A Small Batch Thanksgiving — Brown Sugar Rubbed Turkey Roast and Wild Rice Stuffing with Cranberries and Walnuts

728There are three days until Thanksgiving so it is time to post the center piece of our Thanksgiving feast …. turkey and stuffing.  This year I went traditional for the meat part of my meal.  I found a 3 pound turkey roast that was just the perfect size for one.  I know that it isn’t the prettiest when it come out of the bag because it is made up of pieces of turkey rather than a whole turkey breast. Once you rub it and cook it, roast looks just as nice as a whole breast without all the leftovers. You will have plenty of time to thaw the turkey roast too.  It only takes a day or so in the fridge.

Brown Sugar Rubbed Turkey Breast

1 3 lb turkey roast

2 TBS brown sugar

1 tsp parsley flakes

1 tsp sweet paprika

1/2 tsp dried mustard

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pat the turkey with paper towels to dry.  Mix the brown sugar, parsley flakes, paprika, dry mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cinnamon, pepper and ginger in a bowl.  Pat the rub all over the turkey.  Arrange the turkey in a baking pan and roast until a meat thermometer registers 170 degrees, about 1 hour 15 minutes to 2 hours  Let rest before slicing.


For the stuffing this year I used wild rice and my favorite, cranberries.  Since this recipe is a little heavy on the prep time cook the Wild and Basmati rice the night before and finish it off in the oven Thanksgiving day.

Wild Rice Stuffing with Cranberries and Walnuts

1 1/2 tsp olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 3/4 cups vegetable broth

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup uncooked wild rice

1/2 cup uncooked Basmati rice

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 TBS fresh parsley, chopped

1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme

2 TBS chopped walnuts

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add broth and salt and bring to a boil. Stir in wild rice, cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 45 minutes.  Stir in Basmati rice, cover and simmer until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Stir in cranberries, parsley, thyme, and walnuts, cover and cook for 5 minutes more. Season with pepper and additional salt to taste.  Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 1 1/2  quart baking dish. Transfer rice mixture to dish and bake until light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

A Small Batch Thanksgiving — Balsamic Honey Brussels Sprouts

711Today has been a rough day.  It started with a trip to the vet with my beautiful Budgie, Annie, to confirm what I already suspected.  My Budgie boy has  fatty liver disease.  Annie’s liver cells are slowly, thank God, being replaced by fat cells which will eventually cause liver failure.  There is no way to stop it or treatment to slow it down.  All I can do is make sure to trim Annie’s beak when it over grows ( a symptom of fatty liver disease is an over grown beak.  Healthy parrots never need their beaks trimmed), so he can continue to eat and make him as comfortable as possible when the end comes. Right now you couldn’t tell Annie is sick, he is eating and squabbling with his cage mates and doing what happy Budgies do.  So I am going to keep on caring for him and loving him just like I always have.

It’s always hard for me to mentally deal with a sick animal.  I always feel like it’s my fault they are sick.  I could have done something to prevent their illness.  In my head, I know that isn’t true but it takes longer to convince my heart that there is absolutely nothing I could have done to prevent Annie from getting fatty liver disease.

So after getting home from the vet I sat with Annie for awhile and gave him a special treat then I went to kitchen and started cooking and baking. I don’t know why but the kitchen is my happy place. When I am there nothing seems too overwhelming or out of reach. The kitchen is the only place I have total control. I made a batch of birdie bread for the birds, gerbils and rats and a wonderful dinner for me. The dinner included these wonderful roasted Brussels sprouts. I am going to include them is my Thanksgiving dinner. I didn’t have balsamic vinegar so I substituted apple cider vinegar. You could substitute any vinegar for it, except maybe, distilled white vinegar.

Balsamic Honey Brussels Sprouts

3/4 – 1 lb Brussels sprouts

1 1/2 TBS olive oil,

1/2  tsp kosher salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

1 TBS balsamic vinegar

1 tsp honey

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Trim off the outer, dry leaves, cut the bottom off and slice sprouts lengthwise.  In a large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts with  1 tablespoon olive oil, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to coat thoroughly.  Transfer the Brussels sprouts to baking sheet and roast until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes.  Place Brussels sprouts back in bowl. Add remaining 1/2  tablespoon olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey and toss to coat evenly. Taste and season with kosher salt if necessary and serve.

A Small Batch Thanksgiving –Scoop and Bake Dinner Rolls

Hey all, I know Thanksgiving isn’t for a couple of weeks yet but I work in retail and know I won’t have the time or energy to post this on Thanksgiving day.

In this season of thankfulness and gratitude, I just wanted to take a moment and tell you all how thankful and grateful I am that all you, my dear readers, have taken the time over the last year to spend time with me here on A Solitary Feast.  You constantly amaze me with your kindness and generosity of spirit.  You will never know how much that means to me.  Thank you so much.  Have a great Thanksgiving and a peaceful Holiday season.

Scoop and Bake Dinner Rolls

From Cook’s Country

2 ¼ cups all purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp salt

2 ¼ tsp rapid rise yeast

1 cup lukewarm water (110 – 115 degrees)

6 TBS butter, softened

1 large egg

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position.  Heat the oven to 200 degrees.  Maintain temperature for 10 minutes then turn off the oven.  Grease the muffin tins.  Whisk 1 ¼ cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl.  Whisk water, butter, and egg until very smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add remaining flour and mix with a rubber spatula until just combined.  Cover bowl with greased plastic wrap and place in the warm oven until the batter is doubled in size, about 30 minutes.  Remove the bowl from the oven and punch the dough down.  Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins.  Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until the batter nearly reaches the rims of the muffin tins (let rise at room temperature), about 15 minutes.  Remove the plastic wrap and bake until golden, 14-18 minutes. Rolls can be stored in  and airtight container for up to 3 days. 

A Small Batch Thanksgiving — Cranberry Pie


Can you believe there are only 3 more weeks until Thanksgiving?!   I work in retail and am so not ready for the craziness that comes with that.  I am ready, however, to make a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner for me and a couple  of my co-workers.

Pie probably isn’t the first thing you think of when you think of cranberries but it should be. Cranberries make a wonderful filling for a non traditional Thanksgiving pie.

Usually, cranberries are paired with another fruit like apples or pears to help tame the cranberries tartness. Not this pie.  This pie has straight up pucker power but not in a bad way.  I think cranberry pie is a nice contrast to the other sweet, sweet desserts, like pecan pie and pumpkin pie, on our tables at Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Pie

1 cup whole cranberries
1 cup chopped cranberries
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of salt
1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsp butter
1 egg white
1 1/2 tsp water
1 recipe for a double pie crust
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put cranberries, sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, salt and walnuts in a medium bowl. Mix well with a spoon and set aside.  Divide the dough for the crust into 2 pieces, on slightly bigger than the other.  Roll out the smaller piece of dough and place the dough in the pan.  Dot the top of the cranberries with butter cut into small pieces.  Roll out the remaining dough so it is slightly bigger than the pan.  Carefully lay the dough over the filling and crimp the edges closed. Cut a few vents into the crust.  Seperate the egg white from the yolk.  Gently beat the white with a fork.  Brush the white onto the crust and sprinkle a 1-2 teaspoons of sugar over the top.  Bake on the middle rack of the oven until the crust is golden, about 40 minutes.


A Solitary Thanksgiving Feast–Homemade Stuffing

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There are two kinds of people in my family, those who like onions and those who loathe onions. So there are always two kinds of stuffing on our Thanksgiving table, a homemade stuffing with onions and a box of Stove Top stuffing without onions. Since this blog is a reflection of the way I eat and the food traditions I grew up with, there will be both kinds of stuffing posted here.

We will start with the homemade stuffing with onions. I tried several different kinds of stuffing before I settled on this one and in the process discovered a few things. I prefer bread stuffing to grain stuffing. I don’t like tarragon. This is really good stuffing.

This time of year, unseasoned, dried bread cubes are easy to find in any bakery so feel free to grab some. If you want you can make them too. Save all the bits and pieces of bread that you didn’t quite get around to eating. When you have a bunch, cut the bread into cubes and spread onto a sheet pan. Cover the cubes with a clean towel and let sit 24 – 48 hours. When dry, store in a air tight container until you are ready to make your stuffing.

Holiday Stuffing

½ cup diced celery
½ large onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup butter
1 ½ tsp dried sage
½ tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp celery seed
5 cups dried bread cubes
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
4 oz pork sausage, cooked and crumbled

Lightly saute the celery,onion and garlic in the butter until tender. Stir in the sage, rosemary, thyme and celery seed. Simmer for 5 minutes. Combine the dried bread cubes, cheese and sausage in a bowl. Add the butter herb mixture and about ¾ cup water. Stir until the croutons are lightly moistened. Use to stuff a bird or place in a covered dish and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes

Adapted From The Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook