Nov 18, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu and Recipes

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu and Recipes

All of our family favorite Thanksgiving recipes in one place to make things easier on the big day. The Thanksgiving recipes included in this collection are ones my family enjoys year after year. I'll occasionally make up something new just to surprise everyone, but what you see here is what will be on our table this Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Dinner Menu and Recipes graphic

How and When to Thaw the Turkey

I recommend thawing your turkey in the fridge for safety. In a pinch you can thaw in a water bath, but that is time consuming and requires you to change the water often.

So keep it simple, and be sure to purchase your turkey with enough time for the big thaw. Allow 1 day for every 4 pounds of turkey. That is 5 days for a twenty pounder!
How long to thaw turkey graphic - 1 day for every 4 lbs of turkey

When to Make Thanksgiving Desserts

I always make my Pecan Pie Bars the weekend before Thanksgiving. These are the absolute BEST Pecan Pie Bars! With a buttery shortbread crust and ooey gooey, caramel-y pecan pie filling, this EASY, make-ahead recipe will ensure your Thanksgiving has less stress and more time for family. 
Pecan Pie bars on a plate ready to serve

If I have time the day before Thanksgiving, I will make more easy desserts like my Apple Pie Crescent rolls and my Apple Cinnamon Cake, but the most important thing is to keep it simple so you can enjoy the holiday without losing your mind.

Brine the turkey the day before Thanksgiving

On the day before Thanksgiving, I put my turkey in a salt water brine. Follow my steps for how to brine and roast your turkey for a deliciously juicy turkey every time! Click here to learn how to roast turkey.

On the day before Thanksgiving I make my Butternut Squash Soup. I like to have a soup starter on Thanksgiving Day, so I make the soup the day before Thanksgiving and then just reheat and serve on the big day. It's so easy!

TIP: Set the table with all of the place settings and serving dishes the DAY BEFORE Thanksgiving to save time. It also helps to ensure you have enough room for all of the serving dishes. If not, you can set up another table if needed. It's always good to know those things the day before.

Thanksgiving Day

First thing on Thanksgiving Day I remove the turkey from the brine (discard brine), dry turkey, put on roasting rack and back in fridge, uncovered, to dry out the skin so it will crisp up when roasting.

Then I make our absolute favorite stuffing recipe, my Sausage Apple Cranberry Stuffing. This is the recipe my family anticipates every year! I think it's their favorite part of Thanksgiving. It really is delicious and so easy to make. Make it up in the morning and refrigerate until ready to heat it up while the turkey is resting.
Sausage apple cranberry stuffing ready to serve for Thanksgiving

Then I move onto the cranberry sauce. My homemade Cranberry Sauce recipe is quick and easy to make and oh so delicious! You'll never buy canned cranberry sauce again! Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Cranberry sauce in a pot ready to serve on Thanksgiving

Once the cranberry sauce is made, I start the stock for my gravy. Click here to learn how to make homemade turkey gravy. It's really quite easy and so much better than any store bought gravy. 

By this time I'm ready to prep the turkey and get it in the oven. Once the turkey is in the oven, I start making the dinner rolls. While the rolls are rising, I clean up a little, and have time to put my feet up and hang with the family. 

We usually enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner later in the day around 5:30pm. It really helps to keep things stress free if you give yourself enough time.

Before everyone arrives, I warm up the soup and have it ready so everyone can enjoy some soup while I'm getting dinner on the table. I set it up so they can help themselves to the soup.

I don't start the mashed potatoes and the vegetables until about 30 minutes before the turkey is done. When the turkey comes out of the oven it has to rest for at least 30 minutes. I use that time to bake the dinner rolls and stuffing (they can go in the oven together) and make the gravy, as well as finish up the potatoes and reheat anything that needs it.

This is the most stressful time of my day, so I definitely enlist some help to get the turkey carved and everything onto the dinner table. Then we sit down and enjoy a delicious meal. 

I hope you enjoy our family's Traditional Thanksgiving Menu and Recipes. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to leave me a comment or contact me via email. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with lots of love and gravy :)


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