Thanksgiving, Family and Food. And a Recipe!


I hope every­one had a great Thanksgiving. I know we did, but we almost didn’t. A few weeks ago I came down with the swine flu which then turned into pleurisy. For more than the last two weeks I have been in bed. I didn’t really leave the bed or couch unless i needed to go to the bath­room. Unfortunately that meant no cook­ing which really sucked. Fortunately, I did get bet­ter in time for us to host Thanksgiving for my fam­ily this year. I am so glad that I did get well in time because it was awe­some. Megan and I made a lot of great food with the help of my sis­ter, Annalise, who cam into town a cou­ple days early from New York. We spent a lot of time in the kitchen laugh­ing, cook­ing and mess mak­ing to put together the best thanks­giv­ing meal any of us has ever had.

Megan did an amaz­ing job of putting together a beau­ti­ful table scape with colour­ful felt leaves and a large vase of fall gourds.



I got up at 6:30am to start some coals and remove the turkey from the Apple cider brine that it had been soak­ing in for 10 hours. I dried it and applied a dry rub and threw it in the smoker for a glo­ri­ous 8 hour smoke. Look at that beau­ti­ful bird!


While the turkey was smok­ing, Megan, Annalise and I made brunch. There was mini chevré, sun-dried tomato and rose­mary quiches, turkey sausage balls and a fruit & cheese plat­ter. My par­ents came over just before noon for brunch and to hang out while the three of us con­tin­ued to pre­pare the main feast.

The menu for the day was fan­tas­tic. In addi­tion to the smoked turkey (which was by far the best turkey I have ever had), the three of us made some mouth-wateringly deli­cious side dishes.

Annalise made a deli­cious corn­bread and sage stuff­ing which con­tained 2 sticks of but­ter! Paula Deen would be so proud!


Megan made a very tasty sweet potato casse­role with cran­ber­ries, her mom’s home­made apple sauce and a crunchy pecan brown sugar topping.


We made this really awe­some potato and mush­room pie from Martha Stewart. Man, that jail­bird can cook!


I made a mostly from scratch green bean casse­role with a white wine, mush­room & sharp ched­dar cream sauce (see below for the recipe). Screw you campbell’s, mine’s WAY better!


Throughout the meal there was much laugh­ter and fam­ily antics includ­ing Megan steal­ing my turkey leg!




My par­ents enjoyed all the great food and my mom dis­cov­ered that the felt name cards make great name tags.


Megan used the name cards and the string that held the nap­kins together to make a thanks­giv­ing eye patch.


For dessert megan made a really great Rum Pumpkin Pie with fresh whipped cream.


I wanted to share the recipe i came up with for my green bean casse­role. I didn’t want to go the cream of mush­room soup rout this time. so I came up with a creamy mush­room & cheese sauce to hold every­thing together and there’s bacon! I’ve never had a bet­ter great bean casse­role. The only thing that I didn’t make was the fried onions which I sup­pose i could have made if i was really indus­tri­ous. But for now, this recipe will have to do. I hope you guys enjoy it, and if you make it, please let me know.

Ben’s Homemade Green Bean Casserole

3 strips of bacon
2 shal­lots, diced
1/2 lb crem­ini mush­rooms, Cut into 1/4″ pieces
2 cloves gar­lic, minced
2 tbsp. but­ter
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup half & half
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. nut­meg
1/4 tsp. red pep­per flakes
salt and pep­per to taste
1 1/2 cups shred­ded sharp ched­dar cheese
1 1/2 cup french fried onions
1 qt. Green Beans

Preheat oven to 350º F.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, fry bacon until crispy. Remove bacon to paper towel to drain leav­ing grease in the pan. Chop the bacon once it has cooled. Return pan with bacon grease to heat, add shal­lots and cook for 3 min­utes. Add mush­rooms and gar­lic and con­tinue to cook until all the mois­ture that the mush­rooms release had evap­o­rated. Stir in half of the white wine and con­tinue to cook until all of the wine has evap­o­rated. Remove shal­lots, mush­rooms and gar­lic from the pan and set aside for later.

Return pan to heat and add but­ter, heat­ing until the but­ter is melted. Sprinkle in flour and whisk con­tin­u­ously until all the flour is dis­solved; con­tinue cook­ing and whisk­ing for 2 min­utes. Whisk in half & half, broth, remain­ing wine, Worcestershire, nut­meg, red pep­per and salt and pep­per to taste and cook for 2 min­utes. Add 1/2 cup of cheese and whisk until it all melts and then add the shal­lots, mush­rooms, gar­lic and bacon and stir to combine.

Fold green beans and half of the fried onions into cream sauce and pour mix­ture into a greased 8″ x 8″ bak­ing dish. Cover with remain­ing cheese and bake for 25 min­utes. Remove dish from the oven, sprin­kle with remain­ing fried onions and return to oven, cook­ing for an addi­tional 5 min­utes or until fried onions are golden brown.

Green Bean Casserole

Hopefully now that I am well I can return to a reg­u­lar blog­ging sched­ule. Have a great week­end everybody!

This entry was posted in Bacon, Dessert, Holidays, Megan, Party, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Posted December 1, 2009 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Yikes, Ben. So sorry that you have been so sick – glad you are returned to good health and good eat­ing.
    Looks like you all enjoyed a won­der­ful time together this Thanksgiving — no doubt you appre­ci­ated the cook­ing and din­ing all the more.

    • Posted December 1, 2009 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      yeah, it’s been a rough go. but you’re right, it was a very wel­come change to be back in the kitchen with the living!

  2. Posted December 6, 2009 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I have been exper­i­ment­ing for the last three Thanksgivings with green bean casse­role made from scratch, but have never man­aged to get it quite right. Now I real­ize it is because I was try­ing to make cream of mush­room soup from scratch, rather than mak­ing a thicker, gluier sauce to hold it all together. Thanks!

    • Posted December 6, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      my sauce was sup­p­soed to be a play on cream of mush­room soup, but thicker. it mim­iced it well in con­sis­tency but had a much richer, bet­ter taste.

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