Do you know what I love most about Vishnu? Ok fine, maybe not the most but still…it’s high up on the list. He loves food as much as I do. He loves trying new restaurants, new cuisines, and the weird things I make every now and then. When it comes to food, we’re on the same page! I don’t know what I’d do if he was a picky eater or didn’t like to eat out and try new things. SO thankful for my Vishnu!
When I suggested that we celebrate Thanksgiving a little early this year (I’m in Atlanta this week!), Vishnu was totally on board. He even helped me put a menu together!
Saturday was the big day, and because I knew we’d be eating some rich foods, I decided to start the day with a run. I then headed to Target and Trader Joe’s to do some grocery shopping.
It was close to lunchtime when I got home and both Vishnu and I were getting hungry. Unfortunately, I was so focused on dinner that I forgot to think through what we would eat for lunch. After rummaging around the kitchen and coming up short, I asked Vishnu if he wanted to eat mac n’ cheese for lunch. This worked out perfectly because our dinner spread was quite the feast. Like Vishnu put it, we stretched out Thanksgiving and made it a day long event!
So lets talk about this mac n’ cheese! It was so unbelievably creamy and gooey. I used my Best Ever Mac n’ Cheese recipe as the base and made a few changes. I used whole milk instead of 2%, TJs gruyere and cheddar cheese blend instead of plain cheddar, and omitted the garlic altogether. I also didn’t bake it in the oven with breadcrumbs because I didn’t have any patience left for that step!
This is really a must make recipe if you love cheese and pasta. So so good!
We took a short break from eating and cooking to clean, pack, and watch TV (priorities!).
And then I was back in the kitchen!
Next on the list of things to make – corn muffins. These were easy because I used a box mix…Krusteaz I think. We like our corn bread/muffins on the sweeter side, and this mix definitely isn’t. I wish I had remembered to pick up the TJs corn bread mix…it’s our favorite.
While the muffins were in the oven, I started on the cranberry sauce using this Food Network recipe. There were a few changes of course! I used 3/4 cup raw sugar instead of 1 full cup, and I also added the juice of one lemon to the sauce. I could eat this stuff ALL THE TIME. It’s slightly sweet but more on the tart side and pretty much perfect on everything, especially corn bread!
With the cranberry sauce simmering away, I prepped dessert since it required some set up time in the freezer. Vishnu originally suggested chocolate mousse for dessert, and while that sounded delicious, I changed things up and decided to make Brittany’s chocolate coconut tarts. Both Vishnu and I love the coconut and chocolate combo, and I figured a simple ice cream like dessert would be a great way to end our meal. And it was, except we were so stuffed and could only finish 3/4 of one tart. I’m secretly hoping Vishnu forgets about the leftovers I put in the freezer so that I can have some when I get back! But this is another must try recipe if you’re a coconut lover…so easy to make!
Next came the stuffing. I followed this Real Simple recipe, swapping multigrain bread for white and omitting the olive oil and chestnuts. The end result was really delicious. The sweet apple was a nice surprise, and I liked how the multigrain bread stood up to the rest of the ingredients. This recipe is definitely a keeper!
I for sure thought Vishnu would want regular mashed potatoes this year, but he suggested a sweet potato mash instead. I found this super simple recipe and decided to go with it – only change made was using whole milk instead of heavy cream. Most mashed potato recipes suggest boiling the potato first and then mashing. This one was a one pot stovetop recipe, and I really appreciated not having to go through the extra step. And the potatoes were still just as creamy, buttery, and flavorful!
The final thing on my list was roasted asparagus – olive oil, salt, and pepper. Done!
Vishnu’s one big to do was a roasted chicken. Funny story about the chicken itself. I was secretly hoping TJs wouldn’t have a whole organic chicken because that would mean we could make something out of the chicken breasts at home. Well, they had lots of chickens. As I stood in the poultry section, I didn’t have a hard time picking the one I wanted, but I didn’t know how I was going to get the chicken in to my cart. I literally had a physically reaction when I thought about picking it up myself and almost asked the customer next to me for help. But that was borderline crazy so I decided against it. I then closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and picked up the chicken by it’s legs and gently tossed it in my cart. And then I almost cried! I’m not against Vishnu (or anyone) eating meat, but Food Inc. definitely came back to me as I stood in front of all those chickens.
Anyways, Vishnu used his mom’s recipe to prep and roast the chicken. He mixed leftover fresh thyme and sage with butter and smeared it all over the chicken along with liberal amounts of salt and pepper. He then roasted the chicken at 375 degrees for 1.5 hours. He said it was perfectly moist and juicy on the inside…I’ll take his word for it!
Our food babies and subsequent food comas forced us to go to bed early, which wasn’t a bad thing since I had an early flight to catch.
All in all, Thanksgiving 2015 was a huge success! And because of my forethought, Vishnu now has a week of delicious dinners ahead of him. Lucky guy!
What’s on your Thanksgiving menu (if you’re celebrating this week)?