Thanksgiving Cliffs Notes

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us. Some might have a menu planned from months back or use sentimental recipes from decades ago. Others, however, might be scrambling to get something in the way of a well-organized meal ready to cook. If you fall into the latter category, let us help. We've gathered together some of Seasoned Cooking's greatest Thanksgiving hits in one place to help guide you. And if that's not enough, we have some ideas at the end of it all to help you continue your search. Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

Grand Beginnings

Appetizers and snacks are always a fun way to begin a giant feast. They also help cover your tracks if the turkey or other dishes need a little more time in the oven or on the stove before serving! Here are a few suggestions:

    Snow Day!

    When Mother Nature gives you a giant pile of snow, there's something to be said for firing up the oven and making your home smell sweet. There's also something to be said for taking a bit of time to brave the elements and make snowmen, snow dogs, and snow bridges! Welcome, winter!


    Blue 'Shrooms

    Mushrooms are super anytime of the year, but winter affords us an opportunity to pair them with intense ingredients like blue cheese and serve them alongside everything from roasted meat to slow-cooked soups. What's more, if you happen to have a gluten allergy, this approach doesn't leave you in appetizer limbo since they are entirely gluten free!


    After School

    If you've got kids, you understand the importance of the after school snack. However, a bunch of grapes or carrots and dip can get boring after a while. Here's a little break from the mundane that's perfectly-timed for the apple orchard.


Here Comes the Bird … And More

Of course, turkey is traditional when Thanksgiving rolls around. But don't let that stop you from mixing it up a bit. Whether you are catering to special diets or looking to add variety to the table, we've got turkey and more for you on the menu:

    Giving Thanks for Mayo?

    Coating your Thanksgiving bird in a mayonnaise mixture seals in moisture and creates a beautifully-seasoned crust for your holiday entertaining. Add the traditional side dishes and no one will ever know the secret … unless you decide it needs to be shared!

    Turkey Adventures

    A twelve-plus pound turkey begins an adventure in using it without becoming bored with leftovers. Everything from spicy BBQ sandwiches to rich turkey lasagna follows.


    Pumpkin Finds Its Savory Side

    As cooler weather settles in and pumpkin becomes a focus in everything from coffee to coffeecake, it's time to remember that it can also star in some amazing savory dishes. Just in time for the weekend, a fantastic curry featuring pumpkin and either venison or lean beef is ready to be enjoyed.


    Tofu Turkey and Stuffing Your Entire Family Will Crave Every Thanksgiving

    Don't leave the vegetarians joining you for Thanksgiving dinner out in the cold. Instead, consider some perfect meatless dishes that will have everyone grateful for those options! And no one will be happier about those choices than the turkey!


Glorious Sides

Even though the turkey usually takes center stage, we all know everyone dreams about their favorite sides. Mix things up a bit with a fun mix of dishes that feature seasonal produce and flavors of the season:

    Velvet in a Bowl

    About a week of contemplating results in a beautiful bowl of soup with a velvety texture and a flavor that brings together the essence of fall. Featuring parsnips and pears and highlighted with nutmeg-crusted goat cheese, it's a fantastic soup course option for your holiday entertaining or a comforting lunch alongside a grilled cheese sandwich. Bring on the snow -- this soup will keep you warm!


    Kids in the Kitchen

    Kids are naturally curious and adventurous. Those are excellent qualities to have in top-rate kitchen helpers. But don't stop there. Get them involved with all aspects of food selection and preparation and you'll set them up to be great cooks now and in the future.


    Best Supporting Side Dish

    Thanksgiving isn't all about the turkey and pumpkin pie. Side dishes often get ignored in the entertaining rush. However, that doesn't need to be the case. Here, the natural sweetness in both apples and sweet potatoes come together to make a side dish that will impress everyone gathered together for Thanksgiving dinner. No marshmallows are needed for this truly stellar offering.

    Harvest Side

    When gardens and farm stands everywhere are putting fresh produce before you, it's time to enjoy it splendidly. Do just that with some delightful fritters brimming with tender sweet corn and spicy peppers.


    Veggie Addiction

    When parents tell me they can't get their sweet little darlings to eat their veggies, I share one of my recent most-requested recipes by the six-year-old. Surprise! It's a dish entirely comprised of vegetables bathed in a great seasoned oil mixture and roasted. Sometimes simple really gets the job done.


Festive Salads

Salads do more than give us an opportunity to work some fruits and vegetables into our menu. They also are a great way to bring amazing color and flavor to your holiday table:

    Exploring Ethiopian Cuisine

    Ethiopian cuisine does a great job of using lentils and adding heat. Enjoy it all in a traditional red lentil salad called Azifa. Like chili in Texas, there are as many varieties of Azifa as there are cooks making it. Try our version, featuring a sautéed onion and garlic dressing and a bevy of fresh vegetables.


    Weeknight Shorts: Stone Fruit Stars

    When left to my own devices, I'll incorporate stone fruit into most meals this time of the year. So when I find myself in the possession of a bunch of greens and a need for lunch, these normally sweet-centric fruits become the stars of a savory salad.


    Festive Vegetables

    As the holiday season wanes, people think about finding healthier foods for their tables. But you need not do so at the expense of flavor. In a fun recipe featuring roasted vegetables and tahini, a side dish come salad option shows off versatility, health value, and incredible taste. What's more, the dressing for it is so addictive, I've taken to drizzling it over everything from bread to omelets!


    Building Contrast

    There's nothing like a wonderful blend of colors, textures, and flavors in food. This is especially true of salads this time of the year, when ingredients are at their freshest and we're all looking for something refreshing and light on our plates.


Breaking Bread

Thanksgiving is a great time to embrace the variety of breads available for our enjoyment. Choose one that suits your family's traditions and preferences:

    Bread Alone

    Sometimes, I really think I could live on bread alone, as long as it's focaccia! If you think that fresh, homemade focaccia is too much work, you haven't turned to your bread machine for help! Get a tried and true method and break out your finest olive oil and grated cheese. It's dinner time!


    Bread-Making Day

    Filling bread seems like a challenging task until you get a bread maker to do all of the tough work for you. Before you know it, you'll be trying a new filling each week and your home will always smell like fresh-baked bread!


    Move Over, Focaccia

    I often turn to focaccia when I'm looking for something fun to serve with breakfast, brunch, or dinner. But when I don't have time to get yeast involved, it's time to embrace scones and, particularly for dinner, savory scones are where it's at!


A Little Sweetness

A little slice of something sweet is just what we're looking for after dinner's done and the dishes have been cleaned. Some of these are comfort food at its best:

    Pumpkin, Apple Cider, and Maple Syrup … Oh My!

    A trio of flavor superstars come together to inspire a wonderful autumn-focused dessert that could easily star in your Thanksgiving dessert. But why wait that long! After all, you'll want to test it, right?


    Easy, Elegant Endings

    We're gearing up for the busiest party, entertaining, and special gathering time of the year. Let me start things off by offering a great layered dessert idea that takes minutes to put together and can be set aside until it's time to wow your guests.


    Pumpkin, Spice, and Everything Nice!

    Fall bring pumpkin this and pumpkin spice that and, you know what? I adore it. What's not to love about something like rich pumpkin cheesecake that blends the flavors of cheesecake and pumpkin pie with a crust that's infused with the best of pumpkin spice? Yeah, I couldn't think of anything, either. Then add some crunchy pecans and velvety caramel-rum sauce and you've got a perfect fall dessert.


    A Gift for You

    In the middle of the busiest time of the year, I offer you a no bake frozen cheesecake that will have friends and family alike smiling and lifting their glasses in a toast to the fantastic dessert you've shared with them. Merry Christmas!


Have a Sip

Now, you might opt to have seasonal beers, ciders, and wine throughout your meal, but the holidays do often call for a special cocktail or specialty drink before the day's done. Might we suggest a look at these:

    Cup of Cheer

    It's the middle of our holiday season and everyone is finding the best and brightest ways to be festive and jolly. In my part of the world, that means finding good ways to keep warm. Look to us to help you find great ways to warm from the inside out.


    Chocolate Comfort in a Cup


    After record highs and pouring rain, plummeting temperatures and falling snow have settled in. How do you respond to such a strange switch in the weather? With comforting chocolate, of course. It's time to make hot chocolate and enjoy a few fun twists on the tried and true standby. After all, watching the snow fall with a cup of cocoa in your hands makes it all better!


Still Looking?

If you're still seeing gaps in your planning, fear not! Take a wander over to our Recipe Archive, Tag List, and Search to find everything else you might need for the big day. Enjoy!

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