Home Energy Savings | November 8, 2016

How Texas Prepares for Thanksgiving

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.

How Texas is searching for Thanksgiving on Google

Which region in Texas is the friendliest?


According to Google Trends, El Paso and Lubbock, Texas are the friendliest metros, based on how much interest there is in “Friendsgiving.”

While preparing Thanksgiving dinner, will Texas be watching Thanksgiving football or a Thanksgiving parade?


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.

What is Texas’ favorite Thanksgiving pie?


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:

How Texas is preparing for Thanksgiving

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.

What are Texans' plans for Thanksgiving Day?

Winner: Cooking at home
Loser: Skipping it all together
Texans have spoken; you prefer a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal.


When do Texans start planning their Thanksgiving meal (how far in advance)?

Winner: Two weeks
Loser: Starting on Thanksgiving
No Hail Mary’s for this team, Texans like to be prepared.


What percent of Thanksgiving meals will Texans prepare in advance?

Winner: Up to twenty percent of dishes
Loser: The whole menu
While most of the survey group is preparing ahead of time, only a few are doing it all before the big day.


How many people will Texans be cooking for on Thanksgiving Day?

Winner: Five to nine people
Loser: Thirty or more
Feeding the whole football team isn’t on anyone’s agenda. Smaller gatherings seem to be more popular.


What dishes will Texans be serving on Thanksgiving Day?

Winner: Turkey
Loser: Turducken
There are some consistent players on the field across Texan Thanksgiving menus, but Turducken just isn’t one of them. Honorable mentions that were popular among the “other” responses included:

  • Deviled eggs
  • Fruit salad
  • Cheese trays
  • Relish trays
  • Rice
  • Chips and dip
  • Cookies
  • Cake
  • Stuffed celery sticks
  • BBQ
  • Tamales
  • Gumbo

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®!


How many dishes are Texans serving for Thanksgiving?

Winner: Five to nine
Loser: Fifteen or more
Half a dozen or so dishes seems to be the sweet spot for most Texans.


What time will Texans start cooking on Thanksgiving Day?

Winner: Seven to ten in the morning
Loser: After five in the afternoon
With good preparation before Thanksgiving, Texans start cooking at a reasonable hour.


what-time-texans-starts-serving-thanksgiving-dinner

Winner: One to three in the afternoon
Loser: Before eleven in the morning
Most families will be sitting down to enjoy their feasts along with the game.


What appliances will Texans use to cook Thanksgiving dinner?

Winner: Oven
Loser: Bread maker
Although rolls or croissants may be on the playing field, few are turning to the bread maker for the job.


How many leftover meals do Texans plan to get out of Thanksgiving?

Winner: Two to four meals
Loser: No leftovers
Most survey respondents are looking to get at least two meals’ worth of leftovers out of their efforts.


How to tackle Thanksgiving: Two Bloggers' Plays

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.

Coryanne Ettiene’s Thanksgiving Dinner Play:

coryanne-ettiene

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.”

Coryanne’s Day-of Thanksgiving dinner cooking schedule:

“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.”

Kitchen Living with Coryanne Ettiene: Thanksgiving Day Play
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.”

Coryanne Ettiene’s Thanksgiving Mashed Potato Stuffing Balls Recipe

mashed-potato-stuffing-balls-by-coryanne-ettiene-thanksgiving-recipe

thanksgiving-potato-and-stuffing-balls-by-coryanne-ettiene

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!

Ingredients
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

Get directions for this recipe.

Mommy Kitchen’s (Tina Butler) Thanksgiving Dinner Play:

tina-butler-mommys-kitchen

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

Tina’s Thanksgiving dinner cooking schedule:

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%.

Mommy's Kitchen, Tina Butler: Thanksgiving Day Play
Here are some more play-by-play ideas from Tina’s Thanksgiving dinner cooking schedule:

  1. I freeze casseroles unbaked and flash-freeze unbaked shaped dinner rolls. Cheesecakes and chess, pumpkin or pecan pies are wrapped and frozen after baking.
  2. I remove and thaw my turkey in advance (allow about 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey).
  3. The day before Thanksgiving, prepare a brine of your choosing and brine your turkey the night before in the refrigerator. This is my favorite brine that I purchase at Costco.
  4. If you have children attending your Thanksgiving get-together, plan something fun while you are cooking and pulling it all together. I like to plan a fun activity and let the older kids help by being in charge. Here is a fun idea Pilgrim Hats & Turkey Shaped Sugar Cookies and a fun, festive coloring table. I gather all the items for this activity, pre-bake the sugar cookies in advance as well. The kids can handle all the rest on their own. [Tina’s delicious and fun Thanksgiving-themed pilgrim hat sugar cookies can be found here:]
    Mommy's Kitchen Pilgram Hat Cookie Recipe
  5. The night before, make sure all your tablecloths, placemats, napkins and any other linens are clean and ready to go. I set the table early in the morning. The children can help with this part, too.
  6. The night before Thanksgiving Day, I remove all pre-frozen food from the freezer so it has time to thaw in the refrigerator. I prepare the cranberry sauce the night before and store in the refrigerator. Pies need to be thawed in the refrigerator the night before.

Tina’s Day-of Thanksgiving dinner cooking schedule:

  1. Remove pies from the fridge on Thanksgiving morning and thaw to room temperature since they are all pre-baked.
  2. Preheat oven to cook turkey. Drain the brine from the turkey and prepare the turkey for baking. I start my turkey early in the morning. Luckily, I have a double oven so I can bake my turkey in one oven and my sides in the second. If you have only one oven, take advantage of your slow cooker to make a few dishes and to save space as your turkey bakes.
  3. Fruit salads are prepared early in the morning so they have time to set up in the refrigerator.
  4. Appetizers are prepared early enough before your hungry guests arrive, so they have something to snack on.

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.”

Tina Butler’s Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

sweet-potato-casserole-thanksgiving-recipe
Casserole Ingredients:
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
⅓-cup flour
¼-cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup chopped pecans

Get the full recipe and other delicious recipes from Tina.

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.

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