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Thanksgiving Dinner Menu & Recipes – Part 1 Appetizers & Drinks

mushroom soup recipe

When it comes to family holidays, we always spend them with either my parents of Ali’s parents so I’ve never had the chance to make Thanksgiving dinner.  But, I love entertaining and every holiday there’s a little part of me that wishes everyone would just come over to our house.  This year, I decided to host a Thanksgiving dinner a week early – for my friends!  It’s been a while since I had a dinner party and I thought it would be fun to get everyone together for a Happy Friendsgiving Dinner!

Since I’ve never made Thanksgiving Dinner I had to test out a few recipes – the last thing you want to do is make something for the first time on a holiday!  I don’t have photos of everything I’m making because some of the stuff I’ve made before but everything is YUMMY.  I promise.

Mulled Wine
Cranberry Cocktail

Stuffed Mushrooms
Spinach & Feta Puffs

Mushroom Soup

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
Dressing (fancy way of saying stuffing not made in the turkey)
Mashed Potatoes
Candied Yams
Green Beans
Cranberry Sauce

Roasted Chestnuts
Apples & Clementines

Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie
Coffee, Tea, Mulled Cider

It may seem like a lot but some things you can make ahead and some things I cheat on. Everything is made from scratch except the dressing and the pies. I’ve made dressing from scratch and I didn’t think the taste difference was worth the extra work. Same with the pies – I’ve made pies but I’m not a baker, I’m more of a savory cook and the extra work did not add up to extra taste. Other than, that it’s all me.

Cranberry Cocktail
Frozen cranberry juice cocktail

Combine one bottle of soda per one cannister of juice concentrate. That’s it!

Mulled Wine, Inspired by Orange-Scented Mulled Wine from Fine Cooking
Two bottles of red wine (Merlot, Shiraz or Zinfandel work well)
Mulling Spices (I buy this premade but you can make it) tied into a cheesecloth
1 clementine, washed and cut in half crosswise (seeded if necessary)
1/3 cup granulated sugar; more to taste
1/4 cup brandy
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Combine everything in a pot except the brandy and vanilla extract. Warm over low heat for about an hour – don’t let the mixture boil. Take out the clementine with a pair of tongs and squeeze the juice out. Mix in the sugar and vanilla extract. Add more sugar to taste. Serve hot.

Stuffed Mushrooms, Inspired by Betty Crocker’s Italian Stuffed Mushrooms
36 medium mushrooms (about 1 pound)
2 tbsp butter
3 green onions
1 serano chile
1 1/2 cups of soft bread crumbs (bread you use for morning toast works well – cut in small pieces)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Heat oven to 350°.

2.  Twist mushroom stems to remove from mushroom caps. Finely chop enough stems to measure 1/3 cup. Reserve mushroom caps.

3.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chopped mushroom stems, onions and serano chile pepper in butter about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are softened; remove from heat. Stir in bread crumbs, oregano, salt and pepper. Fill mushroom caps with bread crumb mixture.

4.  Spray baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Place mushrooms, filled sides up, in pan.  Bake 15 minutes.

5.  Set oven control to Broil. Broil mushrooms with tops 3 to 4 inches from heat about 2 minutes or until tops are light brown. Serve hot.

Spinach & Feta Puffs, Inspired by Spanakopeta Recipe from Popular Greek Recipes
Puff Pastry (I use store bought, make sure you follow defrosting instructions)
1 lb chopped spinach (I use frozen – defrost and squeeze out extra water)
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 lb Feta cheese
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine all ingredients except the puff pastry.

3. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Cut down the existing fold lines to make 3 columns. Cut crosswise to make 4 rows (cut in the middle first so you can make them even).

4. Spoon a bit of the spinach mixture in the middle of each puff pastry square. Fold up the corners and the sides and seal by pressing the dough together.

5. Bake on a baking tray lined with parchment paper until the pastry puffs and is light golden brown about 20-30 minutes.

Mushroom Soup, Inspired by Wild Mushroom Soup with Sherry & Thyme in Fine Cooking (pictured above)
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into medium dice (to yield about 1-1/2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large Portobello mushroom caps and crimini mushrooms (to yield about 3/4 lb)
2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups homemade or low-salt chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup half-and-half
3 Tbs. dry sherry
1 Tbs. soy sauce

1. Melt the butter and olive oil in a 5-qt. or larger stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it’s beginning to brown (resist the urge to stir too often), about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, 2 Tbs. of the thyme, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper; cook until the mushrooms become limp, 2 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the broth, scraping up any browned bits in the pot with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the mushrooms are tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Transfer about half of the soup to a stand blender and process until smooth. Return the mixture to the pot and stir in the half-and-half, sherry, and soy sauce. Add more salt and pepper to taste, if needed, and reheat. Garnish each serving with a small pinch of the remaining 1 tsp. thyme.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the rest of the Thanksgiving menu and recipes!

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