If you followed the last post regarding roasting your Fall vegetables, then this salad will be easy! It is the quintessential salad for Thanksgiving: lots of bright greens, deep orange squash and radiant red fruit. Simple to put together and it can be prepared the day before or even several days before you need the salad. Just keep the vegetables in separate containers until it is ready to put together.
Here is a photo looking out from my kitchen in the morning!
I like to have a salad like this sitting in a large bowl in the fridge. It lasts the week and we take out what we need with tongs throughout the week. I prep them on Sunday after church along with the other meal prep for the week like hard boiled eggs, celery sticks, etc. Hopefully, I will have my meal prep post ready soon!
Speaking of meal prep. Remember freezer cooking is a life saver around the holidays. Prep and freeze baked mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, homemade rolls, gravy, pumpkin pie, Dutch apple pie, and cherry pie.
To make my gravy ahead of time, I use my recipe for the slow cooker turkey breast. I simply make the gravy in a saucepan separately. This time of year, Trader Joe’s carries turkey stock or you can make your own. Follow the recipe for the gravy and put it on the stovetop. Most importantly, you do not need so much liquid. Start with half the amount and add more later if necessary. Cool and freeze. Thaw and then pop it back onto the stovetop to heat through or in the microwave for a gravy that doesn’t have 50 chemical ingredients in it (yes, you know who you are you 99 cents jars of gravy this time of year). Okay, not 50. Only 30 ingredients.
For the juiciest turkey ever, follow this recipe. I have been using it several times a year for 7 years and without fail makes the best turkey ever. Over the years, I did learn one trick. It is hard to brine the turkey in the fridge and sometimes the garage isn’t cold enough. Two ways have worked for me. One, putting the turkey and brine in an oven bag. Place this in the roasting pan in case of drips (My new preferred method). Or two, put the turkey into a stockpot with the brine. The entire amount of brine won’t fit and that is probably why I gave up on this method. But, it does work as long as you use the 12-14 lb. turkey size in the recipe.
- 1 small butternut squash
- 1 Tb. olive oil
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 Tb. brown sugar
- 8 oz. baby spinach
- 1 red onion, sliced thin
- ¼-1/2 cup dried cranberries (like Craisins) or pomegranate arils
- Dressing: balsamic vinaigrette
- To prep the butternut squash: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Trim the ends of the butternut squash. Slice off the skin. Cut the flesh into ½" cubes. Toss the cubed squash in olive oil. Sprinkle the cinnamon and brown sugar on top. Lay on a rimmed cookie sheet and roast in the oven for about 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
- To prep the salad: Pour spinach into a large salad bowl. Top with prepped butternut squash, sliced red onion, and dried cranberries or pomegranate arils. Drizzle with dressing. Eat immediately or store items separately and store in the fridge until ready to eat.