Easy-to-make Thanksgiving recipes

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Most of us are planning or have already planned our Thanksgiving meal. The stores are ready for us to purchase all of the items we need and then some. Today I pulled out a couple of recipes that might be used for your Thanksgiving weekend meal planning. I thought about young couples, college students who might not be able to go home for Thanksgiving or someone just wanting to try a little something different this year or who just does not want to prepare a large turkey. Scott, the children and I are blessed to have our parents here, so we make two Thanksgiving feasts in one day. It is so much fun to be together with family and catch up on what everyone is doing in school and work. The day just seems to go so quickly though.

Turkey Cutlet with Tart Cherry Sauce

1 1/2 pounds turkey breast tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch slices

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup flour

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups merlot or other red wine

1 can (15 ounces) tart cherries, drained

2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 4 pieces

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Season turkey with salt and pepper. In a large zip-top plastic bag, combine turkey and flour. Seal bag; shake to coat turkey. Remove turkey from bag; shake off excess flour. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add turkey to hot oil; cook 3 to 4 minutes per side or until cooked through, 165 degrees, adding more oil as necessary. Transfer turkey to prepared baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm. Add merlot wine to skillet, scraping up any brown bits in the pan. Add drained cherries, frozen orange juice concentrate and brown sugar. Bring to a boil; cook for 1 minute. Reduce heat; swirl in cold butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated. Remove turkey from oven; divide among fourplates. Pour hot cherry sauce over turkey. Serve hot.

Garlic Green Beans

1 (26-ounce) package frozen green beans

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 strips precooked bacon, chopped, or raw, cooked and crumbled

6 cloves peeled garlic, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine green beans and the water. Cover with plastic wrap; microwave on high power for six to eight minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet; heat olive oil over medium heat. Add bacon, garlic and butter to hot oil. Cook until garlic is light golden brown, being very careful not to let garlic burn. Add beans to skillet; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Turkey Potpie with Cranberry Orange Corn Muffin Topping

This Rachael Ray recipe would be great on Thanksgiving day, or using leftover turkey the day after or made with ground turkey when leftovers are not handy.

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

5 tablespoons butter

3 to 4 ribs celery, with leaves, chopped

2 carrots, sliced

1 onion, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

2 rounded tablespoons flour

4 cups chicken stock

1 1/2 pounds chopped cooked turkey

2 cups milk

1 cup quick-cooking polenta

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce or dried sweetened cranberries, plumped in warm water and drained

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon orange zest

Heat the broiler with the rack in the upper third of the oven. Toast the walnuts in a small pan over medium heat until fragrant. Heat the oil, a turn of the pan, in a large skillet or Dutch oven with lid over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons butter to the pan and melt. Then add the celery, carrots, bay leaf and onions. Next, season with salt, pepper and thyme. Partially cover the pan and sweat the vegetables for seven to eight minutes. Remove the lid, sprinkle the vegetables with the flour and stir 1 minute. Then whisk in 2 1/2 cups chicken stock and cook to thicken. Add the turkey and heat through. Reduce the heat to a simmer and remove the bay leaf.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and the milk to a low boil. Whisk in the polenta and thicken, two to three minutes. Sprinkle the polenta with a little salt and stir in half of the cheddar, the cranberry sauce, honey, orange zest, walnuts and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Spoon and spread the polenta over the top of the turkey filling and scatter the remaining cheddar over top. Broil to brown and set the top, 1 to 2 minutes.

Orange Wake-Up Cake

We will have cousins in that weekend, and I want to try a breakfast coffeecake recipe another cousin gave me recently over the telephone. It sounds good and easy enough to prepare on a busy weekend.


1 butter-style yellow cake mix

2/3 cup water

3 large eggs

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 tablespoons orange zest, divided in half


1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup fine graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 tablespoon of the orange zest


1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons hot water

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch pan. Combine all cake ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix as directed on package, then fold in 1 tablespoon orange zest.

For the topping, combine all of the topping ingredients and the remaining 1 tablespoon orange zest. Mix together and sprinkle evenly over the batter in the pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until warm, but not hot, before adding the glaze. For the glaze, mix all glaze ingredients together well and drizzle over warm cake.

Have a wonderful week, and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at news@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, MO 63702. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

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