Still working on planning your Thanksgiving menu? I’ve got a few ideas for you, some old and some new, to make it as delicious and stress-free as possible.
When it comes to holidays and traditions, I tend to straddle the fence between strictly keeping with tradition, and throwing tradition out the window.
Over the past few years, I have made a conscious effort to not just keep with tradition just for tradition’s sake.
“Just because we’ve always done it that way” is no longer enough.
It has to be more like “we’ve always done it that way and everyone loves it.”
Otherwise, what’s the point, right?
Although we haven’t hosted Thanksgiving the past few years, I found I missed that part of it, so a few years ago I started doing a separate Friendsgiving.
Which kind of allows me the best of both worlds.
The pressure of the “big day” is off, as my sister has the reins on that, but I still can still revisit some old favorites and discover new ones with our Friendsgiving feast.
It’s like double-dipping on Thanksgiving.
Now onto food…
Let’s start with something new.
A few weeks ago, the folks at Echelon foods reached out to me to tell me about their Bacon-Wrapped, Sausage-Stuffed Turducken.
Quite honestly, they had me at bacon.
And then coupled with the fact that I’ve never had turducken before.
YOLO and all that.
And an impromptu pre-Thanksgiving feast with neighbors was suddenly planned.
If you are not looking forward to wrestling with a turkey this year…
Or calculating what time you’ll need to get up Thanksgiving morning to properly cook it…
Or want to free up your oven…
You might want to seek out this Turducken.
Originally I was daunted by the mere mention of it, thinking it was going to be all sorts of complicated.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Oh right, I did dig out a meat thermometer just to make sure the inside was cooked, since there are so many layers.
But for something so amazing and delicious, this could not have been simpler.
Every bite was tender, the sausage stuffing was my favorite, and, of course, you can’t go wrong with anything wrapped in bacon.
Bacon Wrapped, Sausage Stuffed Turducken is like meat on steroids.
Pretty much nirvana to your carnivore dinner guests.
Now that we’ve got the main course figured out, it’s time to add some of our favorite appetizers, side dishes, and desserts.
Spinach Cheese Squares, Cheese Delights and Sausage Cheese Balls are all tried-and-trues and have made regular appearances over the past ten years. The Spinach Cheese Squares and Cheese Delights are recipes that my Mom made for us growing up, and they never fail to disappoint. I love that our kids (mine and my sister’s) are eating things that we ate as kids ourselves. The recipes are easy, and delicious and take just a few minutes of prep, exactly what you need on the big day. This Cranberry Conserve Brie En Croute I made for the folks at Pillsbury is also a little bit of heaven.
Sweet Potato Souffle first appeared on our table in 2011, and man, am I glad it did. Even if you don’t like sweet potatoes, I think you’ll love this. I mean, it’s like dessert, but a side dish, so not.
This Cranberry Conserve has been hitting our table for over ten years. And this year is no exception.
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes are smooth and creamy and everything mashed potatoes should be. You can also check out a Cheddar and Chives version I created for the folks at Bangor Daily News last year right here.
Cranberry Broccoli Salad is super colorful, with a nice crunch, and very simple to pull together. And it has bacon in it, so, winning.
Emeril’s stuffing is a go-to, although I usually leave out the oysters since my family doesn’t care for them.
Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie is the easiest pie ever and your guests will think you slaved for hours. It will be our little secret.
Caramel Apple Cheesecake is one of those awesome, sneak-attack desserts because it looks like it took you hours and hours to make, when, in fact, it didn’t. Delicious, even if you’re not a huge cheesecake fan.
This Cranberry Nantucket Pie is perfect when you’re looking for something a little different.
Many years ago, my Mom made Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle and it remains one of my favorites.
I created this Caramel and Toasted Coconut Rum Cake for the folks at Captain Morgan last year, and it is simple and perfect for Thanksgiving. Delicious and understated.
For even more inspiration, check out this Thanksgiving-themed Pinterest board.