Simple and Delicious Thanksgiving Recipes and Tips!

If you know me well, you know that hosting Thanksgiving is one of my all time favorite things to do ever.  I have done it a few times and have a Thanksgiving guide for the intermediate cook and ambitious host HERE.  I love all the recipes so much but have realized that only a handful of them are THANKSGIVING to ME. So I thought I’d share a simplified guide here, including only the most critical recipes from my Thanksgiving guide, and then giving you tips for the rest of the recipes.  If you are super picky about a certain side dish that I suggest to purchase instead, definitely check out my original Thanksgiving guide for divine homemade recipes for every aspect of the feast!

First, let’s talk about the essential elements to a Thanksgiving feast.  Here is a list of everything I require at our table:

Turkey

Gravy

Cranberry Sauce

Mashed Potatoes

Stuffing

Sweet Potatoes

Rolls

Veggie side dishes (at least 2)

Salad 

Beverage

Pumpkin Dessert

 

Am I missing anything? You may not need some of these things on your table for it to feel official, but these dishes are usually included in a typical Thanksgiving Feast.  Now, let me tell you which dishes are sentimental to me and are required to be prepared a certain way in order for them to count:

Mashed Potatoes

Sweet Potato Soufflee

Creamed Corn (one of the veggie sides)

Rolls

Did you notice I did not mention turkey?  Yeah, I don’t really care about turkey!  Or super fancy stuffing.  Or even Pumpkin Pie!!  But you might care about all those things, and maybe not so much the things I care about.  In which case, go check out my original Thanksgiving guide for recipes and inspiration!  If you are hosting and want to keep it as simple as possible but still delicious, here are my suggestions:

Turkey

Either purchase, have someone else be in charge of it, or do a Butterball from Costco in the crockpot!  Slice it up before serving and garnish with some sage/rosemary sprigs to fancify it and no one will care there’s not a huge bird on the table.

Gravy

Gravy is pretty simple to make, but even simpler to buy!  Make it your own by adding cream of mushroom soup or thinning it out with some chicken broth (or drippings from the turkey, if you have them).

Cranberry Sauce

Just buy the can!  But don’t keep the can shape once you put it in the serving dish.  Use a fork to stir it up and make it look more like a jelly/jam.

Mashed Potatoes

Okay, this one matters to me.  Use THIS recipe and never be the same!

Stuffing

Would you stone me if I said just use the boxed variety?  It’s dang good, people! Definitely does the job for our family.

Sweet Potatoes

Another essential for our table, but only if they are made like THIS.  Don’t be intimidated by the word “soufflee.”  It’s really just a simple casserole!

Rolls

This one is also important to me, but you can buy amazing rolls and be just as satisfied.  I don’t mind making homemade rolls and I have the most delicious yet SIMPLE roll recipe in the world right HERE.

Veggie side dishes (at least 2)

Okay, not everyone loves creamed corn the way I do.  I HAVE to have it for Thanksgiving.  It’s so decadent that I don’t let myself have it any other time of year, so if no one else cares about it I still bring it to share.  THIS recipe.  I know people associate green bean casserole with Thanksgiving, but I really don’t care about that.  I do, however, LOVE Brussels sprouts and could eat them like popcorn and have been known to on more than one occasion.  If you, too, love Brussles, HERE is the recipe I prefer.

Salad 

You could easily get away with no salad, or a bagged salad from Costco.  But if you are interested in a delicious Fall salad that isn’t hard at all to throw together, I love THIS recipe.  We also use the balsamic dressing on pizza!

Beverage

Of course water is totally adequate.  I like to at least offer some type of fizzy beverage, too.  But nothing complicated, obviously.

Pumpkin Dessert

Okay, I know I said I don’t care about pumpkin pie, but I do care about a pumpkin dessert.  But I also care about not killing myself over it.  If you want to purchase a pumpkin pie, that’s obviously going to be the least amount of stress.  But here are my three favorite pumpkin recipes that are so easy and that taste SO MUCH BETTER than pumpkin pie to me! Pumpkin Crumble Brownies || Pumpkin Croissant Pudding || Pumpkin Doughnut Holes . Another tip: all these desserts are amazing with Mexican Hot Chocolate!

And there you have it!  A simple but delicious Thanksgiving Feast for you and your family.  Just remember, if you are interested in more homemade recipes, check out that original Thanksgiving Guide that I mentioned.  No matter which guide you choose, I hope I’ve been able to offer ideas and inspiration to help bring joy and satisfaction into your home on that wonderful day!