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it will just be my husband, my parents and myself. I already know how to make a pumpkin pie and chocolate cream pie, mashed potatos, squash.

what i could really use is a good recipe for an easy cranberry sauce and an easy stuffing.

as for turkey, the four of us don't need a huge bird so am thinking of getting one of those jeanie o turkey breasts you cook in the bag.
 

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Stove Top = easy stuffing
 
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Ditto the Stove Top. In the microwave, no less. You can doctor it up if you like, add chopped apple, nuts, sausage, oysters, whatever your family is used to.

Keep an eye out for coupons and sales.

The Jenni-O in the bag is pretty good, though I think the gravy that comes with it is gross so I always make my own. Remember that it will shrink when it is cooked. It will serve 4 if you are not big eaters. Don't expect many (if any ) leftovers from it.
 

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Cranberry sauce is easy, just cook like the directions say on the bag, its sugar, water and the cranberries, or you could just buy a can, and put them in a nice bowl.
 

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Whatever recipes you settle on, remember that you can cook most/all of your side dishes and desserts ahead of time and reheat. This is the key to making The Day non-stressful.

You can do this! :)

Kara
 

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My advice is to cook a bigger turkey. I've been known to make a twenty-pound turkey for two people. Leftover turkey is very handy and freezes well, plus it's easy to make broth on the carcass, which results in free, sodium-free broth that tastes better than any you can buy.
 

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Sorry, but I would never eat stove top for Thanksgiving. I have a very simple recipe that I love. Torn up bread, cut up onion, cut up celery, poultry seasoning and butter.
My mother in law also has a fantastic cranberry sauce with strawberries and pineapple in it. (I'm not crazy about plain cranberries). It is now 4:06 am and if you are interested I will get these recipes for you. Let me know.

I also agree to cook the larger turkey (you can also cook them in a bag for a really shortened time).
 

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Since this is your first holiday meal you're cooking, take it easy on yourself and go ahead with some easy things- like Stovetop and green bean casserole. Green Bean casserole is one that you can make ahead and just heat up while you're carving the turkey.

Don't be shy to ask for help while your parents are there. Your mom probably remembers her first big holiday meal and will probably be happy to lend a hand.
 

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Orange Cranberry Sauce

This is easy - just don't let it burn. Can be made a couple days ahead, too, then just tucked in the fridge.

12 oz bag of whole fresh, or frozen cranberries (I rinse and get twigs/leaves out)
frozen orange juice concentrate - 2 heaping tablespoons
1/3 cup sugar (I use organic cane sugar - doesn't matter)
1/3 cup water

In medium to large covered saucepan, bring all to a foaming boil over medium heat. Swirl pan occaisionally to stir. Once it's really foamy, remove cover and turn heat off. Will thicken as it cools. (Great over pork, too!) Makes 4-5 good servings. I make double, and eat with leftovers.

I've been 'doing' Thanksgiving for a few years, no one else wanted the responsibility of that much cooking. . . take it easy, make easy stuff, ask others to bring something: rolls, squash, dessert, anything to help you. I agree with previous posters, make ahead anything you can, warm up using crockpot and microwave, keep the bird in the oven alone.

It helps me to map out, timeline wise what/where I need to be. (I get distracted by conversation, wine, shiny things, etc.)

Set table day or two before. Have all serving platters out, clean and with little stickies in them saying "soup" or whatever as well as the serving utensil. (You won't have to do a last minute scramble for a spoon.)
Best of luck!!
 

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Are you cooking a turkey dinner OR Thanksgiving Turkey? The stress is probably on the holiday bird I'm guessing but honestly, though food does play a big role in holidays - its what you make of it. Why not ask for help and tips beforehand from experienced guests? They will feel good having 'helped' you in their own way, though be it in advance.

Sorry, but I would never eat stove top for Thanksgiving. I have a very simple recipe that I love. Torn up bread, cut up onion, cut up celery, poultry seasoning and butter.
My mother in law also has a fantastic cranberry sauce with strawberries and pineapple in it. (I'm not crazy about plain cranberries). It is now 4:06 am and if you are interested I will get these recipes for you. Let me know.

I also agree to cook the larger turkey (you can also cook them in a bag for a really shortened time).
We love homemade dressing here too :) I'd like the have the recipe for the pineapple cranberry sauce if you don't mind sharing. Perhaps thats what we need in this house - a bit of a change up in the traditional meal.
 

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~I don't cook my cranberry relish. I just grind up a bag of fresh cranberries and add a can of crushed pineapple and two cans of drained mandarin oranges. Real oranges are better but it's a great time saver. I sprinkle on a couple tablespoons of sugar and put it in the fridge overnight. Easy!
I just wing it when I make stuffing. For a delicious, reliable recipe, go to Allrecipes.com. Members rate and review the recipes so it's easy to find ones that are well liked. ;) ~
 

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Here's the recipe Libby. Soooo easy!!

1 16 oz bag of sliced strawberries, drained
2 16 oz cans of cranberries
1 20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Mix together. Delicious!!
 

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Lots of good ideas here. I also don't like stovetop stuffing - blech - the seasonings are way too strong. I have cooked both a Jennie-O breast and a small turkey. It is nice to freeze the leftovers for soup or turkey/gravy, etc. The breast is more expensive of course per pound, but if you buy a turkey while it's cheaper per lb, you have to buy more lbs! LOL

I like the cranberry recipe above with the orange juice - fresh cran sauce is much better than canned. It is really easy!
 

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For the stuffing , I'd grab a bag of Pepperidge Farm stuffing (we like the cornbread one for T'giving) and I just add cooked onions, celery, mushrooms and pork sausage (optional) to it & follow the directions on the package for the rest. I make it ahead and just zap it with the lid on to stay moist. You may need to add more water/broth. Just taste it and see what you think.
It's ok to cheat with the gravy, I prefer the jarred over the canned or packet.
I too agree with a bigger turkey, sandwiches are what I make the turkey for in the first place, lol. Butterball website (or hotline) has all kinds of tips and it really is easy, you can do this!
 

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We eat cornbread dressing for Thanksgiving & Christmas. I cook a skillet of cornbread (buttermilk, no sugar) add chopped celery, chopped white & green onions, salt, pepper, a little sage, eggs, a package of chicken Stove Top and chicken broth. Put it in a 350 degree oven and bake for an hour to 1.5 hours. You can make it up a day or two ahead and refrigerate and then do the actual baking on the day you need it. Same with most other things and I agree on asking others to bring their own "specialty" be it a dessert or a side dish. Setting the table ahead is something I wish I had thought of myself.
 

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Sorry, but I would never eat stove top for Thanksgiving. I have a very simple recipe that I love. Torn up bread, cut up onion, cut up celery, poultry seasoning and butter.
My mother in law also has a fantastic cranberry sauce with strawberries and pineapple in it. (I'm not crazy about plain cranberries). It is now 4:06 am and if you are interested I will get these recipes for you. Let me know.

I also agree to cook the larger turkey (you can also cook them in a bag for a really shortened time).
My recipe is similar tear up bread, cut up onion, celery, add some seasoning and chicken broth mix thoroughly, I always make lots of it, so that I stuff the bird and also some for the side. Sometimes I add chicken to it, it is really good.
 
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