“The meal is not over when you’re full, the meal is over when you hate yourself” -Louis CK
As Americans we get 1 acceptable day a year to be gluttons. My family always has appetizers of a cheese and chacueterie platter accompanied by crackers and chutneys to start and once dinner is ready there is bread, 20 different side dishes, salad, a 15 pound turkey, 2 different gravies, 2 cases of wine, loads of beer and soda, not to mention 5 different pies and other sweet confections for after the meal. Who can eat all this shit?!? I’m definitely one of those people that loads up my plate and can never eat half of it. Everything looks so good and I just want to try it all, my eyes are way bigger than my stomach.
Thanksgiving is just another holiday for me as I carry on with my career in the hotel industry serving others is my highest pleasure. Just because I cant go up north to be with my family doesn’t mean I cant still have a small feast here with Brandon. If your feel stressed or don’t know what to serve for thanksgiving, I’ve got a few ideas on hand that may help you. My family usually has the same menu every year (depending on who is cooking). I like to switch things up and go a different route once in a while. Some of these ideas might give you something new to add to your menu. I hope this guide is helpful. Have a wonderful and safe holiday! 🙂
Whether you choose to eat one of these breads at the beginning as a small bite or during your meal, spread some butter or pumpkin butter on it for additional flavor.
–Beer Bread Use a blue moon in this recipe to add a honey and light wheat flavor. This bread is fantastic on its own, or dipped into your turkey gravy.
–Apple Honey Challah Bread: One of my favorite breads. Adding a nice chutney or creamed butter on top wouldn’t hurt it.
So many possibilities!
–Cuban Fufu: This is a great alternative to the traditional bread stuffing. It’s made from ripe plantains which gives it a sweet taste and is gluten free/vegan.
–Butternut Squash Risotto: This should automatically be on your menu, but if it isn’t you should put it on. This is the perfect addition with pureed butternut squash and crispy bacon..you will be getting seconds of this. Or you can eat it by itself as your main course if your not a turkey fan 🙂 This is my personal favorite recipe. Another Gluten free/vegan (if you omit the bacon) option.
–Sweet Potato Gnocchi: This can also be served as a main dish. If you have a lot of heavy items on your menu this might not be a good choice to add due to it being a little time consuming but it’s still a delicious dish I couldn’t resist not sharing it.
–Sweet Potato and Apple Hash: Have this as a side dish. Just do it.
–Chicken Stock: This is a good recipe to have on hand because you will need stock in your risotto, more than likely your stuffing/dressing, and gravy! Make your stock from scratch, trust me, you will appreciate cooking much more.
–Sage Cream: This is a fantastic cream sauce that goes great with the gnocchi dish. If you don’t make the gnocchi I suggest using it for your turkey instead of gravy. The sage is a great fall/winter herb.
I have wayyy too many good fall desserts not to share. If you have enough room in you after your meal, eat a little bit of all of these.
–Almond Joys: There is nothing seasonal about almond joys, however they are a healthy alternative to pie and if you’ve had too much to eat but have a craving for something sweet, this is the perfect substitute. One small bite size candy wont hurt!
–Pumpkin Roll: This is the classic Libbys canned pumpkin recipe. I’d choose this roll over pie any day. I switched it up a bit by adding 1 mini airplane bottle of makers mark into the cream cheese filling. When your whipping the cream cheese together, add in the bourbon and whip until cream cheese if silky smooth. Approximately 10 minutes on high speed. The bourbon makes this roll unforgettable!
–Apple Chips: This is one of those kid friendly recipes. If your trying to avoid giving your kids lots of sugar after a heavy meal, they will enjoy these cinnamon flavored apple chips!
–Pumpkin Granola: Mix in some Greek yogurt and fresh sliced fruit for another healthy option.
–Spiced Carrot Cake: This is my FAVORITE dessert recipe next to the almond joys and pumpkin roll. The addition of fresh grated ginger makes this carrot cake the best I’ve ever had. Another cute way to serve it if you don’t want to make a whole cake is to pour the batter into a cupcake pan and have carrot cake cupcakes. YES!
Thanksgiving isn’t complete without a seasonal wine with dinner and a cup of coffee after with dessert.
–Beaujolais Noveau: If your not a wine freak, you may not have any idea what this wine is. The 2012 vintage has finally arrived. This is the best wine to include at your thanksgiving meal, the perfect compliment to turkey. This light bodied red wine made from the gamay grape, has hints of red berries and has a fruity almost jammy taste. These two bottles are sold between $8 and $10. Go Buy a bottle now!
-If you enjoy wine but are unsure what bottle to get with your meal, this picture might be helpful:
–Pumpkin Spice Creamer: Avoid buying the processed creamers from the store and make your own for much less that what you would pay. This creamer is perfect for coffee and works well in tea. Pair this coffee with a slice of pumpkin roll or carrot cake.
–Happy Thanksgiving and Cheers Enjoy!!