Thanksgiving and Texas football go together like turkey and gravy. The partnership was formed in 1966 when the Dallas Cowboys took advantage of the growing popularity of television to broadcast the first Thanksgiving Day game. Football and turkey-induced food comas have been growing in popularity ever since.
Finding time to be able to relax with family and/or watch football while cooking for a crowd, though, means starting that Thanksgiving dinner cooking schedule days — if not weeks — ahead of the Big Day. Enjoying the day itself is all about having a smart Thanksgiving cooking strategy.
To better understand Thanksgiving in Texas, we first turned to Google trends data to see how Texans are searching in preparation for the holiday feast. Next, StarTex Power circulated a survey asking you all to share your Thanksgiving cooking strategy. Over 1,200 of you responded! We also asked Texas food bloggers Coryanne Ettiene of Kitchen Living with Coryanne and Tina Butler of Mommy’s Kitchen about their individual Thanksgiving cooking strategy and — bonus points! — a couple of their favorite Thanksgiving recipes.
According to Google Trends, El Paso and Lubbock, Texas are the friendliest metros, based on how much interest there is in “Friendsgiving.”
El Paso and Houston, Texas are the only areas in Texas where a Thanksgiving parade garners more interest than football. This makes sense, given that the 67th H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade in Houston is a huge event for the city and the 80th Annual FirstLight Federal Credit Union Sun Bowl Parade is happening in El Paso.
Pumpkin pie wins the hearts and stomachs of the majority of Texas, especially the big cities of Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and Corpus Christi.
However, we think it’s still too close to call Texas’ favorite Thanksgiving pie with pumpkin pie, apple pie, and pecan pie each increasing in interest over the last month and apple taking the lead for one day:
That big Thanksgiving day game takes years of prep for each team and its players, and our data shows that Texans are approaching the holiday with a similar commitment to planning and strategy.
In addition there were a few items that weren’t as popular, but we thought they would be fun to include as a sign of the diverse traditions Texans celebrate each Thanksgiving: chitterlings, Jell-O, goose, ambrosia, pizza, venison, biriyani, ratatouille, and PEPCID®!
While Americans around the country gear up for one day of mega-cooking, food bloggers Coryanne Ettiene and Tina Butler are busy in their kitchens all year long creating tasty recipes and sharing them with thousands of fans around the country. They took time out of their hectic days slicing and dicing to share their Thanksgiving dinner plays and a Thanksgiving recipe.
Location: Dallas, Texas
Occupation: Maker of mischief & merriment, strong drinks & good food at Kitchen Living with Coryanne. @AOLLifestyle Personality, @BHG Contributor, Box Nine Mag Editor, TV Host, & owner of @EttieneMarket.
Where to find Coryanne on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube
Number of people Coryanne typically cooks for: 5-10
Number of dishes Coryanne typically serves: 20.
“Our focus is on the grazing of Thanksgiving, so we spend a great deal of time planning out the pre-dinner snacks and the post-dinner puddings. All in all, we make around 20 different dishes.”
How far in advance she begins preparing for Thanksgiving: 6 weeks.
“We tend to stick to the same menu every year with very few variations, so my Thanksgiving prep is now a finely-tuned machine that begins 6 weeks before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday so I like to be present rather than in the kitchen. Nearly everything we make is prepared beforehand or with just a few hours work on the day.”
“Most of our heavy cooking is done the night before accompanied by lots of merriment so we get up late on Thanksgiving Day and begin cooking the turkey around 10 a.m. for an early evening dinner. We serve a big brunch while the turkey cooks, go for a long walk and then come home to finish off the side dishes, dressings and sauces for the dinner. Whatever needs to be cooked in the oven, bar the turkey, is either brought to us potluck-style or is cooked the night before. Thanksgiving Day is strictly a stove-top cooking day so that everyone can enjoy the day without the stress of crowding the oven.”
Coryanne’s top energy-efficient Thanksgiving cooking tip:
“Have a snacking buffet set up to ensure that people are not wandering into the kitchen, opening the fridge and grazing from the fridge door when they get hungry.”
The beauty of this recipe is you can make it ahead or you can serve it as a tasty leftover dish. It’s a Thanksgiving win-win!
6 cups of mashed potatoes
6 cups of stuffing
1 cup of pan-fried pancetta
⅓ cup of olive oil or pancetta grease
salt and pepper to taste
Location: North Texas
Occupation: Owner and creator of Mommy’s Kitchen
Where to find Tina on social media: Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter
And Tina has a free app, too: Mommy’s Kitchen iPhone App
How far in advance do you begin prepping for Thanksgiving dinner? 2 weeks
How many do you typically cook for? 6-8
How many dishes do you serve? 8-10
What percent of those dishes will you prep in advance of Thanksgiving? About 75%.
Here are some more play-by-play ideas from Tina’s Thanksgiving dinner cooking schedule:
Tina’s top energy-efficient Thanksgiving cooking tip:
“My time-saving tip is taking advantage of precious oven space by using my triple slow cooker to prepare a few side dishes and keep appetizers warm. You can also use a few slow cookers at a time if you do not have a multiple pot slow cooker. Also, lower your thermostat a few degrees while your food is baking. The oven will keep the house warm.”
6-7 sweet potatoes (approximately 3 pounds)
½-cup butter, softened
1 – large egg, beaten
⅓-cup sweetened condensed milk
1 – teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 – teaspoon nutmeg
1 – teaspoon real vanilla extract
½-cup granulated sugar
Crunchy Topping Ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
¼-cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup chopped pecans
When do you start prepping for Thanksgiving? Are you cooking for a crowd? Do you have a family favorite recipe that you always make? Let us know in the comments.