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I haven’t attempted to roast a turkey since 1972, when the night before Thanksgiving I placed my frozen turkey in a pan next to the radiator in my bedroom, waking every hour or so to check the defrosting progress. Things weren’t going so well.

So, I eventually got on the floor with my blanket, covered myself and the turkey (that was still nestled next to the radiator) and woke up at 10:00 a.m.

At the age of 18, all I really knew of the Thanksgiving process was that you were supposed to wake up to the aroma of a roasting turkey and a baking apple pie wafting through your bedroom door.

If back then they had sold tee shirts that read, “I can’t adult today”, I certainly would have been wearing one on that fateful day that sealed the end of my turkey roasting endeavors.

For those of you who also may be intimidated by a 25 pound mass of frozen bird, today I offer you three Thanksgiving recipes for easy, yummy, and beautiful dishes that will guarantee a stress-free Thanksgiving whether you serve them at home or take them to the home of a person who is an expert at “turkey-ing”.

Simple, Yummy, Artisan Bread Recipe

Something that always impresses my guests is homemade bread. You may have seen this recipe floating around the internet and disregarded it. But, trust me, anyone can make this loaf. Yes, anyone! No special equipment is needed, besides the luxury of time. So, what I usually do is start the process just before I go to bed and bake the next day.

The key to making this delicious bread is to prepare your dough at least eight hours in advance. I found this fantastic recipe on www.itsalwaysautumn.com. The site is great as they also provide a video.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt plus more for sprinkling
  • ½ teaspoon yeast
  • 1.5 cups warm water

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, stir flour, salt, yeast, and water until combined.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 8-24 hours.
  3. Once risen, turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and form a ball.
  4. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, place a round casserole dish with high sides into the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
  6. Slash an X into the top of your dough
  7. Sprinkle with a generous amount of coarse salt and carefully transfer it to the casserole dish and cover.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes then remove the cover.
  9. Bake for an additional 15 minutes uncovered or until the loaf turns a nice golden brown.
  10. Remove from dish and let cool before slicing- if you can wait!

Fig and Blackberry Baked Brie Recipe

This next recipe takes an old favorite and gives it a makeover so it is one of the prettiest dishes on the table! It uses one of my favorite seasonal fruits, the fig. Which is mainly why I love the recipe so much – I love figs!

Ingredients

  • 1 18 oz. wheel of brie
  • 1 tablespoon apricot jam
  • 4-5 figs, sliced and quartered
  • 5-8 blackberries
  • 1-2 tablespoons toasted walnuts, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place the brie on the parchment paper and spread the apricot jam on top.
  4. Add the fig slices and quarters, blackberries, and chopped walnuts.
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes.

Bonus! You can serve this alongside your freshly baked bread!

Since I love figs, I frequent the site, figsandflour.com, which is where I found this wonderful recipe!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Onion Turnover Recipe

This last recipe is truly a portable dish. It may take a little time, but is certainly worth the effort.

Ingredients

  • 1 3-pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
  • Egg wash made with 2 large eggs yolks lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 packages of Goya Discos

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly butter a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Season the butternut squash with salt and pepper and place it cut side down on one of the baking sheets.
  3. Cover with foil.
  4. Roast for one hour or until tender.
  5. Once cooked, scoop out the flesh into a large skillet and mash until smooth.
  6. Cook the squash over medium-high heat until any excess moisture is evaporated (about five minutes).
  7. In another skillet, saute the onion in about two tablespoons of butter until soft and golden.
  8. Add onions to squash.
  9. Stir in Gruyere and thyme.
  10. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Transfer mixture to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled.
  12. Remove discos fro the freezer and allow to come to room temperature.
  13. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  14. Place discos on lightly floured surface and brush with egg wash.
  15. Spoon 1 tablespoon of squash filling onto the center of each round, fold in half and press to seal.
  16. Use a fork dipped in flour to crimp the edges.
  17. Transfer the turnovers to the baking sheets and brush with the rest of the egg wash and bake for 20 minutes or until golden all over.

The original recipe is Roasted Winter Squash and Onion Turnovers from www.foodandwine.com  Although, I’ve made a few modifications. I prefer to saute the onions rather than bake them and I’ve made it easier by using Goya Discos instead of making my own pastry dough. Hey, sometimes I’m just lazy like that! 😉


While it’s true that I haven’t slept with a turkey in decades, I truly love the yummy stuff on the side. I hope that you enjoy these recipes and wish you and your family a beautiful Thanksgiving!


Karen Sagaspe is a Rhode Island native who enjoys food, wine, entertaining and travel. Cooking for friends and family is one of her favorite things to do. She has traveled extensively, lived in Florida, Paris, France and Cape Town, South Africa. When she isn’t in the kitchen, Karen is probably reading a book surrounded by her two Shih Tzu.

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