Talk Turkey To Me

We're one week away from arguably the biggest food holiday of the year. I know I've inundated you with posts of pumpkin love (this one too), but today I want to talk turkey. And not just turkey, but the whole enchilada when it comes to Turkey Day fare.  If you're hosting the big day, hopefully you've already planned your menu or at the very least ordered your bird. Though I'm not hosting Thanksgiving on the day itself, I am planning a little soiree for two on Sunday afternoon.You may have heard about my new found love for the pigskin, and this Sunday is one of the first this season that Shaun and I will get to view from our very own comfy couch. (You see those darn Jets season tickets have been a blessing and a curse...while providing weeks of enjoyment 7 rows from the end zone, we've hardly had a football day to cozy up with a festive foodie spread for 7+ hours in front of the tube). This way I get to test out my culinary skills, report to all of you, and stuff my proverbial piehole with lots and lots of turkey and fabulous side dishes. I think the Sunday before Thanksgiving is just the ticket for a pre-Turkey Day fete.

Like I mentioned, I don't host my own affair on Turkey Day, but Shaun and I started this tradition last year as a fun Sunday dinner before Thanksgiving. We'll call last year's a Semi-Homemade Thanksgiving - while I made the sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce, the stuffing was from a mix (blech!) and the turkey portion consisted of little turkey cutlets with gravy from a packet. Well ladies and gentlemen, with a year of cooking under my belt, I'm bringing back a few favorites (sweet potatoes!) and upping the ante with a real turkey breast and homemade stuffing. Here's the menu:

The Humiston's Pre-Turkey Day Menu
Roasted Turkey Breast
Pan Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potato & Banana Casserole
Cranberry Sauce
Brussels Sprouts
Dessert (tbd)

Let's start from the top, shall we? Here's the breakdown:

The Main Event: Roasted Turkey Breast
Ok so last year I did the prepackaged turkey cutlet thing, rolled them with boxed stuffing, stuck 'em with a toothpick, baked 'em and called it a day. And I'm not gonna lie to wasn't bad. In fact, with some gravy it was pretty darn tasty. But this year, I think I'm ready for a turkey, albeit a tiny one consisting of only the breast. I'm planning to snap up this little roasting pan or something like it (at only $17.99 minus a 20% off coupon!) along with a basic probe thermometer like this one. For a recipe, I'm going simple and basic with Ina Garten's Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast. Super simple for a turkey first-timer like me, but by no means lacking in flavor. It even contains one of my new favorite cooking ingredients, white wine. I can just smell the crispy roasted skin...

Turkey's Favorite Dipping Sauce: Gravy
Add some veggies and chicken stock to the roasting pan before cooking the turkey. Once it's finished, remove veggies, add a bit o'flour and more stock. Whisk to incorporate and thicken and you'll have a savory gravy and turkey's favorite companion.

Turkey's Closest Friend: Stuffing
None of that cornbread boxed stuff for the Humistons this year. Instead, one of my besties and fellow domestic diva Catherine has given rave reviews to and highly recommended Paula Deen's Good Old Country Stuffing. Though apparently it serves 30 people and we're just 2, I'm going for it anyway.

The Sides: Mashed Potatoes
This is where Shaun comes in. He makes fabulous mashed potatoes and I'm leaving it at that.

More Sides: Sweet Potato & Banana Casserole
I don't even really have words for this one. Last year, I took Tyler Florence's Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Bananas with Honey for a test drive, and it had me at first bite. So delicious, in fact, that I made it again for Thanksgiving day itself. Creamy sweet potatoes and bananas topped with a brown sugar doesn't really get yummier than that. Though the banana to sweet potato ratio was a bit high for me (I'm looking for a little less banana, a little more yam) it's nothing that can't be fixed with a quick switcheroo.

Add a Little Bite: Cranberry Sauce
I'm going basic on this one. Fresh cranberries cooked with brown sugar and a cinnamon stick is all I need to get this guy done.

And Something Green I Suppose: Brussels Sprouts
I think this one will be my biggest challenge. Making the Little Shop of Horrors-esque veggies taste delicious will be a serious challenge, but nothing that a little cheese or bacon (or both) can't cure.

The Icing on the Cake: Dessert
I have to say, I'm a little at a loss for this one. I'm feeling overwhelmed by the possibilities, yet not wanting to go completely overboard since I'm pretty sure the hefty meal listed above will leave us stuffed to the brims. While I could obviously always do a pumpkin dish, I'm not sure it's fair to subject Shaun to yet another overload of pumpkin. So I'm looking to you, dear and fabulous readers, for some suggestions on a good dessert for two. Please help!

So what's going to be on your table this year? Sure, I'm taking on a lot for a simple fete for two, but really, what could possibly be cut out of my basic, yet chic, Thanksgiving dinner? What's on your menu this year? What are you bringing to friends and family? I'm always looking for new ideas (especially on that dessert for 2!) so leave some comment love!