Everything You Need for an Easy Thanksgiving Dinner

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Easy and Elegant Thanksgiving Menu--complete recipes for Smokey Gouda and Rosemary Mashed Potates, Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffin, Gravy and Dessert including shopping lists!

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.

Thankgiving-hors d'Oeuvres

Hors d’Oeuvres (assemble the morning of Thanksgiving)

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)


  • 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-Cornbread-Sausage-Stuffing gluten_free_Corn_bread_Sausage_Stuffing_Photo_Sized

  • 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.  


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.


 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~

terry name graphic



  1. Terry, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your mom. My mom passed unexpectedly in September, and my sisters and I are having a hard time trying to figure out how we will get through the holidays without her! It sounds like your mom was an amazing lady. I can tell by the way she made Thanksgiving special for her loved ones, my mom was the same. We are going to try to make her stuffing and sweet potatoes, but I know they won’t be as good as hers.

    • Hi Karen,
      I am also sorry to hear of your loss. You and your sisters are in my thoughts and prayers. I know that Thanksgiving will not be the same for either of our families but making your mothers recipes and continuing her legacy is so important. She would be so happy to see her daughters working together in the kitchen cooking her holiday favorites. Have a blessed Thanksgiving and let me know how your recipes turn out. Thinking of you all-

  2. I am so very sorry for the loss of your beloved mother….You will definitely feel her presence as you gather together to celebrate her life and love of family at your Thanksgiving table which she loved so dearly…Sounds like you will be making sure her legacy lives on….Thanksgiving for me is a special day…but bittersweet to some extent as you gaze around and see the chairs where loved ones once sat and are empty…but you are comforted by the wonderful memories…Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels.

  3. Thank you Shirley! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving as well.

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