Thanksgiving Dinner Jello and Gravy (no not together)

Are you ready?  I think I have everything in order.  Of course something will go wrong, important just to go with the flow.  Maybe it will be the family story for a while.  Probably the most important thing is to plan out your timing.  I had dinner at a friend’s house who started the green beans before the turkey.  We just ate what was done and stretched dinner out for a very long time.  It’s a learning process.

Here is my favorite jello recipe and pretty darn easy.  I am making it today so don’t even have to worry about it tomorrow.  This is from Taste of Home. I just make mine in a pretty dish and don’t worry about un-molding it.  One less worry.

Applesauce-Raspberry Gelatin


Prep: 15 min. + chilling


  • 3 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 packages (3 ounces each) raspberry gelatin
  • 1-1/2 cups lemon-lime soda


  • In a large saucepan, bring applesauce and orange juice to a boil.
  • Remove from the heat; stir in gelatin until dissolved. Slowly add soda.
  • Pour into a 6-cup mold coated with cooking spray. Refrigerate until unmold onto a serving platter.

Nutritional Facts: 1/2 cup equals 111 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 44 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1/2 fruit.

© Taste of Home 2014  Read more:

Now for the gravy.  I will confess I don’t use a recipe here.  It is one of those things I just have in my head.  But if I were going to follow a recipe I would go to Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman.


Thanksgiving Stuffing

I like to put all kinds of different things in my stuffing, but rein back a little when I am serving guests.  I like this Sourdough and Mushroom stuffing from Country Living.  The sourdough gives it a little bite without being overpowering.

Sourdough and Mushroom Stuffing

Prep time 15 minutes
Total time 1 hour 30 minutes
Oven Temp: 350 degrees


  • 2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, plus more for casserole dish
  • 1 pound(s) assorted wild mushrooms (such as shiitake, oyster, and cremini), sliced
  • 9 stalk(s) celery, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 loaf(s) (1-pound) sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup(s) chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon(s) chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon(s) chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon(s) chopped fresh rosemary


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add mushrooms and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add celery and onions, and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and remaining ingredients; toss to combine.
  2. Transfer to a buttered 3-quart casserole dish, cover with a piece of aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake until hot and browned on top, about 20 minutes more.

No-Bake Maple Walnut Balls

My girlfriend and I were talking yesterday about how we want something quick to eat that we don’t have to think about, but is good for you.  Two Healthy Kitchens posted this recipe for No-Bake Maple Walnut balls.  They are really good and I like the fact that I can freeze them.  I didn’t have the flax-seed in my cupboard, went ahead and made them anyway.  (I added a little more oatmeal to make up for the lack of flax-seed) Check out the Two Healthy Kitchens blog for more healthy snack ideas.


For complete recipe please visit Two Healthy Kitchens.

Thanksgiving Veggies

I usually do two vegetable dishes for Thanksgiving dinner, one yellow, one green.  I like doing a corn dish and this recipe for Skillet Corn is pretty easy, it’s from Plain Chicken.  Then roasted asparagus is my favorite, but sometimes hard to find this time of year.  If I can’t find the asparagus then I choose green beans, this recipe is from

Skillet Corn

  • 3 cups corn, cut fresh from cob (can use frozen)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup milk

Combine corn, salt, pepper, sugar, butter and water in a 10-inch skillet. Cover and simmer 15 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Combine flour with milk, blending until smooth. Stir into corn.
Cook five more minutes, stirring constantly.

Green Beans with Mushrooms and Almonds

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp. butter
1 med. red onion, cut into strips
1 lb. green beans
1 tsp. dill weed
2 tbsp. slivered almonds or 1 tbsp. pinenuts
Saute garlic and mushrooms in butter until tender. Add red onion, stir
and set aside. Steam or cook the green beans in the small amount of
water until tender- crisp.
Sprinkle the dill weed and almonds over the beans, mix all together and
serve immediately.
(Marla’s side note: toast almonds for a few minutes to bring out flavor)

Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce

I love cranberry sauce with my turkey.  I married into a family that cranberry sauce is an after thought.  There have been turkey dinners with no cranberry sauce. So I make my own now and take it to dinner.  It is so easy to make and much better than canned.  And the leftovers get made into turkey, cream cheese, cranberry sauce, bagel sandwiches, Yum!

This recipe comes from Once Upon a Chef.

Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce

  • Servings: 2 1/2 Cups
  • Print
Total Time: 15 Minutes


  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice, from one orange
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 (12 oz) bag fresh or frozen cranberries (do not use dried)
  • Zest of one orange, about 2 teaspoons
  • Pinch salt


  1. Bring orange juice, water and sugar to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add cranberries, orange zest and salt and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently for about 10 minutes, until most of the cranberries have burst open.
  2. Transfer sauce to a serving bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve. 

Thanksgiving Turkey

Are you ready for Thanksgiving?  This year will be a little different for us.  Usually the family gets together and does dinner in a potluck style, but this year people are going in different directions and dinner will be at my house and I am cooking everything, but the pies.  This is OK by me as I really enjoy pulling the whole dinner together.  Not sure how many we are going to have at this time as we invite friends that  may not have other plans.  But should be fun.
I really like Ree Drummond and her style of cooking, you can find her blog at, she also has a show on Food Network.  I can not cook her recipes for everyday style of eating, but spurge on special occasions.(she uses a lot of butter and salt)  Here is her turkey recipe. I all ready brine my turkey, but I haven’t tried the citrus butter to baste a turkey.  It sounds really good, so I am giving it a try this year.
If you have never cooked a turkey before, it really is easier than it looks.  Just remember to give the turkey enough time to thaw in the refrigerator (two days at least) and plan the time needed to cook the turkey so it is done on time.  Involves a little math, about 20 minutes per pound.
I will post more Thanksgiving day recipes this week.

Roasted Turkey

Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 5 Hours
Difficulty: Easy


  • 1 whole Turkey (I Used A 20 Pounder), Brined If Desired
  • 1/2 cup (1 Stick) Butter, Softened
  • 1 whole Orange
  • 2 whole Fresh Rosemary Sprigs, Leaves Stripped And Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 275.

If you brined your turkey, rinse it well under cold water. Fill the sink with fresh cold water and allow the turkey to soak for 15 to 20 minutes to remove any saltiness. Pat the turkey dry and place it on a roasting rack, breast side up. Cross the legs and tie them together with kitchen twine. Cover the whole pan with heavy aluminum foil, tucking it underneath the pan. Roast for the first stage for about 10 minutes per pound (so, for a 20 pound turkey, about 3 1/2 hours.)

Using a vegetable peeler, shave off thick slices of orange peel and slice them very thin. Combine with butter, rosemary, salt and pepper.

After the first stage of cooking, remove the turkey from the oven and remove the foil (turkey will still be pale.) Smear the butter mixture all over the skin, in crevices, etc so that it’s totally covered. Insert a meat thermometer into the thigh, increase the oven temperature to 350, and return the turkey to the oven, basting every 30 minutes. Continue roasting the turkey until the thermometer reads 165 to 168, then remove the turkey from the oven. Cover loosely with clean aluminum foil until you’re ready to carve!

(Save all the beautiful juices from the pan to make gravy!)

One-Pan Lasagna

I love lasagna! I have not given this recipe a try yet, but it sounds and looks delicious.  It is on the menu for this week.  I found this on Yahoo.  Too much cheese to make it DASH worthy,  so this is for a break in the diet.  Salt content and using ground chicken or turkey are good.

One-Pan Lasagna

One-Pan Lasagna Recipe

Usually when you make lasagna, you have to boil the noodles, assemble the layers, and cook the dish. Then, when you finally cut into it and put it on the plate, it looks like goop. It’s just not worth the time. In this version, though, we press sheets of uncooked fresh pasta into a pot of sauce, eliminating the need to carefully add each layer and letting the pasta cook directly in the flavorful sauce. The pan goes from the stove to the oven to the table, making it a fast dinner and easy clean-up, too. We use ground beef in this recipe, but you could substitute ground turkey or chicken, if desired. 

2 carrots, cut into quarters
2 garlic cloves
1 onion, quartered
Extra-virgin olive oil
11⁄4 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano tomatoes (36 ounces total)
1 pound ground meat (beef, turkey, or chicken)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 sheets Fresh Pasta or instant-cook, 4 x 8 inches
3 ounces fresh spinach leaves
1 pint fresh ricotta
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
1⁄3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Add the carrots, garlic, and onion to a food processor and process until very finely chopped.

Place a 10-inch oven-safe sauté pan with tall, straight sides over medium heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with some olive oil, and add the carrot mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and well caramelized. While the vegetables cook, pour the tomatoes and their juice into the food processor and puree.

Remove the caramelized vegetables to a bowl and add another 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high, and when the oil is shimmering, add the meat to the pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Season generously with salt and pepper, and let it sear until well browned. Add the pureed tomatoes, another few generous pinches of salt and pepper, and stir. Bring the meat and tomatoes to a simmer, and simmer gently for 20 minutes to marry the flavors.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.

After the sauce has cooked, reduce the heat to low. Place a sheet of pasta over the sauce and push down with the spoon so the pasta submerges. Use a wiggling motion so that all the meat doesn’t get pushed down to the bottom. Continue placing layers of pasta in the pot and pushing them down, creating layers of pasta and meat sauce within the pan. The pasta will cook in the sauce, thickening it. When the pasta is all in the pot, add the spinach on top. Dollop the ricotta over the spinach, and then add the mozzarella. Top with Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Place the pan in the oven and bake, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.