HomeDinner Thanksgiving At The Keenans: Recipe Roundup

Thanksgiving At The Keenans: Recipe Roundup

Comments : 6 Posted in : Dinner, Recipe Roundup on by : Chris

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is one week away! Seriously – when did that happen? We were so busy dealing with Hurricane Sandy and the aftermath that time just went even faster than usual. We didn’t even get to go trick-or-treating with our Little Boy! No costume dress up. No candy. Thanks a lot Sandy!

Realizing we have just 7 days to Thanksgiving, I figured it time I put together our menu plan. After all, we are hosting Thanksgiving again, probably a good idea to have this stuff figured out right?

I thought I’d change things up this post and instead of just giving one recipe I’d share with you our entire menu plan and the recipes we have available online to share. Not all of the recipes are here yet, but the ones we have I’ll share below.

So, without further ado, here is what will be served up at the Keenan Thanksgiving dinner table.

Main Dish

Turkey! (Of course!)

The past couple of years I’ve been brining my turkey over night using Alton Brown’s Turkey Brine recipe. Brining allows for a moister and more flavorful cooked bird, and is pretty easy to do. The hardest part is getting a container larger enough to hold a 20 pound turkey plus a couple gallons of brine.

Alton Brown Turkey Brine


  • 1 semi frozen turkey
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water


  1. Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
  2. The night before Thanksgiving, combine the brine, water and ice in a 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
  3. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine. Cook turkey as you normally would.




Sausage Stuffing

Image Credit: Jones Dairy Farm

Stuffing is, of course, the main side show of Thanksgiving (see what I did there?). Our family does a sausage stuffing. I thought there was only one kind of stuffing, the way my Mom makes it. Then I got married and we hosted our first Thanksgiving – an epic battle commenced over whose stuffing would go in the bird; the sausage stuffing I grew up with or the apple and raisin one Rachel grew up with. I won’t say who won (ok, she did), but after a few years I eventually won out. How’d that happen? Well – let’s just say even certain members of Rachel’s family enjoyed the sausage stuffing more. Heheh.


Anyway… We use the Jones Dairy Farm recipe. Here it is below:


Sausage Stuffing


  • 1 (12 ounce) package Jones All Natural roll sausage
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, diced or chopped
  • 2 1/2 Cup low salt chicken or turkey broth or apple juice
  • 1 (14 ounce) prepackaged stuffing mix/bread cubes


  1. Crumble sausage into a stock pot or Dutch oven. Add onion and celery; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sausage is no longer pink, about 6 to 8 minutes. (Do not drain or pour off drippings.) Add broth; bring to a boil. Turn off heat; add stuffing mix, stirring until bread cubes are evenly moistened. Transfer to a greased casserole dish. Bake covered in a preheated 350°F oven 30 minutes or until heated through. (For drier texture, uncover casserole during last 10 minutes of baking. Some of the stuffing may be used to stuff turkey. Stuff bird loosely right before baking.

Biscuits & Cornbread

For the biscuits, I cheat and use Pillsbury Grands Biscuits. It’s for two reasons: 1- They just taste so darn good. 2- They are super easy and I can assign the task of opening the package and baking them to a sibling without causing too much extra chaos in the kitchen.

For the cornbread, I use this recipe from our blog, which I’ve shared again just below. Cornbread is easy enough to whip up ahead of time and reheat later in the day once dinner is almost ready to be served. Can’t beat that.

Buttermilk Cornbread


  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing the edges to be slightly higher than the pan itself for easy grabbing later.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine warm melted butter and sugar. Add eggs and stir well. In a large measuring cup, combine buttermilk and baking soda. Pour into butter and egg mixture. Stir. Add cornmeal, flour and salt. Stir just until blended together and thick. Mixture may be slightly lumpy, that’s okay. It’s not meant to be super smooth.
  3. Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted comes out clean or with just a few crumbs clinging on. Be sure to test the center of the pan since that has the highest point.
  4. Let cool in pan for 10-15 minutes before carefully removing and slicing into squares with a serrated knife.

Sweet Potato Casserole

This recipe is a different take on the traditional (around here at least) sweet potato casserole with mini marshmallows on top (does your family do that too?)

A coworker shared this recipe with Rachel a few years ago. Rachel modified the recipe to lighten it up a little and it’s been residing in our lose leaf recipe binder ever since, faithfully coming out every Thanksgiving.  Sorry – no photos – never lasts long enough for us to snap a shot and it truly only comes out once a year!

Sweet Potato Casserole


  • 3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (about 5 medium potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 egg, 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Topping:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Combine cooked and mashed potatoes, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and milk. Mix well. Put into baking dish (13 x 9 or larger if necessary).
  3. Mix all topping ingredients. Sprinkle on top of potato mixture before baking.
  4. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole

My mother in law makes and brings this dish, which is always a hit. I wish I had the recipe to share but – confession – I was a poor planner and didn’t ask her for the recipe before getting to work on this post. When I get it I’ll update the post to add in. Eek!

Basically though it’s a white sauce combined with cream cheese, poured over broccoli. Top with cheddar cheese and bread crumbs and bake until delicious. There is more to it than that, but that is the basic idea. I promise to update here once I get it 🙂

Mashed Potatoes

My Dad makes the mashed potatoes (along with a 2nd bird, because I just have to have leftovers on Thanksgiving for next day Turkey Sandwiches or I get sad) .

So, true to form for my Dad, he doesn’t really have a recipe, he just eyeballs it. He peels and boils his potatoes until done, mashes them up with copious amounts of whole milk and butter. I’m not sure what you can do with that, but I do what I can to share. 🙂

Cranberry Sauce

Nothing fancy here, but without it it isn’t Thanksgiving. Be sure the cranberry sauce has been chilled, and that is is sauce, not chunk. Nothing worse than cranberry with chunks of cranberry in it!


Over the years I’ve come to find that Green Giant Niblets are hands down the best canned corn out there.

Brussel Sprouts

I don’t eat these but, for my Dad, it isn’t Thanksgiving without them. I leave him in charge of these. Blegh. Heheh


Last year we had as many desserts as we did side dishes. This year I’m not sure we’ll be much better. Without question, Mom will be bringing a homemade apple pie.  We’ll probably bake cookies ahead of time – something as of yet determined. And I also expect to see this:

Nana’s Pound Cake

Nana's Pound Cake

At 94 years old, Nana should get a free pass at not having to cook, clean, or do much else at Thanksgiving but show up and relax. And yet despite our requests she do just that, she always bakes something. Last year she brought her pound cake, featured in the image above, and this year I anticipate the same. Here is the recipe below. It really is fantastic.

Nana’s Pound Cake


  • 3/4 lb butter (room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/8 tsp salt
  • 6 eggs (room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cup flour


  1. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl
  2. In another bowl combine wet ingredients and mix well.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat for 20 minutes.
  4. Pour into greased and floured tube pan. Bake for 1 hour and 20 min at 325 degrees.

The Day After

What is Thanksgiving without leftovers?  A Keenan Family tradition is the leftover turkey sandwich. No, not just turkey. Stuffing. Cranberry sauce. Whatever else you got, throw it on there. Seriously. So good.


Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwich

And there you have it. The Keenan Family’s Thanksgiving Menu for 2012.

From our table to yours, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!


6 thoughts

  • November 19, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Sounds like one heck of a feast! May everything go smoothly for ya =)

  • March 13, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I happened to click on this post, stopping by from Pinterest, and wanted to say that everything looks delicious. I hope you had a nice Holiday! It sounds like you have a lovely family. Everyone cooks and gets along. 🙂

    • Chris
      March 13, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Thank you for kind words Gloria! Glad to have you here!

  • Jane
    May 13, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Your mother in law’s Broccoli Cheddar Casserole sounds fantastic. Nudge, nudge.

  • Ashley
    May 3, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    For Nana’s pound cake, I was wondering if we could use Almondmilk instead of 2% milk. Please reply back as soon as you can. Thank you.

    • Chris
      May 4, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      Not sure. Give it a try and please let us know how it comes out!

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