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Hosting my first Thanksgiving Dinner and I need helpwith

What are the absolute must-have basics for TG dinner?

Turkey, obviously.

And I'm guessing stuffing and gravy, as well.

But what else is "traditional," and what are some nice sides to serve with the turkey?

I just want to do something relatively simple and traditional.

I'm making everything myself, but I'm buying the pumpkin pie.

by Anonymousreply 42December 1, 2021 1:34 PM

Get rid of the turkey and start from there.

by Anonymousreply 1November 20, 2021 1:38 PM

How many people are you hosting, OP?

by Anonymousreply 2November 20, 2021 1:45 PM

You’ve got the turkey, gravy, and stuffing down. The only other must is cranberry sauce, and lots of people prefer the canned kind to the homemade (I love the latter and it’s easy, but some people will bitch). Almost-must (probably on 75% of tables) is a green bean casserole, often topped with French’s fried onion. One more rung down (regional favorites) are sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, a carrot dish, wild rice dish, mac n cheese, or a jello mold with fruit inside.

by Anonymousreply 3November 20, 2021 1:46 PM

Six of us, R2.

Possibly 10.

by Anonymousreply 4November 20, 2021 1:47 PM

Cameron Mathison's Green Bean Casserole is a must-have.

So easy to make.

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by Anonymousreply 5November 20, 2021 1:53 PM

Yeah I prefer the canned cranberry. Maybe because I grew up with it. Fresh seems too much like dessert for me. But unfortunately a lot of people think that it's so low class so you're stuck with the fresh. Yuck. If you've got sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes wouldn't mac n' cheese and a rice dish be gilding the lily? You definitely need pecan pie with fresh whipped cream.

by Anonymousreply 6November 20, 2021 1:58 PM

[quote] If you've got sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes wouldn't mac n' cheese and a rice dish be gilding the lily?

That’s what I mean by regional favorites - in the areas where most tables have a mac n cheese, you probably won’t see wild rice or mashed potatoes. The sweet potatoes are more widespread but how you make them seems to differ by area, with the marshmallow style casserole more popular in the Midwest. My family in the NE just has mashed sweet potatoes.

by Anonymousreply 7November 20, 2021 2:01 PM

Tyler Florence does a very lovely and easy cranberry sauce.

He seems to put in a lot of sugar, so I'd adjust it to your personal taste.

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by Anonymousreply 8November 20, 2021 2:06 PM

Of course, you'll want to go to the fish monger and get a nice piece of cod

and then some plump, fresh prunes to go with it

and slather it all in store-bought Ragu spaghetti sauce...

by Anonymousreply 9November 20, 2021 2:17 PM

OP is Boris, wanting information on a “traditional” Thanksgiving to pretend to be American. We’re on to you, Boris.

by Anonymousreply 10November 20, 2021 2:20 PM

The jarred cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes with marshmallows and green bean casserole are traditional but many people find them yucky. We're doing a fresh cranberry sauce with orange, wok-fried Brussel sprouts with bacon and whipped sweet potatoes with maple syrup. I've done the creamed spinach with cream cheese and parmesan but it is on the rich side Some people like rolls but with all the carbs, they're not necessary Mac and cheese is traditional for Black families, as far as I know. We start with light nibbles--spiced nuts, olives, maybe veggies and aioli.

by Anonymousreply 11November 20, 2021 2:21 PM

[quote] I've done the creamed spinach with cream cheese and parmesan but it is on the rich side

That sounds more like a dip than a side dish.

by Anonymousreply 12November 20, 2021 2:24 PM

Are you serving this buffet style? With 10 people I would offer two different green vegetables, mashed or roast potatoes. Definitely both canned and fresh cranberry sauce (I do one sign just a little fresh squeezed orange juice and orange zest, and a small amount of shallot, not sweet at all but easy to make ahead). Squash of some kind, such as roasted, or souffléd, or carrots. Dinner rolls.

It’s not traditional but I like to have a light green salad.

by Anonymousreply 13November 20, 2021 2:28 PM

10 people? Enjoy your COVID. And a buffet? More COVID.

by Anonymousreply 14November 20, 2021 2:33 PM

[quote]But what else is "traditional"?

Presenting hole before carving the bird. Having a little spot of flour dusted about lets your guests know how hard you were slaving away in the kitchen before they arrived.

by Anonymousreply 15November 20, 2021 2:53 PM

Dinner rolls are completely unnecessary.

Too many carbs, if you're already having stuffing and potatoes.

by Anonymousreply 16November 20, 2021 5:00 PM

[quote]I'm making everything myself, but I'm buying the pumpkin pie.

Bought pumpkin pies are inferior. Why do that, when homemade is so easy?

Get a glass deepdish pie plate, and unroll an instant pie crust onto it, by Pillsbury or some such. Pre-heat your oven to 425°F.

In a mixing bowl, combine:

3 eggs

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup Dark Brown Sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 29oz can Pure Pumpkin (just Pumpkin, not 'Pumpkin Pie Mix')

1 12oz can Evaporated Milk


Blend with a mixer and pour into the unbaked pie crust. Place in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375°F, and bake for another 45 minutes. When a knife inserted into the custard comes out clean, it's ready. Cool on the countertop, then refrigerate. Serve with a dollop of whipped topping. Enjoy!

by Anonymousreply 17November 20, 2021 8:31 PM

This OP makes up about 30 stupid posts a day and people fall for it. Weird.

by Anonymousreply 18November 20, 2021 8:34 PM

That sounds like way too much work, R17.

Especially when you have other dishes to make, including the turkey.

by Anonymousreply 19November 20, 2021 9:58 PM

[quote]Bought pumpkin pies are inferior.

All pumpkin pies are inferior.

by Anonymousreply 20November 21, 2021 1:55 AM

Why does it have to be traditional? Turkeys just wanna be hugged, not eaten

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by Anonymousreply 21November 21, 2021 2:04 AM

So are those people raising and hugging all these turkeys not planning on killing them later to sell as meat? Are they raising them just for fun?

by Anonymousreply 22November 21, 2021 2:23 AM

We do the 1950s version of all the sides: sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, the Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix, canned Ocean Spray, the green bean casserole with the fried onions. It’s the way our moms made it.

I do get a fresh Bell and Evans turkey instead of a Butterball; it’s my one deviation from tradition.

We are usually food snobs, but this is one meal that we will keep “traditional” for nostalgia’s sake. It’s comforting. I used to try to make nicer versions of cranberry sauce and stuffing and be all Ina Garten with the “good” ingredients, but now we just make everything the way our mothers did, with the same brands.

by Anonymousreply 23November 21, 2021 2:26 AM

That's so cool, R23!

But why not just do the Butterball, to make it complete??

by Anonymousreply 24November 21, 2021 2:29 AM

🥧 I'm perfectly ok with a Sara Lee pumpkin pie and Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce.

What time do we eat?

by Anonymousreply 25November 21, 2021 2:29 AM

Put mushrooms and nuts in your stuffing.

by Anonymousreply 26November 22, 2021 9:00 AM

Why would you put your nuts in the stuffing?

by Anonymousreply 27November 22, 2021 9:25 AM

You must absolutely prepare your guests the Cockentrice. You'll WOW them! It's basically a chimera of sorts of a pig's upper body and a chicken's lower body (or vice versa) sewn together then roasted.

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by Anonymousreply 28November 22, 2021 4:37 PM

Potatoes. Mashed, baked, sweet, red or any other type. I love them all.

by Anonymousreply 29November 22, 2021 4:44 PM

Some stuff can be made the day before - casseroles, desserts, vegetables. Always good to free as much time for the big day.

by Anonymousreply 30November 22, 2021 4:47 PM

How did it go?

by Anonymousreply 31November 25, 2021 3:37 PM

Everyone was naked.

by Anonymousreply 32November 25, 2021 7:13 PM

Minimum Thanksgiving requirements

Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (either as candied yams or in pie), gravy, biscuits, at least a three bean salad, cranberry sauce (the kind that slides out of a can) and pumpkin pie for dessert (or sweet potato pie or mincemeat pie).

Note: If serving to someone who was an alive in the 1960s add a Jell-O mold.

by Anonymousreply 33November 25, 2021 7:56 PM

Hey everyone, congratulate me. I did it!

I hosted my first TG dinner.

I made turkey, stove top stuffing, instant mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, scratch made cranberry sauce, and a store bought pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

Everyone seemed to like it.

The turkey came out a bit dry because I overcooked it. Everything else tasted good.

But why didn't any mention what a nightmare it is, making cranberry sauce! I put too much water at first when I boiled the cranberries, so I had to keep dumping the liquid and I kept burning myself with the scalding water. Not to mention that cranberries make a huge mess and I had pink splashes all over my countertop and stove top and utensils!! And I couldn't quite get the flavoring right. I added orange juice and cinnamon, then brown sugar. But the sugar is very hard to get just right. By the time you get close to the right sweetness, you might go overboard with the suar, and then ruin the whole thing. Ugh.

Next time, it's canned cranberry sauce for me.

Anyway, I have some pictures.

Here's the turkey.

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by Anonymousreply 34November 26, 2021 2:25 AM

Green bean casserole..

Sauteed green beans and mushrooms in butter, then added the can of mushroom soup, some worcestershire sauce, and mozzarella cheese.

It was almost like mac and cheese. Then I topped it off with fried onions and baked it in the oven.

I think this came out the best.

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by Anonymousreply 35November 26, 2021 2:27 AM

Here's the stuffing.

It's just stove top instant stuffing, but I zhooshed it up with some walnuts and sauteed mushrooms.

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by Anonymousreply 36November 26, 2021 2:28 AM

Instant mashed potatoes.

I was going to add butter and sour cream to it, for extra flavor.

However, this particular brand (Idahoan) was so flavorful, it didn't really need anything. It was perfect and EASY to make.

I didn't take a pic of the cranberry sauce because I was so annoyed with it.

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by Anonymousreply 37November 26, 2021 2:30 AM

Nice job, OP!

by Anonymousreply 38November 26, 2021 3:11 AM

I made homemade cranberry sauce for the first time too. Mine came out a little bitter so I looked it up and this is what I did. First, salt is very important because it brings out the sweetness, who knew? Then I added 1 tablespoon of (real) maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of fresh squeezed orange juice (you can use any). Just that little bit completely changed the cranberry sauce and it is delicious. You can't taste the maple syrup or orange juice.

by Anonymousreply 39November 26, 2021 3:18 AM

Good for you, OP.

The first time I did TG, my turkey was dry too.

Here are some tips I learned after the first time.

1. Do the stuffing in a crock pot. I do not stuff the bird. I use Brownberry Sage and Onion stuffing and follow their directions to add cooked celery, etc, I also add lots of raisins. Mix it up, put in a crock pot, cook for a while, then shift temp to low. When dinner time comes, all you must do is scoop it into a bowl.

2. I am hopeless at gravy. So I started using Knorr gravy mix and add some drippings from the turkey. Guests love all the gravy.

3. Don't sweat the cranberry sauce snobs. Most people are OK with canned these days. If you want, you can have both kinds of canned.

4. Pay most attention to the turkey. The first time, I followed the directions and watched the time, but did not check it periodically. Too dry. I love turkey and knew mine was too dry. So, whenever I had it again, I made sure not to let it become too dry. The turkey is the main thing.

Well done, OP! Next time, try to think of what can be done a day or two before so that the huge rush to get everything on the table at the same time is simplified. Anything you can do in crock pots (Borrow one if necessary), even keeping mashed potatoes warm, makes it much easier.

Anyone who cooks and hosts a Thanksgiving dinner has achieved a huge accomplishment.

by Anonymousreply 40November 26, 2021 5:06 PM

Mashed potatoes are easy to make with a potato ricer. You can nuke them in the microwave. You don't even have to peel them--the peel comes off in the ricer. Then add butter, a little sour cream, garlic and stir.

Cranberry sauce can also be made in a microwave. Add sugar, maple syrup, orange juice and peel. Recipes abound.

If you're a cream spinach fan, you can use frozen spinach. Cook, drain, add cream cheese, garlic paste (in a tube) and a little parmesan and then stir over heat until everything melts.

I do homemade stuffing but in stages. Day 1, I make the cornbread. Day 2, I cube and toast it. Day before Thanksgiving, I saute the veggies and sausage. On Thanksgiving, I combine the veggie-sausage mixture, an egg, chicken broth and the cubes and bake with shreds of butter on top.

No recipes for green bean casserole since that grosses me out.

I buy a pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. The turkey breast is cooked and comes from Costco. The gravy is made from Turkey better than bouillon, water, flour and butter.

by Anonymousreply 41December 1, 2021 6:35 AM

I would suggest you invest in a sous vide cooker. I have an Anova and I only had to buy a ziplock gallon bag (1 box of about 50 on Amazon was under $10) and I was able to slowly cook my turkey the night before. It cooked at 150 C for 6 hours and only had to be taken out, cooled a bit then transfered to a baking dish and cooked at about 375-400 F for about 45 minutes to brown the skin and finish cooking the meat in general. It was cooked but tender and the meat melted in your mouth. Really easy! I'm gonna cook my ham and pot roast for Christmas the same way

by Anonymousreply 42December 1, 2021 1:34 PM
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