Talkin' Turkey... My First Time Hosting Thanksgiving

by on ‎11-10-2016 04:45 PM

Yes, I have already started decorating for Christmas. That said, this week I’m talking turkey. Thanksgiving. I am not a good cook nor do I like to cook. But years ago Joe and i took his Dad to a restaurant on Thanksgiving and it was so not the same. We had no leftovers to nibble on later. We had no smell to wake up to in the house. We had no fire roaring and football or classic movies playing. It was a huge learning. Cook. Even if it's a hot mess and takes forever and tastes marginal and is a cleanup nightmare…Shawn, just cook. So this year, decided I would share with you my menu and my guest list. But first, for those of you who don’t eat or like turkey, c’mon…



Pat James Dementri with my kind of turkey


This year I am hosting for the first time. I’m a little nervous. I’m horrendous at timing all the dishes and keeping things warm etc but I’m excited bc Thanksgiving is just better, with lots of people. So, it will be Joe and I, his two sons Robby and Joey, my dear friend Ginger Walt (QVC home and holiday guest), her husband Antoine, their little munchkin Charlotte, and Antoine’s parents who are flying in from France and don’t speak a lot of English. (So we will communicate through food and drink). My dining room table seats 8 so I’m hoping Charlotte is tiny enough that we can squeeze in a 9th. That or someone will have to levitate. Just kidding.



My dining room table


The menu, oh that was tough. Mainly because I am not gifted enough to pull this off without “heat & eat” help. I also wanted to have enough options such that everybody felt like it was a great spread. Here’s where I landed:


Appetizers (starting around 1p)

  • Pate French family recipe, Ginger is bringing
  • Champagne French tradition with pate, Ginger is bringing
  • Aunt Trudy’s Spinach & Feta Fillo Pockets from QVC


Dinner (starting around 3p)

  • Emeril & St Claire Mac & Cheese from QVC
  • Green Bean Casserole, Ginger is bringing (MY FAV)
  • Creamed spinach with Gouda from Neiman Marcus Gourmet Food
  • Maple Butternut Squash with Pecans from Neiman Marcus Gourmet Food
  • Butter Mashed Potatoes
  • Stuffing (Cant decide what kind)
  • Tenderloin of Beef
  • Honeybaked Ham
  • Roast Turkey Breast (We normally only eat the white meat so I’m sick of cooking a whole bird for two breasts)
  • The Essential Baking Company Rosemary Bread from QVC



  • Junior’s Pumpkin Cheesecake from QVC
  • Dockside Market Key Lime Bundt Cake from QVC
  • Ice cream


Yes, a lot of this menu is already cooked and only requires heating…but I find heating even stressful. Years ago when Joe and I were first married I cooked everything from scratch. The upside is that it looked like this…





Turkey with the trimmings


The downside is that it was so overwhelming to me that Joe and I fought most of the day and didn’t speak for several hours because a sort of jekyll persona came out in me when I had to figure out how to juggle all the dishes, pots boiling over, and checking the turkey to know if was done (which ultimately required a visit from my wise old neighbor ****** who knows a thing or two about carving and cooking birds). So this year, the wine will flow, and I am leaving the actual scratch cooking to most of the experts. Just making the main meats will be my big role on the day. God bless food by mail. There’s one amazing thing I am thankful for this year. Smiley Happy



Hey if anybody has an easy recommendation for a great stuffing recipe, let me know. That’s the only thing that hangs in the turkey balance.

I am so hungry right now I could snack on my left arm.


on ‎11-14-2016 07:46 AM

Wow, it hardly makes anyone "less of a woman" because they don't have a talent for cooking or the desire to cook. We all have different talents and strengths, what a boring world it would be if we didn't.


You would never read those types of comments about men not cooking for Thanksgiving-making everything from scratch and making the "perfect"Thanksgiving. Checks calendar...2016...smh.

on ‎11-14-2016 10:35 AM

Shawn, I put my stuffing in the crockpot.  Works great.  I also put mashed potatoes in crockpot also.  I use the bags made for the crockpot for easy cleanup.  

on ‎11-14-2016 03:50 PM



*CRACKER BARREL*   has a wonderful take home Thanksgiving meal box we have used with great results.   

Call to place an order for pickup Thanksgiving morning. 


CB also makes a great Southern Cornbread style Thanksgiving Dressing for take out.  


Best of Luck and Wishes to You and your family, I agree the leftovers the next day are the best part of Thanksgiving! 









by AZTigerfan
on ‎11-14-2016 04:02 PM
Looks good. Impressive. I ordered yhe Corkys smoked turkey. I'll add a pie and rills. Done! Watch the Detroit parade via streaming and then Go Lions!
by peaches27
on ‎11-15-2016 01:46 PM

I am sure your day will be blessed. When my son was young we would all write or say something we are thankful for..We still do this on Thanksgiving and he is 26 now ! I have kept the written ones and put them in a jar. So we can read them again. It also brings the memories back year after year..WE remember and talk about them year to year.And we seem to forget all the cooking mishaps. Like the year i forgot to put sugar in the pumpkin pies..The year my sister did turkey and didn't take out the giblet bag..And many more.So Shawn u well make memories that last for years and laugh with your family and friends. And to any who read this, may you all have blessed day with your family and friends..





on ‎11-17-2016 01:53 PM

Your table is beautiful. Love those candles! Where are they from? I bought those pedestals; they're beautiful. Your menu looks great. I actually love Stove Top Chicken flavor dressing. Easy & tasty. Made my own for years (I'm 72), but this is so much easier. If you decide to add a cranberry sauce, Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond has a recipe that's easy and delicious. QVC has a lot of great food items. Buy St Clair's Dutch Sweet Potatoes every year. I've also bought desserts. Any way you can make short cuts and limit cooking time gives you more time to enjoy your family and guests. Happy Thanksgiving and God's Blessings to you and yours! 

by lovemydbs
on ‎11-17-2016 10:44 PM

Shawn, Butterball has a frozen stuffing that is thaw and heat. I thought it was pretty tasty and I'm an old school cook that normally makes my own. Just for future reference, Butterball also has a frozen stuffed turkey that you don't even need to thaw, just put it in the oven and go sit down with a glass of wine. 

by Vail22
on ‎12-03-2016 02:18 PM

I tried a Trader Joe Stuffing mix that was wonderful and easy to prepare!