still need to put together the pumpkin bread pudding. Since it’s just dh and me today, we’re trying some new recipes. What fun!

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!

  3. Thanksgiving this year was a bust. A friend was moving and I said I’d take care of what they left. There were several charities I planned to bring household goods and clothing to. What I didn’t expect was 7 pickup truck loads and 5 car loads of stuff. I’ve spent 5 days sorting and washing. We have taken three truck loads of household goods to Catholic Charities and I’ve got more sorted to go. Our porch and house are full of boxes and just stuff. There was no way to fix and serve dinner this year. Our oldest daughter and her husband are remodeling their house and don’t have the kitchen fixed yet. My husband and son spent today working on it. It is 120 mile round trip that my son has made almost every day. If I can get through enough of this stuff so I can get to my kitchen and dining area, we may have Thanksgiving dinner this Sunday. We learned when we were in the military, you celebrate when you can even if you can’t do it on the regular day.
    What did we eat? My son and DH had left over venison my son had fixed. I had a can of chicken noodle soup (on top of everything else, I’m fighting either a bad cold or the flu).
    Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

  4. Hi Tracy, I like brussel sprouts : ) They might not be traditional Thanksgiving fare, but they work for me : )

    Hello Patricia, Some years are like that . . . stuff just piles on. Like you said, we learn to celebrate when and how we can.

    LOL, Patricia! Turkey makes me sleepy too. I counteracted it with strong coffee and pecan pie. Delicious!

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