Last week, I wrote about my thoughts and plans for our first married Thanksgiving. I am happy to report that all of my dishes were a success! This was the final turnout:
1. Made-From-Scratch Cranberry Sauce.
I must admit, for most of my life I have preferred the canned, jelly sauce, mostly because I don’t like lumpy foods. But if anyone could change my mind on this subject, it would be Alton Brown. I found his recipe for cranberry sauce on foodnetwork.com. It was fast, easy, and ended up being delicious. The recipe was basically half a cup of orange juice and cranberry juice, a cup of honey, and a bag of fresh cranberries. Cook it all until the cranberries burst (the mixture will get bright pink and somewhat foamy), then pour it in a bowl and chill it in the fridge.
2. Semi-Homemade Pecan Pie.
I say “semi” because I used a store-bought crust, a fact of which I am not ashamed (although I may try to make a pie crust from scratch come Christmastime). Again, a super simple recipe from foodnetwork.com: mix chopped pecans, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a few other things I’m forgetting; then pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake! It came out very sweet, almost too sweet for me, but everybody else loved it.
3. Spicy Spinach and Artichoke Dip.
We’ve got bags of fresh, frozen green chile in our freezer, and I found an easy recipe for artichoke dip that includes green chile, so I went for it. The recipe also called for mayonaise, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and (of course) spinach and artichoke hearts. I took it to my brother and sister-in-law’s house on Saturday for our “Second Thanksgiving”, and we enjoyed dipping our homemade rolls.
4. Pumpkin Pie!
I had to make a pumpkin pie for our first married Thanksgiving. It was probably the simplest of all the recipes, but I’m not sure if I was completely happy with how it turned out. It was another ready-made pie crust, and then a mixture of pumpkin puree, brown sugar, nutmeg, and maybe something else. Everything baked fine, but when we ate it, I thought it tasted too “pumpkin-y”, and not sweet enough. Ah, well. There’s always next year!
It was a lot of fun, and only a little stressful, having more cooking and baking responsibilities this year, and I’m looking forward to making more things at Christmas. I’m finding more and more that I look forward to coming home and cooking dinner; I’m getting better in the kitchen, and cooking has become more relaxing and enjoyable. Especially in the midst of projects and finals, it’s nice to take a half hour or so to just work with your hands, and then be able to see (and enjoy!) the finished product.