Herewith, the menu:
Pork Roast - I decided that instead of cooking a turkey, which is difficult to make turn out well and which takes up the whole oven for a long time, I would just make a pork roast in the crock pot and keep the oven free. I did a test run last weekend, and it turned out well, if a little dry. (That whole setting-the-stove=on-fire thing aside.) This time I was able to cook it for 10 hours on low instead of 6 hours on high and it turned out great. You just rub it with salt and pepper and brown it on the stove, then put the roast, a cup of white wine, a bunch of garlic and a bunch of sage in the crock pot, and your work is done.
Gravy - Last weekend I also discovered that you can make fabulous gravy from the liquid in the crock pot with very little effort. I can make gravy from scratch! This feels like a secret power. Remove the roast, whisk in Wondra until it takes on a roux-like consistency, and then add cream or half-and-half until it looks like gravy. I also added a little sauteed onion and mushroom, whizzed in the mini food processor.
Roasted Green Veggies - Toss broccoli, green beans, and asparagus with olive oil and salt and roast on a cookie sheet. This is the only dish that gave me any real trouble, because the oven got itself confused after I took the first tray out and insisted it was still at 425 when it very clearly wasn't. I turned it off and let it cool down for 5 minutes then turned it back on and it started heating up again. One batch of broccoli was also a little over-salty. I spritzed it with lemon juice, and I think that helped.
Butternut Squash Soup - With apple, onion, and curry powder. Very tasty, but I should have known better than to make a full recipe. We now have three tubs of leftovers in the freezer. Running it all through the blender to puree it is a little tedious, so now I want a stick blender.
Stuffing With Lots of Stuff - I actually just followed the recipe on the bag (Papperidge Farms sage and onion flavor stuffing mix) and it turned out great. I used the add-on recipe and added in a pound of sausage, an apple, and some nuts. Oh, and then I added mushrooms, too.
Green Bean Casserole - The traditional dish (canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, fried onions), but I fancied it up with extra mushrooms and some half-and-half and a splash of white wine. This and the stuffing are both great because all you have to do is mix up a bunch of ingredients, put it in a pan, and stick it in the oven.
Mock Mashed Potatoes - Made from cauliflower. I had two heads of cauliflower, but came to my senses and only cooked one. Basically, you just boil the cauliflower for 15 minutes, then puree it in the food processor with a quarter-cup of dairy. At first it was still too cauliflower-y, so I added more garlic powder and some sharp cheddar and parmesan, and that balanced thigns out. It was a little watery, so next time I think I might forgo the half-and-half and just use butter and cheese.
Glazed Carrots - Made these the night before to use up a bag of baby carrots and add a little variety. The recipe said leave them untouched in the pan for five minutes on medium-high, and the burned. But after I scraped off the burned bits, they were fine. With ginger and orange juice.
Cranberry-Orange Relish - Jerry made this, and it's very tasty. There's also a LOT of it. Another recipe to halve.
Pie and Cake - My Mom brought two pies (pumpkin and pistachio) and a vanilla bundt cake. The pumpkin pie was really good, and apparently it's just the recipe from the Libby's pumpkin pie filling can. So now you know.
I did a couple things the night before and a couple while I was making breakfast, but basically I got it all done between 10 am and 1 pm. I fed the two of us, my mom & step-dad, and my step-brother and his daughter, and everyone was happy and well-fed.
And the bonus of doing Thanksgiving at your place: not only did I not have to drive anywhere in holiday traffic, there wasn't anything on the table that I didn't want to eat.