We are just weeks away from Thanksgiving! Can you believe it?! This holiday is like the gateway to the season. While it’s a time of gratitude and celebration, it’s also a time of good food! But if you’re going to play the role of host for Thanksgiving, there’s no doubt that it can be stressful. Thinking about how much food you need to feed that many people…Creating a menu that makes everyone happy….it can be exhausting! I want to give my loved ones a meal to remember – but I don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen for three days prepping. This thought led me to decide to put together a list of 8 (easy) recipes that will wow your Thanksgiving guests.
There’s this strange thing that happens to ‘dinner time’ when the holidays roll around. We end up eating at 3:00 instead of a normal time. And even when guests start arriving around 1:30, everyone’s somehow decided to fast for the morning and shows up starving! So let’s begin with a recipe that is a good starter dish to have out for the ‘pre-dinner’ necessities.
Anything with Goat Cheese is a Win
Do you agree? I hope so! These goat cheese stuffed dates are super easy to prep – about 10 minutes and are always a crowd-pleaser. All you need is:
- 12 -24 Pitted Soft Medjool Dates (figure 3 per guest)
- A bunch of Mint leaves
- 1/4 Cup Soft Goat Cheese (you can substitute Cream Cheese if you don’t like Goat Cheese)
- 12 -24 Walnuts (can use Pecans if someone has a Walnut allergy)
Start by cutting a slit in each date and pull apart the two halves without pulling apart completely. Use two spoons to scoop and place a dollop of Goat Cheese in the middle of each date. Place a walnut on top of the Goat Cheese in each date and finish with a tiny sprig of fresh mint. And in 10 minutes, you have an easy sweet and salty finger-food for your guests when they first show up!
Grateful for Garlic this Thanksgiving!
Garlic Knots, to be exact. These Garlic Knots are so delish – they actually can be something you make year-round. I love them because they are quick to whip up, they smell amazing, and they are really cute! Here’s what you’ll need for this one.
- 3/4 tsp Galic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1/2 tsp Dried Parsley
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 Tube Buttermilk biscuits (refrigerated)
- 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter
- 2 tbsp Parmesan
Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Melt the butter in the microwave. Then mix together all of the dry ingredients and the melted butter in a small bowl, set aside. Pull apart the biscuits and halve each one (16 pieces per tube). Roll each piece into a 5-inch rope, about 1/2-inch thick, tie into a knot, and tuck the ends.
Place knots onto the prepared baking sheet and brush each knot with half of the butter mixture. Place into oven and bake until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Pull them out and give them another hefty brush of what butter mixture is left and toss them on a big plate. They’ll probably be gone in a couple of minutes!
A Twist on Deviled Eggs
For whatever reason, most of us have this idea that eggs have to boil for an hour to be ‘boiled’. But it actually only takes 7 minutes to boil an egg! Making this recipe super fast and easy. The classic Deviled Eggs require a rather large amount of mustard and mayo that can honestly be a little much. So this recipe tones it down by bringing in avocado to substitute some of the other ingredients.
For these Avocado Deviled Eggs, you will need:
- 12 Peeled Hard Boiled Eggs
- 2 Ripe Avocados – peeled and pit removed
- 3 tsp fresh Lime juice
- 4 tbsp Mayonnaise
- 1 tsp fresh Parsley
- 1/4 tsp ground Mustard
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Cut your boiled eggs in half. Scoop out all of the yolks and add them to all of the other ingredients into a food processor. Put the mixture into a ziplock bag, cut a corner and pipe the filling into the center of each egg. From start to finish, this recipe takes 20 minutes. I like to place them on the table first as a sign that it’s time for everyone to sit down for dinner…Instead of yelling “dinner’s ready!”
The Berry of the Season
When I was a kid, having cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving meant opening a can of cranberry jelly and sliding it onto a plate. It was definitely an after-thought. But cranberries are actually one of the original dishes from the very first Thanksgiving in 1621. These special berries continue to grace our tables but it’s usually not a star dish. Let’s change that this year! For this simple and super yummy recipe, it will take 25 minutes. You will need the following.
- 1 Package fresh Cranberries
- 1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
- 1 cup Cranberry juice concentrate
- 3 tbsp Orange Marmalade
- 1/4 tsp Allspice
- 1/3 cup Sugar
- 3 tbsp Orange Juice
Combine the cranberries, cranberry juice concentrate, dried cranberries, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the berries pop, about 15 minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the orange juice, orange marmalade, and allspice. Transfer to a small bowl; refrigerate until chilled. It’s a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and spice and will make your guests wanting the recipe for sure!
B is for Brussel Sprouts. And Bourbon. And Bacon!
Three B’s that will make everyone wanting seconds of this dish. Sounds (and looks) complicated, but actually only takes 30 minutes to make! Bourbon is one of those things that just seems to get even better around the holidays. You can save some for after dessert as everyone sits around the living room with food-comas. But to introduce it to the meal, let’s dive into this amazing recipe. You will need:
- 4 strips Bacon (you can get microwave bacon for this, it won’t ruin the recipe!)
- 1 lb Brussel Sprouts
- 1/2 cup pure Maple syrup
- 1 tsp ground Mustard
- 1/2 cup Pecans
- 2 oz Bourbon
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Okay so you can cheat a little here – Trader Joes has cooked Brussel Sprouts that you can heat up quickly to cut out the cooking process! They are delicious and work perfectly with this recipe. If you want to start from scratch, you can start by boiling water and then blanching halved sprouts for 5 to 6 minutes in the boiling water.
Whichever method you begin with, the next step is to dice up the bacon and toss together the pecans and the bourbon for 2 minutes in a large skillet. Add the mustard, maple syrup, and salt and pepper and stir for a few seconds. Add the cooked Brussel sprouts to coat with your sauce and there you have it! Bacon Bourbon Brussel Sprouts!
You’ll need something to wash all this amazing food down. This Sangria is a great drink to have on tap for your guests. It doesn’t take long to whisk together and it’s an easy recipe to give someone to make if they arrive a little earlier than everyone else! There’s always that person that comes 30 minutes before your gathering time. Haha.
This recipe can make 6 servings, so if you’re expecting more, simply double or triple each ingredient. It will go quick as it’s smooth and a nice drink to sip on throughout the 6 hour ‘dinner’. Here are the ingredients for this “Harvest Sangria”:
- 1 Barlett Pear
- 2 Honeycrisp Apples
- 1 Orange
- 1/4 cup Pomegranate Seeds
- 2 Cinnamon sticks
- 2 1/2 cups Apple Cider
- 1 cup Club Soda
- 1 bottle of your favorite White Wine
- 1/2 cup Vodka
Dice the apples, pears, and orange into 1″ cubes. Add all ingredients to a large pitcher and stir well. Throw in the refrigerator until dinner is ready. Transfer to a large bowl and let everyone enjoy the taste of Fall Harvest.
If you’re looking for some other holiday booze ideas, head over to my Holiday Cocktail post!
A Dessert Worth Writing Home About
This is a show-stopper dessert. And the best part is it will only take you 25 minutes to make. It’s also a wonderful left-overs style dessert (if it makes it that far). This Blackberry Chocolate Pudding is a nice change from all the typical pumpkin and apple-flavored desserts for Thanksgiving. The blackberries give the chocolate a slight sourness that when paired with vanilla ice cream, is pure perfection to close the feast.
How to make this crazy-good pudding:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Grease a small, deep rectangular baking dish
- Melt 1/2 sticks Butter and 7 oz Chocolate in a Medium microwave-safe bowl
- Let the melted butter and chocolate cool for a minute or so
- Add 1 cup sugar, 3 eggs, 1/3 cup flour, and 1 cup frozen blackberries to the bowl
- Stir all together and scoop into your baking dish
- Bake for 20 minutes
And you have an amazing gooey rich dessert to end the meal. People won’t need a lot of this dessert since it is quite rich, but that’s the beauty of it, too. Add a little dollop of Vanilla Bean ice cream and you’re all set. You can also make this recipe gluten-free by using GF flour!
The Perfect Thanksgiving Nightcap
As all of your guests sit around watching either four episodes of Friends after dinner. It’s coming closer to closing time. But you don’t want to send everyone home without giving them some coffee to get them awake enough to make it home safely! This Pumpkin creamer is a great last addition to the much-needed cup of coffee. I suggest making it before dinner so it’s ready to pull out of the fridge as you throw on a pot of Jo.
- Add these ingredients to a small pot and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently
- 1 1/2 cups Milk of your choice (I like to use Coconut Almond milk)
- 2 tbsp Pumpkin Puree
- 2 tbsp pure Maple Syrup
- 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 2 Cinnamon sticks
And there you have it! 8 amazing recipes for this Thanksgiving to give you the title ‘Hostess with the Mostest” Of course I didn’t include a turkey recipe since those are not really quick or easy. But if you don’t want to stress on a dried-out turkey this year, there’s no harm in ordering one now from your favorite restaurant or even WholeFoods!
Remember to make your ingredient lists about a week before the holiday so you have everything you need to have a successful feast. Anything you can get help making, take the assistance, there’s no sense in killing yourself by trying to make every dish on your own! Thanksgiving is all about family and sharing gratitude. Share your time in the kitchen and make beautiful memories with one another. From my family to yours, Happy Holidays!