Who saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this weekend? Kramer and I saw it with some friends this weekend and I really enjoyed it! I have never read any of the books, so I don’t have the burden of knowing what they left out or what they changed, but I know that I liked what I saw. I think that these movies are just a lot of fun; I don’t have to think about it too much, but it’s a really well done big budget production with great actors and fantastic special effects. What’s not to like? I especially loved seeing the Cowboys and Aliens trailer before the movie. I am so excited for that. I know that I’m not the only one who looks forward to trailers more than I do the movie, sometimes.
It was great to just relax and hang out this weekend, because this is the week of Thanksgiving! I know that this is definitely a hectic time for everyone. You not only have to do more cooking in one day than most people do in two weeks, but you have to plan ahead, buy all of the ingredients, know how much time you’ll need, prioritize, and coordinate the beginning, middle, and ending of the preparation and serving of each dish! All of that, and there are always a million people running around, phone calls to be made to family and friends in other cities or states, and more. Despite all of this, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. This year, Kramer and I are playing it pretty low key, especially because I have to work the next day. It will be our first Thanksgiving alone in our apartment. I’m looking forward to waking up, cooking all day, and splitting a bottle of wine with my husband while we spend some quality time together. Knowing how stressful this holiday can be, despite all of the good stuff that comes along with it, as well, I wanted to do a little round-up of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes that everyone in your family will love. I wanted to help give you all a little inspiration for your own very special holiday meal! My own menu will include a number of the following dishes, and I hope that they will be on your table this Thursday, too!
Finally, be sure to check out my Curried Butternut Squash Post for your last chance to see how you can win a trip home for the Holidays from Folgers!
What better way to start off Thanksgiving morning than with these delicious Pumpkin Pie Pancakes? They are sure to put you in a festive mood, and the recipe makes enough for a crowd. You can use pure pumpkin or pumpkin pie mix to make these. Either way, the pumpkin puree adds a level of richness and moisture unlike any pancakes you’ve ever had! Each bite will remind you of the wonderful meal ahead, and make you feel like a kid again. These pancakes not only have pumpkin, but a hint of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, as well. These fluffy ‘cakes will be sure to put a smile on the faces of your friends and family.
This Curried Butternut Squash Soup is not only vegetarian, but a welcome twist on an old favorite. The butternut squash is rich and flavorful, attributes which are only accentuated by the fragrant curry and turmeric. This soup is quite autumnal. It is mild, rich, and just a little bit sweet, which makes for the perfect starting dish for your Thanksgiving meal.
This is a lovely, seasonal side dish for Thanksgiving: a Maple Roasted Yam Salad with Dried Cranberries and Toasted Pecans. This dish can be served hot or cold, which is perfect for bringing to a potluck dinner or for making ahead of time. The yams are slightly sweet, rich, and hearty, while the acidity of the cranberries and the sweetness of the maple syrup really bring out all of the best flavors in the yams. The toasted pecans add a much needed crunchy element as well. Other than tasting fabulous, this salad is beautiful and colorful, so it will be sure to make your Thanksgiving dinner pop!
This is another option for your sweet potatoes this year. These Savory Sweet Potatoes are perfectly savory, proving once and again that sweet potatoes do not need to have marshmallows on them all of the time. The ingredients are simple: fresh herbs, garlic, and shallots roasted simply in the oven with some salt and pepper. My husband said that he prefers sweet potatoes prepared this way to even good ol’ mashed potatoes, so we will be enjoying this dish with our meal this year.
My Mom’s Sausage, Chestnut, and Apple Stuffing was a staple in my childhood. I grew up loving this stuffing, and I will continue to make it every year as long as I am able because it is, hands down, the most delicious stuffing in the entire world. I know a lot of people say that about a lot of family recipes, but this stuffing is outstanding. It is made with sweet Italian sausage, crisp apples, juicy dried cranberries, freshly roasted chestnuts, fresh herbs, and stuffing cubes. It is the most perfect stuffing combination. It’s not wet and mushy, like a lot of stuffings, but instead, full of life and flavor, bursting with different tastes and textures that will keep you and your guests coming back for more.
This Sugar Pumpkin Lasagna is a fabulous vegetarian option for your Thanksgiving centerpiece. Instead of doing something like a “tofurkey”, I believe that you should be able to take a little creative license with your vegetarian options. This lasagna is baked inside of a “pie” or “sugar” pumpkin, using the rich pumpkin itself, ricotta cheese, chestnuts, and a mixture of caramelized onions, garlic, and meaty mushrooms. All of this is layered between lasagna noodles, seasonal yellow zucchini, and a luscious, creamy bechamel sauce. The combination is beautifully savory and quite impressive.
These White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles are decadent little desserts that are perfect for large groups. The cake is a heavenly combination of browned butter, warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and pumpkin puree, which is then combined with a rich cinnamon cream cheese frosting. All of that is rolled up into balls and dipped in white chocolate, making for perhaps one of the most sinfully delicious treats that you will have this holiday season. Not only are these little truffles packed with interesting flavor combinations, but they are easy to make a lot of and can be decorated in any number of creative ways.
These Salted Dulce de Leche cookies are not traditional for a Thanksgiving dessert, but they are quite delicious and a fun way to mix things up this year. The salted caramel is a sophisticated way to dress up an ordinary sandwich cookie, and the cookies themselves are soft and pillowy, a perfect pairing with the sweet and salty caramel. I promise you that these won’t last long on the dessert table.
These Monkey Bread Mini-Muffins are another great way to make a lot of desserts for a group of people in a short period of time. These can be made in the bread machine or by hand, and the ooey-gooey cinnamon filling topped with a simple vanilla glaze make for a lovely way to end a meal, as well as a great way to jump-start the following morning (if there are any leftovers, that is).