Thanksgiving Menu — Simplified

Last year we had an over-the-top Thanksgiving with multiple turkeys, too many sides to fit on just one plate, and lots of family.  We had all my family, plus my extended family, plus extensions of extended family like second cousins and in-laws of in-laws.  We talked about what we were thankful for that year, ate, laughed, and had a wonderful time together.  I loved it!   To me, that is what Thanksgiving is all about.

Most years it is much more simple.  A few people, a few sides, but always time together with family.  Is it worth the effort when it’s not over-the-top?  Or should we just order pizza and watch football?

If the thought of a traditional feast is overwhelming, this menu is for you.  I plan on having this meal a couple times throughout 2013; I buy frozen turkeys now while they are on sale, then pull them out of the freezer later on in the year.

Easy Thanksgiving Turkey

Sweet Potato Casserole

Salad with cranberries and pecans

Bagged salad

Dried cranberries


Blue cheese or raspberry vinaigrette

Want a hint of cranberry without eating the whole can of cranberry sauce?  Just add dried cranberries to your salad.

Want to use up the rest of your cranberry sauce?  Mix it up with equal parts olive oil and apple cider vinegar, salt to taste, and enjoy a fabulous homemade cranberry vinaigrette on top of your greens.

That’s it!

Turkey is a Thanksgiving must-have for our omnivorous family.  I love the protein, the flavor, and the versatility of the leftovers.  Plus the bones make a delightful broth.

White or sweet potatoes?  If you only do one, I say go with the yams.  Besides their amazing nutrition profile, serving them with a marshmallow topping just adds a bit of festivity.  This also allows me to skip the gravy that accompanies mashed taters, which is delicious but not so nutritious.

I like salad because it’s simple to make, and much appreciated by guests watching calories.  It also makes for a beautiful plate…deep orange potatoes, bright green salad with red cranberries, and the white and brown turkey meat.  If you make this take a picture so we all can see!  I hope to later this week.

As for dessert, choose something that you love or that means a lot to a family member.  Sometimes the sweet tooth is the one that has the most fondness for traditional holiday foods.

Happy Thanksgiving Y’all!


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