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Thanksgiving recipes and thoughts

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I love Thanksgiving because it is all about my three favorite things - Family, Friends and Food. No costumes, no gifts, no cards, just family friends and food.

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Thanksgiving - the perfect imperfect meal

Thanksgiving is a big tradition in our house. I have been cooking Thanksgiving dinner for more than 30 years. That number is a little shocking, but feels like a real accomplishment. Every year we have opened our home to family, friends, neighbors, friends-of-friends, and anyone who didn't have a place to go for turkey. The numbers have waxed and waned over the years, but in general we sit down with 12 to 20 people for a cacophonic, chaotic and communal meal.


By the time everything is ready to serve, much of the food is cold. Sometimes the turkey is great, sometimes it is so-so. We have forgotten to serve the cranberry sauce, failed to make decent gravy, overcooked the turkey, and the first time my daughter Margo made pumpkin pies she forgot to add the sugar. No one said a thing, they just hit the apple pies extra hard. Weirdly, my nephew Parker thought it was the best pumpkin pie he had ever eaten!


And the dishes, oh my gosh, the mountains of dishes!


Yet for me, I will be deeply blessed if I have the good fortune to host another 30 Thanksgivings. Thanksgiving is the perfect, imperfect meal.

Thanksgiving tradition and a chance to try something new

There are a few Thanksgiving dishes that my family insists on every year, but we always throw in a couple new dishes to keep things interesting. In the coming weeks I will post a series of Thanksgiving dishes including vegetables, cranberry sauce, soups, pies, stuffing, a great turkey brine and instructions for how to make great Thanksgiving tabletop arrangements using stemless wine glasses. For those who want to get an early start on their Thanksgiving planning, below are Something New For Dinner recipes from our archives that I personally recommend for your Thanksgiving meal.


Pascal's green beans

These easy beans can be made ahead of time and are meant to be served at room temperature. No worries about keeping them hot!

Beet and kale gratin

If you don't try this gorgeous gratin for Thanksgiving, be sure to serve it sometime over the holidays. Even if you are not a beet lover, this dish will convert you.

Potatoes gratin

Skip the mashed potatoes and serve these make-ahead potatoes instead. Read my method post that will show you how to make potatoes gratin variations without a recipe. This picture shows the difference between a gratin made with cream vs. one made with milk.

Cheesy corn custard

These easy corn cups make for a great Thanksgiving side dish.


Butter lettuce salad with fines herbes and walnut oil dressing

This very simple and vibrant salad is a great palate cleanser that helps lighten the Thanksgiving load. It is one of my all time favorite salads.

Spinach salad with dates, almonds and sumac pita croutons

This recipe comes from Ottolenghi's Jerusalem. The dates and sumac-dusted pita chips make it a winner. If not for Thanksgiving, please try it another time.

Spinach pomegranate salad with basil croutons

This gorgeous salad is perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Make sure you read my post on how to seed pomegranates without a mess.

Orange butter lettuce salad with walnuts and feta

Light and fresh, this salad is another great palate cleanser that lightens up the Thanksgiving load.

Avocado massaged kale with oranges and toasted pumpkin seeds 

A sturdier salad, but a good choice, particularly if you have vegans or vegetarians in the crowd.

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Molasses ginger cookies

It took many years to perfect these cookies. Without overstating, I now think they are perfect. Chewy on the inside, crisp on the outside and with buttery, ginger and molasses goodness.

Apple crumble

This quick dessert is always appreciated and much easier than pie. Take it over the top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Pumpkin flan

This picture doesn't do this flan justice. It is amazingly creamy, not too sweet, and the cayenne-seasoned pumpkin seeds take it over the top. It is the perfect dessert for that gluten-free guest.

Hawaiian chocolate bread pudding

Not very Thanksgiving-ish, but if you have chocolate lovers in the crowd, this dessert always elicits oohs, ahhs and other assorted groans of satisfaction. Better yet it takes about 10 minutes of preparation. More Thanksgiving recipes to follow in the coming weeks.


Enjoy! Kim At Something New For Dinner.



  1. Emily says:

    Excellent thought of fun and food with friends, families neighbours and needy.

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