Ultimate Thanksgiving Menu Guide

Every Cleveland mom knows that Thanksgiving can be a fabulous (or horrible) culinary experience. We have put together this Thanksgiving menu and recipe guide to help you create your own amazing Thanksgiving dinner. Our recipes are not trying to reinvent any family traditions. (You do not want to be known as the one who ditched the turkey and tried to pull off roasted lamb shanks for the big meal, amiright?!) It is Thanksgiving and we want to do Thanksgiving right. With Cleveland style, of course. Even your mother-in-law will step aside and crown you as the new queen of the kitchen.

The Menu is going to be simple. So many people try to put their own spin on Thanksgiving. All your guests will be excited about a great traditional Thanksgiving dinner. No one is looking for turducken or pumpkin pie with strawberry in it. They want a great turkey, good sides and traditional deserts. Keep it simple and everyone will be happy.

Check out what we will be cooking up:

• The perfect deep-fried turkey.
• Appetizers (This is your call, if you have the time, check out a few from the Food Network that are simple and have great reviews.) 
• Salad (You can try the beet salad with goat cheese but I would go with your own proven recipe.)
• Pasta (Must be Ohio City Pasta. You can get it at Whole Foods and Heinen’s but the best place is the West side Market, Stand E3.)
• Cranberry sauce – (Not from a can.)
• Two or three Vegetable Side Dishes (Pick a few off of the Food Network. Here is the link to 50 Vegetable Side Dish Recipes) 
• Mashed potatoes
• Gravy
• Stuffing / Dressing
• Family Dish (The holidays would not be the same without a dish that is a family tradition. Every holiday we make zelnik.)
• Desert (Pumpkin roll, Pumpkin pie or something from your favorite Cleveland bakery.) Click here to find a good Cleveland bakery near you.

This menu is a proven surefire Thanksgiving hit and everyone at your house will think you rock. Just we already know you do! When you do nail it, please send us some pics of your masterpieces so we can add them to our Thanksgiving slide show. Pictures will be posted as we receive them!

Note to the Cook:  Two things on your must have list are a Turkey Deep Fryer Kit and Electric Knife.

The Perfect Deep-Fried Turkey (Warning: If you like left overs, deep-fry 2.)

Ingredients

1 (10-pound) turkey
Deep Fried Turkey Rub and /or Deep-Fried Turkey Marinade with injector
3 to 5 gallons peanut oil

Notes to the cook: Deep-frying a turkey can burn your house down (just search YouTube) or could cause serious bodily harm. Please be careful. Having too much oil can cause a fire. To avoid this you will need to do a little pre planning and measure the amount of oil needed to fry the turkey. The trick is to place turkey in fryer, add water to top of turkey, remove the turkey and you then can use the water line for the level of oil will be needed to fry your turkey. You do not want the pot to be more than 3/4 full or the oil could overflow when the turkey is added. Again, please be careful.

Directions

Wash bird inside and out, and allow to drain. Coat turkey with a good dry rub. Also use injector for additional flavor with turkey marinade. Allow the bird to sit until it reaches room temperature. A frozen bird can take a few days to thaw out in the refrigerator. You do NOT want to deep fry a fully of half frozen turkey.
Heat peanut oil in a turkey fryer to 350 degrees F. Lower turkey into hot oil until it is fully submerged. Fry turkey for 3 minutes per pound plus 5 minutes per bird. Remove turkey from oil and drain on paper towels.

Notes to the cook: Deep fry the turkey on the driveway at least 15 feet away from the house. Also get cardboard or a large tarp to put underneath the fryer as oil tends to go everywhere.

Pasta (Must be Ohio City Pasta)

 If you have not had Ohio City Pasta before you will never be able to eat pasta out of a box again. It has a great flavor and comes in several different varieties. You can get it at Whole Foods and Heinen’s but the best place is the West side Market, Stand E3.

Go with a real simple pasta dish. Choose something that is light and will complement the traditionally heavy food. I like to do 2 lbs. pasta (Ohio City Pasta), 1 cup olive oil, 5 cloves garlic (depending on size of cloves), 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, salt and pepper. Simple and good. Let me know what you think!

Cranberry Sauce – (Not from a can).

Ingredients:

1 (12 ounce) bag cranberries
1 cup water
1/2-3/4 cup sugar

Directions:

• Rinse cranberries.
• Bring water and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil. You can always add more sugar to taste at the end, if desired.
• Add cranberries and cover.
• Let simmer for about 5-10 minutes.

Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

About 13 Yukon Gold potatoes (5 pounds)
½ cup butter
2 ½ cups Parmesan cheese
1 cup chopped fresh chives
1 ½ cups cream cheese
½ medium head garlic, peeled and minced
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Boil pot of salted water. Add potatoes; cook until tender but still firm. Drain and return to stove over low heat to dry for just a few minutes.
2. Add butter, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, chives, garlic, salt, and pepper. Use a potato masher to mash and serve.

Great Gravy

Go with your mother’s recipe. Everyone makes gravy a little differently and because of that, this is one where you will want to keep with tradition.

Stuffing / Dressing

Go with Pepperidge Farm Stuffing. The Recipe is on the back of the packaging.

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