Our Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes, Tips and Tricks
With the holidays swiftly approaching, it can become overwhelming for everything to run seamlessly. We asked our team to send over some of their favorite recipes, tips and tricks in preparation for Thanksgiving – and they delivered!
We hope these recipes and tips can help your Thanksgiving run as efficiently as your plant floor.
How to Choose the Right Wine by Steve Deas
It seems like Thanksgiving brings on a higher level of angst around wine pairings than any other “Big-Deal Meal.” Maybe it’s the cornucopia of flavors. The turkey is at center stage, and if you are cooking the bird, you have control over the flavors, but then there are the side dishes, many of which arrive with friends and family. Great Aunt Sophie’s famous Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes and sis’ Bacon Brussel Sprouts are miles apart in taste and texture, not to mention desirability.
In our house, we will be serving a Dry Riesling from Alsace, France. There are many to choose from and they aren’t expensive. Why this wine? This is not a sweet Riesling, it’s dry with a good acid structure that will go well with the many different flavors on the table.
If you can’t find that in your local store, go for a Sauvignon Blanc. Look for one that has more citrus flavors, rather than herbal. The back label can help you sort that out. One (or both) of those will cover your white wine for the day.
For a red, we like a fruit-forward Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. This should be easy to find, as well. If you want a “bigger” wine, look for a Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. It’s the lush flavors in these wines that make them fit in with the turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce.
But, always remember, there are no wrong choices. Drink what you like! If you want to pop open a bottle of Champagne or pull the cork on a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, don’t let anyone stand in your way. It’s Thanksgiving and everyone should be enjoying the day, giving thanks for the bounty of the harvest and not worrying about the wine pairing nor the calories.
Recipes from the Wonderware California Team
Kat’s Famous Cranberry Bread
This cranberry bread recipe was provided by Kathleen Brown, Director of Sales Operations. This recipe can also be found in the cookbook Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende & Harry Devlin. Kathleen was gifted this cookbook as a child and has been making it every Thanksgiving since!
Kathleen is known for being a magnificent baker, so this has to be a crowd-pleaser!
Not the Biggest Fan of Pumpkin Pie?
This Pumpkin Butter Cake is a game changer to pumpkin-flavored desserts.
Want to know a secret? Marketing Coordinator, Annie Finck recommends adding extra pie spice to the crust and filling to make this a new family favorite. This recipe is originally provided by Paula Deen and the Food Network.
Llapitan’s Lumpia Family Recipe
Yum! This Lumpia recipe was provided by Mike Llapitan, Northern California Sales Manager. Check out the video to see how it’s done.
1x Pkg Menlo All-Purpose Wrappers
1x Pkg Chinese Style Sausage, sliced into half-moons
2x Chicken Breast, sauteed with garlic, ginger, salt and pepper and chopped
1/3 lb frozen Shrimp meat, halved
1 can sliced Water Chestnuts, slivered
1 pkg frozen Peas and Diced Carrots
Assemble and deep fry at 350 deg F
Serve with Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with garlic, salt and pepper (Yields 30 Lumpia)
French Silk Pie
Want to add a little chocolatey goodness to your Thanksgiving dessert menu – we have the perfect dessert for you! Kelly Kane, Marketing Manager, has been using this recipe for over 10 years now and has a proven success rate. Recipe originally provided by Sticky Feet Part Deux.
Meat Eater Turkey Brine
Looking to brine your turkey before it’s time to cook? Well, you’re in luck! Chris Torres, Account Manager, has the perfect recipe for you. Whether you are using a turkey from the store or one that was hunted, this one is sure to be a winner. Original recipe provided by Meat Eater.
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1tbsp chili powder
- 1″ cubes of Wild Turkey Tenders
- 1″ stripes of bacon
- Soak wild turkey tenders in cold brine solution (refrigerated) for 12-24 hrs. (Recommend brine recipe from Meat Eater website)
- Soak toothpicks in water to prevent burning in oven.
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Spray both the top and bottom of broiler pan (or regular pan if you don’t have a broiler pan) thoroughly with cooking spray for easier clean up.
- Cut turkey and bacon into 1” cubes and set aside.
- Mix 2/3 c brown sugar and 1 Tbsp chili powder in a bowl.
- Attach turkey with bacon slice using the toothpick and place in brown sugar mix.
- Dredge turkey bites in brown sugar mix then place on broiler pan.
- Cook for 15 min then pull out and drizzle with honey.
- Place bites back in the oven for an additional 5 min.
This recipe was provided by Chris Torres, Account Manager.
Tips & Tricks
I don’t know about you, but prepping all that food on the day of can be a lot of work! We are always looking for ways to cut down operational time. Here are some of our favorite tricks to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your holiday guests.
Sales Development Representative, Chris Baldwin has all sorts of cooking tips to help ensure you have a smooth sailing meal. Need to use those turkey leftovers? We have the tip for you! (If you run out of gravy, try broth.)
Let the Machine Mash For You
Are you serving mashed potatoes? It can be a real pain timing everything if you are a one or two-person cooking operation. One of my favorite tricks to save time, energy and not work up a sweat is to bust out an electric mixer. CAUTION. You will want to use a low speed or you may find yourself in a hot splash zone. Using an electric mixer does all the work for you and you get perfect potatoes in minutes.
Season As You Go
One of the ways to keep dishes flavorful is to season every step of the way. Need onions in something? (Oh, the controversial onion!) When first sautéing the onions, add every flavor of seasoning that you see in your dish. This will add depth to that first layer. Then add your next ingredient, add more as you see fit. Your flavor profile should never be an afterthought. Cooking is a journey and each step needs to be ready for the next. (Note: If sautéing onions, use lots of olive oil or you will create a seasoning paste.)