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Thanksgiving Dinner ideas

  • t

Hello all. I'm starting this thread with my first pass thanksgiving dinner menu. I'd like everyone to chime in with either their menu, with references for recipes, or recipes they have followed with the best results for items on my menu. If it gets too long(I hope!!) I'll split it out into two topics.

Also, what is your 'must have' side on Thanksgiving? Mine is a plate mix of mashed potatoes, corn, and gravy.

My menu with -- recipe places for some items

-Cheeses (sharp cheddar, irish cheddar, one other – longmont cheese shop)
-Shrimp & cocktail sauce - Costco

-Brined Smoked Turkey(~12lbs) -- epicurious for brine
-Oven Roasted Turkey(~15-20lbs) -- open roaster w/lift out

-Corn(frozen, warmed w/salt, pepper, little garlic)
-Mashed taters
-Greens(collard, little mustard)
-green beans w/ almonds
-Salad with cranberries, oranges
-YAM-bilee w/ marsha mellows – maybe just fluff
-Corn Bread(one traditional, one chile’s and corn) -- betty crocker cb
-Mac n Cheese(homemade)
-Homemade Cranberry dressing -- back of cranberry package, less lemon
-Sausage Stuffing
-Wild Rice

-Cider – hot apple or Sparkling cider
-Egg nogg – rum yum yum

-Pecan Pie --
-Pumpkin Pie
-Ice Cream & Whipped cream – homemade fresh

-Champagne(White Star, need flutes)
-Riesling/Sauv B(have, might want one more Kim Crawford)
-Chardonnay(have 1 devils lair, 1 Indian Wells, might want to get more madfish)
-Pinot Noir(Have Williams Selyem, Sharecropper)
-Port(have, dessert)

-Case fat tire


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  1. Wow! What a menu for your first Thanksgiving - I'm impressed, can I come?

    Here's my changing menu (about 10 people). Having a postage-size galley kitchen in downtown Boston, I really have to plan ahead. Trying to figure out if I should add that Sweet Potato Gratin with Chipotles. Questions: Has anyone tried keeping mashed potatoes warm in a crockpot? Also will be trying my first deep-fried turkey with a new electric turkey fryer. How important is brining and type of turkey with this method? And what's a good injection flavoring recipe?

    Baked Brie en croute with cranberry compote
    Blue cheese and caramelized shallots dip with rosemary chips (Epi)
    Herbed Marinated Jumbo Cocktail Shrimp


    Deep Fried Turkey
    Do-Ahead Gravy
    Grand Marnier, Apricot, and Chestnut Stuffing (Silver Palate)
    Mashed potatoes with caramelized leeks and fresh thyme
    Braised Carrots with Parmesan (Hazan)
    Peas and Pearl Onions Au Gratin (adapted F&W p.257)
    Jellied cranberry sauce
    Cranberry sauce with Marsala, Rosemary, and Cherries (FunwithFood)

    Cream Cheese Biscuits (frozen Meetinghouse 72-layer)
    Crescent Rolls

    Brandied Pumpkin pie (Epi)
    Anybody have a favorite cheesecake recipe that can be adapted to mini-cheesecakes?

    17 Replies
    1. re: Rubee

      If you're in Co, sure :-) Not first thanksgiving, but first pass at the menu. I'm a shameless thief of good ideas for dishes or recipes, which is the reason I started this thread.

      And I'm going to steal your Brandied pumpkin pie idea, because it sounds more interesting than the recipe I've followed before.

      1. re: TNC

        Well, I won't be in the neighborhood, but I'll take a shipment of leftovers. : )

        1. re: TNC

          Yes! Thanks for starting this thread!! Although I went ahead and posted my menu before I checked everyone elses... but I have to ask RUBEE--

          Is this the recipe you are modifying? I think this would be another perfect dish with the prime rib because SO loves pearl onion dishes. :) (With peas instead of edamame)



          1. re: Dommy

            Hi Dommy!. Ooh, that recipe sounds great, but no, this WAS the recipe I was going to make (especially because Barbara Lynch is the chef at my favorite restaurant in Boston)


            but my husband looked at my menu and said "gratin? what happened to my plain old creamed peas and onions".

            HA. Every year he wants it simple and I try to doctor it up so I like it. So now am contemplating doing a basic recipe and just adding some caramelized shallots. Though I'm quite intrigued by Gardencub's Nana's creamed onions with brandied cream sauce.

            1. re: Rubee

              Thanks Rubee!! Whee!! :)


        2. re: Rubee

          this thread will be very helpful for me since i'm doing thankgiving for 25. yikes! have done it the last few years but never for so many.

          also, being a shameless recipe thief - i'm totally stealing your blue cheese dip idea. anything that can be made ahead is key.

          some thoughts about desserts - last year i made sweet potato pie and i thought it was better than pumpkin (sweet potatoes are way more manageable than fresh pumpkin and have a way better texture than canned pumpkin). just a thought.

          also, i made this cheesecake for a christmas party last year and it was fabulous and very easy. i substituted red currants for the strawberries. it was nice to look at too:


          1. re: hopalong

            Thanks for the cheesecake recipe! I just bought this mini-cheesecake pan because it was half-price, and wondering what I can do with it that isn't pumpkin.


            And that blue cheese dip is great - one that quickly became a crowd favorite. Dad even requested it for both his birthday and anniversary this year. It's even better two days ahead.

            1. re: Rubee

              I made an interesting cheesecake last T'giving, called pecan pie cheesecake. You buy a frozen already cooked pecan pie- slice it
              in 6 slices. Place the slices onto the cheesecake crust inside to spriing pan. Then you pour the cheesecake stuff over the slices of pie, covering it. I made a rum sauce with pecans, butter, and brown sugar to spoon over the served slices.

          2. re: Rubee

            It's important that you don't brine a turkey you're going to fry. The added moisture could cause the fat to boil over and besides, it's unnecessary. By injecting and frying, you're going to have a really juicy bird. My favorite injection is olive oil flavored with fines herbs. It's subtle and won't overpower the rest of your thanksgiving flavors the way that most of the spicy/garlicy injections will.

            1. re: Rubee

              I was just given one of those tabletop Sabrett hot dog carts with 4 steamer inserts and am planning on using it Thanksgiving to keep my mashed potatoes and stuffing and 2 of the veggies warm while I make the gravy and carve the turkey (unfortunately good help is hard to find around here). I expect it to work out great, and I could see a crock pot working here too. It lowers my stress level just thinking about it.
              I'm also planning on trying the Chipotle Sweet Potato recipe, and since I just got back from upstate with a bushel of beautiful Winesapp apples, was thinking of putting some quarters of that in it too. Anyone who's already made it, do you think that would work out?

              1. re: Rubee

                My friend often makes the Apricot/Grand Marnier stuffing from Silver Palate - it's very good.

                What is do ahead gravy? Do you have a recipe you could share?

                Already had my Thanksgiving Dinner (Canadian!)

                1. re: ElizabethS

                  I linked to a recipe below for the gravy that is basically what I do( though instead of butter, I usually have schmaltz or rendered chicken fat on hand). I started doing it when I bought a deep-fried turkey, but now I always make it beforehand. If I roast a turkey, I just add the pan juices to the gravy.


                  1. re: Rubee

                    Thanks for posting this link! My least favorite part is running around like a crazy person at the end trying to get everything out on the table and making the darn gravy at the same time!

                    1. re: bananie

                      Now this is HANDY information! How far ahead can yu make it? Will it refrigerate overnoght and heat up well the next day?

                      1. re: Susanbnyc

                        I missed this - sorry for the late answer. I've actually made it weeks ahead and froze it. Yes, you can freeze gravy (I just found this out in the last couple of years!). This year, I made the stock last weekend and froze it. Defrosted this weekend, and am making the gravy tomorrow.

                2. re: Rubee

                  Hi there,

                  I just looked in my Silver Palate book to find the Apricot and Chestnut stuffing, and couldn't find it in the index or chicken chapter. Could you please direct me to the page number, it sounds very tasty!

                  1. re: Laura Jones

                    Hi! I should have said it's in the Silver Palate "Good Times" Cookbook. Grand Marnier Apricot Stuffing, page 285 (I use the exact recipe but add chestnuts,some Bell's seasoning, and a couple TB of chopped parsley or sage).

                    Recipe here:


                3. Here is our Thanksgiving menu: appertizers - cocktail meatballs in chili/BBQ sauce (freeze and cook overnight in crockpot!), shrimp w/ cocktail sauce Salad - frisee/radiccio lettuce with blue cheese, toasted pecans & sliced pears w/ balsamic mustard vinaigrette, main - brined roasted turkey, do ahead mashed potatoes with cream cheese, sour cream & chives, roasted root vegetables (sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, turnips, onion) with maple syrup glaze, stuffing with corn bread, celery & mushrooms, carmelized brussels sprouts with shallots, and dinner rolls. this year I decided to "outsource" dessert (bakery): pumpkin pie, pear frangipangi tart and choclate chambord mousse cake. Then we retire to the family room, unzip our pants and watch football!

                  1. Wow, that's a feast! I really like Cook's Illustrated Pecan Recipe. I have the problem they tried to solve that when you cut the pie, the pecan pieces don't cut but get pressed into the pie. They have you chop the pecans first. Doesn't look the same but it tastes great. As corn bread goes, I really like spoon bread. It's easier to eat and not as dry. For corn, I love Trader Joe's frozen roasted corn. I've baked it, too, and it's really good. For shrimp and cocktail sauce, I like Costco's big shrimp (if you aren't planning on making it, they have a frozen precooked-- I can't remember the number per pound, maybe 12?) but I don't like their cocktail sauce. I have a recipe for a cranberry salad-ish that's made with whipping cream, cranberries, pecans (can't remember what else). If anyone wants,I can post that or the C.I. pecan pie recipe.

                    As for what we're having, my SIL is hosting this year so that means queso dip for appetizer (can of cheese whiz, can of chili dumped in a crock pot) with nachos, dry turkey, Stove top stuffing, green bean casserole, potatoes au gratin (sliced potatoes, cream on top--that's it), gravy from a jar, oh, but there will probably be mashed potatoes from scratch!

                    1. I change my menu every year. Well, I should say, for turkey day, most of the recipes are experiments. This year is no exception. The only repeat will be the garlic rosemary mashed potatoes. I am going to change the technique though. I will try Marcella's potato cooking method, ricer and all, with my way of making potatoes. I usually boil the potatoes in chicken broth with the garlic. I warm the rosemary with half and half, then toss it in after the butter.

                      The only thing I haven't quite decided on is which turkey, stuffing and gravy recipe to use. If I get more than 10 guests, I am going with JK Grence the Comic Jester's link below:


                      Butternut squash and apple bisque (I may change this, I'm not enamored with it, but it looks pretty good).


                      Rosemary garlic mashed potatoes
                      Roasted sweet potato wedges with bacon vinaigrette
                      Cauliflower with mustard lemon butter
                      Brussel sprouts with shallots and wild mushrooms

                      Pumpkin tiramisu
                      Banana cream pie
                      Chocolate pistachio torte with chocolate ganache

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: beetlebug

                        My mother-in-law (on my husband's recommendation) made Tyler Florence's turkey for about 22 people last year and it was a huge hit! Here's a link to the recipe: <a href=http://www.topcomments.com&gt;&lt;img src=http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r1... title="MySpace Comments" border=0></a><br><left><a href='http://www.topcomments.com&#39;&gt;&l... size="2">MySpace Comments</font></a></left>

                        It's a maple-roasted turkey with sage and smoked bacon. I would not be lying when I say that it was one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten!

                        1. re: josheva

                          I just saw that turkey on FoodTV. That bird looked so beautiful coming out of the oven, I was tempted to change my menu.

                          1. re: Rubee

                            It is delicious and was a huge hit! If I were making Thanksgiving dinner this year, I'd use it. :)

                          2. re: josheva

                            Thanks. This looks great. It's on the short list. I'm really intrigued by the bacon on top of the turkey.

                        2. We go traditional, for the most part. There will be about 20 of us. I do the desserts and meal, my family guests supply the appetizers. As you can see, we are vegatable lovers!

                          Appetizers: Mexican dip, shrimp cocktail, deviled eggs, clam chowder, chips, cheese, dips and stuffed mushrooms

                          Mashed pototoes
                          Green Beans
                          Butternut Squash
                          Sweet Potatoes
                          Creamed Cauliflower and Onions
                          Moms Cabbage Salad
                          Asparagus (added to please my 5 yo nephew)
                          Cranberry sauce - both homemade and canned

                          Apple Pie
                          Blueberry Pie
                          Lemon Meringue pie
                          Pumpkin or squash pie
                          Am also toying with some kind of chocolaty thing. Love these boards for ideas

                          1. Here's what I made last year for 12 of us, and it was lovely. I will tweak it a bit this year, just to avoid my own boredom, but I think it's great as is. Most recipes can be found on epicurious.

                            Tete de Moin (a cheese)
                            Endive with Smoked Trout and Herbed Cream Cheese

                            Butternut Squash Soup with Cider Cream
                            Roast Turkey (from Silver Palatte, works everytime)
                            Maple and Tangerine-Glazed Carrots
                            Brussels Sprouts with Marjoram and Pine Nuts
                            Wild Mushrooms with Chestnuts and Thyme
                            Winter Fruit and Nut Stuffing
                            Cranberry Sauce with Roasted Shallots and Port

                            Tiramisu Trifle with Toasted Almonds

                            All can be made ahead (a must....I don't know how people cook while guests are there. I have ultimate respect for that....way beyond my comfort zone).

                            Happy Thanksgiving!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: onefineleo

                              Could you please post your carrot and stuffing recipes? TIA

                              1. re: zook

                                Hi Zook: My eldest son, now in college, would not forgive me if I didn't make the carrots. The tangerine sauce is sensational. The stuffing is sophisticated and delicious. If you make one or both, let me know what you think.


                                I see that the winter fruit and nut stuffing didn't get copied for me to paste (I guess I don't know how to do more than 1). Just look the stuffing up on epicurious.com.

                                1. re: onefineleo

                                  Thanks, Leo. I've added the carrots to my menu for this year. They sound too good to pass up. The stuffing will be tried some other time as I need to use one of my crockpot stuffing recipes this year due to lack of oven space/time.

                              2. re: onefineleo

                                Yessss!!!! More recipes that I probably would not have found w/o this post. Thanks for posting these....That butternut squash soup piqued my interest, and it was added to the menu.
                                The carrots are going to have to be added, as well. Someone else said it best...
                                "I love it when a plan comes together!"

                                Thanks again,

                              3. I am really excited about Thanksgiving this year, I am cooking for the first time and I can make whatever what I want! There is going to be five of us, three vegetarian including me, so I am going to make a more ‘non-traditional’ Thanksgiving. Most of the recipes I got from Martha Stewart’s November issue or from Epicurious.

                                White bean dip and lentil pate with grilled toasts

                                Devil’s chicken thigh with braised leeks (I am using Quorn chicken cutlets for the chicken) from Sunday Suppers @ Lucques

                                Cauliflower gratin w/ endive
                                Crusty breadsticks w/ rosemary
                                Winter fruit chutney
                                Roasted vegetables w/ balsamic- lemon vinaigrette

                                Steamed persimmon pudding

                                I am not quite sure what kind of wine I am getting yet, I need to go talk to my wine store people.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: kate.s

                                  I made the Devil's chicken thighs on braised leeks for a dinner party several weeks ago and it's a great choice for Thanksgiving. It tastes like comfort food yet fancy at the same time.

                                  1. re: kate.s

                                    Would you be willing to share the cauliflower gratin recipe? TIA

                                      1. re: kate.s

                                        kate.s - Thanks for the link. It looks even better than it sounds!

                                  2. My Menu this year is still up in the air but I am thinking it will look something like (I'm Feeding 12-15):

                                    Carmelized onion, fig and feta in Phyllo Purses
                                    Banana Cheese Empinadas

                                    Smoked Turkey (8lbs)
                                    Chicken Mole
                                    Carnitas and Chard Tamales
                                    Cornbread, Sage and Sour Cherry Stuffing
                                    Basic Mashers (I sleep on the couch if there are no basic mashers)
                                    Sweet potatoes cooked with cardamom, ginger, butter, grade B maple syrup and apple cider
                                    Brussel Sprout Gratin
                                    Mixed greens (Chard, Kale, Collards) with currants and garlic
                                    Whole Salmon fillet (not sure how I am going to prepare it yet but maybe grilled with a coconut curry sauce)
                                    Wild Rice Apple Walnut Pilaf
                                    Whole Cranberry sauce
                                    I think other people are bringing desserts but I may make truffles and a burnt almond, brown butter cake with a fangiapan filling and an amaretto butter cream frosting.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: kolgrim

                                      Ooh, I'm intrigued by the banana cheese empanadas. Recipe please!

                                      1. re: kolgrim

                                        I would love the banana cheese empanada recipe too! I want to make empanadas (never done) but would like a recipe that vegetarians can enjoy too.

                                        1. re: kolgrim

                                          Your sweet potato dish sounds fantastic. Could you direct us to the recipe? Actually, your whole menu sounds great! I'd also be curiuos to know about your mixed greens w/ currants and garlic.

                                        2. Apps:
                                          Cheese and crackers
                                          Carmelized onion dip and chips (sister always insists I make this)
                                          Sugared Pecans, addictive
                                          Mulled cider with spiced rum on the side

                                          Start with either clam chowder or butternut squash soup

                                          Sides to go with turkey:
                                          Whipped sweet potatoes w/ brown sugar-pecan topping
                                          Leek and wild mushroom stuffing (soooo good)
                                          Mashed potatoes w/ roasted garlic
                                          Creamed Spinach
                                          Fried corn and onions
                                          Blue cranberry sauce (blueberries secret ingredient)
                                          Corn bread, maybe pumpkin bread too

                                          Desert tbd, thinking of making some sort of trifle with gingerbread

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: bananie

                                            I am tempted by your soooo good leek and mushroom stuffing. Would you mind posting?

                                              1. re: bananie

                                                I was checking out this recipe for our Thanksgiving meal after you posted this and did you see the review at the end of the recipe?!? It says they subbed pumpkin bread for the baguettes!!! Ick! Sometimes those reviews amaze me!

                                          2. It's been a few years since I deep-fried turkey. We never brined. I didn't like the spicy injections because if it didn't distribute well, you'd end up with some parts overwhelmed with spice. We found a high-quality uninjected bird produced a tasty, juicy bird since the hot oil sears it and seals in the juices quickly (though the olive oil and fine herbs injection above sounds very good).

                                            Since you mentioned that you are in the Boston area, I'll recommend one of my favorite poultry purveyors - Owen's Poultry Farms in Needham, MA. The birds are expensive, but very good. But IMHO their frozen turkey gravy is wonderful if you don't want to go to the trouble of making gravy when you don't have pan drippings. I keep their chicken and turkey gravies in my freezer at all times! I love most of the frozen poultry items they sell.

                                            Our thanksgiving (at my MIL's house in AZ) will be small and simple with 5 adults. Still deciding, but current plan:

                                            Parsnip Bisque (Epi)

                                            Lemon-sage turkey with wild-mushroom gravy (an old favorite from Cooking Light http://www.cooking.com/recipes/static...
                                            )Three-onion stuffing (Epi)
                                            Mashed potatoes
                                            Roasted vegetables (probably brussel sprouts)
                                            Baked sweet potatoes (simple - in their jackets)
                                            Cranberry relish or chutney
                                            A "molded" salad of my MIL's choosing
                                            Homemade Yeast rolls

                                            Pumpkin ice-cream pie (something my SIL is making)
                                            Dutch-apple pie (Bittman - How to cook everything)

                                            *If we didn't already have two desserts I'd make the sweet potato pie recipe from (CI - The New best recipe). It's my recent favorite - I roast the sweet potatoes, add a drop of coconut extract, sub maple syrup for molasses). Someone has posted it: http://fullbleed.net/recipeblog/archi...

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: maviris

                                              Thanks so much for the helpful info. Yes, I'm going to go with Greg Spence's suggestion above of injecting with olive oil and herbs. Thanks also for the great tip on Owen's in Needham - I'm definitely going to make a trip there!

                                              1. re: Rubee

                                                Just so you know - if you want a turkey from Owen's, you'll have to pre-order.... But all the wonderful frozen foods are there all the time (gravy, stuffed chicken breasts, pot pies, chicken fricasse - which I use as a base for chicken and dumplings - etc.).

                                            2. So far, I'm tentatively making:
                                              the Proscuitto/Hazelnut Turkey (that someone linked on another thread here)
                                              Dressing (definitely cornbread and andouille, possibly oyster too)
                                              Macaroni and Cheese
                                              Rolls (possibly the Sweet Potato ones that, again, someone linked on another thread and/or regular dinner rolls)
                                              roasted sweet potatoes or some sort of gratin
                                              roast brussel sprouts with bacon and garlic
                                              homemade cranberry sauce
                                              some sort of green beans

                                              My grandmother brings potato salad, and she makes the gravy (those are both non negotiable for grandma). Definitely pumpkin pie for dessert, and some sort of birthday cake (lots of November birthdays in my family), and possibly sweet potato. I've been wanting to make pumpkin cheesecake for years, but my family keeps revolting. I might try to make a little one this year if I can find a recipe that I can cut in half (and a small springform pan)...I've also been dying to make pumpkin ice cream, so maybe that too.

                                              Appetizers aren't definite, and I'll probably play around with most of the vegetable dishes.

                                              1. Well this is my first post to Chow, not my first Thanksgiving. I am cooking for 12 family members, both sets of parents, mine and his and the rest.

                                                My Menu is always in a state of flux until the night before but it looks like this so far.

                                                Amuse Bouche: Roasted Tomato Soup with Asiago cheese, served in demitasse cups in the keeping room.

                                                Salad of Irish Cheddar, port soaked dried cranberries, mixed bitter greens and an orange, port wine dressing.

                                                Brined Roast Turkey: I use Alton Brown's recipe and it always works perfect
                                                Turkey gravy
                                                Mashed Potatoes with buttermilk
                                                Sausage and giblet dressing with sage and thyme
                                                roasted fall veggies with ginger and cardamon
                                                (sweet potato, butternut squash, and turnip)
                                                Nana's classic creamed onions with Brandied cream sauce
                                                Apple and cranberry chutney

                                                Dessert will be:
                                                Apple and pumpkin Pies and a childhood favorite that my mom will bring; a very moistcarrot cake with pineapple and coconut in the batter.
                                                cranberry nut bread

                                                I always try to offer the family a few twists on old favorites. I found that offering the soup in the sitting room while I carve and serve keeps them all busy and out of my hair for about 20 minutes. Heavy starters or big plates of cheese etc only fill everyone up. I also try to move things around, one year we ate dinner on the sunporch at a huge long table for 14. Another year I set up 3 smaller tables one in both parlors and one in the dining room. It keeps the inlaws guessing and gives them something to talk about instead of picking at each other.

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: gardencub

                                                  Is Nana's a secret recipe? If not, I'd love to have it - my husband always requests creamed pearl onions and peas, and I have yet to find a recipe I like. This year I was going to try a new Food & Wine recipe (from a local chef) for pearl onions au gratin and add peas.

                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                    I have been making these onions since I was 15 and I just do it intuitively now. I will try to make notes this year and send them to you after I figure it out... Thanks for the interest. When I make them I remember Nana racing around the kitchen making about 15 different things at once, all of them great.

                                                  2. re: gardencub

                                                    Salad sounds great...can you flesh out the recipe a bit? TIA

                                                    1. re: howboy

                                                      Ok here goes,

                                                      I use a mixe of frissee, endive, baby greens etc. whatever looks good in the market that day. I soak the dried cranberries in equal parts port and fresh oj. for about an hour before I make the salad. Drain and reserce liquids to make the dressing. I toss sliced tart apple, the greens, cranberries, sliced red onion, and some toasted walnuts. The dressing is a classic vinagrette but I use the OJ and port in place of the vinegar. I dress the salad, plate and top with crumbled Irish Cheddar. I have used pomagranate seeds on it as well.

                                                      My dressing has dijon mustard, finely diced shallots, Salt and Pepper and a mild Olive oil. I do not want the oil to compete with the port and Orange juice.

                                                      Hope this helps.

                                                    2. re: gardencub

                                                      would you mind sharing the carrot cake recipe?

                                                      1. re: KellBell

                                                        I will find the recipe and send it to you....its a funny old recipe from an old Church cookbook, but it is so moist, flavorful and it always disappears...

                                                        1. re: gardencub

                                                          Great, thank you. I will keep an eye out for the recipe. And, I am definately going to try your salad recipe as well! =0)

                                                    3. I’m cooking for six adults, and some restrictions on the dietary preference front. One couple does not eat white bread, white potatoes, or white rice. Three of us cannot bear sweet potatoes. So I have to get creative with sides. Dad is not crazy about turkey, but has vetoed my suggestions to try duck, so I was debating between pork and an “interesting” turkey breast recipe. Thanks to the comments here, I am inclined to adapt the Prosciutto-Hazelnut recipe I already had my eye on to a turkey breast, which shouldn’t be difficult. However, I am intrigued by the Lucques Deviled Chicken Thighs if anyone could share the recipe.

                                                      Here’s where the menu stands so far:

                                                      Caramelized Onion and White Cheddar Dip with Apples and Pumpernickel
                                                      Guest bringing another appetizer
                                                      Fried Garbanzos with Sage

                                                      Main Course:
                                                      Roast Turkey Breast with Prosciutto-Hazelnut Crust and Gravy
                                                      Spinach, Mushroom, and Artichoke Casserole
                                                      Red Pepper Halves Stuffed with Wild Rice, Corn, Leeks and Pine Nuts
                                                      Stuffed Celery Two Ways: with Pesto and with Smoked Gouda and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
                                                      Green Salad with Dried Cranberries, Red Onion, Orange, Blue Cheese & Parmesan Pecans with Citrus Vinaigrette

                                                      Mom makes the pies

                                                      P.S. I also highly recommend this Sausage & Mushroom Stuffing with Goat Cheese recipe, which I made last Thanksgiving. Very flavorful and a hit with everyone, although very rich (it actually has turned out to be a great brunch dish).

                                                      1. It is so interesting to see other family's traditions listed on this thread. My mother (81) has been hosting Thanksgiving since forever and complains that she can add things to the menu but not remove. This year I will be making Thanksgiving dinner for 22 at her house (1/2 hr away) since she just had a rotator cuff operation. It isn't a problem for me except that Friday I have 30-40 people coming to my house for a Chinese Banquet.
                                                        So far this is the menu for Thanksgiving (which looks simple compare to many of yours)

                                                        Crudite & dips
                                                        Hot Crab Dip with pita chips

                                                        2 Turkeys with Gravy
                                                        One with our traditional Sausage & Chestnut stuffing and the other with a meatless stuffing I have yet to decide on
                                                        Green Bean Casserole with Curried Breadcrumbs
                                                        Brussel Sprouts with Red Wine, Garlic & Shallots
                                                        Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cider Syrup & Craisins
                                                        Pearl Onions in a Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce
                                                        Mashed Carrots & Turnips

                                                        Apple Pie
                                                        Pumpkin Pie
                                                        Pecan Pie
                                                        and I can't decide about what to do to replace the Lemon Meringue Pie my sister used to bring before she moved and now flies to Thanksgiving.

                                                        1. Intuitive Eggplant, are you willing to share the recipe for carmelized onion and cheddar dip? That sounds great.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Beach Plum

                                                            Sure. The caramelized onion and white cheddar dip is at:


                                                            I thought I'd add fresh rosemary instead of the cloves and nutmeg in the recipe.

                                                          2. We are splitting thankgiving this year because of work schedule... The menu is still evolving (Because of my post last night and the Food section of the LAT just came out... but here's what we are thinking...

                                                            Thanksgiving Day:


                                                            * Portuguese Kale Soup... Not sure what recipe yet... or we might do this Seafood Stew:



                                                            *BBQ California Lobster:


                                                            *Oyster Stuffing (Also still looking for a recipe!


                                                            *Cranberry, Apple and Jicama Salad (thanks RW!):


                                                            I'm not sure of the Veggie side yet...


                                                            * Buttermilk Blueberry Tart (thanks Candy!



                                                            Then on Saturday we're going over to the parents house...


                                                            * Pumpkin Soup (Not sure which yet)


                                                            * Prime Rib (can't wait!! :)


                                                            * Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding (This JUST came out in the times today and it seems the PERFECT accompaniment)


                                                            * Coll's awesome Cranberries with Gran Marnier


                                                            * Roasted Balsamic Brussel Sprouts (Own recipe! :)



                                                            Habanero Cheesecake (Which we already made here):


                                                            We'll be having lots of Champagne including some wonderful Sparkling Red from Australia! :)


                                                            1. Here's mine- waiting for the So to tell me how many people we'll be having! The real challenge this year is I am making/prepping at home and just heating/finishing touches elsewhere. It really will be like I'm catering T-Giving!

                                                              - Thai Spiced Mixed Nuts
                                                              - Crostini with Fava Bean Puree
                                                              - Mini Tasse of Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Chipotle Crema
                                                              - Another app of some sort, or maybe just a nice cheese plate
                                                              - Apple Cider Brined Stuffed Turkey Thigh with Applewood Smoked Bacon Stuffing
                                                              - Proscuitto-wrapped Stuffed Turkey Breast with Sausage Stuffing
                                                              - Roasted Garlic and Creme Fraiche Mashed Potatoes
                                                              - Roasted Sweet Potatoes with rosemary and sage
                                                              - Sausage stuffing of some sort
                                                              - Traditional Turkey Gravy (made with browned turkey wing and neck stock, since I'm not doing a whole bird.)
                                                              - Chipotle Cranberry Compote
                                                              - Roasted Asparagus with Crispy Shallots
                                                              - Spinach souflee of some sort
                                                              - Buttermilk Pie
                                                              - Pumpkin Pie
                                                              - Dark chocolate chip butterscotch blondies with bourbon caramel crema (Recipe from Cooking Light, actually! )
                                                              - House-mulled Apple Cider with Dark Rum

                                                              1. Still in the works, but here are some of my sides:

                                                                Cranberry-Orange Relish
                                                                Corn Muffins w/ Jalopenos + Parmesean Cheese
                                                                Mashed White + Sweet Potatoes
                                                                Wild Rice with Pecans and currents (or dried apricots?)
                                                                Green Beans w/ butter and almonds (or ginger butter?)
                                                                Possibly Peas w/ fresh mint
                                                                Possibly Green Salad w/ Pear and Red Onion

                                                                1. I'm only having six; one being a firm vegetarian.
                                                                  I'm having:
                                                                  oyster stuffing
                                                                  cranberry with other fruit stuffing
                                                                  cranberry sauce
                                                                  grits and greens casserole (from the book "Hissy Fit," of all things
                                                                  mashed potatoes (and Julia says that you can put them into a pot over simmering water to keep them, so long as you add only the minimum of cream, and then add the additional cream and butter when time to almost eat, to answer the question way up in the posts)
                                                                  vegetable tissame (for the vegetarian- from Mark Bittman's around the world cookbook- has sweet taters and loads of dried fruits and other veggies)
                                                                  some sort of sweet potato mashed thing
                                                                  butter beans
                                                                  corn pudding
                                                                  punkin pie
                                                                  walnut tart
                                                                  maybe a choc cake

                                                                  Can't wait! My kids will be home and must feed them well.

                                                                  1. We have the same thing every year - it's our one constant! We will have 5 adults - each person gets to pick a side and a dessert.

                                                                    Champagne Turkey 14-16 pounds
                                                                    steamed brussel sprouts (hubby)
                                                                    breaded cauliflower (hubby and younger dau)
                                                                    sausage and chestnut stuffing (both daughters and me)
                                                                    apple and yam casserole (me)
                                                                    pecan topped sweet potatoe casserole (younger dau - this is new)
                                                                    petite peas with onions (son-in-law)
                                                                    smashed garlic potatoes (everybody!)
                                                                    Outback steakhouse bread (younger dau - hmmm she sure has a lot of requests!)
                                                                    pecan pie (hubby)
                                                                    Ruth Chris' dutch apple pie (daughters)
                                                                    pumpkin pie (me)
                                                                    straberry pie (son-in-law)

                                                                    A few years ago I made the drastic decision to us - gasp - canned gravy. It reduced my stress level enormously and I'm able to get everything on the table warm. My family couldn't care less!

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Jcooks

                                                                      Canned Gravy? Oh my... have you ever considered making a gravy early? I make sure we have turkey at least twice between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, usually only a hotel cut turkey breast. I save all the bones, skin etc and use them plus all my chicken necks and gizzards to make a rich stock and make my gravy from those. You can always stir in some pan drippings at the last minute...

                                                                      NO canned gravy and no stress...