Happy Thanksgiving from Lou & Pepper!

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one Meri Meri "Give Thanks" garland / two Daydream Society metallic striped napkins (gold): pack of 16 / three Sophistiplate Satin Gold Petalo dinner plates: pack of 10 / four Meri Meri Leaf napkin (sm): pack of 16 / five Meri Meri Pumpkin plate: pack of 8 / six Craft Acorns / seven Meri Meri Gold Scallop cups: pack of 8 / eight Wooden Utensils: set of 10 / nine Meri Meri Natural plate (lg): pack of 8 / ten "Be Thankful" napkin rings

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The Main….Turkey

To brine or not to brine…that is the question. We are fans of the brine and if you have never tried it, why not give it a shot. Leave it to Martha (Stewart that is) to concoct the perfect mixture.

 Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart, photo courtesy of JOHN KERNICK

Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart, photo courtesy of JOHN KERNICK

Ingredients

7 quarts (28 cups) water

1 1/2 cups kosher salt

6 bay leaves

2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds

1 tablespoon dried juniper berries

2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds

1 fresh whole turkey (18 to 20 pounds), patted dry, neck and giblets reserved for stock, liver reserved for stuffing

1 bottle dry Riesling

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

6 garlic cloves, crushed

1 bunch fresh thyme

Directions

Bring 1 quart water, salt, bay leaves, and spices to a simmer, stirring until salt has dissolved. Let cool 5 minutes.

Line a 5-gallon container with a large brining or oven-roasting bag. Place turkey in bag. Add salt mixture, remaining 6 quarts (24 cups) water, and the other ingredients. Tie bag; if turkey is not submerged, weight it with a plate. Refrigerate 24 hours, flipping turkey once.

The Sides….

The turkey may be the “main course” but aren’t the stars of the meal the sides?!? Let’s be honest…we could fill our plate with the following and be just as happy!

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

When I say Mac, you say Cheese…Mac, Cheese & Pumpkin? Ok hear us out. A few years ago, this recipe donned the dinner table and we have never looked back from it being included since. The great part is, you can make it ahead and then just bake on T-Day. Super yum!

 Recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker

Recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker

Ingredients

1 package (16 oz) elbow macaroni

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F. Cook and drain macaroni as directed on package, using minimum cook time.

Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with whisk. Remove from heat; stir in milk. Heat to simmering; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in salt, pepper, nutmeg, mustard and pumpkin. Add 1 3/4 cups of the cheese. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted.

Add macaroni to cheese sauce and stir until coated. Pour into ungreased 3-quart casserole. Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Apple Walnut Cranberry Salad

Looking for something light to add to all the heavy stuff on your table. This salad is not only beautiful but full of flavor.

 Recipe courtesy of Flavor Mosiac

Recipe courtesy of Flavor Mosiac

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 bag 50% blend mixed greens and spinach washed

  • 2 green apples sliced

  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese crumbled

  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a large bowl, toss together all the salad ingredients.

In a small bowl, whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad and toss. Serve immediately.

Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables

Get back to your roots with these delicious and colorful veggies…so simple and so perfect for your table.

 Recipe courtesy of Food Network

Recipe courtesy of Food Network

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash, (1 1/2 to 2 pounds) halved, seeded and peeled

3 large Yukon gold potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed

1 bunch medium beets, (about 1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed and tops trimmed

1 medium red onion

2 large parsnips (about 8 ounces)

1 head garlic, cloves separated, and peeled (about 16)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Place 2 baking sheets in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.

Cut all the vegetables into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Cut the onions through the base core to keep some of the layers in chunky pieces. Toss all the vegetables with garlic, olive oil and salt in large bowl. Season generously with pepper.

Carefully remove the heated baking sheets from the oven, brush or drizzle with olive oil. Divide the vegetables evenly between the 2 pans, spreading them out to assure they don't steam while roasting. Roast the vegetables until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce

No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without the perfect fresh cranberry sauce (say no to canned!) One of our favorites has a little Grand Marnier in it…but you can always leave it out.

 Recipe courtesy of Genius Kitchen

Recipe courtesy of Genius Kitchen

Ingredients

12 ounces of fresh cranberries

1 1/4 cups of sugar

2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Directions

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Place cranberries in 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle sugar, then orange juice concentrate over. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until juices form and cranberries are very soft, about 1 hour.

Uncover; mix in liqueur. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, about 4 hours. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.

The Dessert…Pumpkin Mousse Parfait

This fun twist on pumpkin pie will definitely have your guests singing your praises…and totally licking their (very long) spoon!

 Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten

Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten

Ingredients

Pumpkin Mousse:

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup dark rum

1 can solid-packed pumpkin

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 extra-large egg yolks

2 teasppons finely grated orange peel

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 1/2 cold heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cream:

1 cup cold heavy cream

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Parfaits:

3 1/2 cups chopped store-bought gingersnap cookies

3 tablespoons dry crystallized ginger (optional)

Directions

Prepare mousse: In small heatproof metal bowl, sprinkle gelatin over rum. Let stand 10 minutes to soften gelatin.

In large bowl, whisk pumpkin, sugars, egg yolks, orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until well combined.

To 2-quart saucepan, add enough water to come 1 inch up side. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat to simmer. Set bowl of gelatin mixture over simmering water. Heat until gelatin dissolves. Immediately whisk hot gelatin mixture into pumpkin mixture.

In large bowl, with mixer with whisk attachment on high speed, beat cream and vanilla until soft peaks form. Fold cream into pumpkin mixture.

Prepare cream: In large bowl, with mixer with whisk attachment on high speed, beat cream until it starts to thicken. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until medium peaks form. Do not overbeat.

Assemble parfaits: Divide half of pumpkin mixture among 12 small parfait glasses. Divide chopped cookies among glasses. Top with half of whipped cream, then remaining pumpkin mixture. Dollop remaining whipped cream on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

To serve, garnish parfaits with crystallized ginger.

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