Thanksgiving Menu Talk – 2016

Happy (it’s-getting-closer) Thanksgiving,

I have decided to talk about my menu for Thanksgiving and share why I have chose this particular menu.  I know it may seems large, it is large even for 23-27 people, I always overcook but part of the fun of Thanksgiving is leftovers.

Here is my menu:

Image composition for Fall Autumn Leaves corner design or template

I’ll go item by item, starting with breakfast.

I like waking up the people who live with me with my holiday specialties.  I only make these items on special holidays, Thanksgiving being one of them.

The cinnamon rolls started out – like 20 or so years ago – started out being can cinnamon rolls.  Then I started making them from scratch.  I used to have to get up early but I finally learned the trick of proofing the dough and now I can do the laborious part the day before.

The bird’s nest came from a period of time where my husband was trying a gluten free diet.  So, I made these.  They loved them and they’re not hard to make (especially if you cook the bacon up ahead of time) so they have stayed on my menu.

Now on to appetizers.

I’m only going to talk about the two that I’m cooking, the bread bowl dip and the Chex mix.

The bread bowl dip came from a new recipe tryouts that I do yearly.  It is great item for people who are avoiding carbs – the dip has two portions – one that goes in the bread bowl and one in a casserole pan – for the no carb and the yay carb groups

Ahhh, the Chex Mix.  An oldie but goodie to help the grazers not to starve before the big meal is served.  I usually make 2 mise en place bags because when you buy the ingredients for Chex mix you always have twice as much as you need and I send the other one home with one of my guests for them to make later.

Okay, bring out the big guns.

Turkey is a must.  We have 23+ guests so two works better than one. I brine mine and then roast it and the other one come from my brother-in-law’s family who deep fry it.

Turkey 2010

Noodles.  My family is hails from southern Illinois where homemade noodles rule during the holiday meals (not flat dumpling as my husband southern Ohio family is familiar with.  The difference?  Eggs.)  How do we serve the homemade noodles – over mashed potatoes.  I have had the questioning glances why would you put starch on starch – my argument is that gravy is essentially a starch – this is just a more texture gravy and don’t knock it until you try it.

Noodles 2009

Mushroom & Artichoke Lasagna – we have a vegetarian or two in out group.  They are the kind of vegetarians that consume egg and dairy so I found this lasagna at our Christmas Eve gathering so they feel welcomed.  It was a hit so it makes an appearance again.

Stuffing is a Thanksgiving staple.  Mine is a southern cornbread stuffing.  It took me years to find a stuffing I liked better than Stove-Top stuffing.  So this one now has a permanent spot on my menu.

Rolls homemade yeast rolls.  I have a nephew who comes just to eat these things…he is in his 20s now but they are still his favorites.

Deviled Eggs is something I make for other people.  I liked deviled eggs but it something I would probably drop (where at Easter is would must have) but family and friends always look forward to them so I make them.

deviled eggs 2010

Cranberry Sauces, I’ve heard a couple of jokes this month about how no one likes cranberry sauce.  It must be different at my Thanksgiving. Now, growing up we didn’t have cranberry sauce – my mom made a cranberry jello salad that I wasn’t too fond of. When I got married I realized my husband did like it so I learned to make a simple cranberry sauce.  It was okay but wasn’t sold on it.  So I looked around for recipes for a more complex cranberry sauce.  After years of looking I found on I liked with apples, nuts, cinnamon and all kinds of good stuff.  So now there are two cranberry sauces.

Sweet Potato Casserole, my sister-in-law makes this and it fulfills two requirements: it’s traditional and it tastes good. Win-win.

Roasted Broccoli is a new dish this year. The poor vegetables have a hard time staying at the table. Sometimes someone brings the green bean casserole (which I’m not a fan of – which is why I don’t make it) but the vegetable portion of Thanksgiving almost keeps getting overlooked.  With a vegetarian here this year I’m hoping it’ll get noticed by more people other than myself.

Ahhh Desserts – because Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without something sweet.  There are quite a few.  They general rule is to have 2 slices of pie (or 1/4) per guest.  That makes a minimum of 6 pies for my gathering.

Mini Spiced Pumpkin Tarts are a favorite of at Thanksgiving – which is good because it is the only time I make it.

Apple pie and cherry pie – fruit pies are always popular.  I’ve been experimenting with using different types of apples for a couple of years now and cherry is easy because I start with canned tart pitted cherries.

I’ve tried a couple of chocolate pies that went okay (I want ooohhh this is good not okay) so this year I’m trying one with Nutella in it.

Lemon Ice Cream Pie has been on and off my menu.  People like it but I’m not big on it. It was requested so it is coming back this year.

Caramel Pecan Pie is a funny one.  I’ve been making it for years, I prefer it to the pecan pies that have corn syrup in them.  For the first couple of years I was the only who ate it. Last year I had to hustle to get a slice.  This year I am making two.

Pumpkin Pie because it is Thanksgiving and you can’t have Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. My recipe has a little pepper in it to give it an extra something.

Well, that is my menu and insights of why I picked what I did.  It is a large menu but we have a large group of loved ones coming and want to make sure everyone is well fed and has the option of leftovers.

Hope this helps you as you pick out your menu.  Remember I’ve been making Thanksgiving for over 20 years now.  It didn’t start out anyway near this large.


Lydia Rigsby




Leave a Reply