Meal Plan Monday: Thanksgiving Edition

We’ve had one dinner already (as shown above- Thanksgiving at Mom & Dad’s house this past weekend), but I’m also getting ready to make Thanksgiving dinner at home for the five of us on Thursday!  I don’t want to make a huge dinner with tons of leftovers, but I also want to include all our traditional favorites!  So here’s what we’ll be eating and celebrating with on Thanksgiving Day:

Turkey- Instead of roasting a full-size bird for our family of five, the past few years, we’ve just been roasting a turkey breast, and it works great!  There’s still plenty for a day’s worth of leftovers or so, but not TONS leftovers that go to waste.  To roast it, I stuff butter under the skin of the turkey and rub it onto the meat, and then rub butter on the outside of the skin as well.  It keeps the turkey really moist and gives it great flavor.  Then I season the outside with salt and pepper, poultry seasoning, and a bit of garlic powder.  Then it roasts at 350 degrees for 20 minutes per pound.  Comes out perfect every time!

Dressing- I far prefer dressing to actual turkey stuffing (the cross-contamination risk!), and I’ve tried bread-based dressing, sausage, apple, oyster, cranberry, wild rice, you name it, but my very favorite dressing is the cornbread dressing my mom makes.  It’s Scott’s favorite dish too, that’s exactly what I’ll be making on Thursday!  It’s very simple- cornbread, onion, celery, eggs, broth, and that’s it.  But it’s so perfectly Thanksgiving.  A classic!

Green Beans- Another Thanksgiving classic.  We don’t do a green bean casserole like a lot of folks do, but we just keep them classic and cook them on the stove.  Typically this is the one dish I delegate to Scott, and he does a great job.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon- This side dish has become one of our family favorites, so we’re including it for our Thanksgiving dinner!  I like to set the oven to 425 degrees, then cut the stem off the sprouts, halve them, and toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and place them cut-side down on a baking sheet.  Then I use kitchen shears to cut up 6 slices of bacon and sprinkle the bacon pieces all over the baking sheet among the sprouts.  It roasts for about 20 minutes until the sprouts begin to look brown and crispy.  While the sprouts are roasting, I take a 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar and reduce it by half into a balsamic syrup, and then drizzle it over the sprouts when they come out of the oven.

Mashed Potatoes- I am the only person in our house that really likes sweet potatoes, so for Thanksgiving, we skip them and just do mashed potatoes instead, which everyone loves.  If I make normal mashed potatoes on a typical weeknight, I’ll mash the spuds with a bit of vegan butter, almond milk, and vegetable broth, but for Thanksgiving, I make a more indulgent recipe.  I use Pioneer Woman’s mashed potatoes recipe, and add in more butter, cream cheese, and half and half to make them really rich and creamy.  Definitely a treat!

Cranberry Sauce- I make a really quick and easy cranberry sauce and usually make it a day in advance so it has plenty of time to chill.  It’s a bag of cranberries, orange marmalade, and a few other ingredients (see the recipe here), and it’s super easy and delicious.  No more difficult than opening a can, and infinitely better!

Rolls- Sister Shubert’s Frozen Yeast Rolls.  No need to try to improve on perfection.

Pecan Pie- Scott’s favorite dessert, and another classic Thanksgiving recipe.  There are lots of ways to jazz up a pecan pie, but the classic, no-frills recipe off the Karo Syrup bottle is my favorite!

What are you serving for Thanksgiving?  Do you host or do you bring a dish to another home?  I’d love to know what your family favorites are!

And PS- If you’re still struggling with what to make, try out Food 52’s Automagic Thanksgiving Menu Maker!  It’s super cool and gives great ideas and recipes!

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