Our First Thanksgiving

After we had a wonderful breakfast on Thanksgiving morning of pumpkin cinnamon rolls, we decided to catch a movie matinee! We couldn't wait any longer to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and it did not disappoint. We enjoyed our Thanksgiving outing.

And now I'll continue with more Thanksgiving weekend recipes as seen on our meal plan.

Before we left for the movies we started a boneless turkey breast in the crockpot. I had a Pioneer Woman broccoli wild rice casserole side planned and honey glazed carrots. After we got back from the movie Patrick decided we didn't need carrots since the casserole had grains and vegetables in it. Throughout the day we worked on putting up Christmas decorations and prepping ahead for Friday. Read on for the Thanksgiving dinner recipes!

Broccoli Wild Rice Casserole from the Pioneer Woman
2 cups Uncooked Wild Rice
8 cups Low-sodium Chicken Broth, More If Needed For Thinning
3 heads Broccoli, Cut Into Small Florets
1 pound White Button Or Crimini Mushrooms, Finely Chopped
1/2 cup (1 Stick) Butter
1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
2 whole Carrots, Peeled And Finely Diced
2 stalks Celery, Finely Diced
4 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs we substituted regular plain breadcrumbs because they were on hand in the pantry
   *we cut everything in half
   Add the wild rice into a medium saucepan with 5 cups of the chicken broth. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook the rice until it has just started to break open and is slightly tender, about 35 to 40 minutes Set it aside.
   Meanwhile, blanch the broccoli by throwing the florets into boiling water for 1½ to 2 minutes, until bright green and still slightly crisp. Immediately drain the broccoli and plunge it into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove it from the ice water and set it aside.
   Heat a large pot over medium-high heat, then melt 6 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onions and the mushrooms and cook, stirring them occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the liquid begins to evaporate. Add the carrots and celery and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and the mixture begins to turn darker in color.
   Sprinkle the flour on the vegetables and stir to incorporate it, then cook for about a minute. Pour in the remaining 3 cups of broth and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and allow it to thicken, about 3 minutes. Pour in the heavy cream, stirring to combine. Let the mixture cook until it thickens. Season with the salt and pepper, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
   Add half the cooked rice to the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish, then lay on half the broccoli. (You can do one layer of each or two layers of each. Using a ladle, scoop out the vegetable/broth mixture and spoon it evenly all over the top. Continue with the rest of the sauce, totally covering the surface with vegetables.
   Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, then pour it into a separate bowl with the panko breadcrumbs. Toss the mixture together to coat the breadcrumbs in butter, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over the top.
   Cover with foil and bake the casserole for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Sprinkle on the parsley after you remove it from the oven.

Crockpot Turkey Breast from Pinterest & Jamie Cooks It Up blog
1 (5-6 pound) turkey breast we had a much smaller turkey breast; cook accordingly
1/2 C orange juice (you could also substitute chicken broth)
1 (14 ounce) can whole cranberry sauce
1 (1 ounce) package Lipton Onion Soup Mix
salt and pepper
   Make sure your turkey is completely thawed. I let mine hang out in the fridge for a couple of days after I purchase it frozen. Set it on a pan, so you don’t have juices running all over when you open up the bag. Cut a hole in the top of the bag and remove the packaging. Some turkey breasts come with a gravy pouch inside, be sure to remove it if yours happens to come with one. 
   Place the bird in the crock pot. Combine 1/2 cup of orange juice, one can whole berry Cranberry sauce, and one package Lipton Onion Soup mix. Pour them over the turkey breast. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over the top. Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 8-9 hours (since we had a smaller breast we cooked on low for about 6 hours) or until a meat thermometer stuck into the center of the bird reads 180 degrees. 
   Remove the turkey breast to a plate and cover it with tin foil. Let it rest for about 5 minutes. Then carve it (or shred it) up and enjoy.

We served our first Thanksgiving meal on our fine china!

For some reason Patrick doesn't like to wait for the table to be set to take pictures.
The newlyweds on Thanksgiving.
I mentioned earlier we worked ahead for some of our Friday dishes and here's a peek at the mess they made! More recipes to come!

How do you handle messes in your kitchen?! We try to practice the "clean as you go" method but that doesn't always work out as you can see!

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