We hosted our first Thanksgiving this past Sunday, celebrating early since my husband is working the holidays. Anyone in healthcare will understand! This was the first official holiday we’ve hosted in our home and of course, I wanted it to be perfect!
My Kind of Thanksgiving
I planned my menu and wouldn’t allow friends or family to bring dishes. I wanted to make the meal myself and I also wanted to control my kitchen space and not end up with too much food. If it is in your ability, I would recommend this. You don’t have to worry about guests arriving with large bowls that can’t fit in the fridge or something that needs warming… or worse, complete baking! Instead for those that felt they had to bring something I recommended drinks: Riesling, beer, and Bloody Mary’s which worked out rather well.
We hosted 16 and had plenty of food and leftovers. I was very paranoid about the turkey. Many articles I read said plan 1.5 to 2 pounds of turkey per guest if you wanted leftovers. I had a 20-pound bird and then bought an 8-pound breast to prepare as well. My mother-in-law balked at the idea of this stating I would have way too much food. So I went with her recommendation figuring I could always blame her if we ran out of turkey J and added an additional side at the last minute.
Prepping for a Big Holiday
For a timeline, I did my grocery shopping on Thursday evening, began cleaning the house Friday night, and began food prepping on Saturday afternoon. I had prepared homemade pies over the weeks prior and stocked in the freezer. Our guests were arriving at 3 PM on Sunday so I had plenty of time that day to set the tables, cook, clean-up, and not go crazy before everyone arrived.
Knowing I had to work the next day I opted for throw-away dishes and silverware buying the nicer plastic set at BJ’s, chinet glasses, and heavy duty silver silverware. This made cleanup much easier as there were plenty of serving dishes & pots to clean anyway.
On the Menu
Links to each recipe are included here. Of course in my typical fashion I would ad-lib a bit in terms of quantity or seasoning, but for the most part I stuck to the recipes. This holiday was not going to be a time for me to experiment!
- Assorted Charcuterie
- Blue Cheese, Merlot Glazed Cheddar, Blueberry Coated Goat Cheese, Sliced Cheddar, Muenster, Havarti
- Prosciutto, Sangiovese Salami, Summer Sausage
- Olive Tapenade
- Assorted Crackers
- Cranberry Cider Punch
- 6 oz. frozen or fresh cranberries, 1 bottle brut champagne, 1-quart apple cider, 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
- Stew Leonard’s Naked Turkey
- Apple Cranberry Sauce
- Turkey Gravy
- Mashed Potatoes
- Brussels & Bacon
- Delicata & Pears
- Mashed Butternut Squash – just add butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar
- Fall Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Greek Goddess Dressing
- Green Bean Casserole
- Italian Stuffing – 1 bag Friselles, 1-pound sweet sausage, ¼ pound sliced pepperoni, 1 egg
- Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing Mix – recipe on back of bag
- Maple Pecan Pumpkin Muffins –
- Recipe alterations: Used fresh pumpkin puree rather than canned. I did not add stevia, chia seeds, or applesauce. Added extra pumpkin to take place of applesauce.
- Dinner Rolls & Turkey Butter Sculpture….. of course I forgot to put these out though!
- Butternut Apple Crisp
- Maple Apple Pie
- Pumpkin Maple Pie
Each from the Vermont Farm Table Cookbook found on Amazon here. It’s an amazing cookbook for fresh foods!
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy time with family and friends. Share what you’ve cooked here or on Instagram @theeverafterblog