It is time to start thinking about Thanksgiving. Yeah! Every foodie’s favorite holiday.
For the first time in as long as I can remember, I will not be at “home” for this holiday. I really should call Jackson home at this point since I have been here so long, and I do in my head, but when it comes to the holidays I guess I still consider where I am from, and where most of my family resides, home.
At home, there are a bunch of us who contribute to our big holiday dinners. Almost everyone in my family loves to cook. We generally have a very big dinner party for Thanksgiving, too. I think last year we hosted almost 30 (I know, shoot me) at my dad’s house.
Generally, each daughter takes on a couple of dishes, and my dad and our husbands handle the meat, and usually steamed oysters, too, since they are in season.
We usually start a spreadsheet outlining who is cooking what a few weeks before the holiday and people can sign up so we stay organized. People have their specialties. My aunt, for example, always makes candied sweet potatoes. My sister, Lexi, has gotten good at making relish. Another sister insists on rice, while others in my family like to have potatoes, so we usually have both.
There are always sautéed green beans, and for the last couple of years I have been making various Brussels sprouts recipes, too. With 30 people to feed, you certainly need more than enough side dishes to go around.
This year, I hope to keep dinner to a small gathering. Maybe, just me and my husband, though I am sure we will get some stragglers together. No more than eight, as I want to sit at the dining room table which seats eight. I would like to play a game of pond hockey, if weather allows, during the day and then cook.
I have a tried and true macaroni and cheese recipe that is one of the few dishes I repeat over and over again. I adapted it from the version they make at Café Genevieve. It is a crowd pleaser and goes well with turkey, as well as almost everything else, too. Part classic (American and cheddar cheeses) part modern (fontina and panko), it is the perfect combination for a pleasing side (or main) dish.
You can use any noodles you like. Genevieve uses orecchiette. I like to use cavatappi so the sauce can soak a bit into the hole in the middle of the pasta. Any pasta of your choice will do though. One of the great things about this dish is you can make it ahead and bake it when you are ready to go. It can also sit out, on a warmer or lightly covered, for at least 20 minutes and still be good, so it is a perfect dish for Thanksgiving.
I am not sure yet what else will be on my Thanksgiving menu, but this will be for sure! You and your guests will be happy if you make it too, I promise. It is also great for leftovers.