Taking the Guesswork out of the Thanksgiving Menu

Simple conveniences go a long way, especially when pre-planning a holiday menu. Forget flipping through recipe books, family recipes, endlessly scrolling online, or dealing with kids’ eye-rolling at the dinner table for the same dish that’s never been a hit. Take a closer look at this complete menu from start to finish—tailored for your ease in menu-planning by Chef to the Stars and Founder of the FoodCulture App Ryan Rondeno—that’s as delectable as it is do-able for any novice chef to a pro. These tried-and-true recipes will create an unforgettable experience that’s sure to become a mainstay for mealtime, well beyond the holiday!

1. Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Description

Caramelized and crispy Brussel sprouts are best with tangy warm bacon vinaigrette! The pistachios add an excellent bite to the dish!

Cook Time: 35 minutes Serves: 4

Ingredients

4 strips of bacon, diced
3 shallots, diced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbs. dijon mustard
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. bacon fat
1 lb. Brussel sprouts, cut in half 1 c. red grapes
1/2 c. pistachios, toasted
1/4 c. pecorino cheese, grated salt, and pepper to taste

Instruction

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toast pistachios for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Set aside.

For the Brussel Sprouts:

Slice brussel sprouts in half. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Remove and set aside. In a 10 inch saute pan, add olive oil at medium heat. Saute red onions for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic. Cook for another minute. Add grapes. Cook for 2 minutes. Fold in brussel sprouts and warm bacon vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Taste for season adjustments. Garnish with pecorino cheese and pistachios.

For the Bacon Vinaigrette:

In a large saute pan, render the bacon until crispy. Remove from the heat and whisk in the mustard, garlic, and vinegar. Whisk in olive oil and bacon fat in a slow thin stream. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Brussel Sprout Salad

2. Roasted Garlic and Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes

Description

Roasted garlic is a great complement to mashed potatoes. The addition of sour cream and cream cheese adds extra creaminess to the dish

Cook Time: 45 minutes Serves: 6

Ingredients

4 large Yukon Gold potatoes 1 c. heavy cream
2-3 oz. butter
4 oz. sour cream 2 oz. cream cheese
1 medium garlic bulb
1 bunch of scallions, sliced (optional) 1/2 c. parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Instruction

For the Roasted Garlic:

Preheat oven to 375°. Cut the top of the roasted garlic bulb. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover in aluminum foil and roast for 35-40 minutes. Once done, Allow to cool slightly, squeeze the garlic from the bulb.

For the Potatoes:

Peel and dice the potatoes evenly. Add to a large pot and cover with water. Season with salt. Meanwhile, add potatoes to a large pot. Cook for 25-30 minutes at medium heat. Once the potatoes are soft, drain in a colander. In a large bowl, mash or rice potatoes, add butter, cream, cream cheese, sour cream, and roasted garlic. Mash until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning adjustments. Garnish with sliced scallions. Serve immediately.

Mashed Potatoes

3. Buttermilk Cornbread

Description

An easy and quick bread that will complement your Thanksgiving dinner. Serve with honey butter or herb butter.

Cook Time: 30 minutes Serve: 10

Ingredients

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. finely ground cornmeal 1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 eggs

Instruction

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, add sugar, salt, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cornmeal. Add eggs, buttermilk, and heavy cream. Whisk until smooth. Fold in 1/4 cup of melted butter. In a 9×13 pan, spray with baking spray. Pour cornbread batter into the pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Once done, brush with 1/4 cup of melted butter. Enjoy!

Baked Homemade Cornbread

4. Smoked Gouda and Boursin Biscuits

Description

Tasty biscuits made with Boursin cheese, smoked gouda, and grilled scallion butte Cook Time: 35 minutes

Serves: 8

Ingredients

2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tbs. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
4 oz. butter, chilled, and cut into cubes 2 tbs. shortening 3 oz. Boursin shallot and chive cheese 7 oz. smoked gouda cheese
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 c. scallions, thinly sliced (green parts only) 1 c. buttermilk, plus 1/4 cup to brush biscuits 1 tbs. granulated sugar
4 oz. butter softened
1 tbs. garlic, chopped
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbs. honey

Note: Use white parts of scallions to grill for compound butter.

Instruction

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. For the Grilled Scallion Butter: Grill white parts of scallion for 3-4 minutes on the grill. In a food processor, add 4 oz. butter, garlic, lemon zest, honey, and scallions. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside in a bowl. For the biscuit dough: In a bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, green parts of scallions, and black pepper. Stir with a whisk to combine. Add 4 oz. of chilled butter. Using a pastry cutter, blend butter and shortening until it’s the size of peas. Pour 1 cup of buttermilk into the flour mixture. Using your hands, gently toss both mixtures together until most of the mixture is moistened. Add the Boursin cheese and smoked gouda. Knead both kinds of cheese into the dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently mix with flour until no longer sticky. Roll dough out into a 1/2 inch thick sheet and cut with a floured cookie cutter. Repeat until the dough is used. Brush each biscuit with remaining buttermilk. Bake for 15 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown. Brush scallion butter on top of each biscuit. Serve.

Smoked Gouda Biscuit

5. Roasted Turkey Gravy

Description

This gravy recipe is a simple and easy gravy to accompany your turkey! The flavors are smooth and balance the rich gravy!

Cook Time: 45 minutes Serve: 8

Ingredients

2 lbs. turkey bones
2 medium onions, medium diced 4 ribs of celery, medium diced
2 carrots, medium diced
6 cloves of garlic, smashed
6 strips of bacon
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of sage 4 c. chicken broth
1 c. red wine
3.5 oz. demi-glace base 2 tbs. all-purpose flour salt and pepper to taste

Instruction

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the turkey bones and saute for 3-4 minutes or until caramelized. Saute the bacon for 3-4 minutes. Add onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add thyme, sage, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add flour and stir until fully incorporated. Deglaze with red wine. Reduce by half. Add Chicken broth demi-glace base. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Strain the sauce. Taste for seasoning adjustments. Serve with roasted turkey! Enjoy!

6. Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Description

A quick and easy side dish to add to your holiday buffet dinner Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients

12 oz. fresh cranberries 2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
2 bay leaves zest and juice of 1 orange zest and juice of 1 lemon 1 c. granulated sugar pinch of salt

Instruction

In a 4 qt. saucepan over low heat, combine all ingredients. Cook for 8 minutes or until cranberries burst and sugar dissolves. Remove pan from heat and let cool completely. Remove bay leaves, star anise, and cinnamon sticks from the pan. Add cranberry mixture to a bowl and refrigerate. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Cranberry Sauce

7. Shrimp Cornbread Dressing

Description

Homemade cornbread will present the best results. The mixture of Italian sausage and seafood will add a fantastic bite to the dressing!

Cook Time: 1:25 Serves: 12

Ingredients

1 cornbread recipe
1 large onion, small diced
3 ribs of celery, small diced
1 green bell pepper, small diced
4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tsp. thyme, chopped
1 tbs. sage, chopped
8 oz. Italian sausage
1 lb. 21-25 shrimp, coarsely chopped
3 c. chicken stock
1 bunch of scallions, sliced (green and white parts) 16 oz. chicken liver, pureed
1 c. parsley, chopped
3 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste

Instruction

Brush a 9×13 dish with softened butter. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. For the cornbread: Make a cornbread recipe. Allow to completely cool. Cut the cornbread into croutons and toast for 15 minutes in the oven. Remove and set aside. For the cornbread dressing: In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, heat butter, and olive oil. Cook sausage, breaking up until coarsely ground and golden brown. Cook for 7-8 minutes. Add onion, green bell pepper, and celery. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic, chicken liver, thyme, and sage. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add broth and reduce by 1/4. Remove from heat. Add cornbread pieces. Mix until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper and stir until fully combined. Taste for seasoning adjustments. Add eggs, shrimp, scallions, and parsley. Pour mixture into a baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden brown and the dressing is set in the middle. Serve warm with turkey, chicken, or duck. Enjoy!

8. Creole Ribeye Dirty Rice

Cornbread Stuffing

Description

Creole dirty rice is a beautiful side dish to any Thanksgiving!

Cook Time: 45 minutes Serve: 10

Ingredients

1 lbs. ribeye, ground
1/2 lbs. pork butt, ground
1 lbs. chicken livers, pureed
1 large onion, small diced
3-4 ribs celery, small diced
1 green bell pepper, small diced
5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 bunch of scallions, sliced (green and white parts) 3-4 tbs. Nola Creole Rub
2 c. long grain rice
4 c. chicken stock
3-4 tbs. olive oil
2 bay leaves
1/2 c. parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Instruction

Using a meat grinder: Cut excess fat from ribeye and pork butt. Cut meat into large diced chunks. Grind meat according to preference. Rinse chicken livers and puree in a blender until smooth.

In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the ribeye-pork mixture. Cook until the meat is browned, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken livers and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoons of oil. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, scallion (white part only) and garlic,. Season with creole spice, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add the rice and bay leaves. Toast rice in mixture for 2-3 minutes. Pour in chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Cook until the rice is tender. Remove from the heat. Remove bay leaves. Taste for seasoning adjustments. Stir in the and serve scallions and parsley.

Creole Rice

9. Truffled Macaroni and Cheese

Description

Bring your mac and cheese to a new level with this truffled mac and cheese!

Cook Time: 45 minutes Serves: 8

Ingredients

1 lb. elbow noodles 4 oz. butter
1/2 c. all-purpose flour 2 c. milk 2 c. heavy cream
10 oz. parmesan cheese, grated
12 oz. smoked gouda, grated
28 oz. white cheddar, grated
8 oz. fontina cheese
4 oz. truffle puree
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
truffle zest or truffle oil to garnish (optional)

Instruction

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter 9×13 casserole pan. Set aside. In a 4qt pot, fill with water. Once it comes to a boil, season with salt. Cook pasta for 8- 10 minutes. Drain. Toss with 1-2 tbsp. olive oil and set aside. In a 6 quart pot, add the butter on medium heat. Cook until completely melted. Add flour and whisk until incorporated. This will create a blond roux. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add milk and heavy cream. Whisk until combined with the roux. Cook for 4-5 minutes at medium heat. It will give you a slightly thick consistency. Add all cheeses, except 16 oz. of white cheddar. Cook for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Fold noodles and truffle puree into the cheese mixture. Fold in eggs until incorporated. Add grated white cheddar cheese. Place mac and cheese mixture into a casserole pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Note: For an added umami, shave fresh truffles over mac and cheese.

Truffle Mac and Cheese

10. Little Gem, Persimmon, Feta Cheese, Apple Vinaigrette

Description

Fuyu persimmons make a great harvest salad and taste best at peak ripeness. This healthy salad recipe is flavorful with feta cheese and toasted sunflower seeds.

Cook Time: 25 minutes Serves: 4

Ingredients

1 container of little gem lettuce
2 Fuyu persimmons, peeled and sliced 1 treviso or radicchio lettuce
1 delicata squash, sliced and roasted 1/4 c. parsley. chopped
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar 1 tbs. dijon mustard
1 shallot, small diced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped 1 tsp. thyme, chopped
1 tsp. oregano, chopped
1 tbs. honey
3/4 c. olive oil
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese 1/2 c. sunflower seeds
salt and pepper to taste

Instruction

For the Greens: Wash greens and spin in a salad spinner until dry. Set aside. Repeat the same steps with treviso lettuce or radicchio. For the apple vinaigrette: In a small bowl, add apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, thyme, oregano, and honey. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until the dressing has emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning adjustments.

For the Sunflower Seeds: In a small saute pan, toast the sunflower seeds at 375 degrees for 4-5 minutes. (Keep an eye on the sunflower seeds. They can brown quickly.)

For the Salad: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half. Remove seeds and slice. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange on a sheet tray lined with foil. Roast for 15 minutes or until tender. Allow to fully cool. In a large bowl, add little gem lettuce and radicchio. Add delicata squash and persimmon. Toss with vinaigrette. Arrange on a plate. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese, sunflower seeds, and parsley. Serve immediately.

Persimmon Salad

11. Maple Roasted Turkey

Description

Fresh herbs like sage and rosemary help balance the robust flavors of the turkey. The maple syrup adds a sweet touch that’ll brighten the recipe.

Time to cook: 04:00:00
No of People to Serve
: 12

Ingredients

1 12-14 lbs. turkey
4 strips bacon, large diced
1 large onion, quartered
3 ribs celery, large diced
2 carrots, large diced
20 cloves of garlic, smashed 1 orange, halved
1 lemon, halved
1/2 c. maple syrup
1 c. butter, softened 1/4 bunch sage
1/4 bunch rosemary
1/4 bunch thyme
1/2 c. Ancho-Chile BBQ Rub salt and pepper to taste

Instruction

The day before Thanksgiving or holiday party: After using the turkey brine recipe, remove turkey from the brine. Rinse well and dry. Rub with olive oil and season with ancho-chile bbq rub. Refrigerate overnight. Day of Thanksgiving or holiday party: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the lower rack to the center. In a small bowl, whisk maple syrup, and butter. Season with salt and pepper. In the cavity of the turkey, stuff with bacon, onion, celery, carrot, thyme, sage, rosemary, lemon, garlic, and orange. Once the turkey is stuffed, truss the bird with kitchen twine by crossing the legs and tying them. Rub the turkey with maple butter. Make sure to rub under the skin as well. Save 1 cup of maple butter for basting. Place turkey onto a roasting pan with a rack. Roast the turkey for 3 hours and baste with the maple butter every 30 minutes. Roast until the thigh reads an internal temperature of 170 degrees. The thigh juices will run clear. Once done, remove the turkey to a pan and allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes. Carve and serve with turkey gravy. Enjoy!

Maple Roasted Turkey

Have a great Thanksgiving with your friends and family!

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