Tell Me What You’re Making For Thanksgiving!
So I realize that by now, most of you might have your menu figured out. But if you haven’t, and if you’re a crazy millennial who changes their mind 23 times before settling on an idea only to wake up the morning of your party and add one more thing in… then I’m your girl.
Just like last year, will you tell me below exactly what you’re making?! I want the full menu, from the snacks to the drinks to the non-pumpkin pie. Also, let’s talk Thanksgiving snacks. What do you serve to ensure that your guests can have a snack without getting TOO full? Or do you not even worry about that because, um, hello – it’s Thanksgiving and you’re all unbuttoning the top button of your jeans after dinner anyway.
Are you a traditional Turkey dinner family or do you switch it up a bit? Let’s talk ideas!
Starting with the most important… the cocktails. I’ve made almost all of these already this season since I couldn’t enjoy them last season – and let’s say that I didn’t forget how much I love them. They are SO good.
First up, for a mocktail, this cranberry cider punch is fancy looking delicious. And if you love it, add rum.
For wine based drinks, this apple cider sangria is always as a hit, as is this vanilla pomegranate sangria. For autumn margaritas, choose between (or do a margarita bar!) the apple cider margaritas, fresh cranberry ginger margaritas and pomegranate margaritas.
If you want to serve something warm, maybe after dinner or even the Friday after Thanksgiving, this hot cider nog is an awesome twist on classic egg nog. And there is ALWAYS room for a nutella latte. Of course.
For snacky things, my number one go-to is a massive cheese plate. I love this idea for holidays because it can be as large or small as you want. If you’re going to eat dinner at 6 or 7 like my mom serves (yes, really), I’d make a big one early on. If your guests come just an hour or so before dinner, make a teeny version of it. Easy!
What is your stance on salad for Thanksgiving? A must have or a waste of space? I like having a little greenery to balance out the table full of carbs and if you want a little switch of flavors, this crunchy kale salad is wonderful – and makes for a great base for any toppings! This maple bacon brussels and pear salad is also lovely annnnnd perhaps my favorite ever – autumn arugula. If it’s not too weird flavor-wise: brussels caesar salads. These… are to die for.
I know I ranted and raved (?) about not being a bread person last week, but the bread basket is kind of a staple on the T-Day table, right? My grandma always brought the most wonderful butter flake rolls and I love those. They are the ones that I may dip in leftover mashed potatoes and gravy if I’m feeling super indulgent. (Always.)
If you want to fill your bread basket with homemade goods, which I must admit, is a HUGE accomplishment and not something that I always do because I prefer to make them fresh and with ten other dishes, that’s difficult. But! If you want something homemade, or better yet, want to assign someone to make these at home, I’d say go with the brown butter garlic knots. If those are too spaghetti-and-meatballs dinner for you, then homemade cloverleaf rolls and sweet potato dinner rolls are your best bet. The most classic, if you will. If you want something flakey, you can go with sage butter biscuits or fresh cranberry biscuits.
Side note, it’s like four years later and I still think that the insides of cranberries are weird as heck.
If you’re feeling SUPER ambitious, you can make mini cream cheese and chive biscuits. Or make ’em into big ones!
We always have a traditional buffet-style Thanksgiving meal, but if I was having a slightly smaller, fancier sit down dinner, I would definitely start with soup! Maybe this roasted garlic potato soup with crispy brussels… or this smoky butternut soup.
This is great. I’m starving!
Since my mom always does a traditional roasted turkey, I only have one recipe here on the blog but it’s fantastic: it’s applewood smoked and comes with cider bourbon gravy. Eeeeeeeeeek. I KNOW.
Also, my mom makes the best damn gravy in the world. It’s SO good, always super smooth (never has lumps) and even reheats fairly well the next day. Last year I took her recipe and made a caramelized shallot and bacon version. *covers eyes*
Now, for the BEST part of Thanksgiving – what it really revolves around: THE SIDES.
Next up would be all the potatoes, and the dish I have taken to my parents’ house the last five or so years has been this lightened up sweet potato casserole. It’s definitely a winner, but I adore cinnamon sugar hasselback sweet potatoes and these buttermilk bacon blue smashed potatoes. Um, garlic goat cheese mashed potatoes anyone? I make these like every other month for Eddie. If you want to keep it simple, do it with brown butter.
Annnnd in case you missed it earlier this week: loaded sweet potato BITES. Like delicious marshmallow casserole on a bite sized round. Yesssss.
I’m a self-proclaimed brussels sprouts freak, which still makes zero sense to my mom. Seriously, she looks at me some days and is like, “Jessica, I can’t believe you eat brussels sprouts.” I CAN’T EITHER MOM! I love them fried and crispy, but since that takes a lot of time, you could roast them and serve with that aioli. They also work with brown butter because what doesn’t? You can even put them in LASAGNA.
Other green things include lightened up green bean casserole, loaded skillet toasted green beans, bacon wrapped green bean bundles and bacon caramelized sesame asparagus. Orange things include pomegranate roasted carrots with – you guess it- brown butter. Sorry?
A few untraditional but turning traditional favorites of mine include butternut lasagna (this one is delish, but I prefer the version in my book!), roasted sweet potato risotto and spicy squash with feta and herbs.
What are you thinking for dessert?! I always need at least a BITE of pumpkin pie, it just works. But I prefer chocolate on Thanksgiving, so these chocolate pecan pie bars are perfect. If you want to leave out the chocolate, try these pecan pie no bake cheesecakes!
If you’re feeling extra apple-y: amaretto apple crisp, bourbon baked apples and cider bourbon apple pie with oatmeal cookie crumble! Maybe I’ll get it together and make the pie. Maybe.
If you want something slightly lighter than can even serve as a snack later on weekend, this caramelized pear upside down bread is so wonderful.
I feel like I just ate a five course meal.