My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?! The holidays have come so quickly this year and I can’t believe they are here. I’m sitting down today to review my Thanksgiving recipes and make my shopping list, and I thought I would share my favorite recipes that I make for my family each year!

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Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I feel like on Thanksgiving you should celebrate with a full day feast, and I love starting the day with a special treat! Our family loves homemade cinnamon rolls, but it is such a long process to make them, that I only make them for holidays. Yes, it takes awhile to make these pumpkin cinnamon rolls…but trust me. Make them. I make them the evening before so they are ready to go in the morning and don’t add to my workload on Thanksgiving.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup whole milk

2 1/4 tsp rapid-rise yeast (from 1 envelope yeast)

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup pure pumpkin puree

3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature

2-3 tbsp whole milk

1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for brushing

3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 large egg, room temperature

Kosher salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

DIRECTIONS:

Lightly brush a large bowl with butter, set aside. Heat milk and 3 tbsp butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted & mixture is warm to the touch, about 120 degrees. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the dough hook attachment, Immediately sprinkle with yeast. Let stand until a bit foamy, about 5 minutes. Add flour, granulated sugar, egg, pumpkin, and 1 tsp salt. Mix on medium-low speed, scraping sides and bottom of bowl once, until dough is smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes. Transfer to bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.

Brush a 9-by-13 baking dish with butter; set aside. In a medium bowl stir together remaining stick butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a large pinch of salt until smooth & fluffy. Set aside.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out to a 15-by-12- inch rectangle. Spread butter mixture over dough, leaving 1/4 inch border. Starting at a long edge, roll up dough like a jelly roll, then cut crosswise into 15 pieces. Place pieces in pan cut-side up, spaced evenly. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until buns are almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake buns until golden brown and topping is bubbling around sides of pan, about 17 to 20 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add confectioners’ sugar, a pinch of salt, and 2 tbsp milk and beat until combined, about 1 minute. If glaze is too thick to drizzle, add more milk, 1 tsp at a time. Spread half the glaze over slightly cooled rolls. Serve warm or room temperature with additional glaze if desired.

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Martha Stewart’s Chestnut Stuffing

Martha Stewart again with another amazing recipe! I love the sage in this stuffing, and I also season my turkey with Sage to carry the flavor through the meal. I typically look for pre cooked chestnuts to make the recipe a little quicker and easier and am almost always able to find them at Whole Foods or you can order them online. Also this recipe makes an enormous batch of stuffing, so if you are feeding a smaller crowd you may want to halve this recipe. I do stuff our bird, and halving this recipe gives me plenty to stuff and still make an 8×8 side dish as well for those who don’t want the stuffing from the turkey. I typically dry my bread cubes out a few days before Thanksgiving by putting them on a cookie sheet in the oven on warm for several hours, and then transfer to large ziplock bags. And because there is so much chopping, I chop all the ingredients the day before Thanksgiving and store in the fridge, which makes prepping the stuffing much quicker on the actual day!

INGREDIENTS:

2 loaves good-quality white bread, cut into 3/4 inch cubes (about 20 cups)

3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)

1 bunch celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 4 cups)

5 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock

3 cups coarsely chopped flat-leafs parsley

1 1/2 pounds fresh chestnuts (4 cups), scored with an X (or sub with pre-roasted Chestnuts)

4 small onions, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice (about 3 cups)

3 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage

1 tbsp kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Spread bread cubes in single layers on baking sheets. Let dry at room temperature, uncovered, overnight.

Bring a medium saucepan or water to a boil. Add chestnuts; cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain; let cool slightly. Peel and quarter chestnuts; set aside. Peeled chestnuts can be refrigerated in an airtight container 2-3 days. (Or skip this step and sub with pre-cooked chestnuts)

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and celery; cook, stirring, until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add sage; cook 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup stock/ cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Transfer onion mixture to a large bowl. Add remaining 4 1/2 cup stocks, the chestnuts, bread, salt, and parsley; season with pepper. Toss to combine. If not stuffing turkey, transfer to a buttered 17-by-12-inch baking dish. Cover; bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Uncover, bake until hot and golden brown, 30 minutes more.

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Ina Garten’s Accidental Turkey

For years I didn’t brine our turkey because I really dislike a wet brine. One year I decided to try a dry brine, and I’ll never look back! It really gives that moisture needed to have a juicy bird. This brine is so simple, but makes all the difference. I stuff my bird with stuffing, but you could certainly follow Ina’s recipe and stuff with lemon, onion and seasonings. I also rub my turkey with a butter/sage combo rather than follow Ina’s recipe exactly.

INGREDIENTS

Kosher salt

1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary leaves

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1 (12-to 14-pound) fresh turkey

1 large yellow onion, unpeeled and cut in eighths

1 lemon, quartered

8 sprigs fresh thyme

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Two or three days before you plan to roast the turkey, combine 3 tbsp salt, the rosemary and lemon zest. Wash the turkey inside and out, drain it well and pat it dry with paper towels. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of the salt mixture in the cavity of the turkey and rub the rest on the skin, including under the wings and legs. Place the turkey in a shallow dish to catch any drips and wrap the whole dish tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one or two days. The day before you plan to roast the turkey, remove the plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge. The skin will dry out and turn a little translucent.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Be sure your oven is very clean!

Place the onion, lemon, and thyme in the cavity. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tie the wings close to the body. Brush the turkey with the butter and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.

Roast the turkey for 45 minutes, placing it in the oven legs first. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees F and roast it for about an hour, until 165 degrees F for the breast and 180 degrees F in the thigh on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the oven, cover the turkey tightly with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Carve and serve with the pan juices.

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Sweet Potato Soufflé

I’ve been making this recipe for many years and it was originally given to me by a family member. I roast my sweet potatoes the day before, and also mix all of the soufflé ingredients right after the turkey goes in the oven, and then just pop it in the fridge until I’m ready to add the topping and bake! This one is so simple I can get the kids involved in helping and is always a huge hit!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), at room temperature, plus more to grease pan

5 medium sweet potatoes

2 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

pinch salt

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick) softened

DIRECTIONS

Four the shuffle: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2 1/2 quart baking dish with butter

Poke the sweet potatoes with a fork and bake on a foil-covered baking sheet until they are soft, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes, place the flesh in a large mixing bowl, and mash until very smooth. Add the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, milk and salt. Combine well with an electric mixer or hand mixer. Turn the mixture into the baking dish.

For the topping: in a medium bowl stir together the pecans, brown sugar, flour, and butter until thoroughly combined. Spoon the mixture over the sweet potatoes, making an even layer. Let the casserole sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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Creamed Corn

So I know this isn’t a traditional Thanksgiving dish, but my kids are all about the side dishes and they absolutely love corn. I know Mac & Cheese is a popular Thanksgiving side, and I wanted to start adding something creamy like that to our menu, but something vegetable based with more of a “harvest” feel to be more cohesive with the menu. This is a huge hit at our house, and when we hosted friends last year, they absolutely raved about it! It’s another super simple dish that is easy to whip up while the turkey is cooking!

INGREDIENTS

2 (10 oz) packages frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 cup heavy cream

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp butter

1 cup whole milk

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

In a skillet over medium heat, combine the corn, cream, salt, sugar, pepper and butter. Whisk together the milk and flour, and stir into the corn mixture. Cook stirring over medium heat until the mixture is thickened, and corn is cooked through. Remove from heat, and stir into the Parmesan cheese until melted. Serve hot.

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German Chocolate Pecan Pie

Confession…I’m not much of a pie person. I love everything pumpkin but loathe pumpkin pie. My kids do love pumpkin pie, and so we will be sure to have on on our Thanksgiving table for them! As for other types of pie, I’ll occasionally eat a fruit pie, but it’s still far from being my favorite dessert. But this pie is incredible. It is super rich, but making room for a small slice for dessert is a must!

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup cold salted butter, cubed

1/4 cup cold shortening, cubed

4 to 5 tbsp ice water

1 (4-oz) German’s sweet chocolate baking bar, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup (4 oz) salted butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tbsp all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup dark corn syrup

1/4 cup salted butter, melted

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups pecan halves and pieces, lightly toasted

2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut

3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

35 toasted pecan halves

DIRECTIONS

Prepare the Crust: Stir together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut butter and shortening cubes into flour mixture until mixture resembles small peas. Using a fork, gradually stir in 4 tablespoons ice water, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened and dough begins to form a ball and pulls away from sides of bowl, adding up to 1 more tablespoon of water, if necessary. Turn dough out onto a work surface; shape and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill 1 to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Unwrap chilled dough disk, and place on a lightly floured surface. Let dough stand at room temperature until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle dough with flour, and roll into a 13-inch circle. Fit dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Trim dough, leaving 1/2-inch overhang; fold edges under, and crimp. Prick bottom and sides 8 to 10 times with a fork. Freeze 20 minutes. Line piecrust with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in preheated oven 14 minutes. Remove weights and parchment paper, and bake until crust has lost its raw dough sheen, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Prepare the Chocolate Filling: Microwave German’s sweet chocolate and 1/2 cup butter in a microwave-safe bowl on HIGH until melted and smooth, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring at 30-second intervals. Whisk in 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Whisk in evaporated milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla until blended. Pour chocolate filling into prepared piecrust. Shield edges with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. (Pie will be partially baked.)

Prepare the Coconut-Pecan Filling: Whisk together brown sugar, corn syrup, 1/4 cup melted butter, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until blended. Stir in pecans and coconut. Beginning at the outer edges of the partially baked chocolate filling, carefully spoon coconut-pecan filling over chocolate filling, and immediately return pie to oven. Bake until crust is golden and center is set, 35 to 40 minutes, shielding edges with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, if necessary. Cool pie completely on a wire rack, about 3 hours.

Prepare the Chocolate-Covered Pecans: Microwave chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl on HIGH until melted, 30 to 45 seconds, stirring until smooth. Dip the lower half of each pecan into the melted chocolate, allowing excess chocolate to drip back into bowl, and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Chill until chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes. Arrange Chocolate-Covered Pecans decoratively around outer edge of pie. (You may have some left over.)

And there you have it! A few of my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving! Of course the hardest part of preparing a huge meal like Thanksgiving, is timing things correctly so the dishes all finish at the same time. My biggest tips that I’ve learned over the years is to make everything that you possibly can ahead of time, and prep everything else in the day or two prior. Cranberry sauce keeps in the fridge for several days, so that is always made 1-2 days prior. I also roast sweet potatoes & chop everything that needs to be chopped the day before. Casseroles can be assembled ahead of time as well, and left in the fridge until it is time to bake. I also like to get the mashed potatoes done while the turkey is still cooking, so I make them & then just pop them in the crockpot to stay warm! The turkey should also rest for about 30 minutes before carving, so that is the perfect time to pop all of the assembled casseroles into the oven as most of them need about 30 minutes to cook.  I hope this list helps give you a little inspiration for your Thanksgiving table this year!

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