Thanksgiving Dinner Planner
There are so many options for great things to cook for Thanksgiving. If you haven't yet settled on a fixed family Thanksgiving tradition, I hope you'll find some great ideas here for dishes to serve for your Thanksgiving meal. Not everything goes well together, so I'll try to point out flavors which are complementary. Please add your comments and reviews below to make this a useful repository of Thanksgiving ideas!
Appetizers & snacks
Packaged bread mixes generally taste fine, but it's more fun to create your very own fabulous concoction from scratch. Here are a few hints:
* Use a 1-2 day-old loaf of firm Bakery-style bread instead of a soft and gooey white bread. Leave the crust on; cut the bread into 1/2-inch cubes and air-dry overnight.
* If you add vegetables or meat to your dressing, be sure they are pre-cooked and sized similarly to the bread cubes.
* Add enough liquid to keep the dressing moist but not soggy.
* Fresh turkey or chicken broth adds a wonderful flavor. If you're making extra dressing outside the turkey, make sure to add some of this!
For some folks, this is the only kind of stuffing worth eating. If you're in a rush, packaged cornbread stuffing can be used; however, it is easy and better to make cornbread from scratch.
A couple pans of cornbread should be made at least a day in advance or further ahead and frozen. Cut the bread into 1/2 inch cubes and air dry overnight before making your stuffing.
Rice and Grains
I love adding Rice and Grains to stuffing.. Rice stuffings, aka "dirty rice," are usually cooked with onions, peppers, poultry giblets or livers, and plenty of seasonings. These ingredients give the rice a 'dirty' but tasty appearance. Wild rice can be added to any rice or bread stuffing. Wild rice adds a wonderful chewy texture and nutty flavor.
For added protein try experimenting with legumes and hearty grains such as lentils or rye. The key with grains is to avoid over cooking them. Cook all grains al dente, that is, tender yet still firm and a little chewy. They will finish cooking in your turkey or casserole dish. ENJOY!