Thanksgiving Ideas

18 Nov

Note: This is a repeat of last year since, well, these are some of the best Thanksgiving recipes you can find and I am making them again. I will be posting new ‘side dish’ recipes on Monday for more ideas…

Below find my personal Thanksgiving favorites. This is a bit of a ‘best of’ but there are a couple of recipes new to the blog and I stand behind each, they will not do you wrong. 


Cranberry Daiquiri

I wrote about this one for Christmas but it is perfect for Thanksgiving as well. Make the cranberry syrup now, it will keep in the fridge all through the holidays. I love this because it is not too sweet. Divine.

For the recipe, click here.


Russ Parson's "Judy Bird"

Russ Parson’s dry brined turkey is justifiably famous. The ‘Judy-Bird’ is hands down the best turkey I’ve ever eaten. Perfect crisp skin, delicious moist meat. It is also the easiest recipe imaginable. NOTE: It needs to sit three days with the salt brine so get your turkey now!

For the turkey recipe, click here.



This has been my ‘go-to’ holiday potato recipe for years. Incredibly delicious and flavorful, these potatoes make everyone go crazy… except, I guess, the vegetarians! I always make a double batch and never have any leftovers. These potatoes save well, so perhaps this year I will make a triple batch so I can eat some more the next day…

For the recipe, click here.



I’ve written about my good friend Phyllis, who I would trust with my life. She gave me this amazing ‘creamed corn’ recipe two years ago, and I have made it numerous times since. It’s wonderful.

For the recipe, click here.



Becoming world famous. The. Best.

For the recipe, click here.



I wrote about two great stuffings last year, from my dear friends Nan Schnebly and Jan Batchler. You cannot go wrong with either!

I also always make a terrific and flavorful Lemon and Mushroom stuffing from Food and Wine. Laced with fresh herbs and pine nuts, it is incredible. Ignore the muffin instructions in the recipe below, just make it as a regular casserole. 

For two traditional versions, click here.

For Lemon and Mushroom stuffing, click here.



I love this simple, healthy bean gratin so much, I make it all year round. It is also always on the Thanksgiving table. (This is easy to adapt into vegan as well.) Give it a try, it is so damn good!

For the recipe, click here.



I have tired of the regular sweet mush of sweet potatoes with marshmallows. Sacrilege to some, I know. Still, I discovered Serious Eat’s Roast Sweet Potato Salad with Chutney two years ago and I will never go back. This is so easy and so, so good! Trust me. Give it a try.


For the recipe, click here.


Raw Cranberry Relish

These are my two favorites, a raw relish which I devour, and another more traditional version, though it is ramped up with a little bourbon. I always make both.

For the recipes, click here.


This is my favorite pecan pie recipe. It’s a little different than the traditional pecan pie as it has pecans all the way through… more pecans means a better pecan pie. It also is rich with spice. I love this one.

For the recipe, click here.

Happy Thanksgiving! Do leave some of your favorites we can try!

9 Responses to “Thanksgiving Ideas”

  1. Shawn November 20, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

    I was looking for a new idea for how to do my turkey this year because I have always stuffed my bird and then basted the heck out of mine with butter and sherry (always very juicy), However, for the health of one of my family members I need to cut the butter out so I think I will try this dry brine and baste with olive oil and sherry. I’ll let you know how it works. Thanks for the Thanksgiving hints! (I’m going to try the sweet potato recipe too.)

    • November 20, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

      I think that sounds excellent! I may try the sherry as well, what a great idea. Please let me know what you think. (We never stuffed the turkey growing up though I have always been curious. It must make moist and tasty stuffing!)

  2. Meyerer November 20, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

    Having been nominated to make Thanksgiving dinner this year for the fiance’s family, I may have to try this dry-brined turkey. It says you can brine a frozen bird! Have you tried it starting with frozen or do you thaw first?

    • November 20, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

      Wow, cool! I haven’t tried from frozen but if they say it will work, I am sure it will! Let me know how it goes and what all you make!

  3. Ben Vick November 24, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    I started the salt brine soak yesterday. It’s only me this Thanksgiving and I’m going to do all these recipes just for the challenge (and because they sound delicious). I should have enough leftovers for several post-holiday meals.

  4. Nan McNamara November 25, 2015 at 4:30 pm #

    Yum! Happy Thanksgiving, Tom!

  5. kateprovost November 26, 2015 at 11:32 am #

    Hey Tom! Thanks for feeding my Baby Girl, again! She knows where to go…..

    I’m having a homemade Cosmo in your honor while finishing up my own Thanksgiving spread. I saved leftover cranberry juice from the cranberries I sugared and boiled down for cranberry sauce. I made those amazing roasted sweet potatoes from this blog and can’t wait to partake. I had a guest comment last year on how “sickeningly sweet the usual sweet potato/mush casserole was” and that did it for me….time for a much needed change. Thanks for sharing….

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • November 28, 2015 at 10:45 am #

      We had a wonderful time! Let me know if you liked the potatoes!


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