Turkey Talk: Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

I always have friends asking me for last-minute thanksgiving menu ideas. Some people are looking for basic recipes and others look for something different and out of the ordinary. Also, @frijolita from One Bite At A Time is hosting a #turkeytalk tonight at 8pm on twitter to discuss tips, tricks, swap recipes, and answer questions. So I’m posting links to tried and trusted recipes that I think are easy to make and/or can be made in advance. I have included a mix of traditional/basic recipes, and some not so traditional recipes such as the turkey roulade, “fake” mashed potatoes, and macarons.

I have learned the hard way that the best thanksgiving dinner is not one that you slave over and is intricate and complicated. Make as much in advance as you can, and make food that you know you and everyone else is going to like. Oh, and keep the wine flowing.

Make sure to make some coffee for your guests before they leave, so that they don’t fall asleep at the wheel. I also like to have disposable plastic containers on hand to send people off with some leftovers. That way my refrigerator is not stuffed with food and I don’t end up eating all the leftovers over the next few days!

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits with Parmesan

Soup: Butternut Squash Soup

Turkey: Roulade
I usually have a small party of people to serve for thanksgiving, and we prefer turkey breast to dark meat. I purchase a bone in turkey breast, de-bone it (you can ask the butcher at the store to do it), marinate it in wine and herbs, roll it with some sort of filling and bake it. Something like this or this.

Sweet Potatoes: Double Baked Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows
I use half and half instead of heavy cream, and I add marshmallows on top and bake them until the marshmallows are puffed and golden brown.

Mashed Potatoes: Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic/Chives & Parmesan or “Fake” Mashed Potatoes (Recipe below)
The problem with mashed potatoes is that they tend to be very bland, specially sitting next to a plate of roasted turkey with gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, etc. I like the recipe above, only I add 2 mashed roasted garlic cloves and/or 2 tablespoons of finely chopped chives. Then I place them in an oven proof casserole, sprinkle them with ¼ cup parmesan cheese and broil them until the cheese is melted and golden. Also I use really good butter here, it makes a difference in the flavor. Instead of adding the garlic/chives/parmesan you can top with crispy fried shallots.

Or, you can go the healthy route and make the fake mashed potatoes below, which are creamy and delicious.
“Fake” Mashed Potatoes with Cauliflower
1 head Cauliflower, chopped
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp salt
Dash freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, simmer the cauliflower pieces, broth, garlic, salt and pepper, covered until cauliflower is very tender, about 10 minutes.Transfer mixture to a blender; add the butter and parmesan cheese and purée until it has reached a creamy consistency. Add more broth if necessary but don’t make mixture too runny. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Alternatively, you can also mash the mixture with a fork or potato masher, but a blender will give you the best texture.

Dessert: Pumpkin Macarons or Pumpkin Mousse Pie with Oreo Cookie Crust
I want to make pumpkin macarons, they can be made in advance and served up to 5 days after being made if kept refrigerated. Otherwise, I am adapting the recipes below and making a pumpkin mousse pie. I tried the pumpkin mousse recipe as is, and was delighted with the results. I am making a pre-baked oreo cookie pie crust and then filling it with the mousse (I’ve adapted the ingredients below). Then sprinkle with more oreo cookie crumbs. It is different, and delicious.
Pumpkin Mousse Pie With Oreo Cookie Crust
Oreo Cookie Crust:
24 Oreo Cookies
¼ cup melted butter
See full recipe and instructions for crust here.
Pumpkin Mousse Filling:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1 can (15 ounces) solid pack pureed pumpkin
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 ½ cups heavy cream whipped to firm peaks or whipped topping
See full recipe and instructions for mousse here.

I will likely continue to add recipes to this post over the next few days, and let you know what I decide to make for my thanksgiving dinner.

How about you, what are you making for thanksgiving dinner? Any favorite recipes you’d like to share? I’m definitely looking to try new recipes this year.

Author: onevanillabean

I have loved cooking and baking since I was 5 years old. It was the one activity that I would share with all my extended family. Like most people, I love traveling. I love visiting the markets, exploring unknown ingredients, and bringing them back home with me for inspiration. I find that recipes with simple and pure ingredients yield the best results.

3 thoughts

  1. I believe your link to the Pumpkin Mousse Filling is not good. It goes to a Diabetis site and the recipe is quite different. Just thought I’d let you know.

    1. Hi Emilia–thanks for your email. It actually is the correct link, I just substituted the ingredients I prefer (listed here on the blog), the method for preparing it is the same.

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