We hosted both our families for our first Thanksgiving here. I was a little nervous, but everything turned out great. I did a bunch of planning & prep work beforehand, so it wasn't too hectic to get everything finished in time for a 3 pm feast.
I'd never roasted a turkey before, but thanks to Cook's Illustrated's instructions my bird turned out beautifully. I brined it overnight (noone in my family had ever brined a turkey before, and everyone was impressed with the results), then air-dried it in the fridge for four hours, stuffed it with rosemary, thyme & sage and put it in the oven at noon. I basted it occasionally with melted butter. It cooked at 400F breast-down for the first 45 minutes, then flipped it over and put it back in for another 1 3/4 hours. Stuffed only with herb sprigs, it didn't take nearly as long as a traditionally stuffed bird would to cook, so despite the fears of a few doubters it was ready to come out of the oven at 2:30. As you can see, it was gorgeous. I was feeling pretty proud of it. :)
Here's the full feast spread on the table, ready to eat! There were 9 of us (Dave, Anita, Grandma Marjorie, Cary's Cousin John, Mom, Dad, Grandma Joy, Cary & I) and way more than enough food. Leftovers are a wonderful thing.
In addition to the turkey, I made:
Bacon & Apple Stuffing
Herbed Vegetarian Stuffing
Carrots roasted with maple syrup
Brussels sprouts braised with garlic & pine nuts
Gravy and Cranberry Sauce
Grandma Joy brought the butter-flake rolls
Dave brought Roasted squash
Mom & Anita each brought apple pies.
And as if that weren't enough, later in the evening Nick & Tombi & Moira stopped by with some of Tombi's pumpkin cheesecake, and then Bo & Charlotte came out and brought Charlotte's chocolate-ammarretto mousse. I'm sure it's completely unrelated, but the pants-shrinking gnomes hit in the middle of the night and made my pants tight. :)
We are so blessed. What a wonderful day, what a wonderful life!