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Thanksgiving Menu & Spinach Souffle

November 19, 2012

After 13 years together, my husband and I have the process of cooking a holiday meal down to a science. We have come to really enjoy holiday cooking. Yes, those first years were a bit nervewracking–especially in a tiny Manhattan kitchen. Our first kitchen in NYC was so tiny that it didn’t even have countertops. But that didn’t stop us from making a full-on Thanksgiving feast for 2. That was the year I dropped the stuffing on the floor. Fun times.

If this is your first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner, then good for you! My advice is to make as much as you can in advance. Make your desserts way ahead of time. Do all of your chopping for the stuffing the night before. Make your sides in advance. Wash dishes by hand throughout the day, otherwise you are left with an overflowing sink before you even serve your meal. Don’t feel like you need a million side dishes–keep it simple with things you know people will like. Don’t be afraid to delegate!

Our Thanksgiving meal tends to be pretty classic and we stick with what we like and haven’t made many changes to our menu throughout the years. (One change–no more homemade cranberry sauce. No one ever eats it.)

This Thanksgiving, here’s what we’re cooking for our family of 4 (with recipe links):

Roasted Turkey with Gravy: my husband handles everything with the turkey and he rocks it every time. He cooks it on the grill outside in a disposable roasting pan. We always pre-order fresh organic turkeys from Whole Foods. This year I’m trying something new with the turkey–I’m going to rub truffle butter under the skin (Ina Garten does this, so it must be good!).

Classic Stuffing (no sausage, no oysters–just stuffing mix, onion, celery, and various seasonings)

Mashed Potatoes

Spinach Souffle (recipe below)

Crescent Rolls (Pillsbury–family favorite)

Dessert (I’m making a cherry pie and something chocolate)

Spinach Souffle Recipe

I remember the first time I had this spinach souffle. It was my first holiday (Christmas) that I spent with my (future) husband’s family. (We were thisclose to getting engaged.) At Christmas dinner, my (future) father-in-law put a heaping serving of spinach souffle on my dinner plate. I don’t think I had ever even had spinach before, seeing I was not an adventurous eater. I’m sure someone asked me if I liked spinach, and I’m sure I answered that I LOVE it and eat it all the time. I took a bite (what else was there to do?!) and I LIKED it! And I’ve been making it and serving it and eating it ever since.

This recipe is from my mother-in-law.

And don’t be disappointed if this souffle doesn’t rise up out of the dish–I’ve never been able to get it to do that.

Ingredients: (serves 6–can easily double this recipe)

2 packs frozen spinach, defrosted and squeeze most of the water out

1 stick butter

6 tbsp flour

2 eggs (separate the whites and yolk)

2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Oven to 375°. Grease your souffle dish and set aside. In a saucepan, melt the butter and then add the spinach in. Cook for a few minutes, then add the egg yolk and flour. Stir for a few minutes, until the butter and egg is absorbed. Remove from heat and add the cheese and a dash of nutmeg. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites stiff. Gently fold these into the spinach mixture. Transfer mixture to your greased souffle dish and bake for about 40-50 minutes. The top will be brown and a bit crusty. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.


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