The holiday season is fast approaching. Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is now less than two weeks away. Time to get those holiday meal plans in place so that when game day comes, you can relax and enjoy the time with friends and family instead of running around like crazy. Today on the blog, I’m sharing How I’m Prepping for Thanksgiving and we’ve got a free, downloadable PDF to help you prep, too!
One of the things I love about Thanksgiving is that even when sticking to a traditional menu, there is so much room for experimentation. Of course, that can definitely be overwhelming, too. Here’s how I approach planning our Thanksgiving menu. (PS: Want a copy of the printable meal planner seen in the picture above? Grab one below.)
START WITH THE TURKEY
While you don’t have to serve turkey on Thanksgiving, it is probably the most traditional choice for the holiday. This is often a job that falls to my husband, my dad, or my father-in-law, but I find that getting that bird ordered and having a plan for how you want to cook it (smoked, grilled, fried, roasted – you name it!), is a good place to start. Have some vegetarians coming over? Give a tofurkey a try. Small crowd? I love this Roasted Turkey Roulade from Ina Garten.
Need a little recipe inspiration? Here’s a great article with 38 Turkey Recipes!
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SIDES
Let’s face it. No matter how good that turkey is, Thanksgiving is really all about the sides. Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolls, brussels, green beans, cranberries. I could go on and on. And that is part of the problem. Sometimes there are just too many good dishes. I think a great rule of thumb is to choose two or three family favorites and then add in one fun new recipe. We always have my grandma’s best stuffing and my mom’s famous carrot bake. In the last few years, these balsamic roasted brussels sprouts have also become a must have for our Thanksgiving dinner. And it’s definitely not Thanksgiving without a big bowl of mashed potatoes. I think I’ll be adding this updated Green Bean Casserole to the mix as well.
Looking for some side dish recipe inspiration? Give these a try:
DON’T FORGET DESSERT
I may not have much of a sweet tooth overall, but Thanksgiving dessert is just THE BEST. A family friend introduced me to the joy that is Dixie Pie when I was a kid and that has been my Thanksgiving dessert of choice ever since. Never had one? Find the recipe here.
Pumpkin pie is a classic and total must have at our Thanksgiving dinner as well, but here’s my dirty secret: I buy it. Costco makes the best pumpkin pie. Honestly. They’re like $6 and huge and amazing. Buy extra whipped cream and thank me later.
Finally, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without my mother-in-law’s amazing pumpkin bread. It’s a super easy quick bread that will have all of your guests begging for the recipe. I love to make a few extra loaves and keep them in the freezer. They make great neighbor gifts, too!
DON’T FORGET THE DRINKS
I love to keep it really simple when it comes to beverages at big family meals. In addition to a selection of sparkling water and cider, I typically plan for two kinds of wine (one red, one white or sparkling) and one signature cocktail. This year, I want to try a new recipe: this smoky mezcal fig sour. I may also make up some of our Bourbon Salted Caramel Coffees for after dinner. Yum!
WRITE IT ALL DOWN
Grab one of our fun new Thanksgiving Meal Planner sheets (click the link below for the free PDF) and get that menu down on paper. Write up your grocery list (and if you’re like us, set up that Instacart or Shipt order!) and congratulate yourself on crushing this holiday prep.
We would love to hear what YOU have planned for this Thanksgiving! Share your menu ideas with us by email, in the comments, or on all our social media channels. Happy Planning!