Thanksgiving is a BIG deal in my family. I always fly home a day or two before, and stay through the weekend. I have a big extended family, so my mom and sisters and I (and my aunts) spend the day before baking, cooking, and prepping. The morning of Thanksgiving is always insane—my mom’s up super early with the turkey, then leaves around 10:30 to get down to my grandma’s. I get up a little later, go for a run, finish up all the remaining dishes, and head down around noon.
We eat a huge lunch, then graze all afternoon and have leftovers for dinner. We play football, watch football, play cards, and talk. Chase the kids around. We also usually get together Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday morning for brunch. It is a LOT of cooking all weekend.
When you’re cooking for a big crowd (anywhere from 25 to 50 in past years; usually around 25-30 these days), there are some realities in the kinds of dishes that make sense. Anything super time-intensive that doesn’t yield many servings is automatically out. So these are some of my favorite dishes that I’ve contributed. There’s no turkey or main dish here, because we always make a couple simple turkeys or turkey breasts. Nothing fancy, because it’s all about the sides, breads, and desserts. Hope you enjoy and everyone has a safe, happy (American) Thanksgiving with family and friends!
This doesn’t include some of my favorites—including my aunt’s au gratin potatoes and Stove Top stuffing. Yes, Stove Top stuffing. I absolutely refuse to have any other kind of stuffing. And I’m a canned cranberry jelly purist. Sue me.
Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale, & Caramelized Onion Mac & Cheese – leave out the sausage for a great side
Everyone’s bread strategy is different, and this is the one thing that depends the most on how many people you’re feeding and how much time you have. Technically any of these can be made the night before, but the rosemary olive oil bread is best for that (plus it requires rise time, where the others don’t as much). A mixture of these different breads is what we typically go with, because we’re feeding hordes…
Easy Drop Biscuits – your fastest option, about 20-30 minutes total
30-Minute Crusty French Baguettes – another great fast option
One-Hour Skillet Foccaccia Bread (for a smaller group)
Rosemary Olive Oil Bread with Sea Salt – seriously like the best bread in the world; 3-4 hours including rising
Confession: I’m not a pumpkin person. So you won’t find a pumpkin pie below. I love fruit desserts, a quality pecan pie once or twice a year, and some less traditional types of desserts. Plus my mom’s molasses cookies, which are the BOMB. These are some of my go-to sweets for Thanksgiving (because my family has pumpkin pie, chocolate chip pie, and chocolate silk pie covered).
Bing Cherry Pie with Streusel Topping – sorry the picture’s so terrible
Apple-Pear Pie with Streusel Topping – ditto, sorry for the terrible picture
What are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes??