Turkey Dinner Recipes - Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner Menu Ideas
Thanksgiving Recipes - How To Plan Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner

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Author Linda StradleyThanksgiving Menu and Recipes by Linda Stradley of What's Cooking America.
 



If you don't desire turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, how about substituting for one of the following:



Prime Rib Dinner I
(7-course dinner)

Prime Rib Dinner II
(Christmas or Thanksgiving Dinner)

Learn how to cook the Perfect Prime Rib


Honey-Glazed Ham Dinner Menu (with recipes)

Ham 101 - Learn all about the different types of ham and how to cook them.
 


Roasted Crown of Pork Loin
Truly one of the most magnificent of all holiday entrees! Impress your guest with this attractive Roasted Crown Loin of Pork. It is a real show stopper!

 



How about substituting your oven-roasted turkey for:


Barbecued or Grilled Whole Turkey

This is a very easy and efficient way to cook your Thanksgiving turkey. No mess in your oven or the kitchen. A whole turkey may be prepared on either a gas grill or a charcoal grill. This method requires a covered barbecue grill and heavy duty aluminum foil. Your turkey will be crisp outside and juicy inside.


 
Cajun Fried Turkey

This is the best way of cooking a turkey I've ever tasted. The turkey is anything but greasy as the deep-frying process seals the outside and the turkey remains incredibly juicy, while the skin gets wonderfully crispy.



Smoked Turkey
Learn how to smoke a whole turkey.



Turducken
This regional delight has become one of the latest food fads. From the outside it looks like a turkey, but when you cut through it, you see a series of rings making up the three birds and three stuffings.

 



Vegetarian/Vegan Thanksgiving:
For your vegetarian and vegan family and friends.

Torfurky
Tofurky/Tofurkey Recipe with Vegan Gravy

 



Southwest/Mexican Thanksgiving:

Mexican Americans and others have put their own gastronomical twist on Thanksgiving meals. These are not “tradition,” nor are they found at all Thanksgiving celebrations, which include Latin American foods, but they are the foods many consider a Thanksgiving meal in the Southwest.



Turkey in Mole Sauce
(Mole Poblano de Guajolote)
A Southwest and Mexican Thanksgiving favorite.


Tamales - How To Make Tamales
Homemade Tamales



Turkey Hints & Tips:

Turkey Basics
How to purchase, stuff, and roast a turkey. Choosing a fresh or frozen turkey. How to thaw a frozen turkey. How to prepare turkey for stuffing.

Thanksgiving Planning - Stress-Free Thanksgiving
How to plan and prepare your Thanksgiving dinner in advance without stress.

Guidelines for Brining Poultry
The secret to juicy chicken breast is simple - brine them before grilling or baking! It's very easy and economical, and requires no special cookware.

Guidelines For Roasting a Whole Turkey
Learn how to safely and easily prepare and roast your turkey.

Advice on Stuffing a Turkey Safely
As the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday draws near, learn how to safely stuff your turkey.

Using a Cooking or Meat Thermometer
Have you ever cut into a turkey to see if it has finished cooking?
Cooking thermometers take the guesswork out of cooking, as they measures the internal temperature of your cooked meat and poultry to assure that a safe temperature has been reached, harmful bacteria have been destroyed, and your turkey is cook perfectly.

Making Perfect Turkey Gravy
Hints and tips for making that perfect turkey gravy.

Handling Leftovers Safely
Leftover" foods are cooked foods that you or your family do not eat within 2 hours after they are cooked. Improper handling or storing cooked food is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the home.

Let's Make Turkey Stock
My favorite thing to do the morning after Thanksgiving is to make homemade turkey stock from the turkey carcass. It is so easy to do and so delicious! The turkey stock can be used for a delicious soup or frozen for future use.
 



Food Safety Pages:

Buffet and Party Safety
Also includes what to do if your guests have been delayed at least an hour

Golden Rules of Food Safety
IF IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT! If you have any question in your mind about the freshness or safety of eating a food product, throw it out. It is better to be safe than sorry!

 



Etiquette, Entertaining, and Party Planning Help

Dining Etiquette Guide
Restaurant and Dinner Party Manners and Etiquette

Simple Rules for Planning a Dinner Party

What is a Recipe?
Learn how to follow a recipe, why some recipes do not work, and about Mise en Place

Appetizer Hints
How many appetizers to make for your party

Buffet & Party Safety - Organizing Your Buffet Supper

Etiquette Faux Pas and Other Misconceptions About Afternoon Tea
Due to the new popularity of Afternoon Tea, many people have jumped on the bandwagon, including hotels, caterers, party planners, and protocol and etiquette “experts.”  While their enthusiasm is well intended, unfortunately a great deal of misinformation is being perpetuated by these.

Invitation to Afternoon Tea
The invitation has just arrived in the mail.  What do you do next? When one is invited to an afternoon tea.


Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Ideas and Recipes
How To Plan Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner

Before planning this year's Thanksgiving Dinner, please read Thanksgiving Planning - Stress-Free Thanksgiving
(How to plan and prepare your Thanksgiving dinner in advance without stress).
 


Appetizers:

Appetizer ideas to serve your guests while waiting for Thanksgiving dinner to be served. Serve light appetizers before your dinner, as you don't want to fill up your guests. Also serve appetizers that can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Many, many more Appetizer Ideas.
 


Beef Nachos


Beef Nachos

Football Nachos
This easy-to-make nacho dish is a family favorite. A great appetizer to serve in the late morning and early afternoon for your guests watching the Thanksgiving Football Games on television. These delicious nachos will help keep the guys busy and "out of the way" while the Thanksgiving dinner is being made.

 


Cranberry Salsa
Cranberry Salsa with Cream Cheese or Cranberry Holiday Spread
An interesting and delicious way to serve cranberries on Thanksgiving.

or

Cheese Fondue
Cheese Fondue
Fondue, an ancient Swiss dish, is very easy to prepare, fun to serve, and enjoyable to eat. It's the perfect meal to gather your friends and family to create a sense of intimacy that is informal and memorable.


Relish Tray
Platter of assorted cut-up fresh vegetables, chesses, and meats plus Dill Dip and/or Roasted Jalapeno Dip. This is so easy to make and everyone likes to "munch" on these.

or

Cheese Plate
Cheese Boards - Cheese Plates - Cheese Platters
Entertaining frequently includes some kind of cheese tray, often with fruit or vegetables or meat or a combination of these foods. This is an opportunity to be creative and introduce your guests to some new cheeses. It's great fun!

 


Soup Course Ideas - Optional Course:

I like to serve a soup course to start the dinner off. Serve a light soup and serve small amounts (more appetizer size). Just enough to delight the taste palates of your guests and family. Lots of delicious Soup, Stew, Chili and Chowder Recipes.
 

Butternut Squash Soup
Curried Butternut Squash Soup

This is one of my family's favorite soup recipes. I have also served this delightful and interesting soup for dinner parties.


Troppo's Squash Bomb Soup
Troppo's Squash Bomb Soup

This delicious squash soup is like a dessert before dinner. It's sweet but spicy, because of the cayenne pepper.

 

Tomato Crab Bisque
Tomato-Basil Crab Bisque
This soup is so good! This is one of the best bisques that I've tasted.

 

Carrot Vichyssoise Soup
Carrot Vichyssoise

This recipe originally was made at the Four Season's restaurant in New York. So good!

 



Main Dish and Side Dishes:

Turn off the TV during your Thanksgiving dinner. Remember, Thanksgiving only comes once a year. Focus your attention where it belongs on the delicious food and your family and friends. When the dishes are done, EVERYONE can enjoy the games (or the chat in the other room).


roast turkey
Oven Roasted Turkey

America's traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner meat. Learn how to safely and easily prepare and roast your turkey.

Brining Poultry
The secret to juicy chicken breast is simple - brine them before grilling or baking! It's very easy and economical, and requires no special cookware. This is the secret that chefs never tell you about..
 



Stuffing or Dressing Choices:
Stuffing or Dressing choices are usually made according to the region you live in and also family favorites.
Advice on Stuffing a Turkey Safely
 

Turkey Stuffing
Turkey Stuffing
This is my family's favorite Turkey Dressing/Stuffing recipe that I make every year.
Whether you call it "stuffing" or "dressing," what's not to love about turkey stuffing? It's often one of the best parts of a turkey dinner. It is so easy to prepare. Also be creative and add your family's favorite ingredients.
 

CornbreadStuffing
Sweet Onion Cornbread Stuffing
This wonderful cornbread stuffing will delight your family and friends. It is easy-to-make and so delicious! Use it as a great stuffing alongside of your poultry dishes. How about stuffing your next Thanksgiving Turkey with this delicious cornbread stuffing?
 

Oyster Dressing
Grandma's Oyster Dressing
This oyster dressing must be served as a side dish and not as a turkey stuffing in the turkey.

 


Scalloped Oysters
Scalloped oysters are fantastic served as a special side dish, first course, or an appetizer with crackers. For many families, this dish is a Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition.


 


If you really want to be fancy and step up your Thanksgiving dinner, try this unusual and wonderful dressing:
Cornbread Stuffing with Fresh Figs, Morels, and Foie Gras - Learn about
Foie Gras

 



Potato Choices plus Gravy:
 

Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Save your valuable kitchen time on Thanksgiving day by using this easy-to-make mashed potato dish for your next Thanksgiving dinner. This recipe is especially great when serving a crowd as it eliminates the mess and last-minute hassle of whipping potatoes. This is the recipe I use every year for Thanksgiving Dinner.
 

Crock Pot Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
I, personally, like and use the crock pot version, as it frees up my oven for other dishes when making my holiday meals. Check it out!

Perfect Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Perfect Mashed Potatoes

This mashed potato recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving. This recipe is classic, simple, and perfectly fits the season. What could go better with turkey than cranberry sauce and some mashed potatoes?



Turkey Gravy

I can't imagine a turkey dinner without having homemade turkey gravy. Turkey gravy is so easy-to-make and absolutely necessary with mashed potatoes. Learn how to make perfect turkey gravy.

Also included - How To Make Gluten-Free (Celiac Diet) Turkey Gravy.

 

Browned Butter Smashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash
Browned Butter Smashed Potatoes with Butternut Squashh
Try something new and impress your family and guests with this delicious combination of potatoes and butternut squash.

 

Asiago and Sage Scalloped Potatoes
Asiago and Sage Scalloped Potatoes
This is my family's favorite scalloped potato recipe. I especially like to make it during the holidays.


More Side Dish Choices and Ideas:

It is up to you to decide how many side dishes you serve with your dinner. The more family and/or friends invited to dinner, the more side dishes. Our tradition is that each family invited will bring a side dishes to the dinner to help out with all the preparation involved in preparing the dinner. If you also do this, be sure and decided in advance what you want everyone to bring, so you don't end up the 3 or 4 versions of the same dish!

Cranberries:



Cranberry Relish

My son-in-law makes this wonderful family recipe for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner every year.


Cranberry Sauce with Raspberry Vinegar
Cranberry Sauce with Raspberry Vinaigrettee
This traditional sauce is enhanced by raspberry vinegar. Very delicious!


Tangy Tomato Aspic
Tangy Tomato Aspic
This gelatin salad is a favorite family comfort food that we make and serve for Thanksgiving Dinner every year.



Vegetables:
 

Green Bean Supreme
Green Beans Supreme - Green Bean Casserole

This green bean dish is considered the ultimate comfort food with some America families. Most holiday meals (especially Thanksgiving and Christmas) wouldn't be complete without this green bean dish.

 

Butternut Squash Gratin
Butternut Squash Gratin
This butternut squash gratin is so good! My husband gave it a 10 rating, and said that I can make it anytime I want - in other words, he liked it!

German Creamed Spinach
German Creamed Spinach

This dish is absolutely wonderful! It's a family favorite at our house for all holidays and special occasions. Even children like this spinach dish!

Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon
Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon
This simple recipe has converted lots of sworn Brussels-sprout haters into devoted connoisseurs. They've turned the sprouts into comfort food by 'hashing' and stir-frying them with poppy seeds.

Michael's Best Button Mushrooms
Michael's Best Button Mushrooms

These mushrooms are so incredibly delicious!! This is my "go-to" recipe for both special occasions and dinner parties.

Roasted Cauliflower
Roasted Cauliflower

This method of preparing cauliflower is very simple and extremely delicious. If you have never roasted cauliflower, try it now!


Relish Plate (pickles, olives, etc.)
A Thanksgiving dinner isn't complete without a relish plate to nibble on.


Salads:
 


Caesar Salad
My all-time favorite salad is the Caesar Salad. To many, including myself, this is the King of salads. Caesar salads are very easy to make and can be prepared in advance. This salad will definitely impress your dinner guests.

Following is my delicious low-fat version of Caesar Salad. I promise you that your guests will never know the difference! I make this low-fat and easy-to-make version all the time. I serve this salad with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Low Fat Caesar Salad Recipe

or

Kale Caesar Salad
For an unusual salad that is delicious and is considered very healthy, how about this Kale Caesar Salad. For your vegan family or friends, take out the anchovies and toss the salad with a vegan salad dressing.

Fresh Fruit Salad with 1-2-3 Fruit Dressing
Fresh Fruit Salad with 1-2-3 Fruit Dressing
This is very refreshing and delicious fruit salad. I use whatever fresh fruit is in season when making this salad. The combination of citrus fruits in the dressing gives the salad a wonderful delicious flavor!

 

Green Pea Salad
Green Pea Salad
This is a family favorite that I enjoyed when I was young, and still do today. It is a very easy-to-make vegetable salad. Great for taking to a potluck or even Thanksgiving dinner. Your family will love this recipe!
 


Bread or Roll Choices:

Home made rolls and breads are always preferred, but it you don't have the time to make your own, purchase top-quality rolls and breads at a local bakery.
 


Make Ahead Butter Rolls
This is one my favorite roll recipe to use for holiday dinners, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Very easy to make ahead and bake at the last minutes.

 

buttered buttermilk biscuits
Perfect Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits
Homemade biscuits are so easy to make, and if you follow a few simple rules, they will always turn out fluffy and delicious.

 

Northwest Cornbread
Northwest Cornbread

My family loves cornbread! It is easy to make and so good. Cornbread made in the Northwest is a little sweeter and lighter than the traditional southern cornbread.


 

flavored butter
Honey Butter
Honey Butter is a must when serving cornbread and biscuits for our family.
 


Various Yeast Breads
In order not to have to heat rolls in my oven, I sometimes make various homemade breads the day before Thanksgiving. Saves me a lot of time on Thanksgiving day and pleases my guests.



Thanksgiving Desserts (lots of great ideas and choices):
Most families serve at least two (2) dessert choices.
 



Pumpkin Cheesecake
This cheesecake is absolutely wonderful. I usually make this cheesecake a week or so before Thanksgiving and freeze it.



Pumpkin Pie
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie

How about making this very easy and traditional pumpkin pie for your Thanksgiving dinner?



Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
This very light pumpkin chiffon pie will be a big hit at your Thanksgiving dinner. People who are not a big fan of the traditional pumpkin pie, like this version.

 

Pumpkin Empanadas
Pumpkin Empanadas
Pumpkin empanadas are made both on Thanksgiving and Christmas for some Mexican-style Thanksgiving Dinners. 



Pecan Pie
The only way this pie could be better tasting is to serve it warm and topped with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Fig Pecan Pie

I first tasted this delightful fig pecan pie on a trip in western Australian. This pie is absolutely wonderful! The figs are a delightful addition to the traditional pecan pie.

 


Chocolate Pecan Pie

This delicious chocolate pecan pie is taken above and beyond the usual pecan pie's corn-syrupy incarnation. A layer of bittersweet chocolate adds richness to the dessert while simultaneously balancing its sweetness
 


Pecan Praline Pie
There is the plain pecan pie and there is this "souped-up" version that the Southern people make for Thanksgiving dinner. This is a delicious alternate to the classic pecan pie.

 


Old-Fashioned Mincemeat Pie
This has been my favorite holiday pie since I was a little girl. My grandmother used to make her own homemade mincemeat. 

 


Devonshire Cream
or Crème fraîche
or sweetened whipped cream to top you pies.


Lighter Dessert Ideas:

 
Spiced Pumpkin Mousse Trifle
How about a light dessert? Wouldn't this be an excellent dessert for your Thanksgiving Dinner?
 


Pumpkin Parfait
A light alternative to pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dinner.

 



Finale:

Now is the time to sit back and relax. Forget about the mess in the kitchen and just relax and enjoy your family and/or friends. (I know, the mess is still in your kitchen waiting to be cleaned up, but now is not the time to jump up and start cleaning. Just relax and visit!)

cup of coffeeCoffee - How to make a perfect cup of coffee

How To Use a French Press - coffee press, plunger press and/or press coffee

 


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