Turkey dinner is the biggest meal of the year for many cooks – and most stressful for some – definitely for first-time cooks who are nervous enough about hosting more than six diners at a time.
In case you need help, I’ve found a number of sites on the web that are offering some solid recipes – traditional stuff like the turkey and stuffing choices, sides of green beans, potatoes, and squash or brussels sprouts – and pie.
I’ve found contemporary meals, too – and alternatives to the typical bird. Need a vegetarian Thanksgiving? Got it. Want a different way of cooking turkey? Try smoking or brining it if you haven’t already. Or put it in a bag.
In trouble with side dish inspiration? I found some of those, too – and soups, appetizers and drinks.
Check out these sites – most of them also have links to other sites or recipes – you’ll find all you need.
Start by Planning Your Thanksgiving Dinner
You should already be working on your lists, but in case you need a last-minute planner, check out my fail-proof day-of planner. (That is, if you follow it and things go right – which they never do, so plan for the unexpected!) Go here: jannorris.com/ask-jan/thanksgiving-dinner-planning/
Thanksgiving Dinner Menus – Vegetarian and Omnivore
You can plan the whole Thanksgiving Day menu from recipes I’ve posted on JanNorris.com. Check out these great recipes: jannorris.com/whats-cooking/thanksgiving-menu-from-recipes-on-jannorris-com/
A plant-based Thanksgiving dinner from the author of Forks Over Knives: forksoverknives.com/forks-over-knives-recipes-for-a-plant-based-thanksgiving/
Vegetarian Thanksgiving options are plentiful here: takepart.com/photos/vegetarian-thanksgiving-recipes?cmpid=foodinc-fb
Chef Dean Max of 3030 Ocean in Fort Lauderdale, FL, offers a gourmet dinner – truffle roasted turkey with walnut stuffing, sides and dessert.
Want a New Orleans menu? Chefs Allison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing share recipes for deep-fried turkey, an oyster gratin, and pecan praline semifreddo from their new book, Southern Comfort.
Drinks for Thanksgiving:
The ever-popular Cranberry Bog Lemon Martini from Legal Sea Foods – you can make it a virgin, and it’s still good: jannorris.com/whats-cooking/thanksgiving-recipes-cranberry-bog-lemon-martini-from-legal-seafoods-and-a-cranberry-sparkling-cider/
Ten more cocktails great for holiday parties throughout the winter from Southern Living (we Southerners know how to live!): southernliving.com/food/holidays-occasions/our-editors-top-10-holiday-cocktails-00400000034206/page5.html
Here are great variations on hot chocolate for everyone! epicurious.com/articlesguides/howtocook/primers/hot-chocolate
Appetizers for Any Holidays
A delicious onion, bacon, butternut squash tart from Whole Foods: wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/3337
A slew of fine bites perfect for parties, too, from Gourmet: gourmet.com/food/gourmetlive/2012/110712/thanksgiving-appetizers?currentPage=2
The Sides Have It at Thanksgiving Dinner
Side dishes make the meal for most – anybody can fix a turkey. Check out these ideas for soups and sides.
A mashed potato primer – Mashed Potatoes 101: jannorris.com/whats-cooking/thanksgiving-mashed-potatoes-101/
Curry adds exotic flavor to sweet potato soup: food.dailybuzz.com/blog/44684-curried-sweet-potato-soup?utm_campaign=dailybuzz&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter
Winter squash with a spiced butter (the butter can be used on any veg): epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Winter-Squash-with-Spiced-Butter-51124260
Brussels sprouts, updated: epicurious.com/recipes/food/photo/Brussels-Sprouts-with-Shallots-and-Salt-Pork-51124240
Butternut squash with wilted spinach and blue cheese: wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/2612
Cranberry sauce recipes – what’s turkey without it? bonappetit.com/blogsandforums/blogs/badaily/2012/11/cranberry-sauce-recipes.html
Sweet potato casserole – a must have tradition. jannorris.com/holiday-cooking/thanksgiving-recipe-sweet-potato-casserole-with-praline-topping/
Classic Oyster dressing from a New Orleans native: jannorris.com/whats-cooking/thanksgiving-oyster-dressing/
The Bread Basket
My Southern cornbread recipe – I make two pans for stuffing. jannorris.com/whats-cooking/southern-cornbread/
Now infamous No-knead bread from Mark Bittman and Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery: nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html
Classic ice-box dinner rolls from Southern Living: southernliving.com/food/holidays-occasions/icebox-dinner-rolls-00417000080109/
Desserts for Thanksgiving
Dinah Shore’s Lethal Pecan Pie: jannorris.com/southern-roots-run-deep/thanksgiving-recipes-dinah-shores-lethal-pecan-pie/
Chocolate bourbon pecan pie and Apple cranberry pie: jannorris.com/holiday-cooking/thanksgiving-pie-chocolate-bourbon-pecan-and-cranberry-apple/
Several classic and modern desserts: southernliving.com/food/holidays-occasions/thanksgiving-dessert-recipes-00417000069180/page12.html