Confession: I’ve always wanted to make a real Thanksgiving dinner all by my lonesome. But we don’t have smaller, intimate family Thanksgiving dinner. We’ve got SEVERAL giant extended family parties, and we’re usually shuffling between as many of them as possible so we can see as many people as possible, reading the Real Story of Thanksgiving chapter from Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong in the car as we go because, you know, we’re those people. Usually my greatest contribution to the whole big family pot-luck dinners is homemade cranberry sauce, or maybe mashed potatoes, because those things will be pretty much fine in the car as we shuffle from place to place.

So cooking Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving is not in the cards for me. This year I’m planning on maybe trying it after Thanksgiving (but I’ll buy all of the food during the week of Thanksgiving, while it’s cheapest). And I plan on doing it from scratch. But I wanted the food already this week and it’s been a miserably stressful week… so I went semi-homemade with it. I’ll call this a practice run. And guys, it was delicious.

I just thought I’d let you know about how I whipped this together in about an hour and a half, in case you are the one cooking on the big day and don’t want any stress. For the dinner, I used the cooking directions from Rachel Ray’s Cherry Chipotle Turkey Breast. The flavoring on the recipe was more adventurous than I was looking for, but I needed the cooking directions. I kept everything in the recipe but the cherries and the chipotle, and I subbed them with some fresh sage from our front yard. Oh, and I subbed the chicken stock for turkey stock, because I found some at Trader Joe’s. I also really appreciated the tip from Ms. Ray to use skinned carrots in the bottom of the pan if you don’t have a roasting rack to mimic the effects of a roasting rack. It did, the turkey was amazing and juicy, and the carrots were amazing too. I’m also really excited about this whole turkey breast thing in general. It was $7.00 and fed six people! Can’t beat that. (Though, without all of the sides, it wouldn’t stretch that far.)

I then rounded out the meal with mostly pre-made stuff: Trader Joe’s boxed cornbread stuffing* (SO GOOD), Ocean Spray canned cranberry sauce (not as good as homemade, but better than expected), and pre-made turkey gravy (to which we added the drippings from the turkey breast). I also whipped up some mashed potatoes (the secret ingredient is a bit of sour cream), and sautéed some brussels sprouts (olive oil + salt + pepper + a bit of parmesan cheese at the end on medium heat until they’re browned).

*The cornbread required a lower temperature in the oven than the turkey, so I just put it in with the turkey on the bottom rack with less time, and that worked out fine.

It was pretty easy, considering, and I’m super happy about it. But I’m a little embarrassed to say that, even though fakesgiving dinner with my mom and sister was fun, I really did it all so that I could eat this:

Turkey Sandwich with a Moist Maker

A Turkey Sandwich with a Moist Maker inspired by this bit from Friends. I always make Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches, but what’s on them varies. This one had turkey, carrots, the moist maker (extra bread in the middle soaked in gravy), stuffing, and cranberry sauce (which I use like a condiment). It’s a good think this takes so much work to make, because otherwise I’d eat an unhealthy amount of them.

Have you ever made Thanksgiving dinner? Also, Canadians, do you have traditional food for Canadian Thanksgiving? I could always just Google that, I guess, but it’ll be more fun from you. And non-Canadian non-Americans, I want to hear about how hard it is to make traditional meals for celebrations in your culture too!