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Posted on Nov 15, 2012 in Food | 19 comments

Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

Part of me is literally flabbergasted that Thanksgiving is one week away. ONE. WEEK. I don’t know about you, but Turkey Day has seriously snuck up on me this year! I know I probably say that every year, but this year really does seem like it’s flying by. Craaaazy.

Thanksgiving is my third favorite holiday (the first being Christmas, duh, and the second being my birthday because YES MY BIRTHDAY IS A HOLIDAY SHUT YOUR CAKEHOLE) so I’m definitely happy it’s so soon. I’ve taken root as the primary cook for our family Thanksgivings, which is a huge joy to me because I love to cook so much. That said, planning out Thanksgiving dinner is not without its stressful moments.

This year will be the largest group of my family members to gather for a Thanksgiving meal that I’m head chef-ing up. Luckily, I’ve got my mom and two of my aunts who are all wonderful cooks as well, so I’m sure we’ll be able to tackle everything without a problem. I can’t wait to get everyone together, but I am trying to be a smidge more proactive this year. So far, that’s included actually designing the menu ahead of time! And here’s what I’ve come up with so far.


Turkey. Uh, duh. As in years past, I plan to use a Gretchened-up variation of Alton Brown’s Good Eats Roast Turkey recipe, which includes an overnight brine. This recipe honestly yields the best turkey ever. The brine keeps the turkey breast moist and delicious, and it seriously feels foolproof. There’s no basting, no checking, no turning of the bird. It requires the first 20 minutes on super high heat to seal everything in, and then you just turn down the heat and forgettaboutit. I always serve with pan-drippings gravy as well. Nom nom nom.

Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes

I mentioned a couple days ago that I was testing out a new mashed potato recipe, but that it didn’t quite live up to my Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes. Well, that’s because I believe few things can. I still am in love with this recipe, and I haven’t had a chance to make it for most of my family yet, so I’m very excited to. This recipe involves absolutely ZERO butter, making it far more waistline-friendly than your average taters. Instead, it uses roasted garlic, olive oil, and a splash of heavy cream. So good. So freaking good.

Stuffing with Butternut Squash and Apples

I am also planning on recreating my Stuffing with Butternut Squash and Apples recipe, which turned out truly fantastic last year. Usually there are a couple of vegetarians present at our family gatherings (my sister, in particular), but since Jenny and Dan are spending T-Day with his parents this year, I’m thinking about adding a little sausage into the stuffing as well. Either way, stuffing is my 2nd favorite Thanksgiving meal component (taters is #1), so I can’t wait!

Other meal components will include maple bacon roasted Brussels sprouts, this cranberry and pear compote that my mom and aunt made the last time we had a family dinner (it blew my jalapeno-cranberry relish recipe outta the water!), and I also want to try a new spin on kind of a green bean casserole. You know, find a way to make something with all the traditional flavor, but none of the Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom? Hahaha. We’ll see how that shakes out.

Still haven’t made any decisions on dessert yet, but you can rest assured there will be pie. OH SO MUCH PIE.

Man, I love Thanksgiving.

What’s your favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal? Are you all about the turkey, more of a sides person, or seriously into dessert?


  1. My family sucks at making turkey so I’m pretty indifferent to the bird (plus poultry is not really my thing anyway).
    I prefer the sides – mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, veggies – and definitely pie.

    • Oh yeah! Sweet potatoes! I totally forgot about those! We usually have some kind of sweet potato dish, too. Ooooh, more to think on! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. OMG, please make that quinoa salad thingy too!

    • Mmm, I totally forgot about the cranberry quinoa salad, too! Argh, recipes are falling out of my brain!!

  3. My mom makes her stuffing with challah, and it’s the best stuffing I’ve ever had. Which is saying a lot, because stuffing is probably in my top five favorite foods. Since I was a vegetarian for 10-ish years, my mom always made two versions: one inside the bird, and one veggie-style in a casserole dish.

    A few weeks ago, I was talking to my mom about this being my first Thanksgiving eating turkey in 10 years now that I’m post-veggie, and she then decided it was time to reveal the biggest secret she’s ever kept from me. Every year for the past 10 years, SHE HAS PUT DICED UP TURKEY LIVER INTO THE VEGETARIAN STUFFING.


    The fact that she’d tricked me into not only eating meat, but into eating meat ENTRAILS for the past 10 years was so funny that I’m already starting to forget how seriously disgusting it is.

    That having been said, I definitely want to try your ACTUAL vegetarian stuffing recipe, though I’ll probably wait until I’ve moved to Tennessee in case my mom tries to sneak liver into it.

    • HAHAHAHAHA, oh man, your mom is awesome. I feel like I would be affronted on your behalf if you weren’t already back to eating meat though? But yes! Stuffing forever, and you should totally try my recipe. Who needs to wait for Thanksgiving to make stuffing anyway? Why am I not eating stuffing all year round?

      Oh yeah, because once you pop, you just can’t stop (stuffing is the pringles of real food, evidently). And I’m supposed to be a weight loss blogger, I guess.

  4. This is the 10th year of a Friendsgiving for me! But the first time I’m switching it up and brining the bird, and plan to use the Good Eats recipe! What changes do you make to it? As of now I’m planning to just follow the recipe, although I was slightly hesitant that the apple/cinnamom/all spice in it would be too sweet/spicy taste for me…but can’t ignore all the 4000 positive reviews that recipe has so it must be good!

    • I don’t think it really has any kind of sweetness to it at all. I mean, maybe there is, but it’s so subtle you’d never identify it as such. Most of my changes have to do with the aromatics I put inside — I follow the concept but really jam that thing full of apples, onions, sage, and cinnamon. I also put some butter between the skin and the flesh of the turkey to help keep the skin crispy (I think the Good Eats recipe only calls for brushing with oil?)


  5. The stuffing is my absolute favorite! Unfortunately my boyfriend was diagnosed with Celiac disease so I have to come up with some kind of gluten-free stuffing. ๐Ÿ™ I have a sneaking suspicion that gluten-free bread just won’t taste the same. Oh well, at least we can still make all the other dishes the same, and I’m most likely going to use your mashed potato recipe, sounds so good!

    • I see a lot of stuffing requests that use rice, maybe you could look up something like that? I’m also now thinking of making a quinoa and cranberry salad thing, which could probably also serve as a sort of stuffing replacement? The mashed taters are SOOOOO goooooood!!!

    • What about making a gluten-free stuffing using cornbread? It should be really easy to whip up a GF cornbread, using cornmeal and a GF flour/flour blend.

  6. Oh, I am ALLLLLL about the sides. I would even be willing to forego some dessert for more sides (and that’s coming from someone who loves pie). Just stick me in a corner with some sweet potato casserole & stuffing, and I’m good to go.

  7. I’m actually kind of puzzled about Thanksgiving because I’m only cooking for my boyfriend and me (and, well, my cat). I want to have a Thanksgiving dinner but definitely don’t want to spend all day cooking entirely too much food.

    I’m a stuffing girl all the way. Also, last year I made a sweet potato casserole with orange zest/juice and candied pecans and girrrrrl, it was AWESOME.

  8. I love everything about thanksgiving ๐Ÿ™‚ mmmmmmmm Mashed potatoes.. I also brine our turkey ๐Ÿ™‚ It is soooo good!

  9. We make a sausage-pear stuffing and I love how sweet [and tender] the pears get! Sweet and savory blended together… And the crispy edges are the best [IMO] so we make stuffing cups using a muffin tin ๐Ÿ™‚ Stuffing and sweet potatoes are my two favorites!


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