Bourbon Glazed Turkey Thighs for Thanksgiving

This one is for all my pals that like to do things with an unconventional flare. Might I propose turkey thighs for Thanksgiving dinner instead of a full roasted turkey? They cook faster, and let’s be honest, everyone loves the dark, moist meat anyway!

Okay, if not for Thanksgiving, for Friendsgiving Dinner. But make these. They’re incredible.

Bourbon Glazed Turkey Thighs

Yield: 6 servings | Time: 1.5 hrs

Ingredients

6 bone-in turkey thighs

Salt & pepper

For the glaze:

1 c bourbon

1 c ketchup

1 1/2 c brown sugar

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp garlic powder

salt & pepper to taste

For garnish:

Roasted garlic heads, pomegranate seeds, parsley

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a roasting pan (very, very well) with foil. Might I suggest spraying the roasting pan with cooking spray BEFORE lining it and after? You’re welcome.

Dry the turkey thighs with a paper towel, season with salt and pepper.

While the oven is preheating, over medium heat, combine all glaze ingredients. Bring to a boil and then simmer, whisking until all the ingredients are well combined. Taste, carefully, for salt and pepper. Reserve some glaze for the serving.

Rub half the glaze over the turkey thighs. Cover the thighs with foil, piercing the foil with a fork to allow for venting holes. Roast for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove foil, basting the thighs with the glaze again. Roast for another 30-40 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Allow the thighs to cool for 10 minutes, drizzle with reserved glaze and serve. Garnish, if you like, with parsley, pomegranates and roasted garlic.

 

Spicy Sausage Stuffing for Thanksgiving

I know I said it about mashed potatoes, but really, is it Thanksgiving Dinner (or Friendsgiving Dinner) without a stuffing on the table?

It’s so hard to pick a favorite Thanksgiving side dish, so I definitely love a mashed potato, and I’d just like to call the stuffing the main dish. K? I wanted to do something a little different with this stuffing recipe, so I used spicy sausage instead of sweet sausage, and it definitely shook it up a little!

I love to take a dish that you expect to taste a certain way and just ever so slightly change it up for a more surprising experience.

This stuffing is a little savory, a little sweet, and has a little bit of heat! It’s so simple, comes together so quickly, and can totally be made ahead and just reheated.

Also, I mean, the leftovers are pretty amazing.

 

Spicy Sausage Stuffing

Yield: 12 servings | Time: 1.5 hrs

Ingredients

One loaf of bread, cubed into desired size

1.5 c sweet onion, chopped

1 c carrots, chopped

1 c celery, chopped

1 tbsp thyme

1 tbsp rosemary

2 tsp salt

2 tsp black pepper

1 lb spicy sausage (either a pack of ground sausage, or a pound of sausage links with casing removed)

1/2 to 1 stick of butter

1/2 c dried cranberries

2 3/4 c chicken broth

parsley, for garnish

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray or lightly with butter. (I vote butter, friends!)

Line a baking sheet with foil, spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake the cubed bread, if fresh, for about 7 minutes, just to take the moisture out of the bread. Set aside in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat up 3 tbsp butter in sautee pan. Once melted, add onions, carrots and celery. Sautee until soft and onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add butter if the pan gets dry.

Add herbs and salt, pepper to your mirepoix mixture. Add 1 tbsp butter and the sausage. Brown the sausage, about 8 minutes. Add butter as needed to keep the pan from drying out.

Remove from heat and add the sausage and vegetable mixture to the bread along with the broth and cranberries. Mix well and place in prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes.

Remove foil and continue to bake until bread is golden.

To serve right away, just add chopped parsley to garnish.

To make ahead, allow the stuffing to cool completely, cover with foil and place in the refrigerator. Take out of the fridge for at least 25 minutes before reheating at 350°, for about 10 minutes.

 

 

 

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

What would the point of Thanksgiving be without mashed potatoes?

YASSS, as they say. These goat cheese mashed potatoes are my all time favorite. If you’re not the biggest fan of goat cheese, just stay with me here. I promise you don’t really taste it – the goat cheese adds a little tang and a lot of creaminess to the potatoes.

It’s also important to toss two little pats of butter on the top, ya know, to get all that melty goodness in there for a finishing touch. Also, chives, which I apparently forgot, look lovely on top of the mashed potatoes!

So just how many potatoes do you need? This recipe accounts for 8 people, but you can increase the proportions easily! It’s 1 medium potato per guest and 1 oz of goat cheese per guest. Easy!

 

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 8 servings | Time: ~60 minutes

Ingredients

8 medium yukon gold potatoes, of similar size

8 quarts of water, or enough water to cover the potatoes by at least 1 inch

8 ounces of goat cheese

1/2 cup of whole milk or cream

4 tablespoons of butter

Salt & pepper to taste

Garnish: chives or parsley; pat of butter

 

Directions

Bring pot of water to a boil.

Add salt, like you would salt a pot of pasta, and whole potatoes.

Boil for about 35 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.

When the potatoes are ready, dump into a collander and allow to drain. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, gently peel the potatoes. I like to leave some skin on!

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the same pot, turn the heat off and add the potatoes. Pour milk or cream over the potatoes and start to mash until it’s just about the consistency you prefer. I like some chunks in my potatoes!

Add in the goat cheese and stir until just combined. Don’t over stir or you’ll basically end up with really delicious cement. Salt & pepper to taste.

Tip 1: You can make this ahead! Just reheat with a little milk/cream and taste as you reheat. It may need more butter, goat cheese, salt & pepper.

Tip 2: Boil your potatoes in chicken broth! I add some bullion to the boiling water, I’m convinced it makes these goat cheese mashed potatoes even better.

4 Ingredient Cranberry Sauce Recipe

When it comes to Thanksgiving, there are few things better than: 1. a recipe you can make ahead of time and 2. a recipe that comes together in 15 minutes.

Enter: cranberry sauce. Though I hate to admit it, I was most definitely a canned cranberry sauce kind of gal – you know, the one that still maintains the shape of the can when you dump it on a plate. But a few years ago, I finally made my own cranberry sauce after learning just how easy it is. It’s actually one of the few recipes I can just hold in my head and repeat year after year.

Perks of fresh cranberry sauce: it just tastes SO fresh. You don’t really need anything special for this recipe, though a citrus zester is handy for the orange peel garnish. It’s a $10 tool and certainly one I reach for at least once a month.

You’ll also want a pot with pretty high sides – I use my stock pot to make this cranberry sauce – because it WILL foam up. And if you’re pot is too small…well…you know.

Also. Even if you don’t love cranberry sauce, it still looks festive on your table! Breaks up all the brown, ya know?

 

 

4 Ingredient Cranberry Sauce

Yield: 2 cups | Prep Time: 2 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes + cooling time

 

Ingredients

1 lb bag cranberries

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

Juice of 1 orange

Orange zest, for garnish

 

Directions

Combine all ingredients except orange zest in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Watch the pot the whole time and continuously stir to help break up the cranberries. When the cranberries start to foam, lower the heat very slightly and watch that your pot does not overflow. Once the foam subsides and cranberries are a mix of jelly-like liquid and crushed cranberries, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with orange zest!

 

 

Butternut Squash & Apple Soup Recipe

I love the idea of leaning into a meal with a soup (okay, a salad right after, too, because I’m 100% extra when I start cooking and planning an experience for friends & fam). This Butternut Squash & Apple soup is so, so good. It’s cozy and hits all the notes you want a soup to hit in the fall. It comes together relatively quickly, once you’ve roasted up your squash and can be made a day or two ahead.

You start with roasting up your squash with fall spices and while that’s roasting, you get your mirepoix going (it’s easy, promise!). Once that squash is nice and roasted, you combine in a pot with your mirepoix, add some broth, hit it with a stick blender, taste for S&P and you’re done.

 

Butternut Squash & Apple Soup Recipe

Yields: Serves 8-12 | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 1hr

Ingredients:

For the Squash:

3 lb butternut squash, peeled, and cubed

2tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 tsp each: cinnamon, allspice, chili powder

For the Mirepoix:

1 chopped medium sweet or spanish onion

2 chopped medium celery sticks

2 chopped medium carrots

1 chopped sweet apple, such as gala

2 tbsp butter

 

You will also need:

Salt & Pepper, to taste

4 cups of chicken broth

2 cups of water

 

Optional, for garnish: pecans, pepitas, goat cheese crumbles, freshly ground pepper.

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400°.  Prepare a pan with foil & oil spray, or a silpat.

Peel & chop your squash into cubes. Tip: they don’t have to be perfect, but will roast more evenly if you keep them about the same size.

Place the cubed squash into a large mixing bowl and add olive oil, S&P, spices.

Toss the squash to coat evenly with oil and spices. Tip: your hands are the best tool in your kitchen!

Bake your squash 30-40 minutes, until easily poked with a fork.

 

While your squash is baking, prepare your mirepoix ingredients.

Melt butter in a pot large enough to hold the squash and 6 cups of liquid. (Might I suggest at least an 8 qt pot?)

Once the butter is melted, add your mirepoix and sautee until soft and onions are translucent, about 8-10 minutes.

When the squash is finished, add to the pot and top with broth and water. Stir to combine.

 

Remove from heat and use a stick blender/immersion blender to blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can add your mixture – carefully – to a blender. Allow to cool or serve immediately.

If making ahead of time, allow the soup to cool completely, before transfering to an airtight container and refridgerating. Bring to room temperature and reheat on the stovetop, adding some liquid to thin the soup again.

To serve, top with some nuts and cheese, such as pecans or walnuts, pepitas, goat cheese.

 

 

Our Thanksgiving Menu

Okay, this is really our Friendsgiving Menu, but hey, it totally works as your Thanksgiving Menu, too! Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday – I love the entertaining, the houses full of friends and family, that cozy, romantic vibe that starts to fill the air. Plus, there’s no pressure of gift giving – just getting together with your loved ones and making some excellent food in the kitchen.

All week, I’ll be sharing the recipes, tips and tricks and some table inspiration for your Thanksgiving meal!

 

This year, we’re serving up:

  • Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
  • Green Bean Casserole (from scratch!)
  • Caramelized Shallots
  • Spicy Sausage Stuffing with Cranberries
  • Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  • Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes
  • Bourbon Glazed Turkey Thighs

 

Get ready to get cooking!

 

Favorite Fall Harvest Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

I really, really love fall. I love sunny, crisp fall days, but I also adore rainy ones. Anyone else? I love a cozy meal while it’s raining outside. Something charming about it to me. This fall harvest salad with roasted butternut squash is so perfect for a day like today, where it’s raining and a little gloomy outside. Crunchy, a little sweet, *almost* healthy – I’ve got this one on repeat lately!

 

It’s such an easy recipe once you’ve roasted up your butternut squash. It’s also one of those non-recipe-recipes that I am so fond of, that is completely customizeable to your tastes! I love the squash with the gorgonzola and pecans, and the cranberries add a little sweetness, and the onions add a little bite. Yes, please!

 

Let me know how you make your own version of this salad!

 

Fall Harvest Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

Yields: 4-6 servings, depending on serving size | Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

1 small butternut squash, cubed

1.5 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon each: salt, pepper, allspice (optional)

1/4 cup pecans

1/8 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup gorgonzola (obsessed with the one I found at Trader Joe’s – it’s beautiful and very tasty!)

1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly

1 pound, mixed greens

Dressing:

1 tbsp each: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard

salt, pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°. Prepare a pan with foil & cooking spray or a silpat (my preference). Peel and cube your butternut squash and place in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil over squash and sprinkle spices. Toss gently to evenly coat the cubed squash. Place on the baking sheet.

Once your oven is preheated, place the sheet in the oven and roast the butternut squash for 20-30 minutes. Shake the pan at 10 minutes and at 20 minutes, check for doneness.

While your squash is roasting, combine pecans, cranberries, gorgonzola, red onion and mixed greens in a salad bowl.

Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk; alternatively, combine dressing ingredients in a small jar, close with a lid and shake until well combined.

Remove squash from the oven and let cool about 5 minutes. Dress your salad with the dressing and gently combine; add the squash gently.

 

Mini Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Come October, I’m all, bring me all the pumpkin spice things please okaythanksbye! I love that flavor, and it being so seasonal, really rings in the autumn for me.

These mini pumpkin cinnamon rolls are a quick and easy recipe with only a few ingredients. They come together in the time it takes to open the canned pumpkin + 2 minutes. Okay, and preheating the oven time. But once you make these, you’ll want to make them over and over again.

 

  

 

Mini Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 20 mini rolls (10 regular size rolls) | Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

Cinnamon Rolls:

1 can crescent rolls (I used reduced fat, they were still lovely)

3 tbsp canned pumpkin (use the regular canned pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie filling)

1/4 c. sugar or sugar substitute that pours like sugar

1/4 teaspoon allspice, nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Sugar Icing:

2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar

1 tbsp milk

1/4 tsp vanilla

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°. Prepare your baking sheet, love a silpat!

Combine sugar and spices. Set aside.

Roll out the crescent dough and split between the two sheets. Smoosh (very technical) the seams together.

Gently spread the canned pumpkin evenly over the two sheets of dough. Sprinkle spiced sugar over the pumpkin filling.

Roll up your pumpkin crescent rolls, lengthwise.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

While the cinnamon rolls are cooling, prepare the sugar icing. Combine the ingredients and stir to combine, until no clumps are visible. If the mixture is soupy, add confectioner’s sugar 1/2 tsp at a time. Drizzle over cinnamon rolls. Enjoy!

 

An Easy Frittata Recipe

While I love a fancy meal or a good project recipe (like bread, tortillas, or cinnamon rolls), I really do love an easy recipe that doesn’t even need a “recipe.” To be completely honest with you, I don’t have many recipes locked in my head, but I do have a few things I turn to for which I know the basics and can switch up based on my mood…and the contents of the fridge.

 

A frittata really is quite simple – eggs + your favorite veggies. This version, I added some chopped spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions. This go around, I added a light sprinkling of cheese when it came out of the oven. It’s completely up to you!

 

Simple Frittata

Yield:  12 servings | Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

16 eggs (for a 9×13 casserole dish)

1/4 c. milk or cream

1 c. mushrooms, sliced

1 small onion, choppeed

1.5 c. frozen chopped spinach, thawed

15 cherry tomatoes, chopped

1/4 c. shredded cheese

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°. Prepare casserole with non stick spray. Set aside.

Crack eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk together. Slowly whisk in milk/cream.

Add all vegetables and gently fold to combine.

Place in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the center is firm. Once out of the oven, top with the shredded cheese.

 

Note: You can 100% add shredded cheese to the mixture if you desire. Add along with the vegetables! Customize the ingredients to your liking!

Grapefruit Gin Paloma Cocktails

So, I cannot stop with the grapefruit cocktails this year! (See my skinny grapefruit marg from a few weeks ago here.) Traditionally, a paloma features tequila, but here I’ve used gin. You should feel free to substitute gin for the traditional choice of tequila; vodka will also work!

 

This gin grapefruit cocktail will serve you well as the days get longer and the nights get hotter. You can bet this will be served at our get togethers this summer – I mean, hello, pitcher drink! I love finishing this cocktail with a sprig of mint. While it doesn’t really add to the mouth-flavor it adds to the scent-flavor! A ripe grapefruit is so heavenly, and when you add some fresh mint into the mix, it really is divine.

Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, sweetened lime juice, a splash of club and an ounce and-a-half of gin, and a sprig of mint – it’s that simple!

 

Grapefruit Gin Paloma Cocktail Recipe

Yield: 1 Cocktail | Time: 2 minutes

Ingredients:

1.5 oz gin (you can also substitute tequila or vodka)

3 oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice* (see note)

.5 oz sweetened lime juice*

Splash of club

Ice cubes

Sprig of mint

 

*If you decide to use store bought grapefruit juice, I would suggest foregoing the sweetened lime juice in favor of fresh squeezed limes. Up to you!