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Monday, November 8, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu Planning: The Essentials

Since we moved to Nashville last year, my immediate family is officially scattered between the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast parts of the United States. As a result, we celebrated Thanksgiving a little earlier than usual this year so as to have a proper experience with grandparents and all.

I have made the entire Thanksgiving dinner probably about six or seven times and here is what I consider to be the basic skeleton menu of any Thanksgiving meal. You can add or subtract dishes to accommodate family preferences (kid friendly, vegetarian, family traditions) but this is what pretty much most well-rounded menus boil down to reveal.

image courtesy of Southern Living

Thanksgiving Menu
  • Appetizers that are not too filling - I sometimes just do away with this because, let's be honest, I'm just there for the turkey and dressing...
    • Nuts, fresh fruit, crackers and cheese
  • Turkey
    • oven roasted, fried, smoked, whatever works but doesn't burn the house down.
  • Gravy 
    • I prefer pan gravy, but add some drippings to a jarred version and no one will ever know (hide the jar carefully)
  • Something with cranberries
    •  relish, compote or from a can with the ridges on it
  • Something rich or creamy
    • think mac n' cheese, corn pudding or gratin-style dishes
  • Root mash or rice dish
    • Mashed potatoes, parsnip/apple/turnip mash or wild rice
  • Something orange
    • Sweet potatoes, carrots
  • Something green
    • Green bean casserole
    • Roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and garlic
    • Collard greens
  • Bread
  • Dessert (ain't no shame in purchasing from a bakery!)
    •  pies
    • bread pudding
    • fruit tarts
Tomorrow I will post our actual menu! What's on your must-eat list for Thanksgiving? Are you hosting?

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