Recipes for Your Thanksgiving Table

Here are the recipes behind our Thanksgiving dinner, plus some bonus tips for your own holiday dinner.

Many holidays revolve around food, but none so much as Thanksgiving.

Our first Thanksgiving as a married couple away from home was a disaster! We invited some close friends and I set about cooking my very first turkey, which was way too pink inside when we carved my "masterpiece." I was so embarrassed! 

Ok, that's all I'll say about that. I'd prefer to forget the whole thing.

If you need tips on roasting your first turkey, here's a link to the Butterball hotline. I wish I'd known about it back then!

I'm a better cook now, but I should be because I've had 40+ years to learn and practice - and I've had some good teachers along the way. (You can read a little more about my cooking journey and one of my mentors in this post.)

Organizing the Thanksgiving menu

Organizing that big meal was a challenge for me though - I only did it once a year, you know. So I made a list of the dishes I cook each time and where I could find the recipes. 

Since then I've tweaked the recipes quite a bit and have typed them up so I can keep them with the menu in my loose-leaf cookbook. It's a lot handier than flipping through all those different cookbooks.

Then I typed up a shopping list for each recipe and added that to my loose-leaf cookbook too. I was tired of forgetting the cornstarch and evaporated milk!

Our Thanksgiving menu is a mix of old family favorites and new traditions. 

While no two families' holiday meals will look exactly the same, if you're looking for a new recipe or some practical tips on holiday cooking, you're in the right place.

The Thanksgiving turkey

When the turkey is cooked to perfection (yes, I can do that now!) and we've all eaten our fill, I pull all the meat off the bones and refrigerate it for sandwiches and other dishes.

After a couple of days any meat remaining is pressure-canned in Mason jars for future quick-to-make meals.

You can read how to do that in this post about pressure-canning chicken stock (it's the same process, even though it's turkey instead of chicken).

What to do with your turkey carcass.

Don't throw out the turkey carcass! Save those bones and the skin and wing tips to make the most delicious turkey stock ever. (According to Food Network, stock is made with bones while broth is made from meat, so technically I made stock, even though the terms are used almost interchangeably.)

Freeze the stock in 2-cup or 1-quart quantities so you can use it to make soup and add to other dishes instead of chicken broth, or pressure-can the broth.

What to do with your holiday ham bone to stretch your food budget.

Holiday ham

We usually have turkey for Thanksgiving but if you are a ham-loving family, here's how to save that ham bone and use it for the most delicious bean soup: What to do with Your Christmas Ham Bone.

Make stuffing in your slow-cooker and have room in your oven for the pies!

Side dishes

I love stuffing that's cooked inside the turkey, but that practice isn't recommended anymore. When I've made it separately in a pan in the oven it's too dry and hard for my liking.

Now I make it in my slow-cooker instead for a moist delicious stuffing that's as good as if it were cooked inside the turkey. Making stuffing in the Crockpot also means you'll have more room in the oven for the holiday pies.

My grandma's recipe for delicious sweet and sour beets. If you're not a beet-lover, you will be after trying this dish!

My grandma made the best sweet and sour beets (she called them Harvard beets) whenever we ate Sunday dinner at her house. Years later she told me that they were the only vegetable I'd eat at her house, so she made them every time we visited. 

The sauce has a velvety texture and is the perfect mix of sweet and tart, not to mention the gorgeous deep red color. 

We always have homemade rolls or bread on our Thanksgiving table.

We round out our holiday meal with candied sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, homemade rolls or bread, green salad and my mother's simple but yummy fruit salad made with apples, oranges and bananas.

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Thanksgiving desserts

Then of course, it's time for dessert.

My favorite pie is cherry. Before moving to Oak Hill our neighbors had cherry trees and always invited us to pick cherries when they were ripe, so back then I made our cherry pies from scratch.

I sure miss those trees! We even planted a pair of sour cherry trees when we first moved to Oak Hill but they didn't survive. But I won't do without my cherry pie, even if it means I have to buy canned filling.

How to make pie crust, and make a pumpkin pie without evaporated milk.

We also have pumpkin pies on the table. Each year I snag some cheap pumpkins on November 1st and turn them into pumpkin puree that goes into the freezer.

Here's how to make a pumpkin pie without evaporated milk. (Remember I said I kept forgetting to buy evaporated milk? Well, one year I didn't have any, the stores were all closed and I had to figure out how to get around that.)

The easy way to make pie crust from scratch.

Do you need some tips for making pie crust? It isn't hard using this method. And while you're making pie crusts for your fruit pies, why not make two more for the turkey pot pie you can make with leftovers on Friday?

Grandma always made her "special chocolate pudding" for me when I was a child too. Years later I found out her pudding came from a box. But it was made with love, right?

What are you planning to have on your holiday table this year?

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Recipes for your Thanksgiving table

You might enjoy these recipes too:
My Mother's Pumpkin Bread Recipe - it's world-famous (sort of)

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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