what the heck to make for Thanksgiving.
Let’s do it!
Oooh I almost didn’t share this but then I started thinking of all the Thanksgiving things I want to eat. Christmas and Thanksgiving are a close tie for my favorite holidays, and you KNOW Thanksgiving is only in there because of the food. That’s what it’s all about! It tastes like home, childhood, nostalgia and warm and fuzzy feelings. I like to eat warm and fuzzy feelings.
Would you think I’m insane if I asked you to list your ENTIRE Thanksgiving menu below in the comments? I’m sort of obsessed with menus in general. You should totally tell me yours. I’m a creep and want to know. Below are some of my favorite ideas – and you can find some tried and true reviews in the posts since they’ve been staples for a few years. I don’t host a full Thanksgiving myself yet… but I can’t wait for the day that I do. Really.
Cocktails, or as they should be called, necessities. My favorite is probably this apple cider sangria. My second favorite is an awesome pomegranate margarita. But you also can’t go wrong with these apple cider margaritas, an apple cider amaretto kiss, these cranberry vanilla ginger margaritas OR this pomegranate vanilla sangria. That last one is so, so good. And can be made ahead of time, woohoo!
Later this week, I’m going to share to DELICIOUS non-alcoholic punch recipe for your Turkey Day! Don’t worry. You can add booze if you’d like. I would like an IV of it right about now.
When it comes to appetizers and snacks, I’m pretty darn partial to a cheese plate. I have my favorite cheese plate design in Seriously Delish, but sometimes I also like to add some typical baked brie and crackers. If you want to do other dips, you can make the honey and fig gorgonzola dip I shared last week or these adorable little goat cheese truffles from a few years ago. One of my FAVES is this pomegranate jeweled cheeseball because not only does it taste ridiculous, it’s just so pretty. You can also go old school and stuff some mushrooms with spinach, bacon and artichokes.
I’m pretty sure that if you’re in doubt, just go with cheese.
Do you eat salad on Thanksgiving? I do not. Like I really want to ruin my plate that is swimming in gravy with SALAD. No thank you. Plus, I want all of the room for the traditional dishes and who knows how much space lettuce takes up. I mean, really man.
If you’re not a jerk like me though, and you like salad or want to serve an awesome salad, this autumn arugula salad can’t be beat. Except it maaaaaybe kind of can by this maple bacon brussels, pear and blue cheese salad. Both are pretty simple and you can arrange parts ahead of time and throw them together at the last minute. Eat your greens.
(Do as I say, not as I do.)
Soup? Another thing that I rarely have room for on Thanksgiving, but if you want to serve it in a shot glass, you and I are kindred spirits. You can do a smoky gruyere butternut soup or a sweet potato bisque with cinnamon sugar croutons. Another awesome recipe in Seriously Delish is the one for my amaretto butternut soup. GAH. It’s so good.
Bready things that can be doused in gravy because it’s the day to eat all the carbs? I’ve got you covered. We have sage butter biscuits or these too cute mini cream cheese and chive biscuits! Or blue cheese biscuits with pinot noir butter if you want to be fancy. Cranberry whole wheat biscuits are weird but good. You can make sweet potato honey dinner rolls or buttery cloverleaf rolls. My only issue with homemade rolls is that I reeeeeeeally feel strongly about them being best when made the day of. This is just me. It can take a good bit of work. Enlist the help of a friend and start the cocktails early. !!!!
I only have one turkey recipe, but if you have a smoker it’s the only one you need! This applewood smoked turkey with cider bourbon gravy is real life. You can do it with chicken too! I realize I’m getting out of control with the exclamation points.
And this is how you make the best darn gravy in the world.
This is how you make the best darn caramelized shallot and bacon gravy in the world.
This is how you drink the gravy. Just kidding. Kind of.
I talked a lot about potatoes on Monday. If I could only give you two choices for potatoes, I’d say make this lightened up sweet potato casserole or these cinnamon sugar hasselback sweet potatoes with an oatmeal cookie crumble. Other than that, visit here for potato central. Oh! Except these. Apple bacon stuffed sweet potatoes. People may be down.
Do you call it stuffing or dressing? I realize there are two different meanings, but I always call it stuffing. Do you prefer in the bird or out of the bird? I prefer in the bird, which freaks the majority of people out. It’s just… so.much.flavor. And moistness. There is no other word to describe it.
If you want to be super trendy, you can make a soft pretzel quinoa stuffing. Or you can make a double bread stuffing with bacon and sage! Or you can buy those pre-cubed stale bread bags at the grocery store like my mom does and make some of the best regular old stuffing ever. It’s true. It works.
GREEN THINGS. It’s still crazy that I like brussels sprouts, right? It’s crazy to me. If you have all the time in the world, you can fry them and serve with a smoky aioli. You can toast them with brown butter and pecans!
Lightened up green bean casserole always is huge. Add all the crispy onions in the world. How about adorable green bean bacon bundles? Why are they so cute? And since the world makes it’s possible for asparagus to be available all year round, this caramelized sesame bacon wrapped asparagus is TOPS.
Other non-traditional but delicious things include this sweet potato risotto and this butternut squash lasagna. Full disclosure: that lasagna is good but my version in the book is better. A pan is already waiting in my freezer! This year’s parmesan crusted butternut galette is making the rounds too. As is this spicy roasted squash with feta and herbs. I love ’em!
This might be one of the only holidays where I don’t consider dessert the most important decision. It’s still significant though, so we can’t pass it up. Are you a pie maker? I wish I was. I’m trying! I did make this cider bourbon apple pie with an oatmeal cookie crumble. I like crumbles on top. This pumpkin chocolate chip cookie pie is so good too. If you want to keep it simple: amaretto apple crisp or bourbon baked apples. If you’re a cookie monster: fudge striped peanut butter pumpkin cookies. They aren’t as weird as they sound, I swear.
This pumpkin s’mores tart is almost too pretty to eat.
Cake mood? Pumpkin s’mores cupcakes! I LOVE THESE. If you want to go super rich in mini portions, these sweet potato pie or bourbon pecan pie no-bake cheesecakes win win win.
Okay, now that I’ve officially overwhelmed myself, I think that is it. Can somebody make me one of each of these for Thanksgiving? I think that’s the only way to go.
78 Comments on “what the heck to make for Thanksgiving.”
First of all, are you not the most adorable for wanting to know our menus?! The best! We are having thanksgiving at my house for 17 (!) people and I cannot wait! I love the chaos! We are deep frying the turkey and smoking the ham! Then green beans, sweet corn we put away this summer, rolls, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry relish and stuffing. I am so excited! And i am not usually a pie person but I have made 3 already and stuck them in the freezer to make things easier. Hope you have an awesome holiday!! :)
We are starting with a Cheese Board and Manhattans.
Individual Beef Wellingtons
Red Wine gravy
roasted root vegetable with maple glaze
steamed green beans
CRAZY amounts of red wine
We only have 4 people in our family, so we try not to go overboard. See you later nasty turkey!
My menu is pretty much the same as when I was a child. That whole nostalgia thing….. Although each year I like to add in something new to try. Last year it was a Salted Caramel Cheesecake. This year….????
Appetizers throughout the day:
Crackers and cheese tray
Spinach Dip in a bread bowl
– Mashed Potato Casserole
– Homemade Mac & Cheese
– Cole Slaw
– Homemade Cranberry Sauce
– Broccoli Salad
– Candied Yams (I don’t eat them but they still have to be on my table)
– Relish Tray
– Cranberry Punch
Homemade whipped cream
Happy Thanksgiving :)
This will by mine and my husband’s 5th year cramming our families into our little condo in the South Hills. I love every minute of it. This year is goes like this:
Alain Ducasse’s Gougeres recipe
Traditional herb roasted turkey
Mushroom shallot gravy
Cauliflower & Brussels Sprout Gratin
Sausage ciabatta stuffing
Leek bread pudding
Fresh green beans with toasted almonds and lemon zest
Cranberry Blood Orange chutney
Canned cranberry sauce (because my husband insists)
Roasted root vegetables
Mashed potatoes a la Joel Robuchon (i.e., half potatoes, half butter, basically)
Salted butter apple galette
Polish sweet bread
Apple spice cake
Fresh Fruit salad
I. AM. DROOLING.
Seriously! I want to make everything you just shared! Gah! There’s not enough time to make, let alone eat all this wonderfulness even if I tried to make it for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day AND New Year’s dinners.
Seriously Delish! :-)
This is my favorite holiday! We go pretty traditional, but try to throw in some new things every year. This year looks like this:
Starting everything out with a cheese & veggie/fruit platter which will include your pomegranate cheese ball!
Maple Bacon Gravy
Garlic Roasted Mashed Potatoes
Sage Stuffing (cooked OUTSIDE the bird)
Cherry Port Cranberry Sauce
Swiss Green Beans
Ending with Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake and some cute turkey cupcakes :)
Have a happy Thanksgiving!
This is great! I’ve found so many recipes in this list! This is the very first Thanksgiving I’ll be hosting at my house (eep!) and I want to do it right. Here’s my list so far…
Crudite (in lieu of salad!)
Cranberry Rosemary Cream Cheese Spread (by Life’s Ambrosia, I love this stuff)
Basic roasted turkey
Gravy (courtesy of your mama)
Rolls (prolly your clover rolls)
Cranberry sauce (yep, from a can)
Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole
Dressing (totally Mrs. Cubbison’s, from a box)
Mac and Cheese
Blackberry Cobbler Bars
Either pecan pie or your No-bake bourbon pecan pie cheesecakes, still not sure…
Mott’s Sparkly Goodness (alas no alcohol cause I’m pregnant too!)
We’re having a pretty big thanksgiving this year (for my family) with 12 people but our menu is basically the same every year. And I’m totally with you on the carbs!! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it’s acceptable to eat your weight in dinner rolls :)
-Pigs in a blanket (kid favorite)
-trail mix & pub mix
-veggies and dip
-(possibly) fried mac n cheese balls from trader joe’s
-traditional turkey, brined
-sweet potato soufflé
-green beans with almonds
-pull apart bread from a local bread shop
-ice cream turkeys
-chocolate dipped shortbread cookies
-chocolate Oreo cookies
Turkey and dressing (NOT stuffing)
Sweet Potato Casserole
Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Winter Root Veggies, Roasted
Pecan Pie Cookies
Lemon Ginger Chocolate Cake (Ina Garten style)
YOUR Apple Cider Sangria
I tried making a soup one year – no one ate it. I also tried a really pretty salad with dried cranberries and pears and blue cheese and all that good stuff and again, no one ate it. I thought it was a good idea when I made it, but even I didn’t want it when it came time to load my plate. Who wants to take up precious Thanksgiving plate real estate with lettuce when there’s mashed potatoes and my mom’s cornbread and sausage stuffing and sweet potato casserole with brown sugar and nuts and marshmallows and the good kind of cranberry sauce (homemade with orange zest) not the crap from the can (although the crap from a can does have its place)… One year I tried to make a fancy cheese platter with all the yummy “nice” cheeses I love… no dice. They all were pissed there was no Cabot cheddar. I also try to incorporate new, “modern” recipes every year and every year no one wants that stuff – they just want the good old, traditional stuff they know. I used to get upset about it, but I get it. Other than Thanksgiving, we never make a whole turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole (yes the kind with the Campbell’s condensed ick in a can) and my mom’s amazing stuffing. It’s weird because we totally could – there’s no reason why I shouldn’t make sweet potato casserole on some random day in April or my mom’s stuffing in August next to some grilled chicken, but I don’t. And so, on Thanksgiving, I stick with tradition now and just make the good old, tried and true, once-a-year, yummies. One year I made this Giada appetizer recipe for mejool dates stuffed with a mixture of mascarpone and goat cheese and chives and salt and then wrapped with prosciutto. I ate all of them. No one else touched them. Tradition appears to be king in our family. Although this list you’ve laid out is making me consider replacing everything with cocktails… all of them. I wonder how they would react to that… hehehehe… mmmm…
Chips/Veggies and a couple of dips
Big cheese platter with cheeses, meats, olives, cornichons, crackers, etc.
Mini spinach pies
Turkey (I use Alton Brown’s “Good Eats” roast turkey and brine recipe – fantastic!
Mashed potatoes & gravy
Homemade cranberry sauce
Cornbread & sausage stuffing
Sweet potato casserole
Green bean casserole
Roasted veggies (usually squash, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, etc.)
Tiramisu (hubby’s favorite)
Assorted cookies (including the Italian anisette ones – my favorite)
Nutella fruit dip (nutella + skim milk + heat = mmmm)
We use Alton’s Good Eats recipe, too. Perfect every time! I still have to YouTube his video on how to truss the turkey, though. Once every 365 days isn’t frequent enough for me to remember the steps.
Fried Turkey (Cajun seasoned with injector and Tony Chachere’s)
Dressing (Yes, the dry bread crumbs in a bag kind)
Roasted Garlic Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes
YOUR Shallot Bacon Gravy
Green Bean Casserole
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Rolls (Homemade or Not?)
Apple Dump Cake
i’m in college in the UK so there’s no break – i’m still at school and on a budget. but for the past three years now i’ve been cooking for 12 of us! this is what we have:
chips & dip
roast chicken x2
mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows
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Now I am starving! My menu includes your baked Brie from seriously delish, Apple cider sangria, mini cream cheese and chive biscuits, the traditional turkey and sides and your bourbon pecan pie brownies.
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My aunt is hosting so I don’t know the full menu, but I’m making sweet potato home fires, brussels with caramelized onions, pumpkin pie with praline pecans from jtb’s new book and apple cranberry pie she just posted on her site. hoping for tons of mashed potatoes and wine as well.
This year’s menu:
Turkey (might try to spatchcock this year)
Herb gravy (with homemade turkey stock)
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Lardons
Apple and Sausage Stuffing
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Mashed Yukon Golds
Buttery Dinner Rolls
Bourbon Cranberries (no cans in this house, sorry)
Maple Walnut Blondies
Roasted Chili Cashews for snacking
Plenty of craft beer
I love this holiday, and I can’t wait to stuff myself this week!
Our Thanksgiving feast is pretty much the same every year and consists of the following, for only about 15 people:
– shrimp cocktail
– cheese and crackers
– veggie plate
-chips and salsa
– pigs in a blanket
– Spinach dip or some other kind of heated dip
– Steak in an awesome marinade my cousin does
– The best broccoli casserole (http://ofjessandjen.com/2014/11/23/grandma-sylvias-broccoli-casserole/)
– baked yams and apples with marshmallow topping
– cranberry (the jiggly stuff from a can)
– some new side dish we try each year
– pumpkin pie
– pecan pie
– Lindt truffles
– chocolate chip cookies
– ice cream
– some other kind of chocolate like peppermint bark or chocolate covered pretzels
– champagne with sorbet and pomegranate seeds
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I’m cooking too much food for five people:
Mini Rosemary-Maple Corn Muffins
Lemony Sardine Pate
Smoked Gouda Cheese Ball
Zucchini “Baba Ghanoush”
Quinoa & Fennel Salad
Turkey & Gravy
Ciabatta & Sausage Stuffing
Cauliflower, Grape, & Cheddar Salad
Orange-Scented Green Beans with Toasted Almonds
Roasted Carrots with Pomegranate Molasses
Roasted New Potatoes with Sage & Pancetta
Cranberry Sauce with Orange, Ginger, and Thyme
Spiced Sweet Pecans
Wild Rice & Dried Cranberry Cookies
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