Thanksgiving is almost here, and along with it, a cornucopia of thanksgiving warmth. Thoughts of Thanksgiving turkey, glazed ham and pumpkin pie crowd our collective consciousness with their delicious aromas. The mere thought of a Thanksgiving dinner table heavy laden with dozens of different Thanksgiving delights is enough to leave most of us hungrily contemplating the upcoming festivities.
Most of us celebrate this holiday with more than just food; it is Thanksgiving after all; a holiday about giving thanks for our blessings. We gather the family together from all corners of the country to which they’ve drifted over the years to relive old memories and create new ones. But it’s undeniable that the central aspect of these celebrations is always one thing: food!
This thanksgiving, you might have your Thanksgiving spread all planned out, and you just want to add a dish or two to your selection. Maybe you don’t have it planned at all, and you’re looking for some ideas and recipes for thanksgiving to start with; whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it here!
How to Prepare Thanksgiving Dinner
Preparing a Thanksgiving dinner spread for your gathering can seem like a daunting task; cooking pies, hams, turkeys, green bean and sweet potato casseroles might simply feel like too much. So what dishes should you include in your spread, and which should you start with when you’re planning your Thanksgiving meal? Here are some ideas!
Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Side dishes, are like the viola in classical music, or the bass guitar in rock and roll; They’re never the main focus, but without them it just isn’t the same. Here are a few tasty side dishes you can add to your spread!
Sweet Potato Casserole
Everyone knows sweet potato casserole; It’s a Thanksgiving dinner staple. Sitting on the table in a white earthenware pan, topped with a golden brown mass of melted marshmallows, it’ll make all your guest’s mouths water. And it’s not a difficult dish to make; once you have all the ingredients, it shouldn’t take you much longer than twenty minutes to prepare. If you make this for your gathering. It’s sure to be a hit!
Stuffing and Gravy
No Thanksgiving celebration is complete without copious amounts of bread stuffing and gravy at hand to garnish the main course. If you’re making a turkey this Thanksgiving, you’ll want to fill it with bread stuffing. While the turkey cooks, the juices will seep into the stuffing and make it particularly tasty. After the turkey is done cooking, you can use the excess drippings in the pan to flavor the gravy. Once the gravy is done, you can use it on most anything; mashed potatoes, turkey, stuffing, you name it. Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without a generous helping of gravy!
Green Bean Casserole
This one isn’t as well known, for reasons unknown to us. It’s a delicious combination of sauteed green beans, fried onions and creamy mushroom sauce. This is easy to make too, perhaps one of the easiest on this list! All you need is some green beans, some premade fried onions from the supermarket, and some cream of mushroom soup. The taste is anything but simple, however; if you add this to your spread, everyone will be coming back for seconds.
This one is one of the most well known dishes from the Thanksgiving season. You can buy it from the supermarket, but that’s simply not the same as making it yourself! Don’t worry, it’s super simple to prepare, and your guests will undoubtedly notice the difference. Preparation is easy and quick; just take all the ingredients and bring them to a boil in a pot. Once it’s done, you’ll want to press it through a sieve to remove seeds and skins. And that’s it; you’ve made cranberry jam!
Main course ideas for Thanksgiving dinner
This, ladies and gentlemen, is what we’ve been waiting for. Whether you’re having baked ham or turkey, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same if you weren’t serving one of these delicious dishes. But which one should you serve at your gathering? Choose carefully, you’ll be eating leftovers for several days after Thanksgiving has come and gone. You could even choose both and give your guests the choice of one or the other.
Don’t have time to make a lavish Thanksgiving spread? Try ordering it! There are many online services that will prepare your Thanksgiving dinner and save you the headache of planning and cooking everything. Just make sure to take off the receipt!
This is, without a doubt, the most iconic dish related to thanksgiving; maybe the single most distinct icon of the holiday! The tradition of preparing a baked turkey at harvest time goes back as far as the first European settlers to arrive in North America.
The turkey was plentiful in the New England forests, and the meat was nutritious and delicious. They could be raised in captivity, and they provided more meat than smaller farm birds. By the time the Colonies declared independence they were so common that Benjamin Franklin even suggested they be made the national bird instead of the bald eagle!
The turkey never achieved the heights of respect and symbolic significance that the bald eagle did, but they remain an integral part of our annual Thanksgiving celebrations. As far as preparation goes, they’re fairly easy to cook; as long as you make sure to baste regularly, you’ll end up with a delicious baked turkey. Be warned though; your family and friends will be clamoring to hold next year’s celebration at your house, so be prepared for that eventuality!
This one isn’t as ubiquitous as the thanksgiving turkey, but that isn’t because it’s not good; quite the contrary! Many people actually prefer this dish to its more famous counterpart. There are many different ways to prepare this one; honey glazed, maple glazed, unglazed are all options here. You can also choose between smoked or unsmoked ham. However you prepare it, rest assured: everyone will love it!
Now, you can serve this with bread stuffing, but since you can’t really stuff a ham, it might be a good idea to make some mashed potatoes and sweet corn. Sweet corn and a fluffy white mound of mashed potatoes topped with a golden pool of melted butter and drenched in tasty gravy is the perfect accoutrement for this main course!
Thanksgiving dessert ideas
Now that the main dishes have been reduced to empty pans and scoured plates, it’s time for the sweetest part of the meal. That’s right: dessert! Pies, cobblers, you name it. It doesn’t matter which of these you choose to make; all of them are the perfect ending for a delicious Thanksgiving feast.
Much like turkey and cranberry sauce, pumpkin is inextricably associated with thanksgiving, and for good reason too. It’s delicious and easy to prepare; a must have for any thanksgiving celebration. The preparation won’t take long at all, and when you’re done you’ll have on your hands an art piece fit for sale or display. Be sure to serve it with a healthy dollop of whipped cream, as a delicious last touch.
Skillet Apple Pie
This variation on traditional apple pie is so good, eating it might be a sin. The concept is similar to that of traditional apple pie, but with a twist: it’s made in a cast iron skillet. This allows you to prepare a sauteed brown sugar and butter sauce in the pan before you put in the crust. When you bake the pie, this sauce permeates the bottom of the crust and makes for a delightfully delicious spin on normal apple pie. For best results, serve with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. This is sure to become an all time favorite for you and everyone who attends your gatherings!
This cinnamon and apple delicacy isn’t typically served for Thanksgiving, but hear us out. It’s easy to prepare, and the resulting dessert is so good you’ll add it as a permanent addition to your list of you preferred desserts. Making apple dumplings is as easy as anything. First you have to make the dough; once you’ve done that, cut the apples in half and remove the cores and skins. You put the topping on the apples, wrap them in the dough, put them in a pan and bake it. It’s that simple! These are best served in a bowl with milk. Trust us, you love them!
And that’s it! We hope you enjoyed reading this list of ideas for a Thanksgiving meal. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you make for thanksgiving; what’s important is focusing on having the right attitude and not forgetting what the holiday is about: giving thanks!