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Thanksgiving menu...looking for suggestions

I need some help finalizing my Thanksgiving menu for 4-8 people. So far, I've got turkey and gravy, of course. Pretty sure I'm using the Good Eats Roast Turkey recipe this year. Then green bean casserole (also an Alton Brown recipe), a creamed onion recipe that a few of you have suggested, and cranberry sauce (some combination of cranberries, fruit, and sugar that I'll make up as I go).

Do you have any suggestions for sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, and a couple of fancy appetizers/finger foods?

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  1. I make a great goat cheese artichoke dip as an ap. 3 jars of marinated artichokes pulsed in food processor, and mix in a little olive oil and lemon zest. Then smooth 1lb goat cheese in food processor, and fold into artichokes. Add parsley and ground black pepper. Serve in bowl surrounded by endive leaves to scoop out dip.

    also a great raw tart cranberry relish- 2cups cranberries pulsed in food processor w/ orange (including rind). Don't let it get mushy. Mix in sugar to taste.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ejpnyc

      i'm think about making some roasted chilis stuffed with arugula, lemon/balsamic, chopped capers/anchovies and bit of garlic. I'll do red chilis, deseeded, cap off in the oven with olive oil.

      i like the endive idea since it doesn't involve bread before the big meal. sister is not fond of goat cheese, i wonder what other dips i can do? should i use cream cheese/sour cream instead?

      1. re: ejpnyc

        Raw cranberry relish is superb, especially because the flavor improves if you make it several days in advance. I add some fresh grated ginger (or turmeric if you can find it). Pulse only 1 cup of cranberries at a time, so you get them chopped fine without turning to mush. Get an organic orange so you can include the rind. It adds serious flavor. I put a cinnamon stick in the container of relish, which adds a subtle scent of cinnamon if you make it several days in advance.

      2. I'm making my loaded mashed potatoes. Add butter, heavy cream, chives, sour cream, cooked and crumbled bacon, a dash of chicken broth, shredded cheddar cheese (I like extra sharp or sharp), and grated parm. Sounds like a heart attack wating to happen...and it probably is, but is worth every bite.
        Fore appetizers, you can always do assorted crostini...or to ease it up for yourself, a crostini bar. Slice and toast all the bread, and have an assortment of toppings for the guests to help themselves. My go-to appertizer as of late is Paula Deen's cheeseburger wrapped in puff pastry. Make your favorite hamburger recipe, make tiny golf ball-sized patties, and wrap in puff pastry. Place the patty in the middle of the square of puff pastry, brush the edges with water, and twist the 4 corners to make a purse. I add a squirt of ketchup and mustard into the packets, as well.

        1. Mmm...that all sounds delicious... I especially like the endive/dip idea.

          1. I just discoverd this blog, thanks to someone on Chowhound. There's a nice salmon spread that I'm going to do for thanksgiving. I may make it more like a dip by adding some yogurt/sr cream to thin it out. Any salmon app is nice, seems lite. There are some nice apps on this site.

            http://28cooks.blogspot.com/2008/01/s...

            1. For sweet potatoes Mark Bittman had a nice recipe on the NYT this week.

              http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/din...

              1. I really like to do a seafood app to change things up from what's to come -- smoked salmon on little toasts or your basic shrimp with cocktail sauce are always welcomed.

                For potatoes you really can't go wrong with your basic mashed potatoes to be a receptacle for that gravy, but there is also the incredible sweet potato with chipotle cream recipe that is floating around on this board somewhere.

                1 Reply
                1. re: GretchenS

                  I did cranberry brie bites for thanksgiving last year they are great. Its a sara mouton recipe on foodtv.com

                  Its phyllo dough wrapped around a piece of brie and dollop of cran sacue pop in oven for 15 and Walla!!!

                  I also did Ina Gartens spinach gratin I am doing it again this year.

                  Hope this helps

                2. I love mashed potatoes combined with steamed drained spinach and creme fraiche. And maple-roasted sweet potatoes topped with more creme fraiche. And steamed sweet potatoes rolled in butter and then rolled again in a combo. of sesame seed, coriander, cumin, ginger; roasted until nuts and spices form crust: very unexpected, very delicious.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mamachef

                    Steamed pieces of sweet potato? This sounds excellent!

                  2. Candied Sweet Potatoes..
                    Boiled Shrimp...Appetizer
                    Raw Oysters.....Appetizer..

                    Enjoy!

                    1. Favorite app is Stuffed Mushrooms, I try to make some spicey and some mild to keep everyone happy. I use stuffing mix and ground sausage then top with a good cheese. Another favorite is my hot crab dip. I don't like crab but it's a big hit so I have to keep making it. Easy too.
                      This year I'm doing baked stuffed acorn squash. It makes a great presentation and it's fairly easy. Try to make as many things ahead and relax and enjoy your guest.