Tag Archives: thanksgiving recipes

basil & salt’s last minute sides, tips, tricks and ideas

Slicing, dicing, baking and prepping. The countdown begins.

If you are looking for a couple of quick and simple side dishes, we have you covered. The best part about these two recipes is, these work any time of the year. Before we launch into those though, we have a few tips and time savers that will make your prep of the holiday turkey dinner just a bit easier.


Simple is key here. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, roast for an hour and reduce temp to 350 degrees and continue cooking for about 2.5 more hours, or until golden and cooked through.
Tip: 15 minutes per pound, 165 degrees when thermometer is inserted into thigh. (A 14 pound turkey needs about 3.5 hours)

Stuffing or Dressing

The night before
Saute your ingredients as you normally would then cool, cover and chill. When you are ready to create your stuffing, remove from refrigerator, heat up ingredients in pan, the butter will melt and you can continue with your stuffing or dressing recipes as usual.


If you have the room in your refrigerator, doing this the night before saves an enormous amount of time and clean up the next day.

Wash, peel and cut your potatoes the usual way and put them in the pan you will cook them in. Cover with cold water, add the lid and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to start cooking them.

When you’re ready, take them out of the refrigerator, remove the lid and cook as usual.

oven roasted brussels sprouts and carrots

oven 400 degrees


  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1.5 pounds brussels sprounts, halved
  • 6 carrots 1.5″ thick
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parley leaves


  1. Lightly oil baking sheet or oven safe pan.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, syrup, garlic and thyme. Set aside.
  3. Place your sprouts and carrots in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzel balsamic mixture over vegetables, covering well.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until brown and tender. Garnish with fresh parsley.
  6. Option: If desired..lightly saute with small, cut up pieces of bacon prior to roasting in the oven. cook just enough to add flavor, set bacon pieces aside to top on roasted vegetables after removing from oven.

simple seasonal salad

a beautiful and delicious side dish for all seasons.


  • greens
  • tomatoes, sliced or handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • feta cheese, a handful or 1/3 cup
  • dried cranberries

you can also use

  • roasted squash (no tomatoes if you use squash)
  • oven roasted, sugared walnuts
  • pears, cored and sliced thin or chunked

Maria Rodale’s Scratch Thanksgiving

scratchThanksgiving dinner is easier than you think. Maria Rodale shares her thanksgiving menu with tips from her  cook book Scratch, which is filled dozens of home-spun recipes. When Maria Rodale cooks her annual Thanksgiving Dinner, nothing comes out of a can or a box, not even the cranberry sauce. Her menu this year includes tried and true dishes from roasted turkey and gravy to fresh cranberry sauce and stuffing. See the recipes below.

An organic activist and chef, Maria is also the CEO and Chairman of Rodale Inc., publisher of Women’s Health and Organic Life, among many other health and lifestyle magazines.  Maria shares the recipes and recounts her childhood spent on America’s first official organic farm; growing up in a family business that published books and magazines about healthy food, fitness, organic gardening and farming (at a time when they were pretty much the only ones doing it).

This roasted turkey recipe focuses on simplicity. No stuffing, no trussing, no fussing.

Roast Turkey

  • Difficulty: Involved
  • Print

Serves 10 to 12


  • 1 whole turkey (about 14 pounds)
  • Salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Place the turkey, breast-side up, in a deep, high-sided roasting pan, sprinkle with salt, and roast for 1 hour. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to roast for 2 hours, or until the turkey is golden and cooked through. (Allow 15 minutes per pound of turkey. The internal temperature should read 165°F on a meat thermometer when inserted into the thigh.)
  3. Transfer the turkey from the pan to a serving platter, first making sure you tilt the bird slightly to drain the juices into the roasting pan. Set aside.
  4. Place the pan over high heat on the stovetop and bring the juices to a boil.
    Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Makes 3 cups


  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
  • 2 oranges or tangerines
  • 1 cup sugar (or to taste)


  1. Place the cranberries in a food processor or blender. Squeeze the juice from the oranges and add it to the cranberries.
  2. Trim the ends from the oranges and then coarsely chop, skin and all. Add to the processor and blend until roughly chopped (not smooth).
  3. Transfer to a bowl, add half the sugar, and stir to combine. If it is too tart, add a little more sugar to taste (up to 1 /2 cup). Refrigerate for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to develop.

Pan Gravy

Serves 4 to 6


  • Pan drippings from roasting chicken or turkey
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (depending on how many drippings you have)
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. After roasting a chicken or turkey (which I always do in a high-sided roasting pan), I transfer the bird to a platter, tilting the bird first so all its juices run into the roasting pan. Then place the roasting pan on the stovetop.
  2. In a small bowl or glass, combine the flour and water and whisk with a fork until there are no lumps.
  3. Heat the pan drippings over high heat until bubbling (spoon off some of the fat, if desired) and add the flour mixture, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Make sure you scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan (that’s where the flavor is!). Cook for a few minutes, stirring, until golden and thickened. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Serve the pan gravy with the bird you just roasted.

Thank you to Maria Rodale for images and recipes • printed with permission  Follow Maria Rodale on Facebook

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fresh, bourbon cranberry sauce

Fresh cranberries, a splash of bourbon, a sprinkling of brown sugar and a touch of vanilla. We have created the perfect companion for Tom turkey, the star of the Thanksgiving dinner table.

This recipe is quick and simple with plenty of wiggle room for improvisation. Whether you like your sauce thick or thin, your cranberries whole or mashed, this recipe will accommodate any flavor and texture.

If you would like more  of a spicy flavor profile rather than zesty citrus, swap out the orange juice for apple juice or cider and add a bit of cinnamon or 2 cinnamon sticks. (Toss the cinnamon sticks after simmering)

You can make this ahead, cover and chill up to 10 days.

Bourbon Cranberry Sauce

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Four Roses Bourbon
  • zest of 1 orange
  • juice of 4 oranges
  • 1 pound fresh cranberries (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon Nielson-Massey vanilla
  1. In a 1-quart saucepan, combine sugar and bourbon, stir well. Add orange zest and juice. Bring the mixture to boil over medium heat, stir until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer until liquid begins to reduce, 5 to 7 minutes. Add cranberries, continue to simmer until cranberries are soft, breaking apart and the sauce begins to thicken, about 12-15 minutes.
  2. If you like your cranberries mashed, use a whisk or potato-masher just until cranberries are broken. Simmer about 5 additional minutes to thicken the sauce just a bit more.
  3. Remove from heat, add vanilla and allow sauce to cool.