I’m heading up to New York this Thanksgiving to be with my family. My mother loved this holiday; every year she filled her table with all of our favorite dishes including green bean casserole, creamed spinach and her amazing sausage stuffing. All were welcome at my mother’s table and she hosted this banquet with grace and ease.
This is my first Thanksgiving without my mother and it’s difficult to imagine celebrating this holiday without her. Everyone will feel her loss. As painful as it will be, I know that it is so important that we carry on her traditions. She brought our family together each and every year to eat and give thanks, and I know she would want us to do so this year. I am looking forward to being with my family as we reminisce about my amazing mom, celebrate our past traditions and create new traditions as we move forward.
Over the past few weeks I have been pulling together some of my mom’s favorite recipes and planning our menu. My mom was a pro when it came to planning ahead. She really put her her heart and soul into this special meal and it takes a lot of organization to pull it off. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving she shopped, prepped and froze key ingredients to ensure things ran smoothly on the big day. The best thing my mom taught me about entertaining was to do as much as you can before your guests arrive.
This post is dedicated to my mother who taught me everything I know about cooking, baking and entertaining. She always exhibited grace under pressure and was a warm and inviting hostess. I am happy to share some of her tips, tricks and recipes to make your Thanksgiving as easy as possible.
Here is my Mom’s Easy Thanksgiving Printable Menu & Shopping List.
Hors d’Oeuvres (assemble the morning of Thanksgiving)
- Blue Cheese, Cranberry and Pecan Stuffed Celery Shortcut: Prep Dip 1-2 days prior to Thanksgiving and refrigerate. Assemble on Thanksgiving morning- great job for your kids to help with.
- French Baguette Cups Filled with Hummus, Olive Tapenade and Fresh Veggies Shortcut: Assemble Thanksgiving morning
Tips: Don’t go crazy on the hors d’Oeuvres, because the main course is yet to come. There is nothing worse than feeling “stuffed” prior to dinner so keep your starters small, elegant and fresh. Let the main course be the star of your Thanksgiving show.
Main Course (click on entree for printable recipe)
- Herb Roasted Turkey with Citrus Pan Turkey Gravy
- Gluten Free Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing Shortcut: You can always buy a box mix or already made cornbread from the store. I prefer this recipe as it is gluten free. It takes a bit more time but you can make it early in the month and freeze or make them the week of Thanksgiving.
- Gluten Free Corn Bread- these ingredients are NOT included on the attached shopping list. Please add them if you plan on using this recipe. Shortcut: You can assemble your stuffing prior to Thanksgiving day, freeze, thaw and simply reheat.
- Smoked Gouda and Rosemary Mashed Potatoes Shortcut: You can make this recipe prior to Thanksgiving day and simply reheat.
- Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Bacon Shortcut: Prep the sprouts the night prior to thanksgiving and bake on Thanksgiving Day alongside the turkey.
- Ina’s Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Citrus Shortcut: You can easily make prior to Thanksgiving and serve chilled.
Tips: Doesn’t this menu sound amazing? Everything can be made ahead of time and refrigerated/frozen (except for the turkey and gravy) allowing you more time with your friends and family and less time in the kitchen. Things you can make ahead and refrigerate or freeze: cornbread & sausage stuffing, crock-pot applesauce, pie crust cookies, vegan caramel sauce, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and the blue cheese dip.
- Apple Pie Ice Cream Parfaits: Layers of Spiced Apple Sauce, Vegan Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream. Topped with fresh whipped cream and a cranberry pecan pie crust cookie.
Tips: If anyone asks “May I bring something?” I always suggest a bottle of wine and/or dessert. It is nice to have a variety of desserts available for your guests to enjoy and it is a huge time saver when you don’t have to add baking to the to-do list. Baking adds a lot time and money so allow your guests to contribute and graciously thank them for whatever they provide.
I know that ice cream parfaits are not a traditional dessert but who can resist an ice cream sundae? Add in the flavors of tart fall apples, creamy vanilla ice cream and a salty-sweet caramel sauce…and you’ve got yourself a holiday dessert that will please any crowd. These parfaits can be made ahead time and frozen or you can create a make your own sundae bar. This unexpected dessert adds a ton of fun and flavor to your holiday feast.
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks for stopping by~