My Favorite From Scratch Thanksgiving Dishes

Updated: Sep 7

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. For me, it's a time where family can get together over great food and there are no expectations beyond that because there are no gift requirements. (buying gifts for people stresses me out) It is the most low-key holiday, and I love it.


I especially love hosting Thanksgiving. Planning a huge menu, and figuring out how to get it all cooked so it's all the right temperature when it gets the to table is weirdly satisfying to me.


Over the past ten years, I think I've hosted Thanksgiving eight times. In that time, I've collected several Thanksgiving recipes that have become favorites for our family. And I'm going to share them all with you!


First up, the main event.


Turkey


I have two recipes for turkey. Some years I do a simple turkey breast, and other years I do a full turkey. here are my two recipes for those options.


The Perfect Roast Turkey - Ina Garten

Ingredients

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 teaspoon, chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 turkey (10-12 pounds)

salt

pepper

1 large bunch fresh thyme

1 whole lemon, halved

1 Spanish onion, quartered

1 head garlic, halved crosswise


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the zest and juice of the lemon, and 1 teaspoon of the thyme leaves to the butter mixture. Set aside.

  3. Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry.

  4. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, halved lemon, quartered onion, and the garlic.

  5. Brush the outside of the turkey with the butter mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  6. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.

  7. Roast the turkey about 2 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh.

  8. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil, let rest for 20 minutes.

  9. Slice and serve the turkey.


Roasted Turkey Breast - Dinner, then Dessert

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter (I cut this down to 1/4 cup)

3 springs fresh rosemary

10 leaves fresh sage

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 turkey breast (4-6 pounds), patted dry.


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Set up oven so there is only the bottom rack.

  2. Add the turkey to a large roasting pan and pat dry with paper towels.

  3. Mash the butter, herbs, salt and pepper in small bowl. Set 2-3 tablespoons aside for later.

  4. Use the back of a spoon to lift the skin from the turkey breast and spread butter inside. Smooth the skin back down to spread the butter all over the breast. Be careful not to tear the skin as the butter will drip out when cooking.

  5. Roast for 90 minutes, or until the innermost part of the breast is cooked to 165 degrees. Top with remaining butter and let rest for 20 minutes before serving.



Okay, now that we've taken care of the turkey, we can get to my favorite part.


The Sides

If you ask me, the sides are what really make Thanksgiving dinner. Here I give you my favorite Green Bean Casserole, Salads, Brussels Sprouts, and Roll recipes.


Ultimate Green Bean Casserole - The Daring Gourmet

Ingredients

3 slices thick-cut bacon, diced

1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion

2 cloves garlic minced

12 ounces fresh button or cremini mushrooms chopped

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 cup half and half

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound fresh green beans, halved, and blanched.

1 can quality French fried onions.


Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crispy.

  3. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes.

  4. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for another 4-5 minutes until mushrooms are soft. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

  5. Melt the butter in the same skillet and whisk in the four. Once combined, continue whisking for another 2 minutes until the mixture has slightly deepened in color.

  6. Add the half and half and chicken broth while constantly whisking to prevent lumps. Once slightly thickened, add the cheese and whisk until melted and combined.

  7. Next, add the mushroom/bacon mixture along with the salt and pepper. Let the sauce simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the green beans. Stir to combine.

  8. Pour the bean mixture into a 9x13 casserole dish and sprinkle the French fried onions all over the top. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Note: Everything can be done in advance expect for adding the crispy onions, otherwise they'll get soggy. Add those just before baking. Also, let the casserole sit for at least 30 minutes after removing it from the fridge before baking.



Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash with Dried Cranberries and Dijon Vinaigrette - A Beautiful Plate

Ingredients

1 lb butternut squash peeled and cut into ¾-inch chunks

1 lb Brussels Sprouts stems trimmed and sliced lengthwise in half

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

¾ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup dried cranberries unsweetened or sweetened


Dijon Vinaigrette:

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or rice vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

two pinches kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the butternut squash chunks and halved Brussels sprouts on a large baking sheet. Drizzle them with the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and toss them with your hands to distribute the oil evenly.

  2. Sprinkle the vegetables evenly with kosher salt and pepper, and toss them again with your hands. Spread the vegetables out evenly onto the baking sheet. Roasting Tip: Place the Brussels sprouts cut-side down, this will allow them to caramelize more evenly against the surface of the sheet pan.

  3. Roast the vegetables for 20 to 30 minutes (time will vary depending on the size of your Brussels sprouts and butternut squash chunks), tossing them gently 1 to 2 times during the roasting time to ensure that they caramelize evenly on all sides. Scatter the dried cranberries onto baking sheet in the last five minutes of roasting time. Allow the pan to sit on a rack to cool slightly while you prepare the Dijon vinaigrette.

  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard and rice wine vinegar. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking continuously with your other hand, until the ingredients are emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Gently place the roasted vegetables in a large serving bowl or platter. Pour on the Dijon vinaigrette and toss the vegetables gently until they are lightly dressed. Serve warm, lukewarm, or cold.


Mandarin Pomegranate Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing - Cooking Classy

Ingredients Salad 5 oz baby spinach

3 mandarin oranges (10 oz), peeled and segmented

3/4 cup pomegranate arils*

1 medium avocado, diced

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Dressing

2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1 1/2 Tbsp sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup light mayonnaise (tested with Hellman's light)

1 1/2 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp poppy seeds

1 Tbsp milk, if needed


Instructions

For the dressing: In a small mixing bowl whisk together vinegar, sugar and salt until sugar and salt have dissolved.

Add mayonnaise, honey and poppy seeds and whisk until combined. Mix in milk to thin if desired. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.


For the salad: In a salad bowl layer spinach, mandarin oranges, pomegranate arils, avocado, almonds and walnuts.

Pour desired amount of dressing over top (or alternately just dress each serving). Serve immediately.



Apple Cranberry Coleslaw - Lemon Tree Dwelling

Ingredients

1 14 oz. bag 3-color coleslaw mix

1 large apple chopped

½ c. dried cranberries

½ c. chopped walnuts

4 green onions sliced


Dressing:

¾ c. lowfat mayo

¾ c. plain yogurt not Greek

6 tablespoon honey

¾ teaspoon dried, ground ginger


Instructions

  1. Combine coleslaw ingredients in a large bowl.

  2. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients and mix well.

  3. Pour dressing over coleslaw and stir until evenly coated.

  4. For a less creamy coleslaw, use ½ c. mayo, ½ c. plain yogurt, ¼ c. honey, and ½ teaspoon ginger.


Rolls. I have a secret about the rolls I make. The recipe I use changes over the years depending on how many rolls I want to make, and what kind of yeast I want to use. The secret to making Thanksgiving rolls the most amazing rolls ever, is to roll the dough in melted butter when you form the dough into balls. The butter seeps into the dough while it rises, and then when the rolls bake, it creates a delicate crispiness on the outside.


Here is a popular recipe I've used for simple yeast rolls. It makes 24 rolls, but I've halved this recipe before and it works out great.


Parker House Rolls - Bobby Flay

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups milk

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for brushing 1/2 cup sugar 1 package active dry yeast 1/2 cup warm water 3 large eggs, lightly beaten 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 6 cups all-purpose flour


Directions

  1. Place milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and sugar and let cool.

  2. Dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit until foamy.

  3. Combine milk mixture, eggs, yeast, salt, and 1/2 of the flour in a mixer with the dough attachment and mix until smooth. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir until a smooth ball forms. (If you don't have a mixer, knead the dough for 10 minutes and skip the next step)

  4. Remove from the bowl and knead by hand on a floured surface for about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 60 to 70 minutes.

  5. On a floured surface, punch down the dough and shape into desired shapes. (This is where you roll the dough in melted butter)

  6. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover again and let rise until doubled, about 30 to 40 minutes.

  7. Preheat the oven 350 degrees F.

  8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter before serving. (Skip brushing with butter if you rolled it in butter)


So, there you have it. Those are my favorite side dishes for Thanksgiving. But we're not done yet! We still have to cover the delectable desserts! You're not going to find pumpkin pie here, because Thanksgiving dessert should be the show stopper of the day! Here my 3 favorite dessert recipes.


Desserts


Caramel Apple Cheesecake - Life, Love, & Sugar