PYRC #54: Belated Thanksgiving Feast

I figured since Christmas was nearing, I should wrap up my post on Thanksgiving, and here it is two days after Christmas, and I’m just now posting (whoops). Considering we have to wait an ENTIRE year for Thanksgiving and Christmas again, maybe this post will inject a dash of inspiration to whip up something for a good ‘ole (non-holiday) family feast… or you can wait till Easter.

This year we hosted a two-day Thanksgiving slumber party with Jeff's family at our house. And to feed the 8-adult, 5-kid crew, we did nothing less than what every Thanksgiving American longs for each and every year - prepare a turkey meal fit for an army.

The menu: Cajun fried turkey, oyster dressing, giblet gravy, fresh cranberry sauce, roasted root vegetables, cauliflower mash (maybe potato, can’t remember), baked cauliflower with béchamel sauce, roasted brussels sprouts with prosciutto, brussels sprouts goat cheese gratin, Pioneer Woman creamy mac n' cheese, rolls and three different types of delicious, not pictured, pies (pecan, chocolate/pumpkin, apple).

Sadly, my favorite dishes were actually things that I did not cook (tear), but that's the gamble of cooking new things. So, to my tackled Pinterest recipes: Pioneer Woman macaroni and cheese and brussels sprouts goat cheese gratin.

Pioneer Woman Macaroni and Cheese

If you've followed my cooking efforts at all, you know I've previously been unhappy with the "gritty" texture of homemade mac n' cheese (effort 1 and effort 2). It's not that my mac n' cheese hasn't been 'da bomb,' it just hasn't been as creamy as I wished. So, someone shared with me THE. BEST. mac' cheese recipe, from Pioneer Woman, who never fails. So I made it - the rue, the sauce, assorted cheeses, the breadcrumbs, baked in a cast iron pot...

...and wahhhhh, it was pretty, but not perfect. I want PERFECTLY CREAMY macaroni and cheese, which I about give up on at this point. I can't tell if I'm just overly hard on myself, if I was just too full on Thanksgiving to appreciate it or if there really is better homemade macaroni and cheese out there. I do think my version could have used less noodles so that the cheese sauce was more ooey gooey with each bite. However, I'm still on a "the best homemade mac n' cheese" mission, so if you've got a recipe for me, please share… along with any must-do tips and tricks.

Don't get me wrong, though, you really can't go wrong with Pioneer Woman's mac n' cheese recipe.

Brussels Sprouts Goat Cheese Gratin

I'm a brussels sprouts feign, which I've shared before. And when people weren't totally excited when I told them about the amazing brussels sprouts recipe I was going to make for Thanksgiving, I wanted to fall over in shock. How can anyone snub their nose at brussels sprouts WITH GOAT CHEESE? I had been dying to make this recipe, so when we switched Thanksgiving back from a Mexican theme to traditional, this was first on my list.

The recipe called for slightly steaming brussels sprouts and fresh cranberries, making a goat cheese sauce, combining the veggies and sauce in a baking dish, topping with pecans and bread crumbs, and then baking the dish in the oven.

Can I say "wahhhhh" again? I for sure thought this would be a rock star recipe, but it just wasn't. Brussels sprouts are ridiculously amazing roasted (my favorite is this balsamic reduction recipe), and I think steaming them and coating them with cheese kind of took away from their natural flavor. The cranberries were also extremely bitter (not sure if I did something wrong there), so I actually think they took away a little credibility from the dish. I also think goat cheese is ridiculously amazing fresh, so the melted version did not do it justice. It ALSO didn't help that there was a better version of brussels sprouts on the table... with prosciutto.

But hey, if you're not a brussels sprouts nut like me, there's a good chance you'll have better luck. Find the brussels sprouts goat cheese gratin recipe (which still sounds ridiculously amazing) here from Cinnamon and Spice and Everything Nice.

Hope your holidays were wonderful!



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