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Simple, Delicious Recipes & Tips to Make the BEST Holiday Meal

The holidays are non stop busyness! And, while I LOVE them I’m not a fan of all of the hustle that takes away from the important stuff! Like time with family, self care and personal growth! So, I thought I’d give you had hand by providing my favorite (and until now TOP- SECRET) holiday recipes and cooking tips! I’ve even included all of my advanced food prep instructions so you can do a little bit at a time to prepare instead of being stuck in the kitchen over a hot stove all day! Oh… and if you’re headed to a pot luck you’ve hit the jack pot because all of these recipes are sure to be favorites and make you look like Martha!

Turkey Tips

Let’s talk turkey! You might choose a different protein for Christmas but for Thanksgiving this a must!

Here are my BEST turkey secrets!

  • Buy about 1.5 – 2 lbs of turkey per adult (depending on whether you want leftovers
  • Thaw in the refrigerator for 6 hours per lb (make sure it’s thawed 24 hours before you want to cook it!
  • BRINE your bird! You can make your own brine but I just use a Williams-Sonoma one. And, don’t forget your bag! Follow the instructions on the brine for the best results.
  • Use the Butterball cooking calculator for cook time and plan a time in the middle of the range it gives.

Now… SHHHHHH… Here’s the biggest secret of all! Stuff your turkey with chopped onions & celery and toss some herbs in too. Then put it in the pan breast side down! Yep! That’s right… breast side DOWN! You’ll get plenty of crispy skin on the back. You won’t have a picture perfect turkey. But, you’ll have the juiciest turkey ever. Even the left overs will be tender and juicy! And you can use the veggies you stuffed your turkey with in turkey noodle soup if you like!

Breast Only

If you choose to cook only a breast. I get it… we all prefer white meat too! Grab a turkey drumstick from your local butcher (or a couple of chicken drumsticks) and stuff your turkey with that too.

Turkey Bone Broth

You may have noticed that I like to make my own broth! To make turkey bone broth I just toss a couple turkey wings into the oven at 350° to roast them for about an hour. Then I use my chicken bone broth recipe but using only the wings (no chicken or pork).

I use this broth for my dressing and to thin out left over gravy. If I have enough I even make soup with it!

Amazing Apple & Sage Dressing (or Stuffing)

So, What’s the difference between dressing and stuffing anyway? Well, it’s simply whether or not it’s in the bird! If you choose to stuff your bird make sure that the temp in the center is over 165°. Also, you can heat the whatever doesn’t fit in a separate pan!

This incredibly delicious dressing is a HUGE crowd pleaser! It’s even delicious as left overs! I often mix some of my brussle sprouts (below) into it to make a morning hash and throw a couple poached eggs on top. YUMMM!!!

Gourmet Mashed Potatoes With Never Fail Gravy

These are the best mashed potatoes EVER! They are smooth and creamy and very well seasoned! No more boring mashed potatoes! I don’t typically care for left over mashed potatoes but if you do you can make these in advance or double the recipe! You won’t want to stop eating them!

There really is a secret to perfect no lump gravy! It works EVERY time! And you can use this technique with any broth!

Simple & Impressive Brussel Sprouts With Bacon & Wilted Spinach

This dish is such a big hit that we make it all year round! Oftentimes we leave the spinach out. Everyone LOVES it! Even my kids and former brussel sprout haters! It’s incredible and even though it isn’t very tough to make it’s super impressive! This is my go to side dish for company and pot lucks! Everyone raves!!!

Your Own Specialty

Now that you have the basics… add your own specialties and favorites! My family is a huge fan of green bean casserole and candied sweet potatoes for example. The holidays just aren’t the same without them. So add your own traditional family favorites & tell us all about them in the comments below!

Let me know if you want more holiday recipes! If you request something in the comments I’ll do my best to create and simplify it and I’ll add it to this post!

At Upcycled Adulting it isn’t about recipes. It’s about simplifying your life and making your adulting responsibilities easier! It’s about helping you become the best you and have the best life! So feel free to reach out for other tips and tricks!

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Posted in Food, Nutrition, Recipes, Thanksgiving

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