My mom doesn’t let me cook for Thanksgiving, and we’re going to Grant’s parents for Thanksgiving, so I’m only hosting Thanksgiving for our small group, which is one of our favorite days of the year. I’ve been working on my menu for the past several weeks (maybe my favorite part!). Some of the people are a bit picky, so I like to stretch them a bit to try some vegetables that they might not otherwise try. This year, I even picked a theme: the rainbow. As in, eat the colors of the rainbow, so I tried to come up with a dish for each color.
I haven’t narrowed down the menu quite yet, but I thought I would share my research thus far in case it gives you any ideas to spice things up for your Thanksgiving table. I think Grant is going to try smoking the turkey this year, but we haven’t decided yet. Stay tuned for details!
- Annie’s Eats Mushroom and Brown Rice Casserole: I started making this a few years ago as the vegetarian main dish, but it was such a hit with everyone that I typically make it every day. (Side note: it’s also easy enough to add to your regular Meatless Monday rotation!)
- Elana’s Pantry Paleo Peach Crisp: I usually only make one dessert because a few other people bring desserts. This year, we have someone who has been eating paleo, so I wanted to make something sweet that he could eat. This is my standard paleo crisp formula, but I’ll most likely use apples or pears since it’s fall.
- Alice Water’s Swiss Chard Gratin from SeriousEats: I’ve made a variation of Swiss chard gratin, but this ones seems less fussy. Alice Waters rarely leads me wrong.
- Jamie Oliver’s Party Squash Soup: This just sounds so amazing. I’m testing it out on the family this week to see if it makes the Thanksgiving menu, so I’ll keep you posted.
- Closet Cooking’s Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce: I can take or leave cranberry sauce, but Grant must have it. This one, however, makes my mouth drool a bit. I can never pass up that sweet-spicy combination.
- Superman Cooks’ Seriously Stuffed Mushrooms: These just looked amazing and sounded simple and straightforward.
- Pretzel Parker House Rolls from Smitten Kitchen: I almost don’t want to try these because I know how delicious they’ll be, and once I know I can recreate them at home, there will be no stopping me from making them entirely too often.
- Onion Tart with Mustard and Fennel from Smitten Kitchen: These is one of my favorite appetizers, and it’s especially great for Thanksgiving because I can make it ahead of time and just pop it in the oven just before people start arriving.
- Green Bean Salad from Smitten Kitchen: Can you tell I’m a big fan of SK? 🙂 I don’t love green bean casserole, and everybody will probably be having that for their family Thanksgivings anyway, so I thought this sounded like a fun twist where the green beans still get a dish to themselves. I have some purple green beans in the freezer from the garden, so I thought I would use those to add some purple.
- Roasted Beets with Aoili from Cookbooks365: I love beets, and these look and sound delicious.
- Baked Brie with Cranberry Rum Compote: Umm, how amazing does this sound? Brie is so easy. I’ll make this ahead to make things even simpler.
- Salt and Pepper Biscuits from Bon Appetit: I made these a few weeks ago to go with chicken pot pie, and they were scrumptious. They’re especially tasty with some of my tomato jam.
- Sinful Roasted Acorn Squash from Food52: This is Grant’s new favorite side dish of this fall, and he is insisting that everybody else try it. It’s so easy too.
- Kale Walnut Grapefruit Salad from the Rustic Willow: We got our first delivery from the citrus truck this week, so I need an excuse to show off my grapefruits. This sounds like a delicious combo – healthy and fresh too to balance out the rest of the gluttony.
- The Bitehouse’s Watercress Pesto: We grew watercress in our fall garden this year, and it’s gone crazy. It’s crazy healthy, so I wanted an excuse to sneak it into the menu. It would taste good on the brie if I decide to go that route instead of the cranberry-run route.
- A Couple Cook’s Garlic and Chive Mashed Sweet Potatoes: I made a variation on these this weekend (recipe coming soon), and Grant said they were his favorite mashed potatoes ever so they’ll definitely be on the Thanksgiving table.
- Dan Barber’s Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Puree from Food52: I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for awhile (I love Dan Barber’s food philosophy), so I might have to sneak these in as my “white.”
- Glazed Carrots with Pecans from MyRecipe: These look amazing. I’m planning to make these if I can find some pretty carrots at the farmer’s market this weekend. I’ll sub maple syrup for the brown sugar.
Grant is usually in charge of cocktails (he is a self-proclaimed mixologist), but I wanted to look for a few ideas myself this year since there are so many fun ones out there!
- Pumpkin Pie Martini from The Drink Blog: Umm, yes please. I think I should probably test this first though.
- Cranberry Margaritas from Annie’s Eats: Why didn’t I think of this?!
- Bourbon Spiked Apple Cider from Vindulge Blog: Grant makes a version of these every Thanksgiving anyway, but I like the extra spices in this recipe to take it up a notch.
- Long Faced Dove from Serious Eats: They had me at grapefruit juice and ginger beer.
- Spiced Cranberry Sangria from One Martini: This sounds delicious, and I have all of the ingredients on hand as a bonus.
- Winter Sangria from Simple Bites: This version looks yummy too, and something about sangria makes me feel like I’m on vacation.
I created a Pinterest board for all of my holiday cooking brainstorming, so be sure to follow me over there. What’s on your Thanksgiving menu? Comment below and give me some more ideas!