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Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving: What does it mean to you?

I can hardly believe Thanksgiving is just over a week away, but I'm starting to get incredibly excited about it. Turkey Day is actually one of my favorite holidays, which might surprise a few of my friends since I start playing Christmas music in October. But Thanksgiving is kind of like Christmas minus the presents. There's verylittle pressure to make Thanksgiving a perfect day because it just doesn't have the hype that Christmas has. But because of that, it always turns out to be a wonderful day.

But there are two things that are incredibly important to me on this day of thanks: parades and food. Lots and lots of food.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is perhaps the most well known and important parade
ever. The giant balloons, the Broadway performances, celebrities lip syncing to their own voices - it's a spectacle that I do not want to miss. And I certainly don't want to miss any Broadway performances, since musical theater was my former life. So we watch the show on one network and DVR it on the other network, so it's a full day of parades in our household. My favorite performance of all time was definitely last year's excerpt from Ragtime, which aired on CBS. It's one of my favorite musicals, and they even filmed on location right up the street from us. Here's the link if you didn't get to catch it... Ragtime

Then there's the food..."food, glorious food," as Oliver would say. I'm a sucker for tradition, so if I'm cooking, the menu is always the same: turkey (I buy the prepared ones from the grocery store because I'm SO not getting up at 5am to cook something that I'd probably ruin anyways), mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, broccoli casserole, sweet potato casserole, corn and brown n' serve dinner rolls...just like the pilgrims used to eat :) We're going to CT to visit the hubby's family this year, but I'm pretty sure I'll be whipping up my casseroles to add to the table - I just can't have Thanksgiving without them.

And because it's that time of year and I'm in the giving spirit, I'm going to share with all of you my super special broccoli casserole recipe...

2 packages frozen chopped broccoli, thawed (my mom likes to mix in florets these days, but that's optional)
1 egg
1 cup mayo
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 package Saltines
1/4 stick butter

Set the oven to 350 and grease your casserole dish (I use Pam.) Combine egg, mayo, cheese and soup, then fold in broccoli a little at a time. Pour into casserole dish. Crush saltines and sprinkle over the top so they cover entire casserole. (I sometimes sprinkle a little extra cheese on top too.) Dab pats of butter on top of crumbled crackers. Bake for about an hour.

Do you have special Thanksgiving traditions? I'd love to hear them. And if you have any yummy Turkey Day recipes, we'd love to hear about those too!


  1. My family has a Thanksgiving tradition: they get out of my kitchen so I can cook without interference while they watch the Cowboys game, and I try not to taunt them when the Cowboys inevitably lose. But seriously, for me, Thanksgiving is all about the side dishes. Most of the sides we make at Thanksgiving are once a year treats. We have Cranberry Pecan Candied Yams, Chile Rellenos Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, my mom's famous Sage Sausage Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Pumpkin Pies, and I think this year we're adding Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash soup. I could live without the turkey, as long as I get my sides. LOL.

  2. Catherine, I totally agree! I'm all about the sides, too. I eat a little turkey, just to say I did it. LOL! And my mouth is seriously watering right now. Wow! You have some yummy dishes!!! Feel free to share the recipes :)

  3. I'm all about the mashed potatoes. LOL I also love turkey sandwiches with whole berry cranberry sauce. In fact, I just made one the other day because I had all the ingredients. YUM!

  4. It's lots of work but SO worth it when you sit down to a great meal with family and friends!

  5. My favorite of all the sides we make is Chile Rellenos Casserole. Here's the recipe.

    2 lbs grated Monterrey Jack Cheese
    4 sm cans of diced green chiles, drained
    1/2 cup milk
    4 eggs, slightly beaten
    salt and pepper

    Layer the cheese and chiles in a sprayed baking dish. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the top of the chile/cheese mixture. Bake at 350 for about 35 - 40 minutes, until it is lightly browned. Serve!

    It's easy to do variations, too. Sometimes we'll do half Monterrey Jack, half Sharp Cheddar. I've been known to add a couple of chopped jalapenos to the chiles for a little extra kick. You can add some ground cumin or dry mustard, or even a little cayenne pepper to the milk/egg mixture for a slightly different flavor component.

  6. I love Thanksgiving but this will be the first year that hubby and I will be staying at home as my mother and father are headed to Graceland this year. So I'm a little sad this year on the day of thanks. I'm going to miss them tremendously but we've determined even with the three of us we're at least going to buy a ham and cook a few things. =( Even my oldest kids will be going with my ex hubby for thanksgiving but I'll live through it. There is always next year and the beauty behind thanksgiving is having a family to miss anyway. Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and wonderful memories.

  7. We've never celebrated Thanksgiving, me being German and hubby British (turkey's for Christmas!), but this year that's going to change. We're heading to the US on Thanksgiving Day (unfortunate flight time), but the following week we will have 2 Thanksgiving dinners, one with my aunt in Oregon, and the other with my half-sister and her big family in Idaho. It's the first time we'll meet and I'm massively excited about being part of such a typical American celebration.
    Enjoy your Thanksgiving! :-)

  8. @Donna - yum! Day-after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches are the best!

    @JStewart - it certainly is!

    @Catherine - YUM! I'm so going to try that! Thanks for posting it!

    @Melissa - I'm so sorry you won't get to be with your family on Thanksgiving this year. I was 9-months pregnant last year, so we stayed home too. As you can see, it was just a small dinner for the two of us. But we made it special by watching the parades together and then putting up and trimming the tree that night. I'm sure you'll still have a wonderful day :)

    @Cathie - how exciting! Your very first American Thanksgiving. I hope you have wonderful time. Feel free to stop back and tell us all about it :)

  9. Well, it certainly isn't a tradition, but one year back in the 1980's (while I, too, was still an acting and singing fool), I got cajoled into working the Thanksgiving Day parade. I wore a jumpsuit with "CREW" on it, and I followed around behind 2 different floats. Since the sound techs were all union, it was my job to run and find them if there was a problem with the float. I was behind the float with some Dynasty cast members - John James and an older actress whose name escapes me. The tape got stuck, I must have run a couple of miles and NEVER found a sound tech. So I walked the entire length of the parade behind the float with (as I recall), "Jingle Bell Rock" playing. And I put on the jumpsuit at 4:30 AM and took it off at 12:00 noon. And that's how long I went without going to the bathroom, too. As for a traditional dinner: Turkey, stuffing (no oysters, apples, nuts, etc.), mashed turnip, mashed potatoes, gravy, brussel sprouts (new addition to the menu), cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie. Always just me and my little family - Mom, my mentally handicapped (and favorite) brother, Jim, me - all of us in sweats - and the dogs, my rescued racing greyhounds, Angus and Scout. Football and "A Miracle on 34th Street" (old version).

  10. Lise, that is a CRAZY story! LOL! Wow. It may have sucked that day, but you have an awesome Macy's Parade story to share! And I think your low-key Turkey Day sounds wonderful! I hope you all have a great day!

  11. We do the most low-key Thanksgiving possible, and that is why it is absolutely my favorite holiday. An entire day to sit around and think about all the great things in life. What could be better?

  12. We go through the ranks from oldest to youngest and say what we are especially thankful for. I also say something special to my children when we are all done sharing our "thankful" thoughts. It's really nice because we have more and more stories as we add new family members.

  13. Thanksgiving is not a holidy we've developed any traditions for yet. It's one of those days that we're never sure where we're going to be, unlike Christmas. This year my mother-in-law works on Thanksgiving Day, so we are celebrating Wednesday.

    Something I've always wanted to do is be involved in helping someone else out at Thanksgivng. I feel so blessed by all we have. This year my hubby, kids and I are going to volunteer to deliver meals to people who can't get out as part of our community-wide dinner. Knowing our daughter, she'll give a performance of "Any Turkey Can Tango" to anyone wanting entertainment with their meal. :)

    Later, we are planning to see a movie. If this goes well, it may become a tradition.