Tired of serving the same old feast to your family year after year? Canned cranberry glop, overly thick mashed potatoes, sickly sweet yams, store bought pie … you can do better than that.

Here’s our suggested Thanksgiving menu for you broken down by recipe ideas for each dish.

The obligatory turkey course

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Cider Brined Turkey with Orange
Cider Brined Turkey with Orange
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Ingredients
Cider Brined Turkey with Orange
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Instructions
  1. Bring 2 quarts of cider, 1 cup of salt, soy sauce, black peppercorns, garlic cloves, ginger and rosemary to a boil in a very large (16-quart) pot, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in 1 1/2 gallons of cold water. Add turkey to brine and press down to submerge. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Remove turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels; discard brine. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack set in a large heavy roasting pan, stuff with oranges and tie legs together with kitchen twine. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the remaining 1 cup of cider and 3 cups of water in a roasting pan. Brush turkey with butter. Flip breast side down.
  4. Roast turkey, breast side down, basting occasionally, for 1 hour. Using paper towels, flip turkey. Roast, basting occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165-degrees, 1–1 1/2 hours longer. Transfer turkey to a platter. Let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
  5. Meanwhile, strain the juices from the roasting pan into a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until juices have thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve the cider jus alongside the turkey.
Source
By Chef Jason Moffitt, The Classic Catering People
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(Or, why not?) Chicken

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Cider Brined Chicken with Cinnamon and Orange
Cider Brined Chicken
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Course Main Dish
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Ingredients
Cider Brined Chicken
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Instructions
  1. Bring 2 quarts of cider, 1 cup of salt, and the next 10 ingredients to a boil in a very large (16-quart) pot, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Stir in 1 1/2 gallons of cold water. Add chicken to brine and press down to submerge. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towels; discard brine. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Place chicken, breast side up, on a rack set in a large heavy roasting pan; stuff with oranges and tie legs together with kitchen twine. Let stand at room temperature for one hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the remaining one cup of cider and three cups of water in a roasting pan. Brush chicken with butter and flip breast side down.
  5. Roast chicken, breast side down, basting occasionally, for one hour. Using paper towels, flip chicken. Roast, basting occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees, (1–1 1/2 hours longer). Transfer the chicken to a platter. Let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
  6. Meanwhile, strain the juices from the roasting pan into a saucepan, reserving the apples. Simmer over medium heat until the juices have thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve the cider jus alongside the chicken and apples and garnish with cinnamon sticks.
Source
Chef Jason Moffitt, The Classic Catering People
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Gotta have those potatoes

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Herb Smashed Potatoes
Herb Smashed Potatoes
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Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
people
Ingredients
Herb Smashed Potatoes
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Instructions
  1. In a large stockpot, boil potatoes for 20 minutes or just until soft.
  2. Heat oven to 400°F.
  3. Lay potatoes approximately 1 inch apart on a large greased cookie sheet.
  4. With an egg masher or a similar flat surface, smash potatoes so they are flat.
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine, oil, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.
  6. Drizzle mixture over potatoes and bake for 10 minutes.
  7. Toss and bake for another 10 minutes or until potatoes are golden and crispy.
Recipe Notes

Photo by Michelle Manzoni

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And the sweets, too

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes Stuffed with Quinoa
Roasted Sweet Potatoes Stuffed with Quinoa
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Cuisine American
Cook Time 30-40 minutes
Ingredients
Cuisine American
Cook Time 30-40 minutes
Ingredients
Roasted Sweet Potatoes Stuffed with Quinoa
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Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 400 F. Slice sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Coat them with a little olive oil and place them face down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast sweet potatoes for 30 to 40 minutes until they are tender and soft.
  2. Prepare 1/2 cup of dry quinoa as per the package instructions.
  3. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, add olive oil to a large sauté pan and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about four minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir cooked quinoa, pecans, cranberries, black pepper and salt.
  5. When sweet potatoes are ready, remove from the oven and let cool slightly. They should be soft and indent slightly when squeezed If they are not done, put them back into the oven for an extra 5 or 10 minutes.
  6. Let the sweet potatoes cool slightly so they are easy to handle. With a small spoon, gently press down on the center of the sweet potatoes to create a small indentation that is the length of the sweet potato.
  7. Spoon quinoa mixture evenly over sweet potatoes and serve.
Source
Chef Alan Maw of The Classic Catering People
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That cranberry stuff

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The Milton Inn's Cranberry Relish
Brian Boston
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Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Regional
Cook Time 25 minutes
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Regional
Cook Time 25 minutes
Ingredients
Brian Boston
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Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a medium size thick-bottomed pot. Simmer on medium-low heat for 25 minutes.
Source
Brian Boston, Executive Chef/Owner, The Milton Inn
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The part where you can pretend to be healthy

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Roasted Beets and Butternut Squash
Roasted Beets and Butternut Squash plating
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Course Side Dish
Ingredients
For the pink Tehina
Course Side Dish
Ingredients
For the pink Tehina
Roasted Beets and Butternut Squash plating
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Instructions
  1. Peel and cube beets and butternut squash to about 1 inch in size.
  2. Lay all vegetables flat in one layer on a parchment paper in a large oven tray.
  3. Drizzle evenly with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle all vegetables with Za’atar, garlic salt and black pepper.
  5. Roast the vegetable in a preheated oven of 400°.
  6. After 40 minutes carefully give the vegetables a good flip.
  7. Keep roasting for additional 10-15 minutes.
  8. Zest one lemon.
  9. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a small pan over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  10. Make sure to toss them around for even toasting.
To make the tehina
  1. Combine lemon juice with raw tehina and stir using a fork.
  2. Add beet juice and mix to combine.
  3. Add water and salt and stir to a smooth consistency.
When serving
  1. Drizzle the roasted vegetables with pink tehina sauce and top with toasted pumpkin seeds and Lemon zest.
Recipe Notes

Photo by Huppit Bartov Miller

Source
Huppit Bartov Miller
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Stuffed Acorn Squash
Stuffed Acorn Squash
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Cuisine American
Cuisine American
Stuffed Acorn Squash
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice acorn squash evenly in half lengthwise. Coat them with a little olive oil and place face down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  2. Roast acorn squash for 25-30 minutes until tender and soft.
  3. Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Dice it and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Mix butternut squash in bowl with remaining ingredients. Place inside halved acorn squash and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 F.
Source
Chef Alan Maw of The Classic Catering People
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Roasted Romanesco Cauliflower Salad with Figs
Cauliflower Salad
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Course Salad, Side Dish
Ingredients
Course Salad, Side Dish
Ingredients
Cauliflower Salad
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. If desired, line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Arrange cauliflower on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with small pinch of sea salt.
  4. Slide into the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the tray from the oven and carefully flip each cauliflower floret.
  6. Slide back into the oven and roast for another 10-15 minutes, or until cauliflower edges are golden brown.
  7. Toss roasted cauliflower and olives with halved figs. Garnish with radish and whole figs. Serve immediately.
Source
Chef Jason Moffitt, The Classic Catering People
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Cremini Mushroom Tart with Reserved Gruyere
Cremini Mushroom Tart
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Rating: 3.5
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Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine French
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine French
Cook Time 40 minutes
Cremini Mushroom Tart
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Rating: 3.5
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Instructions
  1. To prepare the filling, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft and slightly browned. Add salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Scrape into a small bowl.
  2. In the same skillet melt the remaining butter.
  3. Add mushrooms and stir until coated with butter, soft and golden.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Beat eggs and cream together until well blended.
  6. Sprinkle about half the Gruyere on the bottom of the pie shell.
  7. Spoon in shallots.
  8. Pour in egg mixture.
  9. Place mushrooms all over the top with the remaining cheese.
  10. Bake 40 minutes at 325 F or until golden brown and mixture is set.
Source
Chef Therese Harding of The Classic Catering People
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Is it time for dessert, yet?

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Cranberry Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting
Cranberry Cake
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Course Dessert
Ingredients
Ingredients for buttercream frosting:
Ingredients for cake:
Course Dessert
Ingredients
Ingredients for buttercream frosting:
Ingredients for cake:
Cranberry Cake
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Instructions
Instructions for buttercream frosting:
  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and vanilla. Blend in confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk and continue mixing until light and fluffy. Add cinnamon. Keep icing covered until ready to decorate.
Instructions for cake:
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Lightly coat an 8-inch cake pan with butter and dust with all-purpose flour.
  3. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Beat in the butter one teaspoonful at a time, using an electric mixer set on low speed, until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Beat in the sugar a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture resembles fine damp sand. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and milk, and beat on medium-high, just until blended. Do not overbeat.
  4. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean — 30 to 35 minutes.
  5. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for five minutes. Un-mold and cool completely before icing and adding cranberry filling.
Source
Callie Tarts, The Classic Catering People
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Easy Apple Pie Cookies
Easy Apple Pie Cookies
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Course Dessert
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For the streusel:
For the filling:
Course Dessert
Ingredients
For the streusel:
For the filling:
Easy Apple Pie Cookies
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Instructions
  1. Make the streusel: Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the streusel ingredients in a bowl, breaking up any large clumps, and spread onto your baking sheet. Set aside to dry (can be made a day ahead; store covered at room temperature).
  2. Make the streusel: Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the streusel ingredients in a bowl, breaking up any large clumps, and spread onto your baking sheet. Set aside to dry (can be made a day ahead; store covered at room temperature).
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin tin or line with parchment paper cups. Unroll your pie crust and use a glass or cookie cutter to cut circles that are slightly larger — about 1/4 inch — than the base of your muffin cups (I used a 2 1/2-inch cutter).
  4. Place the circles in the bottom of each muffin cup, pressing gently along the sides and bottoms. Spoon some apple filling into each crust and top with the streusel.
  5. Bake cookies for 20 minutes, or until streusel is golden brown. Cool completely in tins on a wire rack. Serve immediately or store, covered, for up to 3 days.
Source
Sheri Silver
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Apple Cake
Apple Cake
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Course Dessert
Cook Time 45-50 minutes
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Cook Time 45-50 minutes
Ingredients
Apple Cake
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Instructions
  1. Place apples in a bowl with enough water to cover them.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and set aside.
  3. Using a mixer, beat eggs together with granulated and brown sugars. Add oil, juice, and vanilla to the egg mixture and mix until combined. Slowly add flour mix to egg mixture.
  4. Drain water from apples and fold them into batter.
  5. Spray bundt pan very well (especially in the middle).
  6. Mix second measurement of cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle on bottom of pan. Add batter.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Let cool about 15-20 minutes in refrigerator then pop upside down onto a serving plate.
  9. Let cool completely before slicing.
Source
Chef Callie Tarts, The Classic Catering People
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Oh, go ahead, have a drink, you deserve it

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Apple Pomegranate Sangria
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Rating: 4
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Course Drink
Cuisine Spanish
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Course Drink
Cuisine Spanish
Servings
cups
Ingredients
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Rating: 4
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Instructions
  1. Place sliced apple and lemons in a sealable container. Add 1/2 cup pomegranate juice, 1/2 cup wine and vodka (optional). Allow to sit overnight in the fridge.
  2. When ready to serve, place fruit and liquid in a large carafe. Add remaining wine and pomegranate juice. Top with ginger ale or club soda to your liking. Serve chilled or with ice.
Recipe Notes

Optional: For an extra special presentation, make pomegranate seed ice cubes by adding a few seeds into each section of an ice cube tray. Fill with water or pomegranate juice and freeze overnight. When ready to serve, add 1 or 2 ice cubes in each guest’s glass, or all the ice cubes to the carafe of sangria.

You can use whatever wine you have laying around, or change things up with red wine if you prefer.

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And there you go, your holiday meal is all planned out, now you just have to get cooking, then you can sit back and let someone else clean up.