Thanksgiving Feasting Time!

It’s Thanksgiving Feasting time! LifeSpice team members have graciously shared some of their favorite Thanksgiving recipes, memories included. Whether you’re interested in roasting a perfectly, evenly cooked turkey, dipping veggies into bagna cauda, adding cranberries to cookies or having a side of tabloui, we have a smattering of recipes. They may not cover all the courses, but they’re good, tried and true, and cooked every Thanksgiving (or the day after) in some LifeSpicer’s homes.

Our Favorite Recipes:

  • My (Alton Brown’s) World-Famous, Patent-Pending, Game-Changing, Foil-Triangle Turkey Cooking Method For Deliciously Juicy Breast Meat – Michael Mastrangelo, Director of Operations
  • The Day After Thanksgiving Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Sweet & Sour Peanut Dipping Sauce – Sovanny Hartnett RDN, LDN, Senior Regulatory Specialist
  • Allspice Gravy – Jean Heimann, Culinary Scientist
  • Fresh Cranberry Relish – Kurt Christensen, R&D Manager
  • Traditional Cranberry Relish – Alberto Lopez, Culinary Scientist
  • Bagna Cauda – Carrie Gianotti Miller MS, RDN, LDN, Regulatory Manager
  • Tabloui – Daniel Landon, Culinary Scientist
  • Bruce’s Candy Recipes (fudges, toffee and brittle) – Bruce Armstrong, Senior Technical Support
  • Cranberry Cookies – Aspen Burkhardt, Regional Sales Manager

My (Alton Brown’s) World-Famous, Patent-Pending, Game-Changing, Foil-Triangle Turkey Cooking Method For Deliciously Juicy Breast Meat
Michael Mastrangelo, Director of Operations

  • Pre-heat your oven to 500°. Yes, 500°. I’ll explain later.
  • Gently place the patted-dry bird in its final resting place, a v-shaped rack, breast-side up.
  • Jam the bird with aromatics (onions, herbs, carrots, leeks, etc.), but do not stuff too densely as this will slow the cooking of the bird, and because salmonella. Stuffing is bad, dressing is good! After cooking, add the drippings from the turkey to your dressing (or call it stuffing if you insist, just don’t cook it in the bird!) and then bake. Heaven.
  • Now, here’s the secret to crispy brown skin, succulent dark meat, AND juicy breast meat: take a large square of aluminum foil and fold in half diagonally. With the cavity pointing away from you, lay the foil triangle onto the breast, shiny side up, and mold it into a breastplate (i.e. a triangular sheath that covers the breast meat completely). Remove the breastplate, lube the underside with non-stick vegetable spray, and set it aside.
  • Now you’re free to lube the entire bird with your choice of butter or canola oil. Use your fingers and get all up in the nooks and crevices.
  • Put the bird in the 500° oven. Set a timer for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, check the breast, it should be nice and dark. If not, put it in for another 10 minutes and check again.
  • Once the skin on the breast is nicely browned, remove the bird from the oven. Let’s put that foil triangle to use. Apply the breastplate, this will reflect heat, slow cooking, and allow the breast meat to hit the target temperature of 161°F while the dark meat cooks to about 180°F.
  • Reduce the oven to 350°F and put the bird back in with a temperature probe, inserted through the foil and into the deepest part of the breast meat. Set your thermometer alarm to go off at 161°F (yes, I know Salmonella’s kill temperature is 165°F, but the temperature will continue to rise for several degrees after being removed from the oven while it’s resting). While the turkey is cooking, keep the oven door closed! That means no basting! Basting does nothing for the meat; the skin of the turkey is designed to keep liquids OUT!
  • Once 161°F has been reached and your alarm goes off, take the bird out and let it rest for 30 minutes. If you don’t, you’ll lose all those juices you just worked so hard to keep. Cover it with aluminum foil and be patient.
  • Carve and enjoy!

Credit to:

The Day After Thanksgiving Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Sweet & Sour Peanut Dipping Sauce
Sovanny Hartnett RDN, LDN, Senior Regulatory Specialist

I am a first-generation Cambodian, so in my family Thanksgiving was probably the one day out of the year our house had an all-American meal! Our Thanksgiving meal was pretty textbook – oven roasted turkey (usually dry), mashed potatoes, peas, corn, stuffing, gravy from a jar, and cranberry sauce from a can. As a child my mom would always give me the turkey neck before our family meal, and I loved it! My mom would also make homemade pies. There was always pumpkin, apple pie made with apples from the apples in our yard, and if I begged long enough she would also make sweet potato pie.

While our actual Thanksgiving meal was pretty unexciting, my favorite part of the holiday was the meal after Thanksgiving. This is where my family turned turkey into a Cambodian thing. My mom would heat up the leftover turkey and serve it with various accoutrements like rice or rice noodles, large lettuce leaves, fresh green herbs (i.e. mint, cilantro, green onion), bean sprouts, cucumbers, and a fish-sauce based dipping sauce. To eat, we would create lettuce wraps stuffed with the turkey and accoutrements and dip it in a dipping sauce. Below is an example of a dipping sauce she might make.

Sweet and Sour Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tsp raw sugar, or light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup of roasted peanuts crushed finely to a powder, or blitzed in a food processor
  • tsp chili paste or 1 chopped red chili

Combine sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, water, garlic, and chili in a mixing bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved. Taste and adjust the sweet and sour balance. Mix in the crushed peanuts when serving.

Turkey Lettuce Wrap How To

  • Sweet and Sour Peanut Dipping Sauce
  • Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey torn or chopped into bite size pieces
  • Cooked Rice or Cooked Rice Noodles
  • Lettuce leaves pulled from a head of Iceberg or Butter Lettuce to make nice large bowl-shaped leaves
  • Leaves of fresh herbs like mint, cilantro, and sliced green onions
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Cucumber, thinly sliced

Take your lettuce and fill it with all or some of the above ingredients, dip into the sauce and bite into the refreshing, crunchy lettuce bundle and combat the lethargy of the previous day of feasting.

Credit to:

Allspice Gravy
Jean Heimann, Culinary Scientist

When I was young, the only time I ever came across gravy was at school lunch, light brown and ladled over instant mashed potatoes.  Perhaps I tried it once, but I never tried it again.  I thought there was no good reason for gravy to exist.  Not until I was in charge of making a thanksgiving meal did I dutifully make a turkey including this gravy. Now I think that the reason turkey and mashed potatoes exist is so they can be smothered in this gravy.

  • Giblets from turkey (not including liver)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ inch stick cinnamon
  • 1 stick celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 unpeeled onion (halved)
  • 1/2 tablespoon table salt
  • juice of 1 clementine plus pulp from fruit
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons honey

You can make the broth for the turkey a day ahead of time. Put all the ingredients, except the flour and honey, into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for 2 hours. Strain the gravy stock into a large liquid measuring cup: this should give you a little more than 4 cups. Throw the rest of the ingredients away. Refrigerate until needed.

On the day of the feast you have a choice of either making the gravy by deglazing the pan in which you cooked the turkey (gathering up all the intense Turkey fond) or by pouring off the juice into the saucepan.  I prefer the fond method, it is more work, but so tasty.

Note, if using a brined bird, you can only use 2–3 tablespoonfuls or your gravy or it will be too salty.  If the bird has not been brined, then you can use all the juices.

Deglazing Method: Remove roast from pan and pour off any fat and if the bird is brined, most of the juices leaving 2-3 tablespoons behind. Place roasting pan over high heat using 2 burners if necessary. Deglaze by pouring a cup of the previous day’s broth into the roasting pan and with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula scrape up all the cooked turkey burnt bits until they have dissolved in the hot liquid. This is your turkey fond. Turn off heat. In a medium sauce pan whisk the flour and about 2 tablespoons or a little more of the turkey fond from the roaster to make a smooth loose paste. Very slowly whisk and dribble in the rest of turkey fond liquid trying to avoid lumps. Then whisk in the rest of the turkey broth and the honey. Bring the liquid to a simmer whisking occasionally letting the gravy thicken up a little bit and smooth out. Taste for salt and add more if necessary. Serve hot with the turkey.

Stovetop Method:  Whisk the flour in a medium saucepan with the juices from the roasting pan, or 2 tablespoons of the juices from the brined, then put the saucepan on medium heat and slowly whisk in the rest of the stock and the honey. Bring gravy to a simmer, stirring from time to time with a wooden spoon, until it thickens a little and the floury taste disappears. Taste for salt and add more if necessary. Serve hot!

Credit to: Nigella Lawson’s Feast: Food to Celebrate Life

Fresh Cranberry Sauce
Kurt Christensen, R&D Manager

Tried and true.  My new favorite way to do cranberry sauce.

Combine 12 oz. of fresh (not frozen) cranberries with 12 oz. of granulated sugar and 2 tsps. of grated orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Mix on the lowest speed for an hour, or just until the berries start to break down.  Refrigerate for an hour or up to a couple of days

Credit to: Food52 Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook

Traditional Cranberry Sauce
Alberto Lopez, Culinary Scientist

We never celebrated Thanksgiving in Mexico.  When we did start celebrating we had super basic recipes since it was my step dad that did the Thanksgiving cooking (think green bean casserole using canned mushroom soup).  The only recent thing I can think of that we have done “new” in our family, and I consider a “family recipe” is a super simple cranberry sauce I taught my brother to make.

  • 12 oz Cranberries
  • 1 Cup Orange Juice
  • ½ Cup Sugar

Dissolve sugar in OJ, then add cranberries.  Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer for approximately 10 mins.  Stir often.  For a sweeter sauce, add more sugar.

Bagna Cauda
Carrie Gianotti Miller  MS, RDN, LDN, Regulatory Manager

Here is a picture of my Nonna (my great-grandmother) cooking in her kitchen.  She loved Pepsi and a martini when she was cooking.  We never have traditional Thanksgiving meals.  It’s usually pasta, vegetables, bread and maybe a meat dish (sometimes Turkey).

She’s making homemade gnocchi in this picture.  I don’t have her recipe for gnocchi, but I know that’s a ricer in her hand because she always riced the potatoes for the gnocchi.  When she was cooking, there was always homemade bread or breadsticks on the table with a huge ball of butter…it was delicious.

A really special Northern Italian dish that was made only for holidays or special occasions was bagna cauda. Served almost like fondue or dip.  Here’s my family’s recipe:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans anchovy fillets, drained and pureed
  • 1 pint heavy cream

Melt butter in a medium saucepan or a tabletop skillet. Stir in garlic and cook until tender. Reduce heat to low and mix in anchovies and heavy cream. Cook until thickened.

My family prefers to serve it in a tabletop skillet for dipping. Seasonings were added to some of the skillets and some were plain.

Serve with veggies, bread, potatoes, such as raw Jerusalem artichokes, bell peppers, carrots, spinach, green onions or celery; cooked potatoes; roasted onions or beets; and blanched cauliflower or broccoli.

Tabouli Salad
Daniel Landon, Culinary Scientist

  • 16 oz Cracked Wheat
  • 1 English green house cucumber, diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 3 bunches of curly parsley, chopped fine
  • 4 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

Wash wheat a few times.  Add boiling water to cover wheat, cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Cool. Combine all ingredients then chill.

Candy Recipes
Bruce Armstrong, Senior Technical Support

Dad’s Chocolate Fudge

  • Prepare in Dutch Oven (10” Diameter heavy bottom pan with two handles)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • ½ pound butter
  • One can evaporated milk

Bring to boil while continuously stirring on medium heat.  Start timer for 15 minutes when butter melts.

When timer goes off, remove from heat and add 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips ½ cup at a time.  Stir until the chocolate is melted and then add next ½ cup.  Next add one 7-ounce jar of marshmallow crème and mix until fudge is smooth.

If you want Rocky Road, add one-cup nuts and/or one-cup miniature marshmallow pieces.

Pour into 9 x 12 pan and cool.  Cut into squares and store in lined candy tin.

Dad’s Peanut Butter Fudge

  • Prepare in Dutch Oven (10” Diameter heavy bottom pan with two handles)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • One can evaporated milk

Bring to boil while continuously stirring on medium heat.  Start timer for 15 minutes when you turn on heat.

When timer goes off, remove from heat and add 2 cups peanut butter ½ cup at a time.  Stir until the peanut butter is melted and then add next ½ cup.  Next add one 7-ounce jar of marshmallow crème and mix until fudge is smooth.

Pour into 9 x 13 pan and cool.  Cut into squares and store in lined candy tin.

Dad’s Peanut Brittle

  • Prepare in 4-quart saucepan
  • 1-cup sugar
  • ½ Karo Syrup
  • ½ cup water

Bring to boil while continuously stirring on medium heat.  Continue until mixture reaches hard crack stage or 290 degrees.  Drop thin drip of mixture into glass of ice water.  Thin hard string of candy is hard crack. Mixture will be very thick.

Remove from heat and add 2 tbls butter and 2 cups peanuts to which 1 tps lemon extract or vanilla has been added.

Quickly spread onto cookie sheet

Butter Crunch Toffee

  • Prepare in 4-quart saucepan
  • One pound butter
  • 2 cups sugar

First toast ½ to 2/3 cup sliced almonds on a jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides).

Bring to boil while continuously stirring on (7 on electric stove) medium high heat.  Add 2Tbls Karo Syrup.  Continue until mixture reaches hard crack stage or 290 degrees.  Mixture will be very thick and smell sulfury.

Add almonds, mix and turn out onto jellyroll pan.  Spread until uniform.

Allow to cool.  Coat BOTH sides with melting chocolate.

Cranberry Cookies
Aspen Burkhardt, Regional Sales Manager

I found this recipe in a 1992 holiday cookie magazine my mother had. I’ve been making them for almost 20 years. They were supposed to have Hershey kisses pressed into the center, but I never liked them much with the chocolate. They are more of a cake cookie and delicious warm right out of the oven. I like to portion and freeze the dough, so I can pop and bake just the right amount. This way they are always warm.

Yield: about 3 ½ dozen

  • ½ c        butter, softened
  • ¾ c        sugar
  • 1 ea       egg, large
  • 1 tsp      vanilla
  • 1 c          all-purpose flour
  • 1 c          oats, quick cooking
  • ½ tsp      baking powder
  • 1 c          chopped cranberries, fresh or frozen (chop frozen in a food processor), do not use dried
  • ½ c        chopped nuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Cream butter and sugar together.

3. Add egg and vanilla, mix well.

4. Add flour and baking powder and mix until well combined.

5. Stir in the oats, cranberries and nuts.

6. Drop rounded teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes. Cookies will be light brown around the edge. Do not overbake.

7. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely.

Happy Thanksgiving, From LifeSpice!