Usually I’m all about planning out a Thanksgiving feast. I research new recipes, I make a plan on when I’ll start each dish, figure out what I can make ahead…you know a game plan. However, this year I’m trying to take it easy since little baby might come anytime. Plus, standing and cooking in the kitchen for a lengthy amount of time just sounds like a backache, literally. I feel a bit like I am giving in, but I know it’s the right thing to do. Being 38 weeks pregnant for Thanksgiving is a bummer, man.
To take it easier, we decided to order a small pre-cooked turkey from Whole Foods this year. I was actually impressed that the price wasn’t as terrible as I anticipated given a raw turkey plus all the brining and cooking ingredients would come out not that far off…not to mention the price of your time and labor. Hopefully it’s delicious!
Another shortcut this year is on dessert. Our realtor, Harber Home Group, offers a free apple pie every to his past customers every year. This year we’re taking them up on it. It pains me not to make dessert. Baking is one of my favorites. If we get the pie and it’s not up to snuff, then I’m hunkering down and baking something (see below: Dessert).
I already make the stuffing and froze it, so all I need to do is defrost it. Then, I’ll make a simple side the day-off and there we have our feast. It’s just Josh, Caleb, and me so it doesn’t have to be a huge meal. Just a nice way to celebrate together and eat some delicious food.
Maybe you’re reading all this and saying, “man, I’m totally down for a huge feast with all the homemade fixings.” Power to you! I would reply telling you to check out this game plan I wrote a couple years ago . Also, How Sweet Eats timeline or the Faux Martha Cooking Schedule have some organized schedules for you.
Or, maybe you want to know some of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes. You can pick and chose if you want to make any of them. YES! I love sharing, let’s do this.
You HAVE to have turkey on Thanksgiving. It’s the star of the show. It’s the centerpiece of the meal. Then you can have leftovers and all is good in the world.
If you make your own turkey, please try brining it. Brining birds is the way to tender, juicy meat. The past few years I’ve used the Pioneer Women’s My Favorite Turkey Brine and Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey recipes. Dang, she’s good.
Forever I thought I didn’t like stuffing. Sorry, mom and dad, but the Pepperidge Farm stuffing you put into the carcass just didn’t cut it for me. Especially, the putting it into the carcass part - it just weirds me out, okay.
In recent years, I discovered I had a hidden love for stuffing (or call it dressing if you like since it’s not technically stuffing into anything). My favorite is The Best Cornbread Stuffing. So, so good. This is what I made and have frozen already. It makes a lot so I frozen in halves so one part for Thanksgiving and the other for Christmas. Boom.
What’s your veggie of choice for the holidays? Mine used to be green beans until Brussels Sprouts came into my life. I’ve never looked back. Sorry green beans. Roasted Brussels Sprouts for the win. Please eat some. Of course, you must roast them because roasting anything makes it caramelized goodness. Trust me. The end.
My favorite recently has been these Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash with Dried Cranberries and Dijon Vinaigrette. There is a bonus with the butternut squash in this dish, too. However, I’m eyeballing these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Warm Honey Glaze and these Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts. Do I stick with the tried and true, or venture into these other recipes? Ahh, these are decisions I struggle with.
Can it be Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes? It’s questionable. Last year I stumbled across these One-Pan Mashed Potatoes and they are so freaking good. They aren’t too difficult to make, but since this year I’m all about as easy as humanly possible I might make these Best Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes.
Does it feel overly decadent to do mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole? Then again, it is Thanksgiving so…yea do it. I love, love, love sweet potatoes. Sweet potato casserole could almost be dessert. I generally skip the marshmallows because I really don’t think it’s necessary. This Lightened-up Sweet Potato Casserole has been a hit. If you feel like you need just roasted potatoes and not a casserole, then check out this recipe.
I enjoy a little cranberry sauce on my Thanksgiving plate. And this Red Wine Cranberry Sauce has become my go-to sauce. Definitely a nice addition to the turkey sandwich for the next day’s leftovers!
Be sure to keep room for dessert. Both Josh and I adore pies. We had pies for our wedding instead of cake, in fact. It was a huge hit. I usually make a pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, and the past couple years has been this scrumptious Streusel Pumpkin Pie. Oh so good. I wish I could make it this year, but it’s just not gonna happen given my pregnancy status. We’re getting a pie from our realtor who does this every year apparently. We haven’t done it before and I have no idea where the pie is from, but I do know it’s apple. If we get it and it’s just sad, then I’ll be making a quick pumpkin dessert of some kind. Probably one of these since they all look pretty easy: Pumpkin Cobbler Skillet, Baked Pumpkin and Sour Cream Pudding, Warm Pumpkin Pudding Cake, Pumpkin Magic Custard Cake, Pumpkin Sex in a Pan, or Layered Pumpkin Pie in a Jar. I love pumpkin so I might just make it anyways.
I guess I should have posted something for gravy. But I haven’t really decided on a gravy favorite. I’m pretty sure our pre-cooked turkey will come with gravy. If not, then (this might sound weird/silly) I froze some gravy recently after making this chicken. The gravy was delicious!
And there are some of my favorites. Since I’m a recipe hoarder, do you have any recipes I can add to my favorites list? Please share! The best recipes are always those that come recommended from trusty friends and family.
Happy Thanksgiving!!! Gobble Gobble, Nom Nom.