My Thanksgiving Menu
Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and my menu is finally… finalized! I got all of my groceries yesterday, minus a couple of produce items that will be better fresh, so I will pick those items up on Tuesday. Many of you have asked what I am planning for our first Thanksgiving, so I thought the easiest way to answer that question was to just put it all together in one place for everyone to check out. For reference purposes, we’ll be hosting 12 people here for Thanksgiving. Now, without further ado, this is what we’ll be feasting on come Thursday…
We will have an assortment of red and white wines, a variety of beers, and soft drinks on hand. In addition, my sister is making an autumn-themed sangria, which I cannot wait to taste!
I wanted to keep appetizers pretty light for Thanksgiving, since the meal is so heavy. I didn’t think we needed any heavy, hot dips or things like that. I kept it pretty simple and low maintenance. I’ll have a spread of these items to nibble on while the meal is being finished:
- Baked brie platter with crackers and homemade apple butter
- Prosciutto-wrapped breadsticks
- Fontina-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates
- A bowl of cinnamon-sugar candied pecans
The Big Bird
I have brined a turkey for the last two years, and plan to do so again this year. I have previously used Alton Brown’s Classic Brine, but this year I’m planning to use Jessica’s Maple-Bourbon Brine. Seriously, that sounds so fabulous.
Last year was our first year deep frying a turkey, and I don’t think we’ll ever look back. Everyone agreed during dinner that it was the best turkey, ever. I bought the Butterball XL Indoor Turkey Fryer last year, which holds up to a 20-pound turkey. We will definitely be frying again this year!
Cranberry Sauce and Gravy
This year, I am making two different cranberry sauces – the relish/chutney-style one I have made for quite a few years now, and I am adding a homemade jellied cranberry sauce for those that loved the iconic canned sauce.
I love my make-ahead gravy because, well, I can make it ahead of time. However, since I’m going with the maple-bourbon brine on the turkey, I’m planning on making a batch of the apple cider-bourbon gravy to go along with it. If it’s as good as it sounds, I’ll want to eat it with a spoon.
Side dishes are my favorite part of Thanksgiving, so I naturally have a hard time narrowing down my menu. This is what I’ll be serving up along with the turkey:
- Stuffing: Sausage Cornbread, as well as a plain bread stuffing (my aunt is bringing) for those that don’t like sausage
- Perfect Mashed Potatoes
- Sweet potato casserole with a homemade marshmallow creme topping
- Fresh green bean casserole (from scratch!)
- Corn casserole (my aunt is bringing)
- Brussels sprouts with pancetta, dried cranberries and pine nuts (my mother-in-law is bringing)
- Sweet dinner rolls
I have almost as much trouble narrowing down dessert! My grandma’s pillow cookies are a Thanksgiving tradition in our family, and are a must on the menu. The dessert menu is built around those and pumpkin pie, naturally :)
- Pumpkin Pie (x2)
- Pecan Pie
- Pumpkin-Gingerbread Trifle
- My grandma’s Italian Walnut Pillow Cookies
- Chestnuts – For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving wasn’t complete without roasting a huge pan of chestnuts. Even if only a few people still eat them, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it!
Now tell me – what are YOU making for Thanksgiving?!