Operation Nutrition

nutrition, fitness, motherhood, & everything in between

Tag: thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2016

Happy Wednesday, friends! Chances are, you’ll be spending time today prepping some delicious food for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving feast! I figured I’d share some of the recipes we’ll be making. We’re making most of the food, but we did order 2 sides from Wegman’s.

B is smoking a turkey like he did last year. Here is the recipe we’re using again this year Smoked Turkey. Currently, the turkey is in the refrigerator brining. Check out this interesting set up going on. Smile  The brining bag kept falling over, so we used an old Pampers box to keep the sides from falling (so far so good).











I’m also making my favorite macaroni and cheese recipe from this cookbook:









I’ll be making my mother’s Sage Cranberry Stuffing. I’ve never made it before and there isn’t exactly a specific “recipe” (so I’m hoping it will turn out as delicious as hers does). If it turns out, I’ll post how to make it.

For dessert, I’ll be making pumpkin pie, apple pie, and streusel pumpkin cheesecake bars. I’m using the recipe on the back of the Libby’s pumpkin can for the pumpkin pie. For the apple pie, I’m using the recipe from The Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.











The Streusel Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars is a favorite recipe of mine.

streusel barsstreusel







The other sides are coming from Wegman’s. We ordered their Cranberry-Orange Sauce (I tried to make my own and it wasn’t good at all).

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The other side we’re getting from Wegman’s is their Roasted Butternut Squash with Baby Spinach & Cranberries. It’s absolutely delicious!








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Some of our family is brining other dishes, so we should have a lot of delicious food!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Smoked Turkey

Happy Sunday everyone! Can you believe that Thanksgiving is this week?

The holidays are definitely my favorite time of year, but this year just seems so much more exciting with a 1-year old. We are hosting Thanksgiving this year and I’m really looking forward to it. To be honest though, we are only making a few things from scratch. The majority of the food is being ordered through Wegman’s. If you’ve never tried their catering, I highly recommend it. The food is fresh and they have such a large assortment to choose from. We are buying a deep-fried turkey and cooking one ourselves. My husband got a new smoker so he’s planning to smoke a turkey. He tried it out last week (so that we would know how it would turn out). It was delicious! In fact, it was so good, that I wanted to share the recipe with you.

It’s a 2-day process because we you brine it overnight. I’ve roasted turkeys before, but never brined or smoked one. I forgot to take a picture before we cut it, so here’s a (not so great) picture.

Smoked Turkey


Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make a smoked turkey:

For the brine:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1.5 cups salt
  • 1/4 cup apple spice dry rub
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1/2 bundle of fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp. whole peppercorn

For the smoker, turkey, & seasoning rub:

  • apple & cherry wood chips (soaked prior to use)
  • whole turkey (ours was 14lbs.)
  • 1 cup of Ghee
  • 1/2 cup salt; divided
  • 1/2 cup garlic powder; divided
  • 1/2 cup Louisiana spice mix; divided
  • 1 large onion; quartered
  • 1 orange peel
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 1/2 bundle of fresh thyme


For the brine: (Be sure to brine the turkey for at least 12 hours before planning to cook)

1. Boil 1 gallon of water. Mix all of the brine dry ingredients together.

2. Dissolve all ingredients in boiling water (about 10 minutes).

3. After everything is dissolved, add ice to mixture to cool. Place 2 oven bags (double-bagged) into a deep disposable aluminum baking pan. Place thoroughly cleaned turkey into the bag. Pour mixture to turkey bag (be sure to have turkey completely submerged…you might need to add water to the brine to ensure that the turkey is completely covered).

4. Place in refrigerator and let it soak for at least 12 hours.

Prep Smoker:

1. Preheat smoker to 350 degrees. Add apple & cherry wood chips.

Turkey Seasoning:

1. Mix rub ingredients together (1cup Ghee, 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup garlic powder, 1/4 cup Louisiana spice mix).

2. Using your hands, cover turkey well with the rub.

3. Mix the remaining dry ingredients (1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup garlic powder, 1/4 cup Louisiana spice mix). Use this mixture to coat the top of the turkey.

4. Stuff the turkey with quartered onion, orange peel, lemon peel, & 1/2 bundle of fresh thyme.

Smoke turkey:

1. Place turkey in smoker directly on rack.

2. Cook turkey at 350 degrees for about 3 hours (or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees). Replace wood chips and water after about 1 1/2 hours or so.

3. Enjoy!

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