Happy Thanksgiving & Turkey Noodle Soup Recipe

 

thanksgiving-verse

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hopefully you’re having a lovely day with your family. But if you’re feeling a little frazzled right now, I recommend taking just a few minutes to read this Live More, Love More Thanksgiving Recipe at Hands Free Mama.

If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend instead of today, make sure to check out my ultimate last-minute Thanksgiving prep guide. It includes help with simplifying your schedule, menu tips, cleaning shortcuts, and simple activities for the kids!

You can also see all of my other Thanksgiving articles here.

And, after you’re finished lingering over too much pie, but before you throw out your leftover turkey pieces, make sure you read about how to make your own turkey stock from scratch – it’s a frugal, delicious, and incredibly healthy way to use every part of the turkey.

My favorite stock & soup recipe is a simple five-step tutorial on Frugal Indy’s site.

Homemade Broth and Turkey Noodle Soup:

Step One – Introduction

Step Two – Ingredient list & instructions for cooking the broth

Step Three – Separating broth from the other stuff

Step Four – Adding noodles to finish the soup (a really delicious gluten free noodle recipe is here)

Step Five – Freezing the remaining broth

And there you have it – homemade turkey noodle soup! My family absolutely loves eating this turkey noodle soup on Thanksgiving weekend and freezing the rest of the stock to have throughout the winter!

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Homemade Turkey Noodle Soup Recipe - a perfect way to use leftover turkey!


The Simplified Last-Minute Thanksgiving Guide

thanksgiving-checklist

Sometimes it happens – we’re busy and before we know it, Thanksgiving is TOMORROW and we’re not quite ready! Ack, PANIC! Only, don’t really panic because I’ve got you covered!

Here’s your ultimate last-minute Thanksgiving prep guide:

Scheduling

The first thing you’ll need to do is take 20 minutes to gather your thoughts and make a to-do list.

This will help you stay focused when you’re in that crazy-rushed mode since you won’t even have to think about what’s next – just look at the list and do what it says! This great, simple last-minute Thanksgiving guide should help you get started.

Menu Tips

The next thing you should do is finalize your menu plan. To help you out, I have a simple and delicious last-minute menu plan here and I’ve included everything from allergen-friendly tips to how-to video links.

Cleaning Short-cuts

Have a messy house and company coming? Fake your way to clean in 20 minutes or less with these great tips!

Easy Kid Stuff

Here’s a Thanksgiving craft that won’t clutter up your house. Need an even easier idea? Give your kids fall-colored construction paper with some crayons and let them draw their own Thanksgiving scenes!

ThanksgivingCraft2

You could also set your kids up with History.com so they can learn about the history of Thanksgiving! I love the Thanksgiving story that’s retold by children, as well as the other great Thanksgiving videos.

Remember the Reason

Finally, remember the reason for Thanksgiving. While it’s my own personal favorite food day of the year, Thanksgiving isn’t just about the food, and it’s definitely not about impressing others with our awesome cooking skills. Not at all. Whether in time of abundance or in time of need, Thanksgiving is really about being thankful.

“I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13 (NASB)

Read all of my Thanksgiving posts here.


Thanksgiving Menu

thanksgiving-menu

{Photo credit Apolonia / FreeDigitalPhotos.net}

It’s Thanksgiving week! Some of you have your turkeys thawing, your pies planned, and ingredients for your side dishes in your cupboards. The rest of us… well, we know that we need to plan something.

Whether you’re taking a side dish to a relative’s house for Thanksgiving or hosting the meal in your own home, having a menu in place will help tremendously!

Here’s an example of what I like to serve for Thanksgiving, including links to recipes I love or links to something that’s similar to a recipe I love:

Main Course:

Turkey – This isn’t quite how I prep a turkey. I stuff mine with STUFFING, I had no clue about the skin trick, and I cook mine in a turkey bag to help retain moisture. But, for those of you who have never prepped a whole Turkey before, this is a great video and I’m sure that Chef John’s turkey is delicious!

thanksgiving-231781_1280

Stuffing – After trying this recipe, I’ll never make boxed stuffing again! If you’re using regular bread instead of gluten free bread, try using only half a loaf instead of a full loaf (gluten free loaves are tiny!). If you do want to buy stuffing, cook it in the bird for plenty of extra flavor.

Giblet Gravy – My husband makes this gravy every year and it is SO good!

Sweet potato casserole – Some years I top my sweet potato casserole with marshmallows. Other years I top it with pecans. And sometimes, I just bake the sweet potatoes whole and set out butter with brown sugar and marshmallows. Any way you make it, sweet potatoes are a delicious addition to the Thanksgiving feast!

Mashed potatoes

Green beans or peas

Fruit – cranberry salad, clementines, applesauce, or a fruit salad

Bread – Consider making rolls or easy pumpkin muffins. If you want to buy rolls, buy Sister Shubert. They’re hands-down the best store bought rolls out there.

{Main Course Tip: If you’re short on time then skip a couple of side dishes or purchase a rotisserie chicken or two instead of making a turkey.}

Dessert:

pie-185507_1280

Pumpkin Pie – If you only make one pie, make sure it’s pumpkin. A Thanksgiving classic, it’s also one of the easiest pies to make from scratch. And if you need a dairy-free whipped cream option to go with it, then give this 3-ingredient whipped cream recipe a try!

Apple Pie – If you must buy your Thanksgiving pie, then do yourself a favor and buy a Sarah Lee apple pie. It’s not your grandma’s recipe but it is the best store bought apple pie I’ve found.

Brownies or something else chocolate.

{Dessert tip: Need a simple gluten free pie crust? Check out this delicious recipe and this how-to video. If you can’t make your crust roll out properly, just lightly smash it into the pan like I do – you can’t tell a difference after it’s baked!}

Beverages

Grape punch – I make this every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and nobody has a clue that it only takes two minutes to throw together!

Hot cider – buy a gallon of apple cider, dump it in a crock pot, and turn on the crock pot. Or simply microwave it by the cup.

{Beverage tip: If you’re really pressed for time, then just buy a few sodas and consider the beverages done!}

I also love this post on Money Saving Mom about the $9 Thanksgiving meal.

And if you’re cooking for gluten-sensitive guests, make sure to check out this incredibly helpful video about how to shop for a gluten free Thanksgiving.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?


Thanksgiving Guide for the Non-Planner

thanksgiving-guide

I don’t really plan ahead – I put out (figurative) fires.

Thanksgiving is no exception.

I’ve hosted for five years in a row but somehow I’m still rushing around at the last second to finish everything on time.

I’ve finally learned to plan ahead a little bit. And while planning ahead doesn’t eliminate all of the last-minute rush, it does help to relieve a lot of the last-minute stress.

Here’s the Thanksgiving week schedule:

WP_20141031_013

Tuesday

Clean the house. Even if you’re not the one hosting this year, think about how nice it will be to come home to a clean house after Thanksgiving dinner! Whether you spend several hours cleaning thoroughly, or you need to fake a clean house in less than 20 minutes, the time you spend cleaning up will be well worth your efforts.

Finalize the menu. (I have simple Thanksgiving menu suggestions here.) How many pies do you need to make? Are you cooking a full turkey or buying a pre-cooked bird? What about the sides? Since we’re planning last minute, let’s do ourselves a favor and keep things simple by dropping anything unnecessary off our menus.

Grocery shop. If at all possible, we need to go to the store before Wednesday or we may have to modify our carefully planned menus at the very last second!

Pack your bags if you’re traveling overnight.

Wednesday

Finish anything remaining from Tuesday’s list. If you haven’t cleaned yet do it now, especially if the festivities will be in your own home. The same goes for menu planning and grocery shopping. This is the last minute so don’t wait any longer!

Make sure there’s enough seating for everyone. If you’re hosting, make sure you have enough tables and chairs. If you’re not hosting, call the host to see if they’d like you to bring any chairs with you.

Start cooking! Cook anything that you have time to make today. I like to make dessert and stuffing the day before Thanksgiving to keep my oven free on the big day.

WP_20141124_003

Thursday

Give your kids something to do. Whether they help you cook or want to make a simple last-minute Thanksgiving craft that won’t clutter up your house, make sure to keep your little ones busy so they don’t try to trash the house!

Finish cooking.

Take time to get prettied-up!

Plus, if you’re hosting:

Run-through the house. This is a phrase we use often in our home. We mean, “Run through the house and make sure everything is put away.” This is our last minute pre-company run to make sure we haven’t overlooked anything.

Wipe down the toilet and sink.

Sweep the kitchen and bathroom floors. Even if you don’t have time to mop, you or someone else in your family can quickly sweep the bathroom and kitchen floors so guests aren’t stepping on crumbs and other icky-ness.

Set the tables.

And most importantly, enjoy your day! Thanksgiving probably won’t be perfect, but let’s remember the big picture and choose thankfulness as we consider our many blessings.

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 (NKJV)