It is the week of Thanksgiving! I can't believe the end of November is upon us already. Our family's Thanksgiving Dinner has been at my parent's house for as long as I can remember. Are we the only ones who sit down to eat at 3 or 4 in the afternoon? I guess some families eat Thanksgiving Dinner at DINNER time. Who knew? This tradition is probably because we have family that drive in from a couple hours away, and they try to avoid the traffic. Of course, this means we snack on leftovers again at 7 or 8. Plus an extra slice of pie. How do you celebrate this special holiday?
As I discussed in my last post, Party No. 11 was a low-key affair. Which turned out to be exactly what I needed. A couple of my favorite girls came over for dinner on a Friday night. Cooking a full Thanksgiving meal by myself, for the first time, sounded like a fun exercise. But for only three ladies, it seemed like more work than it would be worth. While coming up with an alternative dinner menu, I remembered I already had a classic turkey dish in my repertoire: turkey meatloaf cupcakes.
These cupcakes are a year round favorite at my house. They have also become my most popular dish among my friends. They might even be my signature dish! Spoiler Alert: this ain't your Mama's meatloaf!
Sadly, meatloaf can have a bad reputation for being dry, flavorless and boring. My meatloaves, on the other hand, are savory and super juicy. By cooking them in a cupcake pan, they stay in the oven for a fraction of the time, thus keeping them extra moist. You can use your favorite meatloaf recipe, and simply place them in a cupcake pan. Originally, I stuck to this recipe. But over the years, I've adapted it to include more veggies/different amounts of various ingredients depending on what I have on hand.
The gist of my meatloaf is as follows: chop onion, zucchini, mushrooms and shred carrots. Sauté in pan with olive oil. Once veggies are soft, add 1/2 cup of broth, salt and pepper, 1 tbsp. each of Worcestershire sauce and ketchup. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, to cool. Once the liquid mixture is mostly cool, add in 1 lb. of ground turkey (or beef), 1 egg, 1 egg white, and nearly a cup of breadcrumbs. Mix all together and scoop mixture into your cupcake pan coated in cooking spray. I put a little bit of ketchup mixed with Worchestiere sauce on top. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. (Maybe more, I just kinda watch until they are done. This is not an exact science.)
Like any Thanksgiving, there was green beans and potatoes - only served a little differently. I topped my meatloaf cupcakes with a dollop of mashed potatoes, and a drizzle of ketchup. I roasted my green beans in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
And of course, there was pumpkin pie! I picked up this pie at Trader Joe's when I grabbed the roses. My version included the addition of rainbow sprinkles on top. I'm of the opinion that any event is the right time for rainbow sprinkles.
I believe that the difference between a standard party and a dinner party is the table itself. For dinner parties, you get to focus the decor on one central area. (The rest of your house can be a mess! We didn't even go to the living room during this party!) For my tablescapes I typically focus on three categories: linens, fresh flowers, and candles.
For this instance, my linens included that pretty gold runner I bought at Target last NYE. I think this is it's third appearance at a party, so I count that as a good purchase! I had plain white cloth napkins at each plate.
The white roses were $9.99 at Trader Joe's - my favorite place to buy flowers, second only to our Farmer's Market. I added a random assortment of candle holders, all with tea candles in them. A random white pumpkin, wooden pomegranete (on sale from Target), and that cool golden orb (also from Target).
I talked about how I came up with these pretty name tags in this post.
Check back soon to see my twist on traditional cranberries, and the rest of Party No. 11!
Happy Thanksgiving week, loves! I'm thankful for YOU!