November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving Meal Planning

Ever notice that the November issues of food magazines are starting to look like the September issues of fashion magazines? For me, the last few months of the year alternate between foodie paradise and completely stressed holiday overload. Every event seems to revolve around food and provides the perfect excuse to try that new recipe you've had your eye on. On the other hand, new recipes come with extra pressures…will it be as good as it sounds? What's my backup plan if it's a complete failure? For the record, my backup plan is all the fixings for an ice cream sundae…so if I ever show up to your house with a bag from Braums rest assured that I had some sort of epic kitchen failure that afternoon. My husband, bless him, puts up with my occasional kitchen hysterics with the serenity of Ghandi. He may have even given me the St. Crispin's day speech from Henry V once before I tried a recipe that scared the heck out of me. If that doesn't remind me what a keeper he is, nothing will! (Excuse the sappiness, he's away for work and I miss him.)

Given all the holiday cooking and it's related stress I try to walk a fine line at Thanksgiving between old favorites and new ideas. Frankly, the blog is the perfect way to test my Thanksgiving menu! Prepare yourselves :)

I think the best way to plan is to sit down with a cup of tea, the computer, your favorite cookbooks and magazines and write down all the things that might work. I cross out and add in as I go and slowly edit the list down. If I'm expecting guests to bring things I will usually just assign them a category rather than a specific item. I like having latitude in what I make when I'm asked to bring something, and I try to keep that in mind when I'm the one asking for things.

Here's what my menu looks like so far:

Stuffing- probably a sausage apple version I made last year, but I can't find the recipe for again. Grr!
Cranberry sauce-I'm from New England, this is non-negotiable.
Mashed potato with gravy
Squash of some sort- a family staple.
2 more veggie sides

I'm still debating the type and quantity of dessert and appetizers, and since our guest list isn't finalized yet I'll hold off for now.

I'll be spending more time this weekend going over everything and also working on the menu plan for the whole week since we'll have family staying with us. I already know that I'm going to need some slightly more exotic ingredient than our little town has to offer, so I need to have everything done earlier to accommodate a trip to the "big city" to stock up :)

Are you hosting this year? Do you have family favorites that must be included or do you just cook what you're in the mood for that year? 

And in case you need a little inspiration, here is a roundup of my past recipes that might be good for the Thanksgiving table!

Roasted Acorn Squash
Apple Cobbler
Apple Slab Pie
Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies
Go-to Brownies
Mint Chocolate Chip Cake
Molasses cookies
Pie Crust
Pumpkin Bundt Cake
Salted Caramel and Chocolate Layer Cake


  1. I recommend stuffing muffins.. that way everyone gets their own and it's more evenly cooked and moist

  2. That's a great idea! Cooks a lot faster too I bet, and space in the oven is always at a premium on Thanksgiving!


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