Thanksgiving Menu and Plan 2019

Cooking a Thanksgiving meal is a lot of work. That sounds obvious, but I’m leading with it because I think sometimes people forget jus how much work it really is. You have to choose recipes that you and your guests will like, and be able to eat, and hopefully go well together, and then you have to actually make all that food, but you also have to be able to plan, and manage your time (and oven space) in order to get everything onto the table all together.

I’ve been hosting it every other year for, I don’t know, a long time. More than a decade. Every year we make some old favorites and try a few new recipes, and I thought I’d share this year’s menu, in part so that I’ll have it all in one place for next year, but also in case you were looking for some inspiration. I’m also going to share my plan for how to put it all together, just to give you an idea of what that looks like for me. Shout out to my husband, who manages all the cleaning and most of the shopping, so I can focus on the cooking.

If you have a favorite Thanksgiving recipe or tradition, or any tips and tricks for managing your cooking time more efficiently, please share in the comments, I’d love to hear about it!

The Menu

Appetizers:
Spicy Pickled Green Beans via The Splendid Table (x 1/2), but a quick pickled version
Smoky Candied Almonds via Serious Eats (x 1)
Cheese and crackers (tbd)

Dinner:
Turkey and Gravy: Herb Roasted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy via Epicurious (x 1) I’ll have a smaller turkey, and I salt it (otherwise known as dry-brining for who knows what reason) rather than brining it, so there will be a few adjustments to the time-table

Mashed Potatoes: Extra Potato-y Mashed Potatoes from Inside the Test Kitchen by Tyler Florence (x 3)

Stuffing: Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Corn Nuts from Bon Appétit‘s 2019 Thanksgiving issue (x 1), and a vegetarian bread stuffing with apples, and maybe some pecans and dried cranberries, that I’m just going to make up (x 1)

Cranberry Sauce:Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Zinfandel via Epicurious (x 1/2), and Mama’s Cranberry Salad via food52 (x 1/2), the former I’ve made quite a few times, and the latter because I wanted to try something new

Sides:
Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios and Lime from Bon Appétit‘s 2019 Thanksgiving issue (x 1 1/2 or 2, haven’t decided)
Caramelized Spiced Carrots via Epicurious (x 1/2)
Sweet Potato Spoon Bread via The Best American Recipes 2002-2003 (x 1)

Desserts:
Pecan-Rye Pumpkin Pie from Bon Appétit‘s 2019 Thanksgiving issue (x 1)
Cranberry-Lime Pie via Epicurious (x 1)
Derby Pie via my mom and Aunt Julie (x 1), my son volunteered to make this, but it’s unclear if he’ll have time

Drinks: my husband handles the drinks. I think he’s making cranberry Mai Tais

Also, my mom is bringing Peasant Pie, Corn Pudding, and Apple Pie

The Plan

The Weekend before Thanksgiving: make turkey and veggie broth for stuffings and gravy, make the Zinfandel cranberry sauce, make cornbread for stuffing, make pie dough for pumpkin and derby pies

Monday: make cornbread stuffing, roast sweet potatoes for spoon bread, peel and mash, make nuts and pickles

Tuesday: acquire the turkey and do hopefully the last shopping run, salt the turkey, make the gravy base and herb butter, make the cranberry pie, maybe take out all the serving dishes and try to figure out which ones to use

Wednesday: make the veggie stuffing, make spoon bread, make the jelly cranberry sauce, make the derby and pumpkin pies, prep the sprouts and carrots, maybe infuse the cream for the mashed potatoes with thyme (haven’t decided about that yet), finalize plan for Thursday, go shopping for anything you forgot on Tuesday

Thursday AM: roast off the sprouts and the carrots, get the turkey out of the fridge
noonish?: get the turkey in the oven, peel the potatoes
some time after that: get the stuffings into the oven, boil the potatoes, get the appetizers on the table
after the turkey comes out: somehow fit everything that needs to get heated up into the oven, mash the potatoes, finish the sprouts on the stove, make the gravy
once the turkey is rested: carve the bird (that’s my brother’s job), get everything onto the table, don’t forget the cranberry sauce, remember to be thankful, eat
later that evening: pull pies from the fridge, whip cream, consider heating up the apple pie, somehow manage to have dessert after eating too much of everything else

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