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Thanksgiving Recipes and Tips

November 16, 2012

Last Thanksgiving, I prepared a nice dinner for four. It was just my parents, Andrew, and I, and it was really wonderful (pictured above). I remember feeling a little stressed leading up to the day, as it was my first time hosting Thanksgiving for my parents, but everything went fine. The food was delicious, the table looked beautiful, and the four of us had a fun evening.

This year, we are planning on another Thanksgiving for four and I’m excited to be cooking for my parents again. Right now, I’m getting together my plans for our Thanksgiving feast. I’m making some lists, looking at recipes, and trying to get a game plan together. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one doing this, so I thought I would share a round up of Thanksgiving recipes and tips that may help you with your planning too.

Some Thanksgiving recipes to consider:

- This Perfect Roast Turkey. I’m usually a big advocate for brining a turkey before roasting, but I tried this recipe last year and it was phenomenal (even without brining).

- This Scalloped Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Gratin with Fresh Herbs made it on my table last year.

- Anything in the Pumpkin category.

- Maple and Sage Cornbread to sop up all the drippings and gravy on your plate.

- Cranberry Clafouti makes for a very pretty and impressive dessert, and is incredibly easy to make.

- Bourbon Pecan Pie is a step up from more traditional pecan pies and can be made ahead of time.

- Thanksgiving Leftovers Turnovers for the day-after.


A few tips for hosting Thanksgiving:

- Make sure you have a turkey – This is kind of a no brainer, but you would be surprised. Plan out what day you want to pick up your turkey, whether you want a frozen or a fresh one, what size of a bird you need, and if you can, call ahead and put one on reserve at your grocery store or wherever you get your turkey. This way you know you have a turkey and aren’t running all over town trying to find one on Thanksgiving.

- Make as many things ahead of time as you can – There are a lot of Thanksgiving dishes that can be made a day or more before, like cranberry sauce, dough for fresh bread/rolls, and some desserts.

- Make a day-of schedule – This is particularly helpful if you only have one oven and have a lot of different dishes to cook. This schedule should include a list of the dishes you are making, what time to start making each dish, when each dish should go in and out of the oven (plus the oven temperatures), and what platter or vessel each dish should be served in. I make this schedule in Excel and it is a lifesaver!

- Mix old and new recipes – I think it’s good to have a mix of tried-and-true favorites along with new dishes on Thanksgiving. Also, if possible, it’s not a bad idea to test a new recipe before making it for Thanksgiving. That way you know the dish is good and you don’t risk bringing something to the table that you aren’t proud of.

- Know that things may not go as planned – Whether people show up late, the turkey takes longer to cook than you thought, or the kitchen sink decides to back up on Thanksgiving Day (yeah, that totally happened to me last year), it will be OKAY.


At the end of all that planning and cooking, you will have a delicious turkey to carve and a feast to remember! I’m so looking forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all the days in between. Let the holidays begin!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

thelittleloaf November 17, 2012 at 3:20 am

I’m going to a Thanksgiving dinner for the first time ever on Thursday and so excited! I’m thinking of taking cornbread as they already have dessert sorted…maple and sage sounds divine.


Connie November 18, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Have fun at your first Thanksgiving! You’re gonna love it!


The Squishy Monster November 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm

You never cease to amaze me! Your pictures are soooo stunning! Your blog always feel so warm, inviting and cozy…just like your food, just like your words =) Happy Thanksgiving, my friend!!!


Connie November 18, 2012 at 9:32 pm

You are too sweet! Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!


Chineka (savorthebaking) November 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Great tips. I made a Thanksgiving timeline and it worked great for me. Everything you made looks delicious.


thyme (sarah) December 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm

What a lovely Thanksgiving spread. I did a full spread for Thanksgiving and Xmas will be a repeat. I tried several recipes for Thanksgiving to see how well they freeze beforehand. I LOVE that you mentioned your Excel spreadsheet b/c I sit with my lists and charts and diagrams and wonder if there are other souls out there geeking out over dinners!


Connie December 4, 2012 at 8:58 am

Oh good! I’m glad I’m not the only one that needs serious paperwork to prep for holiday dinners! Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!


Rachael January 3, 2013 at 10:02 am

Great tips! I haven’t had the pressure of hosting Thanksgiving yet, so kudos to you, everything looks great!


Connie January 3, 2013 at 11:07 am

Thanks, Rachael! Now that you have a house, I’m sure Thanksgiving will come your way one of these days :)


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