How to Cook the Perfect Thanksgiving Meal

For Thanksgiving, assemble the ultimate feast your guests would definitely be thankful for. The key to making sure you serve a top notch Thanksgiving dinner is a combination of excellent recipes. Give your dinner table a festive variety by combining classic dishes with innovative ones. This will certainly make your holiday meal an exciting one for you and your guests. In this article, you will find delicious recipes for your big Thanksgiving dinner — from appetizers, desserts, and everything else in between.

Appetizers

Set the celebratory mood by making some pre-dinner bites for your guests. These are some promising starter recipes that will get the table ready and excited for the main course.

Salad with Maple Butternut Squash

Bring autumn on the table with this delicious salad that uses fall’s best ingredients such as butternut squash, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. This flavorful appetizer can be served as a main course on an ordinary day, but it’s so good that it surely deserves a spot on the holiday dinner table. It’s also a vegan and gluten-free!

To create this dish, you have to bake butternut squash cubes with a mixture of 2 tablespoons yellow or white miso, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Let it sit in the oven for about 25 minutes. While waiting for the squash to finish roasting, start preparing the dressing by mixing 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, then add salt and pepper to taste. Toss the baked butternut squash with the dressing, then combine with arugula leaves, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and diced apples on a salad bowl.

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

Save some of your energy for the main courses on the big holiday by this make-ahead appetizer recipe. You will only need three ingredients for this easy but definitely yummy dish!

To prepare, simply cut slices of bacon in half, then use each half to wrap around a scallop. Use a toothpick to fasten the bacon wrap in place. You can keep this frozen for a couple of days before Thanksgiving. Before dinner, simply thaw the wrapped scallops, squeeze some lemon juice on top, and toss in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the bacon is cooked.

Sides

Serving scrumptious sides is essential in building a delightful Thanksgiving feast. Here are some recipes your guests will definitely love.

Crispy Smashed Potatoes

If you are thinking of a new way to serve potatoes for holiday dinner, this recipe is perfect for you. This dish will let you enjoy potatoes soft and fluffy inside, and crispy on the outside.

To prepare, start by boiling small potatoes in salted water for about 15 minutes or until you can easily stick a fork into the them. Drain and dry the boiled potatoes using paper towels. After this, lay down the potatoes on a baking pan minced garlic, dried rosemary and thyme, salt, pepper, and 2 olive oil. Before baking, flatten each potato by pressing it down with a fork. Leave in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the skin is golden brown in color. Garnish with parsley then serve.

Citrus Zest Cranberry Sauce

Classic, easy, and delicious. Don’t miss out on the serving the best cranberry sauce made more flavorful with the perfect amount of citrus zest. The best part of this recipe is that it only takes 15 minutes to prepare!

In a medium saucepan, mix one a half cup of white sugar and one cup of water, adjust the stove to high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Squeeze in the juices and zest from half an orange and half a red grapefruit. Once it boils again, add in one pound of cranberries and reduce heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes or until the cranberries pop. Chill then serve.

Main Course

Cooking turkey is pretty simple that even a kitchen novice can whip up a decent turkey. But there are specific ways for you to achieve the absolute perfect turkey to serve for Thanksgiving Day.

Perfect Roast Turkey

Every year, this large bird is placed as a centerpiece for the household’s Thanksgiving meal, all the more reason your turkey platter should never be short of perfect. This year, make sure you present the star of the dining table on its most delicious form.

Before anything else, start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Rinse your fresh or thawed turkey with cold water, then drain and dry with paper towels. Make sure the neck and giblets have been removed. Season the insides with salt and pepper, then stuff it with onion and carrot. Tie the legs together with butcher’s twine.

In a roasting pan, place the dressed turkey breast side up. Rub butter with salt and pepper under and over the skin. Loosely cover the turkey with heavy-duty aluminium foil, then roast for about four hours. Baste it with pan juices every hour, then remove the foil on the second hour. Check the wellness of the turkey by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. It should read 170 degrees fahrenheit before you take the turkey out of the oven.

Rest the turkey for about 20 minutes then cut off the butchers twine to remove the carrot and onion. Drain the remaining juices in the cavity into the roasting pan and transfer turkey to a serving platter.

Dessert

Cap your Thanksgiving day feast on a sweet note with these delicious and decadent fall-inspired desserts. Go beyond the usual pumpkin or apple pie with these recipes:

Pumpkin Gingersnap Ice Cream Pie

Make an interesting twist to your regular pumpkin pie by adding gingersnap cookies and ice cream. To prepare this, start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Then, in a small bowl, mix crushed gingersnap cookies and walnuts, and add 1 tablespoon canola oil. Create the pie crust by pressing the mixture onto the bottom and sides of an ungreased pie plate. Leave in the oven to bake for about 10 minutes.

While waiting for the crust to finish, blend four cups of softened vanilla ice cream and one cup of canned pumpkin filling. Get your prepared crust and after cooling, spread the pumpkin and ice cream mixture, then top it with sprinkles of pumpkin pie spice. Place a cover then leave it in the freezer to harden overnight before serving.

Classic Chocolate Fudge

If you want a definite crowd-pleaser dessert, you can never go wrong with this classic chocolate fudge recipe. It’s sweet, chocolatey and mel-in-your-mouth smooth, that will surely leave your guests wanting more.

To create this, simply combine 3 cups milk chocolate chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1 and a half teaspoon vanilla, and a pinch of salt in a medium pot over low heat. Stir constantly until chocolate melts, then take off from heat.

Mix in one cup of powdered icing sugar until fully blended. Line a 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, then pour and spread mixture. Let it cool then store in the fridge for a couple of hours until firm. Cut into bite-sized squares then serve.

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