Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! Today is one of my favorite holidays of the year–and the food holiday of the year! There’s so much to celebrate, so much to give thanks for. But for now, let’s just start with how amazing the food is. In my last post, I talked about how to relieve your food-prepping stress with a few tips to make the process go by a little smoother. I promised y’all I’d get to the food. So here, it is: My Thanksgiving Menu Essentials.
I once read a meme that said, “I’m on a new diet where I eat whatever I want and hope that I don’t get fat.” That’s my holiday motto. Holidays are all about fun and celebration, so a little indulgence is necessary. However, that doesn’t mean you go completely nuts. First on the list of must-haves must be veggies. I’m not always a huge fan of vegetables, but when I am, I try to make veggies as big as the main course! Look, just because it’s good for you doesn’t mean it has to be full-on healthy. There are plenty of vegetable dishes packed full of flavor and excitement out there. You just have to do some digging. Regardless, add something green (or other veggie colors) to your Thanksgiving menu.
A lot of the time, my mom will roast the turkey with potatoes at the bottom of the pan. So, all that good turkey juice gets roasted on top of the potatoes. They make an excellent side dish! But, in addition to something like that, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a little something starchy. A lot of people do mashed potatoes with gravy. We’ve done it in the past, for sure. Others go for the traditional sweet potato and marshmallow dish. Whatever your choice, potatoes are a popular choice for this time of year.
Now, we’re getting to the good stuff! I’m not going to lie to you–stuffing is my all-time favorite Thanksgiving menu item. When my mom asks us what we want for Thanksgiving, I immediately say, I don’t care about anything else but stuffing. Now, she’s tried many different recipes over the years. But there’s only one that I love–only one that I want. There’s something so right about stuffing. The bread, the textures, the stock flavor, the mix-ins! Ugh, it’s savory and salty and just complements every single part of the meal perfectly. I couldn’t say enough about how much I love stuffing. And I can’t wait to stuff my face with it today!
Now what would Thanksgiving be–any meal really–without a little (a lot of) dessert?! This is where some of you are screaming out pumpkin pie! And if that’s your pleasure, then have at it. We usually go with a cheesecake or even apple pie. For me, any pie on Thanksgiving will do. Some have their preferences–pumpkin, pecan, sweet potato, etc. But pie is pie. The thing that makes a great pie, for me, has to be the crust. If you can get the perfect texture and crust-to-filling ratio, then you’ve got a perfect pie. My favorite is a beautiful apple pie with a lattice crust. Either way, end your meal on a high (and sweet) note.
Because, thanksgiving…duh! While I understand that there’s some circumstances where turkey seems a little bit too much. For example, my parents are having their first empty-nested Thanksgiving. I am having my first Thanksgiving away from home and with a makeshift dinner in place. Coincidentally, we’re both making duck in our respective meals. Chandler in Friends had an incredible aversion to all Thanksgiving menu items, so he opted for roasted chicken instead. But alas, for those of you lucky enough to have a real thanksgiving meal, turkey is a must. Turkey is thanksgiving. So just go with it.
Of course there are other things that you may feel need to be on this list. To be honest, I went for most basic. When we have thanksgiving at home, this is what we come up with. We always go with some variation of these items. That’s why they’re my Thanksgiving menu essentials. Yours may be a little different! But if you’re hosting your first thanksgiving dinner and are at at loss for where to start, I hope you look at this list and find a little guidance.
Now I’d like to take this time to say that I am extremely thankful for so many things. Firstly, I am grateful for my amazing family who in so many different and extraordinary ways has been my backbone in this crazy life. Second, I want to thank my roommates and new ATX peeps for welcoming me with open arms this year. Y’all really make this feel a little more like home. I’m endlessly thankful for my best friends, for their unwavering support and love through the years. This year brought so many changes, and I’m grateful for all the ups and downs. They brought me here, and here is pretty damn good for now.
So, again Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for following this blog, reading this post, or accidentally falling onto this page. I’m thankful for all of you guys too 🙂