My Thanksgiving Dinner menu and step-by-step preparation plan! Basically everything you need to know about having a stress-free and delicious Thanksgiving dinner!
Can you believe that Thanksgiving is indeed only one week away? 😱
Nevertheless, don’t panic. As always, I’ve obviously got you. This one goes out to all the obsessive planners (hey, friends) and to all the last-minute “I hope I get a turkey” shoppers.
What Have We Here?
Thanksgiving Menu 2021
Turkey. Obviously. Let’s move on to what Thanksgiving is particularly all about…the SIDE DISHES.
Sage Mashed Sweet Potatoes: Smooth and creamy mashed sweet potatoes, nutty brown butter and savory fresh sage come together in a beautiful and undeniably delicious side dish!
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes: These Scalloped Potatoes are rich and creamy and not to mention super cheesy! Layers of perfectly cooked potatoes and cheesy béchamel bake together into on the whole one stunning side dish!
Mushroom Cornbread Stuffing : This Mushroom Cornbread Stuffing is flavored with mushrooms and all the herbs! What’s more, cranberries are studded throughout for the perfect holiday side dish!
If you aren’t into cornbread stuffing or aren’t here for making a dish to go inside of another dish; I hear you, and with this in mind, I came prepared. I’ve got this fantastic Apple Sage Stuffing to suit your fancy.
Nana’s Cranberry Chutney : This is certainly no ordinary cranberry sauce from a can monstrosity. Oh no, Nana’s cranberry chutney is sweet but still just the right amount of tart. It is cohesive yet you can distinguish the various ingredients. Basically magic. I eat it year round.
In my house, cranberry chutney is emphatically not optional. It is the cornerstone that ties together the whole meal and transforms a good leftover sandwich into an especailly GREAT leftover sandwich. I have strayed over the years and tried out different variations, but homemade cranberry sauce is mandatory. Furthermore, ask my mom about the year that she forgot it.
Potato Rolls : These are the best Potato Dinner Rolls. They are easy enough for a beginner baker but are soft, tender and buttery! They use real mashed potatoes for a rich flavor!
I know, I know. This feels like a lot but I promise you you’ve got this! This is the easiest bread ever. It is fast and the mixing method is foolproof. Trust me, I have made tens of thousands myself and trained more than a dozen people to make them. Plus I filmed a video!
But what’s for dessert?!
and bourbon pecan.
Now you’ve got the lay of the land, let’s talk details.
How to plan and prep everything with as little stress as possible!
Now you should know that I filmed all of those side dishes in under 6 hours, so with some planning, you can easily pull them all off!
- Bake your savory cornbread. This can be frozen for up to a month ahead. You can even pre-cube it!
- Make your cranberry chutney. This can be made in under 45 minutes but I like to let it simmer for 2 hours to marry the flavors. Make it several months in advance and store it sealed in a clean jar in the refrigerator. Or may it the day of and really make the house smell amazing
- Make your pie dough up to one month in advance and freeze it. I suggest my foolproof vodka pie crust or my All-Butter Pie Crust.
Up to a week before:
- Cook and mash the potatoes. Maybe make a double batch and season and serve half for dinner that night? Just a thought.
- Par bake your pie shells and store them wrapped in the freezer if it’s going to be more than 2 days before you bake your pies.
The Day Before:
- Prepare the stuffing up until the point when you bake it. Store it covered in the refrigerator.
- Prepare the scalloped potatoes (if you want). These can also be made the day of.
- Mash and season the sweet potatoes. I like to make these on Thanksgiving but I feel your stress from here, so make them ahead and loosen them with a little milk when you reheat.
- Bake those pies! You could leave them to tomorrow but why add the stress onto an already packed day. Leave time to enjoy the game and gather accolades.
- Make those potato rolls before the people start arriving. Breath in the yeast and enjoy this moment of quiet with just you and the rolls.
- Work backwards from the time you want to eat and give yourself an extra buffer of 2 hours for turkeys that refuse to cook (probably because they have 5 side dishes in there with them…). Pop that turkey in. When it is about 2/3 done (so in about 2 hours for a 12 pound bird), I start to cook my side dishes. Pop those scalloped potatoes in the oven and that cornbread stuffing.
- Re-heat the sweet potatoes on the stovetop over a low heat. Adding a little warm milk as needed to loosen them up.
Right Before Serving:
- Warm the potato rolls in the oven and brush with a little melted butter. Sprinkle with fleur de sel for extra credit.
- Step back and admire all your handy work.
Take a breath; because we’ve made your shopping list for you!!!
- Butter – 8 sticks
- Large Eggs – 10
- Crème fraiche or sour cream – ⅔ cup
- Milk – 4 cups
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese Yellow, shredded – 6 oz
- Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, shredded – 12 oz
- Sweetened condensed milk – 1 (14 oz) can
- Pumpkin Puree – 1 (15 oz) can
- Russet Potatoes – 8
- Sweet Potatoes – 2 ½ pounds
- Cranberries, fresh, whole – 4 cups
- Seedless Raisins – ¾ cup
- Finely Diced Apple – ¾ cup
- Pecans (toasted and chopped) – 2 cups
- Diced mushrooms (I used button and cremini) – 3 cups
- Diced Celery – ⅔ cups
- Finely Diced Onion – 2 cups
- Rosemary, fresh, picked and chopped – 3 T
- Thyme, fresh, picked – 1 T
- Sage – 2 T plus extra for serving
- Canola oil – 1 T
- Light corn syrup – ¾ cups
- Chicken or turkey stock – 1 ½ c
- Cornmeal – 1 cup
- White Granulated Sugar – 2 cups
- Dark Brown Sugar – 1 cup, packed
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Black Pepper
- Flour – At least 9 cups
- Baking powder – 2 t
- Cinnamon – 2 T
- Ground Ginger – 3 t
- Ground Cloves – 1 t
- Allspice – ¼ t
- Vanilla – 1 T
- Dry Active Yeast – 1T + ½ t
- Ground Nutmeg – ¼ t
- Bourbon – 1 T
- Vodka – frozen, ¼ cup
- Brandy – 1 t
Leftover Lovers Unite!
We came for the leftovers. Same girl, same.
I love to just pile them all on the potato rolls for an easy sandwich situation, but you could always get creative and make a leftover turkey pot pie or make a shepherd’s pie.