Welcome to November, arguably the best autumn month that isn’t October or December. November is a time of wonder and excitement as all families begin to prepare for Thanksgiving. While most families will may be enjoying a delicious turkey, potatoes, and stuffing from “the store,” what will you be doing?
This article will give you an idea of how to prepare a farm fresh dinner that the whole family will enjoy!
Getting Farm Fresh Food in November
Many farms have shut down for the season, but fear not! There is still hope and there are many other local grocers that offer high-quality food to get you through the holidays.
Fort Collins Food Co-Op
Fort Collins Food Co-op is your first stop. They offer high-quality local dairy, meat, and produce that will make an excellent addition to your dinner. Grab some stuffing mixins and get cookin!
Many of the ingredients that you will need can be found at Fort Collins Food co-op, but you better hurry! There is high demand for thanksgiving products and veggies that will be out of season soon.
For a nice turkey, you’ll need to check out localharvest.org. You can buy a thanksgiving turkey for as low as 35$ and something even larger for just a little more. They offer pastured and organic turkey that is local to Fort Collins, and even offers a home delivery service if you’re a little too busy prepping the house for friends and family.
If you wanna make the whole day a farm fresh delight, consider a breakfast with farm fresh turkey eggs and turkey sausage, also available at Local Harvest.
What to Make?
Now that we got the big stuff out of the way, it’s time to find some food that is unique to your tradition. Do you want mashed potatoes? Green bean casserole? Sausage gravy and biscuits? A mixed vegetable dish? It is all up to you!
If you’re looking for something that is in season and will work well with whatever dishes you are preparing, check out our Seasonal Eats and our Farm Fresh Recipes articles for more specific recommendations.
Turkey – Obviously
There are many ways to cook a turkey. You can cook it in the oven, smoke it, or fry it. This all depends on personal preference and time restrictions.
Smoking a turkey will take all night, cooking it in the oven will require several hours, and frying it will probably be the quickest. All however, require some preparation.
Cooking in the Oven:
- Make sure turkey is completely defrosted. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
- Place on roasting rack and cook for 15 minutes per pound (unstuffed turkey)
Frying a Turkey:
- Heat peanut oil in deep fryer (enough to fully submerge your turkey)
- After the oil temperature has reached 350 degrees, submerge your turkey and let it sit
- Let fry for 3 minutes per pound
- Remove turkey and drain oil onto paper towels
Smoking a Turkey:
- Preheat smoker to 225 degrees
- Let bird smoke for 8-12 hours
Pumpkin pie can picked up at any supermarket and served without any preparation. If you want to focus on other aspects of your dinner, consider just picking up a premade pie to have that course out of the way.
However, if you are feeling adventurous and want to make it yourself, follow this simple recipe for pumpkin puree to create the most favored dish of the night:
Canned pumpkin has become the staple to homemade pumpkin pie, but it’s almost easier to make it from scratch. The only items you will need to make this puree are:
- 2 Small Pumpkins (check out some great places to pick pumpkins yourself here)
- 1 Large Knife
- 1 Large Spoon
- 1 Baking Sheet
- Food Processor
- An Oven
To start the puree you want to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Next, cut the stem off your pumpkins and cut them in half so you are able to scoop the seeds out into a bowl (use them for one of these awesome pumpkin seed recipes here) or trash can. The final cuts need to be down each half so you are left with four quarters of each pumpkin.
Place the pumpkin quarters on your baking sheet (faced up or down, it does not matter). Pop them in the oven for 45 minutes, or until they are tender, and then peel off the skin. Place roasted pumpkin in your food processor and mix it up to create the perfect base for your pie!
Use your fresh puree in place of canned pumpkin in your favorite pumpkin pie recipe and get ready to take your friends and family to flavortown!
Homemade Apple Cider
Who doesn’t like a nice warm glass of Apple Cider to warm up on these cool fall days? It’s the perfect addition to any Thanksgiving feast! Follow the recipe below to quickly make yours from scratch!
10 apples, quartered
½ cup of white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground allspice
- Place quartered apples into a large pot. Add enough water cover all apples by at least 2 inches. Mix in sugar, cinnamon, and allspice, then bring to a boil; boil, uncovered, for 1 hour.
- Cover your pot, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours.
- Pour apple mixture through a fine mesh sieve and strain. Throw away everything left in the sieve. Pour cider again through a sieve, but this time lined with cheesecloth to ensure there are no chunks and refrigerate until cold.
Now I bet you’re thinking “well that was fun, but where’s the booze? Uncle Marty is really being a pain this year.” Here are some fun fall cocktail recipes to share with the fam: