I proposed that we go back to a long-time favorite for the big meal: Julia Child's Turkey Orloff. This is a fairly elaborate dish that I started making during the first run of the Julia Child and Company series, probably in 1978. I thought it looked interesting, and my mother was quite willing to let me take over the preparation of the turkey part of the Thanksgiving meal. Turkey Orloff was our standard for a number of years, until I went back to basic roast turkey for less fuss and fewer calories.
The great advantage of Turkey Orloff is that 95% of the work can be done the day before. The disadvantage is that we'll have to get it all done Wednesday afternoon and/or evening after a 200-mile drive. On the advantage side again is the fact that younger niece and nephew are both interested in cooking, and I can probably Tom Sawyer them into most of the pounding of the turkey scallopini and the sauteing. And next weekend I'll go ahead and cook the rice and onion soubise and the duxelles and freeze them for easy hauling to Moultrie.
Rest of the menu: cranberry-orange relish (already made, with assistance from nephew who finds operating the KitchenAid food grinder to be great fun), a citrus salad (orange and grapefruit slices on fresh spinach), steamed broccoli with buttered almond topping, and whole wheat rolls of some type. If I have time, I'll do whole-wheat angel biscuits. Perhaps a little sweet, like a few cookies, to top it off. No green-bean casserole (never a family tradition), no dressing (not needed with the Orloff), and probably only the one hot vegetable. The other mandatory/traditional part of Thanksgiving, squash-cheese casserole (steamed yellow squash, eggs, and a thick cheddar-cheese white sauce--comes out almost as squash souffle) will be pushed to another meal to accompany honey-baked ham--it's too rich to serve with the Orloff, at least for all of us who are watching our weight.
We have the big meal in the middle of the day, which then sets up supper as soup and sandwiches or salad, leftovers for those who want them, and Pie. If older brother and family come (still under discussion in that household, I understand), they will be the chief pie makers, and often will produce 5. Or 6. Or 5 plus a coconut cake, like one year. Serious sugar overload. If they don't come, we'll still have Pie, but the variety will be more limited due to lesser ambitions on the dessert-baking front from the rest of us.