Leading Up To Thanksgiving

Do you spend days in the kitchen before Thanksgiving?  I do!  Some years I think that if we had a place to go for a Thanksgiving buffet, I might just be tempted to do it and not spend so much time cooking but Thanksgiving leftovers are the best so I doubt I would really go out on Thanksgiving Day for our meal.

For the next few days, everything I cook will have leftovers . . plenty of leftovers.  Today is Green Chili Pork Stew and I’m making a big batch so there will be leftovers; tomorrow is Iowa Chowder and there will be leftovers; tomorrow night is Fricot and I’m making a big batch so we’ll have plenty of leftovers.  Tomorrow I’ll make gumbo and I’ll make lots of that because the small batch I made last week almost caused a Gumbo War here.  Chad took the leftovers back to school and there weren’t enough leftovers for Vince to have any this week.

My plan is on Saturday we’ll have gumbo, Sunday we’ll have Green Chili Pork Stew, Monday we’ll have Iowa Chowder, Tuesday we’ll have Fricot.  I just put a big bowl of vegetable beef soup in the freezer and can take that out if needed.  Wednesday night we may grill steak or something that doesn’t mess up the kitchen.

Here’s our menu:

Cornbread Dressing
Giblet Gravy
Green Bean Bundles
Mashed Potatoes
Onion Rolls
Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Cherry Salad
Pumpkin Pie
Buttermilk Pie

All week next week can be spent getting Thanksgiving dinner prepared.  Monday I’ll make the cornbread so it can dry out before I use it in the dressing.  Monday I’ll brine the turkey.  This year I’m going to do a dry brine on the turkey.  Tuesday I’ll mix up the dough for the rolls.  Wednesday I’ll make the pies, the Cranberry Salad, the green bean bundles and boil the livers and gizzards for the giblet gravy.  I’ll chop the celery and onions for the dressing.  Then Thursday morning, we’ll have our traditional Overnight Peach French Toast and then have the turkey and all the trimmings around 1 or 2 p.m.

Sure wish we had some family coming for Thanksgiving!


  1. 4

    Pat says

    If I didn’t live so far away I would stop to.
    I would like to try your Buttermilk pie.

    But I would have to leave from PA right now because I drive like a turtle. I would have to stop at every quilt shop on the way too.

  2. 5


    We’re mixing it up for Thanksgiving this year. There will be only 4 of us, so instead of doing all the traditional foods, we are instead having homemade lasagna, homemade Italian bread, homemade butter for the bread, homemade keylime pie, a homemade garbage salad, homemade poached pears, and throughout the day we are planning to watch old movies. I’ve already made the lasagna and the butter. Will make the pie and pears the night before. My sister is putting together the salad. I’ve already downloaded a bunch of old movies to my iPod. My neice is picking up some “gourmet” popcorns to munch on during the day. However, the day after Thanksgiving I am roasting a turkey so we can have what we all look foward to – turkey sandwiches! After all, what would Thanksgiving be without the turkey?

  3. 6


    I get to NOT COOK for Thanksgiving this year!! I’m having a day surgery on Monday, and my hubby is going to leave for hunting for the rest of the week Wednesday night, so I don’t have to cook! We (me and two sons, one home from college) have the option of going to my brother’s wife’s familydinner if I feel up to it, but we’ll see 🙂 Your menu sounds WONDERFUL. Yum!

  4. 7

    judy says

    I love your Green Chili Stew!! Can I freeze it???? I just finished my last customer quilt and will have them all delivered by Saturday, then I want to make some freezer meals.



  5. 8

    Marilyn Smith says

    Judy, my questions are how big a turkey do you cook? Fresh or frozen? A dry brine? That sounds interesting.

    I just found out that my APQS Bliss was shipped yesterday. Hope it gets here before Thanksgiving!

  6. 9

    Mary Jo says

    Thanksgiving dinner sounds great! Of course we will have most of what you’re having and more since when my family (siblings, children, grandchildren and of course my Mother— the start of all of this mob!

  7. 10

    Mary Jo says

    Opps! I hit submit before I finished typing!
    When we are all together there are almost 50 of us. So needless to say that takes lots of food! But we really have a good time. I’m sorry you can’t be with extended family. Holidays aren’t the same without family. Enjoy your day!

  8. 12

    Trish says

    I just bought an 18 lb turkey out of habit. Ooooops. We are going to be gone to relatives! lol Oh well, we will certainly have this bird sometime!! And, for the first time ever… I get to send some leftovers home with my son. He just moved close to us and bought a home!! Hmmm maybe I should go and get another turkey. They are priced wonderfully now!!

    • 12.1


      You can always make 25 pounds of enchiladas, like we just did! My hub got a bit out of control. they are YUMMY, but we wont eat that in a year! We might have to share with friends…

  9. 13

    Lee in New Brunswick says

    I was surprised to see you mention Fricot – I haven’t seen anyone mention it before. My Acadian grandmother used to make a stew-like dish called this with leftover turkey, potatoes, onion and summer savory. Is your dish a Cajun/Acadian thing?

  10. 14

    Sarah B says

    I would also like to try the Buttermilk Pie recipe! I haven’t looked through your archives yet but if you haven’t posted it yet would you please share it?!? The menu sounds wonderful… this year it’s just me, hubby and our 6 kids (no relatives so it’s abnormal for us) and we’re going to spend a lot of time watching tv and doing crafty stuff. The menu is simple; turkey (roasted), mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls, pumpkin pie, apple pie, whipped cream and ice cream. I am seriously thinking of trying the Cranberry Cherry Salad…

  11. 15

    Elaine says

    I don’t hafta cook Thanksgiving dinner, and for that, my family will be thankful! I am not known for my cooking skills, but I’m pretty good at washing the dishes afterward! My aunt and uncle from Virginia will be here and my aunt who lives here are both wonderful cooks, so I expect we’ll have a great meal! My son and his family from Alabama are also coming, and we’ll all pile into my aunt’s house and stuff ourselves silly! I think there are 17 of us all together. Mom’s making ham, and pecan pie to go with the turkey and stuffing. And I am sure there will be tons of side dishes as well. I’ll bring the pop and beer!

  12. 16


    Wow, you have my mouth watering. I cannot wait for Thanksgiving dinner! I cook for a couple of days before, too. And tonight we’re having a pot of chili so I can have some leftovers. It works!

  13. 17


    Every time I read my kids your food posts – they think that we should move in with you!!! You are amazing. Some day I am crashing your cooking parties!

    • 17.1

      Elaine says

      Oh yeah! You haven’t lived till you’ve had Judy’s cookin’! If I lived next door, like I wish I did, I’d be a two ton Tilly. But her dishes would always be washed! I woudn’t wanna just be a mooch. Believe me, the girl can COOK!

  14. 18


    I cook a feast every year. Most of my prep is done Wednesday night after work and dinner and dishes. I don’t make my own rolls (I use crescent rolls because everyone requests them). I use the giblets in my bread stuffing but that gets cooked early Thursday. I used to bake pies on Wednesday night with my sister when she was younger and would stay over night. I miss those days. Now, a few people bring desserts so I don’t make pies anymore. Just dinner. I am having close to 20 people. I have learned to get my potatoes and gravy and stuffing done early and put into crockpots. I set everything out buffet style and it works great! You are right, I love all the leftovers! I make the biggest turkey I can find, usually 24 lbs!

  15. 19

    Kathy C says

    I just cut out an article on dry brining a turkey. Looks interesting.
    Going to our son’s future ‘in-laws’ for Thanksgiving dinner so I might do a turkey for Christmas and try the dry rub.
    Have you done it before? How did it turn out?

  16. 23

    Beth-Pretoria, South Africa says

    I’d make a b-line right to your door…. if we were in the states! I usually make a turkey, even if we eat else where… I love the leftovers, but mostly I look forward to the soup I make with the bones and meat. For me it’s the reason to make a turkey.

    This year… I’m thinking maybe a large chicken roasted in place of a turkey. I can still make soup, just not quite as large of a kettle… and we really don’t need it as it is summer here, while you are having winter!

  17. 24

    Marie says

    Well, there will be about 15 here Thanksgiving and will be a crazy day, but we all look forward to this every year. We have the normal for us, turkey and giblet dressing, ham, mashed and candied sweet potatoes, gravy, fried green beans, corn, pasta salad, cranberry sauce, noodles, rolls, pumpkin, pecan & coconut pies and chocolate pudding. I’ll start Wednesday morning AFTER coffee and will be glad when everything is done. I WISH ALL THAT IS READING JUDY’S BLOG A GREAT THANKSGIVING AND FAMILY DAY.

  18. 25


    Yummy to Judy’s menu. Mine is the least leftovers, for some reason my family won’t eat them. Getting a 12 lb turkey, make sweet potatos, and a green salad , for dessert: a store bought pie, and vanilla ice cream,of I forget can cranberry sauce. Can you tell I can’t cook for beans 🙂 Since I like leftover turkey, I’ll make a cream cheese and cranberry sauce turkey sandwich for work the next day…

  19. 26


    I’m sharing Thanksgiving with a friend this year, so all I have to do are two recipes of dressing (Sausage Dressing then the same recipe minus the Sausage), Pumpkin Pie Cake, and Strawberry-Cranberry sauce. Yay for not having to cook as much!

  20. 27


    Sounds delicious as usual. I would love to know what fricot is.

    I would also like to have the recipe for the Pumpkin Pie cake that Emma (who posted right before me) is making.

  21. 28


    Hi Judy,
    I live in St Charles, Missouri and always love it when I run across someone in my state. Your peach french toast sounds great. My biggest problem with all the week long cooking to get ready for “the day” is that I seriously neglect other meals for the family during the process. The day of they have to eat cereal and stay out of my way. Ha..

  22. 29


    I love doing this too, Judy, preparing Thanksgiving dinner like I’m feeding an army, mostly because I could eat leftover turkey sandwiches on my favorite Hawaiian rolls (or potato rolls if they’re not available) for DAYS. This year, there’s no family around to cook for though, just the 2 of us. Still, I’ll cook it ALL. . . tee-hee. I have to admit, I did an internet search for restaurants in our vicinity to see if there were any serving Thanksgiving day and there were surprisingly many! Still, don’t know if I could do that. . .

  23. 30

    Dawn says

    what time is dinner? I ‘ll be over LOL
    sounds good……….
    Once the kids left the nest hubby and I tried the “I dont have to cook lets eat out” Thanksgiving. we went to the nicest restaurant in town and were so disappointed. There were TONS of people so it took a long time to eat and there were none of the standard family favorites or leftover turkey for that midnight sandwich snack. We vowed we would never do that again! Isnt it funny how nothing says home like HOME.
    enjoy your holiday!
    Dawn in MA