01 November 2011

Planning the Thanksgiving Menu


After four years of posting, My Own Sweet Thyme is brimming with delicious recipes. This year I wanted to collect some of my favorites in ways that could make seasonal planning easier. With Thanksgiving only a few short weeks away I have turned my attention to turkey and fall flavors and gathered some suggestions for Thanksgiving Dinner and the long holiday weekend it brings with it.

The suggestions here are not comprehensive. There are many more fall recipes that might catch your eye if you scan the photo sidebar of My Own Sweet Thyme or flip through the blog archive focusing on the months of October and November. You can also search for something in particular using the "Search" box at the top of the left sidebar.

My focus here is on favorite recipes I plan to cook that weekend, or at least would like to, and a few alternatives. There are still some recipes I will prepare that are not yet posted to My Own Sweet Thyme, things like Turkey Dressing, Plain Old Mashed Potatoes and more ideas for leftovers, to name a few. I hope to remedy that in time and will add them here as I do.

Meanwhile, take a look as you think about Thanksgiving. Hopefully you will find some inspiration; a photo that jogs your memory or a post that suggests a twist on a favorite recipe. Maybe you will even find something you would like to add to your Thanksgiving celebration this year.

And while we are on the subject of Thanksgiving, please know that I am thankful for each of you, my readers. I wish you a very blessed holiday season! May your celebrations be rich with satisfying flavors, happy memories and hearts filled with gratitude.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Appetizers

If you want to keep your guests from nibbling through the kitchen as you cook, set out one of these seasonal snacks to take the edge off of appetites until the main event calls you to the table.




Side Dishes

Thanksgiving side dishes are so much more than something bright to complement the entree or fill out the dinner plate. Side dishes often represent the most treasured flavors of the Thanksgiving season.

Here I have collected my seasonal favorites, from bright salads and tasty breads that can be made ahead to simple seasonal sides that cook along with the Turkey.










The Main Course

This is now my favorite way to cook a turkey...


Dessert

In my family Thanksgiving dessert is all about pies, family favorites as well as the obligatiory Pumpkin version. Still there are other outstanding seasonal desserts that would also finish the meal nicely. If you don't find something here, check the "dessert" tab under "labels" on the left sidebar where there are nearly one hundred more desserts to choose from.







The Holiday Weekend

Now that you have the Big Meal planned, here are a few pre- and post- Thanksgiving Dinner ideas you might want to consider.

While I'm planning, setting up and organizing I always feel comforted and inspired by having a pot of soup on the stove. Hungry guests arriving from out of town at odd hours enter the house feeling invited to partake of something warm and satisfying. That soup also means I don't have to cook as they arrive but can concentrate on the prep work necessary for the Thanksgiving meal itself.

This recipe, adapted from my friend Alanna's blog, "A Veggie Venture", is an easy soup to throw together and it is composed of seasonal favorites. The squash bowls make it doubly beautiful but are far from necessary.


For some sweet seasonal bites to have on hand try these Cranberry Pecan Cookies. They offer a fresh taste of seasonal favorites like cranberries, orange and walnuts while also satisfying the sweet tooth.


Or make a batch of these Spirited Sweet Potato Bars.


For Thanksgiving morning or, better yet, the morning after, this baked oatmeal offers a nutritious and filling breakfast that is perfect for those rising early to shop for Black Friday bargains as well as those sleeping in.


Leftovers

Turkey leftovers are one of my favorite holiday benefits. I start using them right after dinner is finished by putting on a pot of turkey stock to simmer while I clean up and visit the family.


Then there are Turkey Sandwiches. As a child I loved taking sandwiches of leftover turkey on plain slices of white bread to school for lunch the week after Thanksgiving. Now I think the Best Turkey Sandwiches are made using several slices of leftover Pumpkin Yeast Bread, a slice of bacon or two tucked away while preparing Corn Salad with Pecan Dressing, and a good dollop of Cranberry Sauce to cradle that wonderful leftover turkey meat.


Other dishes using turkey leftovers include a variation on Aunt Hen's Chicken and Dumplings (simply use the turkey stock and leftover turkey meat in place of the chicken)...


...and my sister-in-law's Turkey Casserole.

2 comments:

lazberry said...

I've spent my whole morning perusing your recipes--kudos on the lovely pictures and innovative flavors. I can't wait to make the Pumpkin Praline Cake, among other things!

Lisa said...

Glad you enjoyed browsing! I think you'll like the cake. It is a long-time favorite of mine.