The holidays started last month with my husband’s birthday, followed by Halloween. Even more than usual, they are flying by. And no, it doesn’t help that Thanksgiving is late this year, making Christmas early. I just have this feeling in the pit of my stomach, or the back of my brain: I should have finished my Christmas shopping last week already. For those of you who have already finished your Christmas cards (memo to self: get Christmas cards), thank you for your inspirational role-modeling. I’m hoping next year will be more organized.
In the meantime, I did plan my Thanksgiving celebration; it’s Tex-Mex this year, in honor of my son’s new Mustang status.I just read it off to my son, who is in Dallas at SMU, and he said that it was making him hungry already. So, I’m sharing it with you here. Special thanks to Kim Pierce, who wrote a great piece for the Dallas Times on a Tex Mex Thanksgiving, way back in 2007 (talk about planning ahead!).
Here’s my plan for the menu:
I’ll start with simple cheese quesadillas (for the few picky eaters in my family), garnished with my guacamole because I love it, and accompanied by Chipotle Shrimp Tacos. Because Thanksgiving dinner is such a huge meal, I’ll substitute for the soup course with a light salad (thank you, Martha!), sprinkled with pepitas.
The entrée, high-heat roasted turkey (seasoned with Tex-Mex spices), will follow. The seasonings for the Tex-Mex rub on the turkey are simply borrowed from the seasonings recommended by Kim Pierce for the chili gravy that she wrote about. The high-heat method is straight out of Fine Cooking; their technique is not only easy but delicious. I’ll just make a simple pan gravy from the turkey drippings; I think it will be a lighter complement to all the food on the buffet.
Now for the sides: Ancho Chilis Stuffed with Sweet Potatoes, Cranberry-Mango Relish, Tex-Mex Zucchini, Smoked Baked Potatoes with El Rancho Chili con Queso, Mexican Corn Stuffing Casserole (without the cheeses), and Flaky Cheddar Jalapeno Biscuits. The sweet potato, cranberry, and potato dishes are from Kim Pierce’s article also; they read like authentic Tex-Mex recipes (not just traditional Thanksgiving dishes with Tex-Mex spices – like, ahem, my roast turkey recipe – !) The zucchini recipe is from Fine Cooking, too, and the stuffing recipe is from cooksrecipes.com. The biscuits will be a blend of two recipes, Flaky Angel Biscuits and Cheddar and Jalapeno Biscuits (from Simply Recipes.com).
Now, for the dessert. It might just be my favorite part of the meal… Pumpkin Flan (adapted from a special family recipe), Pecan Pie (because my from-Houston-friend says every Texan serves pecan pie at Thanksgiving), and Chocolate Tres Leches Cake, because we need something chocolate, don’t we? (The Chocolate Tres Leches Cake is also from Fine Cooking.)
I know I have so much to be grateful for. My family is basically healthy; my living-away-from-home-son is happy where he is, my teenage daughter is finding her way (whether she realizes it or not); my husband is infinitely patient with all of us; my dog plays like a puppy still; I have made some new friends who have stepped up as old friends have moved on; I still have old friends; and I have Thanksgiving Dinner coming up. I am looking forward to the Conversation Starters we always use,the Pictionary Challenge that always follows, and our tradional placecards. I thank God for these blessings, and I sincerely hope that you are blessed as well. Happy Thanksgiving! Feliz Día de Acción de Gracias!