We are both in agreement that Thanksgiving is the best holiday. How can you beat a holiday that is just about coming together, being thankful, and enjoying an amazing meal with your family? There’s not the pressure of buying the right gifts for people like Christmas. There’s not a bunch of extra stuff to plan. It’s just about family and food for us.
This was a unique Thanksgiving for the both of us, as we had never spent a Thanksgiving just the two of us. It turned out to be an opportunity for us to have our own special meal together. No coordination, no pressure, just the two of us enjoying an incredible combination of classic Thanksgiving dishes and some new healthy spins. It turned out perfect.
So, with Justin having to work on Thanksgiving, I decided that I would take this opportunity to make us our own Thanksgiving dinner. Which seems like such a daunting task, but with a little planning and advice from my dad (who is an amazing cook) I got everything prepped and planned out on Wednesday. The menu consisted of both our favorites as well as some healthy vegetable side dishes. I was planning on cooking: pressure-cooker turkey breast, roasted Brussel sprouts and bacon, riced cauliflower stuffing from Trader Joe’s, mashed potatoes, orange rolls and crème brulee for dessert.
Justin went to Trader Joe’s and picked out a nice 3lb frozen turkey breast and we set it out to thaw in the fridge and brined the turkey Wednesday morning in an apple cider vinegar brine with fresh herbs. We went to the store on Wednesday as well to make sure we didn’t forget anything we needed to make dinner. Thursday morning, I got up early and had to run to the store as I realized I had forgotten to grab an extra pint of cream for the whipped cream (and I couldn’t do without). Then I started prepping all the food.
The first thing to be made was the crème brûlée as it needs to set in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours to cool (see my dad’s recipe here) . After getting that in the oven, I washed and cut up the Brussel sprouts and set the rolls out to rise. With the crème brûlée cooling in the fridge, the Brussel sprouts ready for roasting and the rolls rising I cleaned up the house and set the table. Because Justin wasn’t planning on being home until around 7 I had about 5 hours to relax before getting the rest of the food cooking. According to my dad, as long as you prep everything in advance you just need to time everything correctly and the last hour will be crazy but everything will turn out perfectly.
To my surprise, Justin actually got off work a little early and we were able to finish the cooking together! So we cooked the rolls first, started boiling the potatoes and got the turkey all browned and ready to put into the pressure cooker. Once the rolls were finished, we turned the oven up and started roasting the Brussel sprouts and started the turkey, because in a pressure cooker a 3lb turkey takes only 30 minutes! Once the turkey was depressurizing, we started making the riced cauliflower stuffing, mashing the potatoes and moving things over to the table. In the last 10 minutes, I made the gravy and added the roasted pine nuts to the stuffing and we were ready to eat!
The food was delicious, and I think this was the first time I have eaten a whole plate of food at Thanksgiving and didn’t feel overly full. Switching out the traditional bread stuffing (which Kylee actually isn’t a fan of) for the riced cauliflower stuffing was such a great choice. It wasn’t as filling because it is made of vegetables and was so delicious. Justin had never had orange rolls before, and they are a Plott (Kylee’s Step-Mother’s family) family recipe and they definitely did not disappoint!
We cannot forget about the amazing wine we had! We went to Total Wine on Wednesday and picked up a delicious bottle of wine to pair with our food and it was phenomenal. Sometimes people have this idea that wine has to be expensive to be good, and that is totally not true! We highly recommend this wine if you’re headed to a dinner party or just looking to try something new, and you can check it out here at Total Wine.
We had an incredible time enjoying our food and each other’s company. We spent the night setting up our first Christmas tree together, taking pictures, dancing to country music, and of course drinking some wine. Even though we weren’t able to be with our families this year, we made the best of our circumstances and had an amazing holiday together. We cannot wait to spend more holidays together and work on starting our own traditions.
What are some of the holiday traditions that you have adopted over the years? What are recipes that are a must on your Thanksgiving table? Drop us a comment below we would love to hear from you!
~Justin & Kylee