Monday, November 22, 2010

20 Recipes for every part of your Thanksgiving weekend

Another beautiful weekend and here we are, Monday of Thanksgiving week!  I can hardly wait to head home and see my family.  I'm not yet responsible for a full day's worth of special food, but I have managed to persuade my mom to help with a few things.  Whether you're the mastermind of the entire turkey-centric operation or just helping a bit here and there, I've got a few things you should definitely add to your Thursday menu.  Many can be prepared ahead of time, not one will break the bank, and all will keep your guests happy, satisfied, and thankful for such an amazing host.

Appetizers -- No need for over the top items here that require utensils.  Just something little, perfect for grazing and chatting because, at least in our family, we have people traveling from all over the place and nothing says welcome quite like some healthy snacks when dinner is still a few hours away.

  • Sweet & sour dipping sauce -- serve with fruit, crackers, pretzels
  • Cheese, crackers, veggies and dip.  Why reinvent the wheel when it works?

Sides -- While I love the classics (green bean casserole, mashed potatoes), sometimes it's nice to spice things up a bit.  These are especially appealing because they can either be made ahead or require little to no prep.  And, I think it's nice to have a substantial dish like mac and cheese for any picky eaters (little ones... or grown ones who just love cheese).

Crowd-pleasing pies and almost pies -- Because what would a Thanksgiving meal be without some pie?  Every year, the Kemp family manages to have at least three kinds, sometimes four: apple, cherry, pumpkin, and pecan.  Not only are pies show-stopping (who even needs a centerpiece with a gorgeous golden treat like that?), they can be made the day or two before and stored at room temperature, saving you precious refrigerator space.  Slice and serve with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for a sweet ending.  Don't fancy crust or are just short on time?  A crisp is a perfect alternative -- the same flavors but a shorter process.

Other desserts -- While it pains me to admit this, not everyone is as crazy about pies as I am.  In fact, two of my very best friends wrinkle their faces in disgust when the p-word is mentioned.  It's a good thing, then, that I love all sorts of desserts.  Please allow me to share some of my favorites with you that will dazzle your guests, regardless of their after dinner preferences:

Breakfasts -- As much as I consider eating both a talent and a hobby, the day after Thanksgiving I tend to feel like a wayward Macy's parade float.  I want something to nibble with a cup of tea that requires no extensive prep or thinking, and I'm sure you do, too, after a busy day in the kitchen yesterday.  Whether you're saying farewell to guests or braving the shopping crowds, a quick already-made treat will keep your energy up and maximize leisure time.  Wrap some of these in parchment paper or plastic wrap and make a to-go box for loved ones on a schedule.  They'll thank you when they can skip the convenience store junk in favor of homemade deliciousness.


  1. Breakfast should obviously be another plate of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, etc. Anything less is unacceptable.

  2. One of the best parts about Thanksgiving is all the leftovers. It extends the holiday for days.

  3. Oh you two. Turkey is for lunch and dinner the next few days, but breakfast is sacred :) Though, if you're really up for having turkey first thing in the morning, might I suggest a turkey and potato hash with sunny side up eggs. Yum!

  4. Your Aunt in Chicago can't wait to taste all of these "extras" that you'll be making for our big meal!! You are making all of this stuff, right??