Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is coming up fast. This week we have recipes for every part of your celebration meal.

Let us know if there is something you would like us to put in our column, or if you have a recipe to share, please submit to

Brie-and-Cranberry Stuffed Bread Bowl


Level: Easy

Total: 1 hr 15 min

Active: 30 min

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

1 c. granulated sugar

1 c. orange juice

12 oz. frozen cranberries (about 2 c.)

2 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

1 (6”) wheel Brie

1 (9”) round bread boule

2 T. unsalted butter, melted

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper 


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Bring the sugar and orange juice to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cranberries and 1 teaspoon rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened and reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and refrigerate until cooled, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, center the wheel of Brie on top of the bread boule. Using the Brie as a guide, trace a circle a little larger than the wheel of cheese with a paring knife and cut into the top of the bread and pull out the “plug”. Trim and flatten it so it can be used as a lid for the bread bowl. Scoop out the insides of the bread boule, leaving about 1/2-inch of bread around the side.  

Starting halfway up the side of the bread boule, use a serrated knife to cut a 1/2-inch deep horizontal slit around the entire bread boule. Now, starting at the rim of the bread boule cut down about 3/4-inch deep to connect to the first horizontal cut. Repeat all around the rim of the bread, spacing these vertical cuts about 1-inch apart. Brush the inside of the bread with the butter and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Reserve 1/4 cup of the cranberry sauce and spread the remaining sauce into the bottom of the bowl. Slice the top off the Brie and place into the bread on top of the cranberries. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Place the lid back on top and bake until the cheese is warm and gooey and the bread has turned a golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes.

Transfer to a serving platter and remove the lid and top with the reserved cranberry sauce. Rip the pull-apart pieces off around the outer edge and dip. Toast the extra scooped out bread and serve as extra dippers on the side.


Traditional Roast Turkey


Level: Intermediate

Total: 3 hr 15 min

Prep: 15 min

Inactive: 30 min

Cook: 2 hr 30 min

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

1 (14-16 lb.) frozen natural, young turkey

1 gal. vegetable broth, homemade or canned

1 c. kosher salt

1/2 c. packed brown sugar, light or dark

1 T. whole black peppercorns

1-1/2 tsp. allspice berries

1-1/2 T. candied ginger, chopped

1 gal. water, iced


Canola oil, for roasting


Two to three days before roasting: Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the broth, salt, sugar, peppercorns, allspice and ginger in a large stockpot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate the brine.

The night before you’d like to eat: Truss the legs of the turkey with kitchen twine if desired. Combine the brine, water and ice in a 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey, with innards removed, breast-side down in the brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover and refrigerate or place everything in a cooler. Turn the bird once halfway through brining.

Day of roasting: Heat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from the brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on a roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the bird with canola oil. Roast the bird on the lowest rack of the oven for 30 minutes.

While the bird is cooking, fold and shape a double thickness of aluminum foil into a closely fitting breastplate.

After 30 minutes, decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and cook until the temperature reaches 155 degrees F. Use the breastplate at any point during cooking should the bird become too brown.

Rest the bird, covered lightly with aluminum foil, for 15 to 30 minutes. Carve and serve. 


Mashed Potatoes


Level: Easy

Total: 35 min

Prep: 15 min

Cook: 20 min

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

4 lbs. golden creamer potatoes, peeled & cut into quarters

1 bay leaf

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

2 c. heavy cream

3 T. unsalted butter

2 T. chopped chives  


Put the potatoes into a large pot, add the bay leaf, 2 tablespoons salt, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain them well and remove the bay leaf. Meanwhile, heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan. Put the potatoes through a ricer or food mill into a bowl. Add the hot cream and season with salt and pepper. Mix together with a spoon and add the chives.


Homemade Gravy


Level: Easy

Total: 30 min

Prep: 5 min

Cook: 25 min

Yield: 3 cups

1/4 lb. (1 stick) unsalted butter

1-1/2 c. chopped yellow onion (2 onions)

1/4 c. flour

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Defatted turkey drippings plus chicken stock to make 2 c., heated

1 T. Cognac or brandy

1 T. white wine, opt.

1 T. heavy cream, opt.


In a large (10 to 12-inch) saute pan, cook the butter and onions over medium-low heat for 12 to 15 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Don’t rush this step; it makes all the difference when the onions are well-cooked.

Sprinkle the flour into the pan, whisk in, then add the salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock mixture and Cognac, and cook uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes until thickened. Add the wine and cream, if desired. Season, to taste, and serve.


Old-Fashioned Dressing


Prep Time: 35 min.

Cook Time: 3 hours

Yield: 8 servings

1/2 c. butter, cubed

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms

1 med. onion, chopped

1/2 c. minced fresh parsley

2 tsp. rubbed sage

2 tsp. dried marjoram

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. poultry seasoning

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

6 c. cubed day-old white bread

6 c. cubed day-old whole wheat bread

1 can (14-1/2 oz.) chicken broth


In a large skillet, melt butter. Add the celery, mushrooms and onion; saute until tender. Stir in the seasonings. Place bread cubes in a large bowl. Stir in vegetable mixture. Add broth; toss to coat.

Transfer to a 3-qt. slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until heated through.


Perfect Cranberry Sauce


Level: Easy

Total: 37 min

Prep: 15 min

Cook: 22 min

Empty a 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries into a saucepan and transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl. Add 1 cup sugar, 1 strip orange or lemon zest and 2 tablespoons water to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the reserved cranberries. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste and cool to room temperature before serving.


Scalloped Corn


Level: Easy

Total: 1 hr 5 min

Active: 10 min

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

4 T. unsalted butter

3 lg. eggs

1-1/2 c. half-and-half

1 T. sugar

2 (14 oz.) pkgs. frozen corn (about 5 c.), thawed

1-1/2 c. coarsely crushed buttery crackers

1 c. shredded white Cheddar (about 2 oz.)

Kosher salt


Position a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart oval gratin or baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.

Whisk the eggs and half-and-half together in a large bowl. Add the sugar, corn, 1/2 cup of the crushed crackers, 1/2 cup of the Cheddar and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour the mixture into the baking dish, spreading with a spatula or spoon to make an even layer.

Bake uncovered until the edges are set but the center is still wet, about 35 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a small dish in the microwave, about 30 seconds. Mix the butter into the remaining 1 cup crushed crackers until evenly moistened. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar and the buttered crackers over the corn. Continue baking until the edges are brown and the top is set and golden, 20 to 25 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving. 


Best Sweet Potato Casserole


Level: Easy

Total: 45 min

Active: 15 min

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


1/2 stick (4 T.) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for buttering the baking dish

3-4 lg. sweet potatoes (about 1-3/4 lbs.), peeled & cubed

1/2 c. milk

1/4 c. brown sugar, packed

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

2 lg. eggs



1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. brown sugar, packed

1/2 stick (4 T.) unsalted butter, melted

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

3/4 c. chopped pecans


For the sweet potatoes: Add 1-3/4 pounds peeled and cubed sweet potatoes to a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and cool. Mash the sweet potatoes.

For the filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.

Whisk together the butter, mashed sweet potatoes, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and eggs in a large bowl. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

For the topping: Combine the flour, brown sugar, butter and salt in a medium bowl until moist and the mixture clumps together. Stir in the pecans. Spread the mixture over the top of the sweet potatoes in an even layer. Bake until mostly set in the center and golden on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Spiced Pumpkin Icebox Cake


Level: Easy

Total: 12 hr 50 min

Prep: 5 min

Inactive: 12 hr 30 min

Cook: 15 min

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

3 T. granulated sugar

1-1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 pkg. refrigerated 9” pie crusts (2 dough rounds)

3 T. unsalted butter, melted

2 c. walnuts

3-1/2 c. heavy cream

1-1/2 c. canned pumpkin pie puree

4 T. confectioners’ sugar 


Special equipment: A 9-inch round cake pan

Position 2 racks in the center of the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees F. Stir together the granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a small bowl.

Let the dough rounds soften at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes, then unroll onto 2 baking sheets. Brush both sides of the dough rounds with the melted butter, and sprinkle the tops with the cinnamon sugar.

Bake the dough rounds, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until they are light golden brown and crunchy, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheets.

While the dough bakes, spread the walnuts out on another baking sheet, and bake until toasted, about 8 minutes. Let cool, then finely chop.

Meanwhile, beat 3 cups of the heavy cream, the pumpkin pie puree and 3 tablespoons of the confectioners’ sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.

Put 1 of the baked dough rounds on a cutting board, and center a 9-inch round cake pan on top of it. Use the cake pan as your guide to trim the dough with a knife into a 9-inch circle. Reserve the scraps in a bowl. Repeat with the remaining dough round. Crumble the scraps into bite-sized pieces.

Line the cake pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Spread a third of the pumpkin mixture on the bottom of the pan, followed by 1 of the baked dough rounds. Top with half the remaining pumpkin mixture, then the crumbled dough scraps. Finish with the remaining pumpkin mixture and dough round. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, unwrap the plastic wrap, and invert the cake onto a platter. Remove the cake pan and plastic wrap. Press the chopped walnuts into the sides of the cake. Beat the remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon together until soft peaks form; slather the mixture on top of the cake. Cut into slices with a serrated knife.


Quote of the Week:

“Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours.”   

~ Wallace Bruce


The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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