A stress-free guide to recipes

Little is known: I started my career in hospitality. When I landed in Austin at the age of 21, I got a job as an event organizer at a catering company, I didn’t know how much I would fall in love in a hurry to make sure a high-pressure event would go smoothly (and if anything) did go wrong, my client had never heard of it!) I was unmarried and living in a new city, and I remember being late in my neighborhood cafe throwing out menu ideas, creating the perfect balance for a food experience. interesting and familiar, without being heavy. Today, I feel the same way about planning a Thanksgiving menu.

It was during those night work sessions that my little obsession with menu planning arose. For me, the process of fitting into my cooking books and designing a menu for dinner is a real creative outlet. Over the years, friends have told me that they feel ill-equipped in the area, and I get a lot of questions about organizing menus here and at IG, especially. the holidays are approaching. Even those who don’t entertain themselves throughout the year suddenly find themselves in front of a group of hungry families coming down to their home, ready for a party.

Although intuition is a key component in the process of organizing my menu, in terms of Thanksgiving, I rely on a proven formula that checks all the boxes of what people want, without. completely tiring the host (me) or as a result era too much food. Some of the remains are good; a big pot that barely put a dent in it? Not so much. Read my tried and tested formula for a perfect thank you menu and click on some of my favorite recipes for each category so you can mix and match to make your own.

I’d love to hear what the Thanksgiving menu is like in your home! Leave me a comment and tell me if yours is similar to mine, or if you have a completely different tradition on the table.

My Thanksgiving menu formula

Here is the general formula I use to decide what we will serve each year. Luckily, most of my family members are great cooks, so I also use this formula to distribute what people will bring in the potluck style.

  • Turkey – Adam usually fries one, and I often smoke a second turkey to make leftovers. if we have one really in the large group, we will also receive ham honey.
  • Sauce – not my favorite, but it should be done.
  • Potatoes – crushed, roasted or shaved.
  • Dress – or “filler”, depending on where you live. Cornbread, white bread, wild rice, oyster.
  • Orange vegetables – sweet potatoes, pumpkin, acorn squash, carrots.
  • Green vegetables – Brussels sprouts, like casserole beans, broccoli, sautéed greens, necklaces or kale.
  • Bread – cakes, focaccia, cornbread. I usually pick these up at a local bakery.
  • Cakes – pumpkin, pecan, chocolate, butter, apple, and I could go on.

* And remember, if you have a smaller group (there are so many this year!) Pick your favorites and leave the rest. Having Thanksgiving Day doesn’t mean you have to spend the whole day in the kitchen. Now the fun part! Go to My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes … choose one from each category, and you have an empty Thank You menu.


Brined Roast Turkey

No matter how many turkey recipes there are (thousands? Millions?) It doesn’t appear in the November roll “What’s the best turkey recipe to thank?” hoping to get some clarity in my Google search bar. And while there are so many delicious ways to prepare them, stuffed, fried and fried, I find it hard to surpass the simplicity of a classic roast turkey, especially when cooked to perfection with crispy skin and a juicy, flavorful interior. . So, finally in an effort to get the absolute best roasting technique and none of the best, I called the professionals: Michael Fojtasek, owner / chef of the award-winning restaurant Olamaie, here in Austin.

Get the recipe here.

Sausage breast stuffed with sausage, cherries and sage

Although the whole roasted bird is traditional, I think the turkey breast wrapped in the filling is one of the tastiest ways to thank the bird (and ideal for smaller groups). so the hardest is done before you bring it home. If desired, prepare the filling on the eve and store in the refrigerator for up to thirty minutes before preparing the turkey.

Get the recipe here.


Make-Ahead Vegan mashed potatoes

It’s hard to thank them for depicting them on the table without a sweet bowl of smooth, buttery mashed potatoes. And this nice version of the crowd can really be enjoyed everyone at the table — it happens to be vegan, without sacrificing the classic cream that everyone wants. Perhaps the best part of these mashed potatoes is that you can make them a couple of hours before the party so you don’t have to mix them up when everything else is on the table. Starring the Yukon Golds, they have a velvety, killer texture.

Get the recipe here.

Faux Parmesan Cauliflower “Potatoes”

Pronouncing himself as a connoisseur of mashed potatoes, the idea of ​​cauliflower puree didn’t impress me at first. How could they live the real thing? This recipe for Helena Henderson’s culinary author of fake mashed potato parmesan. Malibu Farm Sunrise to Sunset, eased all my doubts. Not only them look like cheesy mashed potatoes, but they also have a flavor. I tried the cauliflower puree after the cauliflower puree, and there is no other recipe that has this real potato flavor.

Get the recipe here.

Creamy Potatoes, Martha Stewart

This is the most creamy of the perfect potato dishes on the planet. Bonus points can be made almost completely in advance, so you can pour one more layer of cheese a day and put it in the oven.

Get the recipe here.

Orange Side Vegetables

Athena Calderon’s Blood Orange and Beet Salad

Have you ever seen a nice color combination? Bring the beets and oranges to a bowl separate from the yogurt, and place on a plate before serving.

Get the recipe here.

Sweet potatoes pureed with brown sugar

If you like a nostalgic recipe, this thank you class dish was made for you. The filling is made with fresh sweet mashed potatoes and topped with crispy brown sugar to get the best mix of texture. A snack will take you back to your golden youth to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings and eat a big bowl of cornflakes.

Get the recipe here.

Sweet potato and pomegranate salad

Roast sweet potatoes with salted feta, sweet pomegranate seeds and toasted pistachios. The party is enough to bring you to the holiday, but at a weekly dinner (and the next day if you also add a little lunch).

Get the recipe here.

Delicate Roasted Squash and Street Salad

Sheela Prakash shared a recipe for her new street salad cookbook, Mediterranean Every day. Warm, cozy and our favorite salad to get on the thank you menu.

Get the recipe here.

Roasted Carrot Honey with Sage and Nuggets

Half the carrots are sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper and then roasted at 425 F until cooked through the edges and crispy. In the meantime, I make a secret kitchen sauce: a delicious mix of orange peel and juice, a burst of acidity with rice vinegar, a large squeeze of honey, a hot jalapeño slice or a shake of red pepper. (I go back and forth), and the key to the fresh sage, which evaporates the whole dish with an autumn atmosphere.

Get the recipe here.

Dressing / Stuffing

Vegetarian Frying the cornbread with caramelized kale and onion

This vegetarian cornbread filling simplifies the usual process by omitting this first step of baking a cornbread, then crushing or chopping it before folding the mixtures. This is more than just a hybrid cornbread / filling: you make a horrible cornbread egg and fold all the top and seasoning into the mixture, then bake everything together. The whole process starts and ends as well as being faster; I love the rustic look of serving from the baked cast iron skillet, especially with the bright shades of red onion and street on top.

Get the recipe here.

Spicy Poblano cornbread

Lately I’ve had corn bread stuffing in my head and when I saw these nice poblano peppers in the farmers market, I knew they would add the right kick (you can use jalapeños if you can’t find the poblanos). I mixed it with some traditional filling ingredients — onion, celery, carrots, and sage — as well as some Southwestern accents — spikelets, cilantro, and Mexican oregano. And for a healthy kick, I even got into some streets.

Get the recipe here.

Easy Sage Stuffing, The Kitchn

This is the most classic bread filling, herbal, moist and fragrant, like the one you take out of the box, but even better … It’s the filling you desire, which is so indelible with Thanksgiving. It’s incredibly simple, and very good.

Get the recipe here.

The Difference of Green Vegetables

Bittersweet cider Brussels sprouts

Instead of relying on my typical method of baking half-sliced ​​sprouts until crispy, I chopped them into thin small bites, then made a hard one in a cast iron skillet to get that brass I was always looking for. Sprinkle with a sweet sauce (apple cider!) With a sweet vinegar sauce and toasted pecans, dates and chili flakes, and these are pretty close to perfect.

Get the recipe here.

Street and Wild Rice Salad Maple Mustard with Vinegar

Overflowing with harvest flavors, lots of crunchy, plentiful grains, seasonal fruits and this edible autumn maple mustard. Your wild rice and your green salad are all of a sudden, and you’ll want to swallow it.

Get the recipe here.

Cacio E Pepe Brussels sprouts

I’m already obsessed with Brussels sprouts, but when you add parmesan, lemon zest and hazelnuts to the mix … kill me.

Get the recipe here.

Cakes and Pies

Classic Buttermilk Pie

This Buttermilk Pie recipe is a classic in the Styles family. She is my mother du in the cake baker’s family – we always ask him to thank you for making all the cakes. So I think you’ll like this classic buttermilk cake recipe. It’s very easy to make, but the flavor is rich and delicious.

Get the recipe here.

Warmer apple pie than cake

This cake is hard to cut warm, but it melts in your mouth (and no one cares that a spoonful of crushed apple pie in a bowl melts on top of the ice cream). Fresh is just as appealing and easier to serve in perfect slices. The best thing about this cake, but in addition to eating it, is knowing how easy it is to make it again.

Get the recipe here.

Mini Pumpkin Cakes with Speculoos Crust

Britt’s recipe uses Speculoos (aka Biscoff cookies) for the crust, which makes the thank you menu much more exciting and delicious. Also, by making them into individual cake shells (theirs are technically crème brûlée dishes), you’ll be happy to tell them about the empty cake cuts.

Get the recipe here.

Apple Ginger Pie (Gluten Free)

Granny Smith apples don’t have too much of a sweet cake and warm spices make a slice of cake the most comfortable dish to curl up after dinner … and with coffee for breakfast the next morning!

Get the recipe here.

Chocolate Pecan Slab Pie

This always-delicious classic gathers to feed the crowd, duplicating my favorite recipe and baking it in a jelly pan over a classic tin cake. Cut into triangles instead of cut into squares, it’s similar to a pecan bar, but it doesn’t detract from the pecan filling.

Get the recipe here.

** and while we are on the subject of cakes, here is what to read from the archive: How to Decorate the Perfect Cake Thanksgiving!

Now, I’m going to put it in front of the fire with my hot tea and a stack of cookbooks. Happy menu arrangement!

This publication was published on November 12, 2020, and has been updated ever since.

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