My Thanksgiving Recipe Planner for 2021 (And BEYOND!)

My Thanksgiving Recipe Planner for 2021 (And BEYOND!)

thanksgiving dinner ideas 2021

It’s TURKEY TIME and we’re together again…finally! Extraordinary times call for extraordinary meals, and this year is especially filled with gratitude and good meals at the family dinner table.

When is Thanksgiving in 2021?  Thursday, November 25th!  That’s right around the corner.

Whether you’re hosting a family gathering, a Friendsgiving or a neighborhood potluck, we come to gather and give thanks at this time of year and this year is special.

We may not have seen each other in a while, so this Thanksgiving it’s more important than ever that you, the host, enjoy your day as much as everyone else does!

I have a sure-fire plan that allows you to make sure that you have as much FUN on Thanksgiving as your guests.

Here’s how we’ll do it!

 

Turkey Day Planning

Avoid Shortages: Order Ahead

This year especially you want to make sure that you reserve the items that you need for your menu and that you pick them up in plenty of time. Pick up your frozen turkey as soon as you can (and put it on your calendar to order ahead for festivities in December).

If you’re choosing a fresh turkey, make sure you reserve it at the grocery store for pick up several days in advance. The same is true if you are getting your turkey from the farm or market.

Make sure you are ready to pick up your reserved turkey when the farmer is ready to deliver.

Accept Help!

 

If Aunt Edna’s offers her pumpkin pie, accept!! If Cousin Ben offers to bring an appy, accept!!

If your best friend offers to help with the dishes, accept!!

You are the host, not the restaurant owner. This meal is about being thankful for our blessings and friends and family are those blessings.

 

Turkey Day Take-Alongs

Plan Your Menu

Turkey is the star, of course.

But choose the sides based on your oven space. If you have one oven, having six casserole dishes that need heated at the last minute won’t work out well.

Make use of your slow cooker, Instapot or warming drawer for extra help.

 

Break Down Everything into Its Smallest Part

 

If your appy is a cheese platter, have everything chopped and rolled so that all you have to do is assemble it.

Make your desserts ahead. Assemble your casserole dishes ahead, so all you have to do is bake them.

Make your gravy ahead and heat it on the stove while you carve the turkey.

Set your table in advance. If you are tackling a centerpiece, do this in advance.

Have a plan that lets you wake on Thanksgiving morning to a day with very few chores left to do!

 

Take a look at these ideas to get you started:

The Best Gravy Recipe EVER

 

My gift to you this holiday season is a foolproof, make-ahead recipe for the best, most delicious gravy…ever. This full proof make-ahead gravy recipe not only saves you time but is also the most flavorful gravy you’ve ever made!

Out of time or inspiration? Get my very best Thanksgiving recipes with easy-to-follow instructions to make this the most tasty holiday yet!

Shop Jorj's Cookbooks

7 Cookbooks and Counting!
Great Gift Ideas 😉

National Gumbo Day Recipe to Savor

National Gumbo Day Recipe to Savor

national gumbo day recipe october 12

If you’re looking for a dish that’s perfect to prepare it in the morning and heat up as family gets in, look no further!  This soup/stew has just enough spice to keep things interesting. The roux makes the dish… it’s rich, luscious and full of flavor!

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October 12th is National Gumbo Day and I have JUST the recipe to see that you celebrate deliciously.

The dish of many cultures, gumbo is a melting pot for flavors. National Gumbo Day is a day to enjoy the bold, savory signature stew from Louisiana.

This multifaceted dish reflects its origins as an adaptation of many different cultures’ recipes blended together into one delicious dish that we know today.

According to SouthernFoodWays.com, gumbo was first served at a gubernatorial reception in New Orleans in 1803.

There’s no certainly no better way to celebrate than enjoying a hot, savory dish of gumbo.  Give this recipe a try!

 

Shrimp Gumbo with Andouille Sausage

Servings

6-8

Ready In:

40 Minutes Until You’re Ready

Good For:

Dinner

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter, 2 sticks
  • 1 red pepper, deveined and diced into ¼” pieces
  • 1 green pepper, deveined and diced into ¼” pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced into ¼-inch pieces
  • 4 stalks celery, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups homemade chicken broth, or
  • prepared low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (8 ounce) bottles clam juice
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 4 to 6 drops hot pepper sauce
  • 14 ounces andouille sausage, sliced and cut in half
  • 2 pounds uncooked jumbo shrimp (21 to 25 count), peeled, deveined with tails removed
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen sliced okra, thawed
  • 2 to 3 cups cooked white rice

Shrimp Gumbo with Andouille Sausage Recipe

Spread the flour onto a baking sheet. Toast the flour in the oven for 10 minutes.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the toasted flour. Stir in the diced peppers. Cook the roux until it is amber brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Shrimp Gumbo with Andouille Sausage
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic to the pot. Add Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Pour in the white wine and cook until the liquid is incorporated. Stir in the chicken broth, clam juice, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Pour in the roux and cook for 5 minutes. Season with hot pepper sauce and additional salt and pepper. Stir in the sausage, shrimp and okra. Simmer until the shrimp is cooked through and the flavors meld, about 10 minutes.

Serve the gumbo by placing a scoop of rice in the middle of a bowl. Surround the rice with gumbo. Serve additional hot pepper sauce on the side!

Nana Network Tip
Use thawed, frozen shrimp and frozen okra in this recipe. It’s perfect and way less expensive!

Tried it? Tag it!

I would love to see what you did with this recipe.  Share your creation on social media with #inthekitchenwithjorj and be sure to show us in my free private home cooking group, Scrumptious Possibilities With Jorj!

Cooking With Mushrooms and Spinach

The Only Fruit Chutney Recipe You’ll Ever Need

The Only Fruit Chutney Recipe You’ll Ever Need

How to make easy fruit chutney recipe

 The Only Fruit Chutney Recipe You’ll Ever Need (And It’s Peachy Keen!)

If you’re looking for the perfect chutney recipe, look no further. This easy peach chutney recipe can be used with a variety of fruits and is great on crackers, sandwiches, or even cheese plates. Create your own signature chutney with the only chutney recipe you’ll ever need from Jorj’s kitchen!

When your brother-in-law calls on the way to your house to visit and asks if you want him to bring you some peaches, you say, “Yes”! 

And when he shows up at your house with a bag, a basket, and a box full of peaches, you say, “Thank you.” 

And on the day, he leaves, and all those peaches are lined up on your counter waiting for your inspiration, you say, “What can I make?”

Then it hits. Peach chutney.

Chutney is a condiment made with fruit and spices. I keep jars of chutney in my pantry. If guests drop by unexpectedly, I use chutney on top of goat cheese or cream cheese as an appy.

Chutney spices up my bacon and cheese panini sandwich and is just lovely spooned over pork or chicken. A spoonful of chutney added to your homemade chicken salad makes for a nice twist.

Mix it into mayo for a yummy condiment on your turkey sandwich or into sour cream for an easy dip.



Think of chutney as a spicy jam and you will find all sorts of things to do with it.

Here’s my recipe for a simple, fresh chutney that will last for weeks in your fridge.

It’s easy to prepare and a lot better than those in the jar because you taste the freshness of the fruit and control the amount of heat.

You can make chutney with pears, apples, mangos… really any fruit will work well.

All you do is throw everything into a pot and simmer until the fruit begins to break down, merging all the flavors together.

It’s fun to make, yummy to eat and a treat to share with family and friends. 

Hey, brother-in-law, these peaches were just peachy keen!

Servings

3 Cups

Ready In:

30 minutes ’til ready!

Good For:

Appetizers, Spreads, Dip, Lunch

Heat the olive oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onion and cook until just soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the peaches and tomatoes. Stir in the brown sugar. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Season with Chinese Five spice, salt, and pepper. Simmer until the peaches just begin to break apart and the chutney thickens about 20 to 25 minutes.

The longer you simmer, the thicker the chutney! 

Cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks in the fridge.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely diced, about ½ cup
  • 2 to 3 medium-hot cherry peppers, seeded and finely diced, about ½ cup
  • ½ red onion, peeled and finely diced, about ½ cup
  • 6 ripe peaches, peeled and diced, about 3 cups
  • 6 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced, about 3 cups
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

Note

To peel the peaches and tomatoes, use a sharp knife to cut slits in the top. Place into boiling water for a minute or two. Remove and cool slightly. The peel will come off easily from the slits.

Another Note

After you peel the tomatoes, you can squeeze out the extra juice and seeds by pushing them gently through a colander.

Celebrity Bartender….Who, Me? Craft Cocktail Recipes

Celebrity Bartender….Who, Me? Craft Cocktail Recipes

Create your own custom craft cocktails with these easy seasonal infused simple syrups, suitable for happy hours of one or more.  Click to skip to the recipe

easy simple syrup infusion recipe for cocktails

My BFF and I were asked to be “celebrity bartenders” at a meet and greet for pals and neighbors. We were invited to create our favorite cocktail.

This was a bit daunting, as we both prefer wine. However, we rose to the occasion. BFF infused vodka with fresh pineapple and cherries. A shot of this topped with club soda and garnished with the vodka soaked fruit turn out to be a quite the “Ridge Refresher”!

I decided to take a page from the Golden Age of Cocktails (the period between 1860 and Prohibition when most cocktails were invented) and update a few of the classics.

To do this, I focused on simple syrup. Simple syrup is the traditional sweetener in cocktails. You can buy simple syrup in a bottle and keep it in the fridge, or you can make it yourself by combining equal parts sugar and water and boiling until the sugar dissolves. Voila! Simple Syrup!!

The star of my cocktails was my Old Fashion made with a really, really good bourbon, a dash or two of bitters, and a splash of blood orange and sage-infused simple syrup.

Everything was placed into an ice-filled cocktail shaker, and then mixed for several seconds. The liquid was strained into a rocks glass over a huge cube of ice. The drink was garnished with bourbon-marinated fresh cherries and strips of candied blood orange. Yup, it was good!

Here are a few other ideas for simple syrups and their use. Bottoms Up!!

Easy Infused Simple Syrups

Makes: 1 cup of simple syrup

Time: 5 minutes to assemble and several hours to infuse

Ingredients

Blood Orange-Sage Simple Syrup:

1 cup granulated sugar

Juice from 4 blood oranges

1 bunch sage leaves

1 cinnamon stick

Blueberry-Thyme Simple Syrup:

1 cup granulated sugar

1 pint blueberries

1 bunch thyme leaves

Meyer Lemon-Lavender Simple Syrup:

1 cup granulated sugar

Juice from 4 Meyer lemons

1 bunch lavender

Lime-Lime Spearmint Simple Syrup:

1 cup granulated sugar

Juice from 4 limes

1 bunch lime spearmint leaves

Veal Sinatra
Veal Sinatra
Veal Sinatra
Veal Sinatra

For each syrup, place 1 cup sugar into a deep pot with a lid. Pour in 1 cup water. Add the fruit (and in the case of the juices, add in a couple of the squeezed peels) and the herbs and spices. Bring the mixture to a boil to let the sugar dissolve. Put the lid on the pot and reduce the heat to let the syrup simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the syrup sit on top of the stove for several hours. 

Pour the syrup through a fine-mesh colander and into a jar with a seal. Refrigerate for up to several weeks.

Things to Note:

These syrups are perfect for cocktails and mocktails. Use the blood orange-sage syrup to create a super Old Fashion or Manhattan cocktail. Blueberry-thyme updates a traditional Gin Fizz. And lime-lime spearmint takes your next Margarita to new heights!

You can also use simple syrups to sweeten cold drinks like lemonade and iced tea. The Meyer-Lemon Simple syrup is terrific in pink lemonade! 

Another Thing to Note:

You can also use these syrups to sweeten cakes. Poke holes into a pound cake, douse in syrup, and see what comes out!! You can also mix them into your sorbet or ice cream recipes.

Make it My Way:

Anything and everything go into your simple syrup. Don’t stop with these combinations. Create your own!!

Last Thing to Note:

If you want to add a garnish to your drink, try candying the citrus peel. Before you squeeze, use a vegetable peeler to cut thin strips from the peel. Take these strips, place them in a pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and repeat this boiling procedure two more times. You are doing this to soften the peel while retaining the color. Next, place the strips into the pot and add 1 cup sugar and two cups water. Bring this mixture to a boil and reduce for about 30 minutes.

There will be some liquid left in the pan, but not much. Cool to room temperature. Transfer the strips from the pot to a wire rack placed over a piece of parchment paper. Let the strips dry overnight, the longer the better!

At this point, you can douse the strips in sugar again if you like and eat them like candy. But I use them as they are to garnish the drink. Sooooo good!!

National Hamburger Day is May 28 🍔 Get these burger recipes!

National Hamburger Day is May 28 🍔 Get these burger recipes!

National Hamburger Day Recipes

National Hamburger Day is May 28th.  What will YOU be eating?

We all know you really don’t need a designated day to savor a delicious, sizzling burger, fresh off the grill, or make a veggie-forward option for a lighter lunch option.

And with Memorial Day around the corner, it’s all the more reason to start thinking burgers!

I have made my fair share of burgers over the years for a number of occasions:  Super Bowl parties, outdoor get-togethers, and just good ol’ American eatin’.

But these recipes endure, and I’m sure they’ll find a special place in your May menu line-up!

Score a Touchdown with the SUNDAY BEST BURGER!

Check out my recipe for my Sunday Best Burger to see just what happiness is made from! If you don’t want to grind the beef yourself, ask your butcher to do the grinding for you. Most grocery store meat departments will be happy to do this for no extra charge.

Read on

Couch Potato Fan Food for the Super Bowl

 These sliders are bite-sized and couch PERFECT.  Use sharp cheddar and do NOT forget the pickles.  Oh, and good news, the recipe a mountain of pimento cheese, suitable for savoring with burgers, nachos, you name it!

Read on

Couch Potato Fan Food for the Super Bowl

My veggie burgers are filled with fiber and offer a delicious alternative to the more caloric beef burger. This is your go-to recipe for a basic veggie burger that most condiments and giant bun can make extra delicious. I like that you can make it in a skillet just like you would a grilled cheese.  

Read on

Couch Potato Fan Food for the Super Bowl

What would a delicious burger be without homemade fries?! You’ll be delighted by how easy – and delicious! – these hot potatoes are.

Read on

Mother’s Day Best Recipes: Make Together Ideas!

Mother’s Day Best Recipes: Make Together Ideas!

It’s Mother’s Day, and I have just the (fool-proof!) plan for your at-home celebrations. These dishes don’t skimp on thoughtful details but are quick and easy to prepare with all of the kiddos!

No matter what they call you (or how many times they shout your name), when they call for mom, they are calling out of need.

“Mom, where’s this…”
“Mom, can you believe she did that?”
“Mom, tell him to stop touching me!!!”
“Mom, I can’t find……………..”

Well, on this one Sunday in May, we Moms don’t need to have all of the answers.

In fact, it may be the only day of the year when you can reply, “Ask your father,” without ending your marriage in the process.

Let me help get your Mother’s Day morning (or noon or Saturday before!) inspired with a few of my favorite recipes that are easy enough to prepare, absolutely perfect to share, and will definitely show your care.

Ask your family to whip these up or make it a group activity!

When Life Gives You Lemons….. Make Lemon Curd!

When life gives you lemons…..Make lemon curd! You can spread lemon curd on your English muffin, swirl it in the center of a pound cake, whip it into a mousse, transform it into ice cream or make lemon curd parfaits for a light, airy, and bright spring dessert.

Read on

Breakfast Skillet with Glazed Eggs

Here’s my make-it-at-home version of breakfast pizza that’s easily prepared, and tastes just like the one from the market. It’s just a little slice of breakfast heaven!

Read On

Camp Greystone Famous Opening-Day Scones

This is the recipe for the famous Camp Greystone opening day scones. The campers are greeted with these on the first day of camp. The parents are given some to take on the trip home and then hustled out the door. It’s a camp tradition that has met with success for generations, and one I am always excited to recreate with my granddaughter.

 

Read On

Chilled Strawberry Soup for Hot Days

Say, “Hello” to DOUGHNUT Muffins! Get everyone into the act when making these delicious treats. My grandson Sammy LOVES donuts and has got in on the fun: Little ones can brush the warm butter and sprinkle the toppings and the older kids can stir the ingredients together and wash up the bowls! 

Read On

What to Feed Your April Fool? How About Dinner for Breakfast?

There are so many savory breakfast classics, but this one is something special.  In Spain, it’s just a tapa, but in my house, it can be breakfast, brunch, and even dinner! Try this potato torte and pair it with sangria for an authentic experience. 😉

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