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HELP! First Thanksgiving

Hi everyone! Ok here’s the deal. I am a 24 y/o just-out-of-college-student. Neither my roommates or myself can make it home for Thanksgiving this year, so we have decided to take in all the Turkey Day orphans, and have dinner at our house. This will be my FIRST EVER Thanksgiving planning endeavor. Fortunately, the one thing I don’t have to worry about is the Turkey, but I have been graciously volunteered for all the sides. I am looking for some recipes that border on easy (since I am pretty much on my own) but are still delicious (as we are all obsessed with good food). Things that can be made the night before are great, and I am working with fairly limited space in the kitchen. Any tips, tricks or advice are more than welcome.
I am excited to give this a shot, and I am really looking for that meal that makes all our friends feel at home, since I know a lot of them are wishing they could be there. Thanks in advance!!!

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  1. How many people are going to be in attendance? Is it feasable to ask each person what is the one dish they would feel incomplete without on Thanksgiving? This might set you in the right direction and maybe they can supply the recipe. Of course if everyone comes back and says greenbean mushroom soup casserole you have it made as long as you make that you can do what ever you want with the rest of the meal.

    I'd be lookng for cornbread sausage dressing and maybe an oyster dressing. Home made cranberry sauce, it is a snap and you could make that tomorrow, it will keep beautifully until turkey day adn then some. If you scroll down the HC page and glean recipes, techniques and tips and there have been a lot of them posted in the past couple of weeks you will be pretty well set.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Candy

      I think this sounds like a good idea - if you aren't having a ridiculously large number of people I would ask what everyone's favorite dish is for the holiday.

      Depending on what people say, I'd think you could do well with boiled and buttered green beans, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes roasted in the oven like a baked potato.

    2. I make a cranberry orange ginger sauce, served hot or room temp, and its easy and cheap! Will last in the refrigerator for weeks if its kept sealed and cold; it even freezes like a dream in ziplock bags.

      3 large oranges, zest chopped fine then juiced
      1/2 can whole berry cranberry sauce (any brand - about 1 cup)
      1 bag cranberries, cleaned
      1 TB fresh finely grated ginger
      1/4 c. honey
      1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
      salt and pepper

      Put it all in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until cranberries are soft and it looks like a chunky sauce. Adjust seasoning and serve either hot or room temp. Better the second day, reheat in microwave on 50% power, stirring often. Also great on leftover sandwiches cold, it gets pretty stiff.
      Best of luck!

      1. Apple and pumpkin pie are pretty standard. Line up a source right now - to order from an exceptional bakery or find someone in the group who can make them. And some ice cream (cinnamon?) and real whipped cream on the side.

        It won't be like a movie where everything is perfect so don't put your whole ego into making it so. And allow room for other people's ideas, input, recipes, dishes. Oh! Candy just said that.

        1. Wonderful easy sides that do not require exact recipies (quantities not important and salt and pepper goes on everything):

          1) boiled green beans (boil lightly and poor some cold water on to keep green) with smashed garlic, olive oil, chopped cilantro and toasted walnuts

          2) boiled mashed sweet potatoes with a bit of cream, butter and smoked paprika

          3)Quartered sweet onions roasted in the oven with olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar

          Good Luck!

          1. ...4)roasted sweet potatoes with rosemary

            5)roasted brussel sprouts finished with vinegar and crumbled bacon

            6)mashed potatoes made with sour cream and lots of black pepper