My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

It’s so close I can already taste the stuffing.  We are only one day away from Thanksgiving and I have a lot of pies to bake.  

Have I ever mentioned that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday? It is, for one very practical reason - I have difficulties in dealing with things coming to an end.  Vacations, books, television shows (I really do not know what I am going to do after the last episode of Downton Abbey) the hype over my engagement - I do not like losing the things I look forward to, so much so that as a child, I often became very emotional on the day when our family vacations began because I was already nervous about them ending. I have gotten a little better over the years, but it’s still a challenge, and Christmas is the hardest of these for me to let go.  

I love Christmas.  For me, Christmas music makes its first appearance in late October and for weeks I walk upon clouds of anticipation for that one great day.  It’s not only December 25th that I adore, it’s the entire Christmas season and it is for that reason that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  The excitement and anticipation for Christmas is still alive and you have lots of wonderful, Christmas things to look forward to when it’s over.  It is also the holiday with the best food.  So yeah, Thanksgiving is my favorite. 

Though you are probably super organized and have had your menu planned for weeks, if you happen to be still composing your Thanksgiving table, I have put together a list of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes.  Did you forget about appetizers?  It’s cool, just caramelize some onions, stir some cheeses together and grab a box of crackers - Baked Caramelized Onion and Chèvre Dip is an easy win.

{ Appetizers }

Appetizers are one of the most important parts of the Thanksgiving menu, especially in my family where we always eat at least one and a half hours after we plan to.  This is when snacking becomes essential.  This Baked Caramelized Onion and Chèvre Dip is one of my favorite things.  It's rich, creamy, and dipable - all of which I love.  These sweet and savory Balsamic-Roasted Grape Crostini come together in mere minutes and pair wonderfully with the warm, familiar flavors of Thanksgiving.  You could even fold some fresh thyme into the goat cheese to make it more festive.  You knew I would talk about brie.  If you ask me for an easy appetizer I will always, always, always recommend brie.  This Baked Brie with Caramelized Apples is super simple and it truly tastes like Autumn.  The apples can be caramelized ahead of time and reheated to save some time on the big day. 

{ Side Dishes }

Let's be honest, Thanksgiving is all about the side dishes.  This Kinfolk Salad is hearty and fresh - a welcome contrast to all those rich, carb-filled courses.  These Twice-Cooked Potatoes are almost soufflé-like.  Rich, eggy, and full of sharp white cheddar, these potatoes are a wonderful change from the traditional mashed potatoes.  Though it is not typically a part of the Thanksgiving line up, Brie Macaroni and Cheese is an excellent addition to your Thanksgiving spread.  I live for that buttery, crunchy topping. 

{ Dessert } 

Pumpkin pie has its place, but to be perfectly honest, I'm always up for a bit of diversity at the dessert table.  If you did not try this Chocolate Custard Pecan Pie last year, then I would plead with you to include it on this year’s menu.  It is my favorite pie and I would ask that you give it a chance to become yours.  Up until last year, I did not like pecan pie.  However, when I made this pie, per my fiancé’s request, I fell in love and now it’s my favorite pie ever.  Yes, it is just that good.  If pie-making is not your forte, do not fret!  You can still contribute to the dessert table.  Maple & Anise Mousse with Pistachio Brittle is unexpected and surprising - an adventure for your palate that will have your guests coming back for more.  Just do not tell them what it is until they have taken the first bite.  It’s so much fun to see them try to figure out what they are tasting.  Ah, the simple pleasures of a baker…  This Bourbon Caramel Creme Brûlée is another wonderful crustless option that can be made the night before and brûléed just before serving.  It is dark, rich, and creamy, and may even surpass the splendor of your great aunt’s famous pumpkin pie.

{ Breakfast }

Though it is usually the last thought on your mind, breakfast is an important part of the holiday season.  Whether it be a relaxing sit-down breakfast Thanksgiving morning, or something quick to grab before the bargain hunt commences, breakfast is an important meal.  Though you'll be spending most of your afternoon and evening in the kitchen already, guests appetites do not shrink just because you have a huge to-do list.  So, it is important to make things easy on yourself.  This Pumpkin Hot Chocolate is rich and spicy and a perfect way to use up all that leftover pumpkin puree you made and it pairs wonderfully with these Cinnamon Sugar Cheese Buns.  Cranberry Gingerbread Baked Oatmeal is full of holiday flavor and it comes together in minutes.  If you are in the mood for scones and tea, try these festive Gingerbread Scones with Dark Chocolate & Orange or these sweet Apple Pie Scones.  I like making scones for guests because they are just as good at room temperature as they are warm, so if you have some latecomers they will still get a good breakfast.  

Though I would expect you to already have plans for your bird, my two favorite preparations are Mark Bittman's Braised Turkey and Alton Brown's Roasted Turkey Brine.  Both recipes produce incredibly moist birds that will put the turkeys of your childhood to shame.  

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers.  I am thankful for you. 


Pedantic Foodie