This weeks installment of My Perfect Thanksgiving gives you recipes! And who are we kidding, even though decorations are important, Thanksgiving is all about the food.
I have been hosting Thanksgiving and cooking for Thanksgiving for many, many years now and have come up with a few recipes that I know, after trial and error, are foolproof, fantastic, easy, and most importantly, delicious!
Next week, I will show you my game plan on how I make sure that everything gets out on the table hot and ready. It’s possible, just takes a good game plan. But back to this weeks installment…
This is my list of recipes that I use every single Thanksgiving. I don’t stray from it, because it’s tried and true. I experiment outside of Thanksgiving, but when people are coming over expecting a great meal, I go with what I know works. And what I know are these recipes. I hope you guys love them as much as I do!
- Good Eats Roast Turkey – this is by far the BEST turkey recipe. I follow everything but the crystalized ginger to a T because let’s be honest, that’s hard to find sometimes. Other than that, follow all of it.
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts – even if you don’t like brussels sprouts, I highly suggest you try this recipe out. This crispy, perfectly salted vegetable is always on my table.
- Arugula Orange Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette – A perfect bright salad that cuts through all the heaviness that usually comes with Thanksgiving. It’s seasonally relevant too. Delish!
- Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes – fluffy, perfectly seasoned, and perfect when topped with chopped chives.
- Cranberry Sauce – this recipe has two options, one with nuts and one without. I make both. Not many people actually eat this in my family, but it’s always on the table. Maybe because the ruby red color adds a lot to the table.
- Sally Lunn Herbed Roll – Honestly, I had no idea what these were when I made them one Thanksgiving but these were the best rolls I’ve ever made, and the most pretty! They tasted like the rolls I used to get at Piccadilly Cafeteria as a kid. Love.
- Mac and Cheese – This tastes like Stouffer’s. Btw, my sister and I often cheat with macaroni and cheese and do get the family size mac and cheese from Stouffer’s, but every once in a while I’ll make this one. Changes: I don’t do the toppings and I use only cheddar cheese to make it more wallet friendly.
- Pepperidge Farm Cornbread Stuffing – This isn’t fancy, but it’s darn good. It’s simple, cheap (shh!), and delicious. I’d rather spend my time on other sides so I go the easy route with this. It always tastes good too.
- Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle – This is the best dessert ever!! I love pumpkin, I love gingerbread, and most important – I love them together. This is what I look forward to on Thanksgiving. It’s easy because you can make it the day before and let it sit and get better. Also, for as easy as it is, it’s super di duper impressive.
- Apple and Pear Crisp – Even though no one wants to think of fruit desserts on Thanksgiving, this actually goes fairly quick. A warm crisp with cool vanilla ice cream does wonders. Anything hot & cold does really. This is a great recipe, with a crunchy delicious topping and a great use of fall fruits!
Well there you have it! Those are my go-to recipes that I use time and again every Thanksgiving. I do a lot of research on what seems to be the best tasting with the least amount of work required. A lot of people get fancy with their Thanksgivings with all sorts of exotic ingredients, but I find that no one really enjoys the meal more if I’ve slaved away over every single aspect. People want a good, juicy turkey, a plethora of sides, and some yummy desserts.
If you have noticed, there are no appetizers on my list. Thats because I don’t usually serve appetizers, I usually have a cheese platter or some fruit out, but I do not want fully bellies ahead of the main meal.
By the way, in the many years that I’ve cooked Thanksgiving, the most compliments I get are on the bird, not that the sides are bad, but when the turkey is good…everything is good. So make sure you get that right! No pressure. Haha…
Also, the most beautiful part of Thanksgiving is that you can make it your own. With family from Pakistan, we naturally like a little more spice to our food and we get that with the addition of biryani and traditional Pakistani foods in addition to the Thanksgiving fare. As kids we used to even get turkey biryani sometimes, but there is no sense fighting it, making your own traditions is beautiful in its own right.
Also, ever since I’ve moved from Florida my friends and I in DC have a friendsgiving, it’s a great way to celebrate the season with each other as we are all traveling here and there to be with family. Here is a picture of the friends giving I hosted this past weekend. It was fun, easy (because we did a potluck, I provided the turkey, everyone else did the rest! Phew! I am thankful for good friends!), and delicious.