Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Happy Thanksgiving!  Last Thursday, (Thanksgiving Day) Eric and I hosted our first Thanksgiving (and cooked our very first turkey!)  I know I am a few days late writing this post, but the past week I’ve had hardly any free time to sit at my computer and work on it.  I’ve been busy Christmas shopping, cleaning, visiting with family & friends, decorating for Christmas, and doing other important holiday-related things like watching Elf (my favorite Christmas movie :) )

As I was saying though, we hosted our first Thanksgiving this year.  I had a great time planning, preparing, and cooking for this meal.  I love cooking and entertaining, so hosting this holiday was great fun for me! :)  We had quite the crowd to feed – 16 adults plus 3 kids.  Thankfully, I had lots of help, both from Eric and all of our guests.

I started planning the menu about a month before the big day.  Once my menu was finalized, I gathered all of my recipes and put them into a folder so that they would be easily accessible and all in one spot.  I also shopped for/borrowed all the supplies that I didn’t already have (things like a gravy separator, card table, extra wine glasses, and place cards).  About a week before Thanksgiving, I wrote out a timeline to keep me on track with all of the cooking and pre-Thanksgiving errands/tasks.  This was very helpful and it allowed me to divide up all the prep tasks over several days so that I had plenty of time to get everything done.  I also went through my recipes and made 2 grocery lists (1 for the non-perishable items, which I purchased a week ahead of time, and another list for the perishables, which we picked up the day before Thanksgiving).  It was so nice to have everything so organized, and now I can refer back to this information the next time I cook a Thanksgiving dinner.

Here is a copy of my Thanksgiving Menu:

Thanksgiving Menu


–        Fresh fruit platter with grapes, blackberries, apples, and clementines

–        Artichoke nibbles

–        Crostini with kalamata olive tapenade, tomato & basil bruschetta, & cannellini bean spread

–        Parmesan breadsticks and pita chips

First Course: Golden Winter Soup with chive garnish

Main Course: Herb Roasted Turkey with Gravy

Side Dishes:

–        Cloverleaf rolls

–        Mashed russet & yukon gold potatoes

–        Roasted carrots

–        Sauteed green beans

–        Sweet potato soufflé with marshmallow topping

–        Sweet potatoes with sage butter crumb topping

–        Old-fashioned bread stuffing

–        Cranberry orange relish


–        Pumpkin pie served with sweetened whipped cream

–        Apple pie with raisins and crumb topping (served with vanilla bean ice cream)

–        Turkey shaped sugar cookies


–        Red & white wine

–        Holiday beer

–        Sparkling apple cider

–        Coffee

Like I said before, I had a lot of help with the cooking.  My Mom brought the fruit platter and made both of the sweet potato dishes.  My sister-in-law made the artichoke nibbles, and my mother-in-law made the cranberry relish, stuffing, and gravy.  My sister, Kristine, made both of the delicious pies that we served for dessert.

I am planning to post the recipes for the kalamata olive tapenade, cannellini bean spread, golden winter soup, herb roasted turkey, cloverleaf rolls, sugar cookies, and roasted carrots on my blog.  The cranberry orange relish recipe that Eric’s Mom made can be found on the back of a package of fresh cranberries.   My Mom found the recipe for the sweet potatoes with sage butter crumb topping on the blog Annie’s Eats.  You can find the recipes for both pies on my sister’s blog, which I linked to above.

I didn’t use a recipe for the mashed potatoes – whenever I make them I just use 2 parts russet potatoes and 1 part yukon gold potatoes.  (I think that the yukon gold potatoes help make the mashed potatoes extra creamy.)  After the potatoes are peeled, cut them into ½ -inch cubes and place them in a large pot of cold water.  (You can salt the water if you want).  Then bring the potatoes to a boil, and cover and simmer them until they are fork-tender.  After that, drain the potatoes and then mash them, adding melted butter, warmed milk and salt and pepper to taste.  (I use a potato ricer to mash them, but a mixer or potato masher works fine too).

For the green beans, I just trimmed the ends off, washed them, and then placed them in a large sauté pan with a little bit of water.  Then I covered them and cooked them over medium heat.  This caused the water to boil, which sort of steamed them.  After they were fully cooked (and the water evaporated), I seasoned them with a tiny bit of butter and salt and pepper.

Below are a few photos from our Thanksgiving dinner!

The kids table


Fresh fruit platter

Artichoke nibbles

Cannellini bean spread, tomato and basil bruschetta, & kalamata olive tapenade (this was served with toasty baguette slices)

Golden Winter Soup

Herb Roasted Turkey


This is what my kitchen looked like on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving – I made 48 dinner rolls from scratch, which was a quadruple batch. They were all rising in 4 different bowls on top of my stove. (Note for next time… we didn’t need that many. A double batch (24 rolls) would have been sufficient!) I also made the sugar cookies that same day. My kitchen felt like a bakery! :)

Cloverleaf Rolls

Mashed potatoes

Roasted carrots

Sauteed green beans

Sweet potato soufflé with marshmallow topping (top) & Sweet potatoes with sage butter crumb topping

Old-fashioned bread stuffing

Cranberry orange relish

My plate - I had a little bit of everything!

Turkey-shaped sugar cookies

Pumpkin Pie

Apple pie with raisins and crumb topping

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!


5 Responses to “Thanksgiving Dinner Menu”

  1. 1 kristineskitchen November 29, 2010 at 8:31 PM

    Thanks for hosting Thanksgiving, Karen (and Eric!). We had a fun time and everything was delicious!

  2. 2 busyhandsandasweettooth December 30, 2010 at 2:29 AM

    Wow, what a fantastic design on the turkey tails.
    Your menu is vast and inspiring! I think I’ll keep it in mind for ideas when my family gathers next year. Thanks for sharing!


  1. 1 Turkey Sugar Cookies & Herb Roasted Turkey « Cooking with Karen Trackback on November 30, 2010 at 2:54 PM
  2. 2 Golden Winter Soup « Cooking with Karen Trackback on December 6, 2010 at 9:21 PM
  3. 3 Happy Thanksgiving! « Cooking with Karen Trackback on November 25, 2011 at 3:35 PM

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