Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays — probably because there are no gifts involved, and not nearly as much consumerism as Halloween, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas.
Plus, I LOVE making all sorts of delicious fall foods, desserts, and other Thanksgiving favorites this time of year.
Since there are only a few days left until Thanksgiving — and since I’ve gotten several emails asking for my favorite (simple) Thanksgiving recipes, I thought I’d compile them all into one post so you can easily find what you’re looking for!
My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes:
- TURKEY!! :: Make sure you use my simple turkey roasting tip to enjoy super juicy white meat!
- Sausage Stuffing :: This recipe from my dad is our all-time favorite.
- Sweet Potato Casserole :: If you think you don’t like sweet potatoes, you haven’t tried my recipe!
- Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole :: I LOVE that I can make these potatoes the night before.
- Easy Oven Roasted Vegetables :: Choose your favorites and let them roast along with the turkey.
- Simple Roasted Carrots :: This is, hands-down, the easiest veggie side dish I make!
- Easy Vegetable Bake :: These veggies are a great “make-ahead” option if you’re bringing food to a potluck.
- Homemade Applesauce :: Here’s another version that you can make in the microwave
- Chunky Cinnamon Applesauce :: This is one of my all-time favorite recipes for the holiday season.
- Semi-Homemade Cornbread :: This stuff is melt-in-your-mouth delicious!!
- From Scratch Cornbread :: Another option if you prefer a more home made approach.
- 100% Whole Grain Dinner Rolls :: My tried and true recipe — a little extra work but SO worth it.
- Pull-Apart Herb Biscuits :: These taste homemade, but start with a can of refrigerated dough!
- Semi-Homemade Bread (or rolls) :: Seriously, this bread is delicious and requires almost ZERO effort!
Let’s not forget about dessert!
- Pumpkin Pie Delight Dessert :: It’s just as delicious as your favorite pumpkin pie, but feeds twice as many people!
- Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie :: A nice little twist from the same old pumpkin pie.
- Dutch Apple Pie :: Always a classic Thanksgiving pie.
- Bumbleberry Pie :: My favorite baked fruit pie.
- Cream Cheese Pumpkin Pie :: In case you’re looking for one more pumpkin recipe.
- Caramel Apple Pie Cheesecake Bars :: These are amazing!
- Cream Cheese Filled Pumpkin Bread :: Made with applesauce instead of oil!
Oh, and if you’re looking for a few fantastic ways to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers, check out this post.
We are not hosting any parties this year but if you ARE hosting, here are a few tips to (hopefully) help things run smoothly!
Tips for Hosting Simple Holiday Gatherings:
In my experience, traditional holiday foods always seems to go over better for special occasions than something “new” so I recommend making the foods your guests are accustomed to on the special day.
Here are a few more tips if you’re hosting this year.
Plan to make as much of your food in advance as possible (most of the recipes listed above are make-ahead recipes). I would even suggest making your turkey the day before, cutting the meat off the bone, and then putting the juices and meat in the slow-cooker. The meat is SO juicy and it’s much easier than trying to carve the turkey while your guests wait.
Stock up on paper products to make cleanup much easier.
Write down everything you’re going to make, as well as all the ingredients you’ll need. Then shop your pantry and freezer to see what you already have, as well as what you need to buy. This will hopefully prevent the need for any last-minute trips to the store.
Consider serving your guests buffet style to lessen the number of serving dishes you need and to speed up the serving process.
Double or triple line your trash cans so you don’t need to mess with putting a new bag in.
Don’t worry about having your home perfectly clean. Instead, clean the bathrooms well and declutter the main living areas. Then, clean it really well after everyone leaves (maybe this is selfish, but it’s what I always do!)
Skip cutesy decorations, place cards, party favors, etc. Although these are often fun little “extras”, I don’t think many guests care nearly as much about decorations or presentation as they do about the food and fellowship.
A Few Thanksgiving Fun Facts:
The first thanksgiving was in the Fall of 1621 and included roughly 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians. It was said to have lasted 3 full days, and apparently only 5 women were present as many of them were unable to survive the difficult first year.
There was no turkey on the first Thanksgiving — it was most likely venison, ducks, oysters, lobsters, eel, and fish. They most likely DID eat pumpkins — but not as pie 🙂
Thanksgiving became a national US holiday in 1863, thanks to Sarah Josepha Hale (writer of the classic song, “Mary Had a Little Lamb”) who apparently convinced President Lincoln after 17 years of faithfully writing letters campaigning for this to happen.
Thanksgiving is said to be the reason for the introduction of TV dinners in the 1950s. Apparently Swanson had over 260 tons of extra turkey in 1953, and a salesman suggested that they should package it into aluminum trays with other sides like sweet potatoes.
The whole “watch football on Thanksgiving Day” tradition started in the 1920’s when the NFL started their Thanksgiving Classic games. Since then, the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys have hosted games on Thanksgiving Day.
NOTE: These “fun facts” are from our local Library — I don’t have an exact source 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving Week!
In case you’re wondering, I won’t be out shopping on Friday 🙂