the appetizer:

Prepare for the winter party season with Seriously Simple Holidays by Diane Rossen Worthington, featuring recipes like Winter Chopped Salad; Roast Duck Legs with Caramelized Shallots and Garlic; and Savory Bread Pudding with Bacon, Peppers, and Spinach.



Seriously Simple Holidays

by Diane Rossen Worthington


Seriously Simple Thanksgiving Menu

  • Spicy Sausage and Chicken Liver Pâté, page 52 of the book
  • Roast Turkey with Maple-Balsamic Butter Rub, page 112,
  • and Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy, page 216
  • Sausage, Dried Fruit, and Nut Stuffing, page 187
  • Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce with Satsumas, page 212
  • Orange-Cranberry Sauce, page 213
  • Perfect Mashed Potatoes, page 185
  • Yam and Winter Squash Purée, page 178
  • Green Beans with Caramelized Red Onion
         and Mushroom Topping, page 180
  • Pumpkin-Caramel Ice Cream Pie, page 195
  •      with warm Caramel Sauce, page 218
  • Double-Persimmon Pudding, page 193

Thanksgiving Planning Countdown

The menu above looks long, but I don't expect that you'll make the entire meal yourself. Thanksgiving dinner is often a potluck affair, so pick and choose which foods you'd like to prepare, and ask guests to bring other items. This countdown includes, everything—eliminate any steps that are irrelevant.



  • Prepare Spicy Sausage and Chicken Liver Pâté and freeze.
  • Make Easy Turkey Stock and freeze in small containers.
  • Make Pumpkin-Caramel Ice Cream Pie and freeze.


  • Plan your menu.


  • Order a fresh turkey: To ensure ample servings for dinner, as well as leftovers the next day, allow 3/4 to 1 pound per person.
  • Plan your table setting and decorations.
  • Make your grocery shopping lists, separating staples from fresh foods.
  • Begin shopping for staples.
  • Shop for any Essential Holiday Equipment (see page 28).


  • Make Caramel Sauce for pie.
  • Choose dishes, glassware, tablecloths and napkins, serving dishes, and serving utensils.
  • Sharpen carving knife.


  • Complete shopping lists.
  • Begin shopping for produce and other fresh food.
  • Organize refrigerator, cleaning out to make extra room for turkey. Defrost turkey stock.


  • Gently reheat stock and make gravy.
  • Make Orange-Cranberry Sauce and/or Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce and refrigerate in large glass jars.
  • Prepare vegetables for stuffing, place in lock-top plastic bags, and refrigerate.
  • Clean and chop parsley, place in lock-top plastic bags, and refrigerate.
  • Remove chicken liver pâté from freezer and place in refrigerator to defrost.


  • Pick up turkey and fresh herbs and refrigerate. Make Yam and Winter Squash Purée and refrigerate.
  • Clean green beans and make topping. Refrigerate in lock-top plastic bags.
  • Buy flowers and arrange, if needed.
  • Chill wines and water.
  • Set the table and buffet, arranging serving pieces, platters, and trivets. You can even stick a Post-it on each platter designating which dish will go in each piece.
  • Organize coffee and tea.
  • Plan a schedule for the next day, deter- mining what time the turkey must be put in the oven (allowing the oven to preheat).


  • Make Double-Persimmon Pudding. Put turkey in oven (see chart below). If stuffing is not in turkey, place in a casserole and bake for 45 minutes before serving.
  • Make Perfect Mashed Potatoes and keep warm in a double boiler.
  • Arrange the bar.
  • Reheat gravy and add drippings from turkey.
  • Reheat Yam and Winter Squash Purée.
  • Assemble green beans and topping.
  • Fill water glasses and wineglasses. Put out pâté with water crackers and crudites.
  • Carve turkey.
  • Defrost pie 30 minutes before serving and reheat Caramel Sauce.
  • Reheat persimmon pudding 15 minutes before serving.

Approximate roasting times for an unstuffed turkey roasted at 325 degrees F:

Use this only as a guide to help budget your time, keeping in mind that the doneness of an unstuffed turkey should always be judged by its internal temperature rather than just by the clock. Times also vary depending on the oven temperature. Loosely cover the bird with aluminum foil if it gets too brown to avoid burning the skin.

  • 8 to 12 pounds: 2-3/4 to 3 hours
  • 12 to 14 pounds: 3 to 3-3/4 hours
  • 14 to 18 pounds: 3-3/4 to 4-1/4 hours
  • 18 to 20 pounds: 4-1/4 to 4-1/2 hours
  • 20 to 24 pounds: 4-1/2 to 5 hours

When testing for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer into the innermost part of the thigh without touching the bone. When the internal temperature reads 170 degrees F, remove the turkey from the oven and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. The bird will continue to cook while resting for 20 minutes, allowing you time to finish the gravy and to prepare to carve. The internal temperature will rise to about 175 degrees F.

  • from:
  • Seriously Simple Holidays
    Recipes and Ideas to Celebrate the Season
  • by Diane Rossen Worthington
  • Chronicle Books 2007
  • Paperback $24.95 224 pages
  • Illustrated with full-color photographs
  • ISBN-10: 0811854809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-8118-5480-1
  • Reprinted by permission.

Buy Seriously Simple Holidays


Seriously Simple Holidays

Thanksgiving Planning Countdown


Visit Thanksgiving Handbook


This page created October 2007

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