We celebrated Thanksgiving one week early this year. My parents were in town from the east coast so we thought we would do our full Thanksgiving meal while they were here! We are not exactly sure what we’ll do on Thanksgiving Day but we’re looking into a day trip of some sort. As much fun and as delicious as Thanksgiving dinner was, I don’t want to prepare it twice in one week’s time. 🙂 We’re changing things up this year!
Having our meal prepared early allows me to share the recipes I used with you all before it’s time for you to finalize those Thanksgiving grocery lists!
Sage + Butter Roasted Turkey w/Gravy
I shared this turkey recipe previously on my blog, so you might recognize it. My brother taught me this method over FaceTime a couple years ago. I wrote everything down right away and recorded it on my blog so I would never forget the details! Several friends have since followed this method and love it as much as we do! It takes a little planning (because a brine is involved) but it’s not difficult! You won’t be disappointed!
Sweet Potato Casserole
I used Joanna Gaines’ sweet potato casserole recipe from issue 1 of The Magnolia Journal. If you don’t own a copy, go find one! They are available at a variety of retailers. I wanted a copy the week it came out and had to visit four stores to find one because they were flying off the shelves so fast! I’m sure by now newsstands are well stocked. I know for a fact that Barnes and Noble and Walmart sell the magazine. It’s a gorgeous publication and totally worth the $8.00. My mom purchased a 2017 subscription for me and I can’t wait for the next issue!
Ok, back to the casserole. The most genius part of this take on sweet potato casserole is the cinnamon graham cracker/marshmallow topping. Oh man. So good! The only changes I would make to the recipe are these: Instead of using a potato masher, use a hand mixer. It makes the potatoes more creamy. Also, I like my sweet potato casseroles really sweet. This recipe didn’t call for brown sugar. I would stir some in along with the other mix-ins and maybe even sprinkle a bit on top before baking. Mmmm.
Green Bean Casserole
I also followed Joanna Gaines’ green bean casserole recipe from Magnolia Journal. I have previously used a Cook’s Illustrated recipe that I love, but thought I’d try something new. This one is more involved than a standard throw-together green bean casserole, but not too hard if you’re comfortable in the kitchen. It’s a from-scratch recipe meaning you will use fresh beans, make your own mushroom cream sauce, and even fry up your own crunchy onion topping! It’s so worth the extra effort!
Macaroni + Cheese
This recipe came from my cousin. My mom got the recipe from her at Thanksgiving dinner one year and then shared it with me. I absolutely love it and it’s incredibly easy! I’ve tweaked the recipe a little bit to make it my own. I make it all year around!
2 cups cavatappi noodles (you can also use traditional macaroni noodles but I’m a huge fan of cavatappi!)
4 eggs, beaten
3 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
black pepper, to taste
4 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook noodles in salted water for 10 minutes. Drain cooked noodles. Beat together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour half of the noodles into a greased 9 x 13 dish and add half of the cheese. Repeat layers. Pour milk/egg mixture over the layers. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the eggs are fully set.
I didn’t go fancy this time. Daniel picked up rolls from the store on the way home from work. 🙂 But I do love a good homemade roll. I would love to know your favorite bread machine roll recipe!
Again, not complicated. I reached for the Ocean Spray whole cranberry version. 🙂
Pie (OF COURSE!)
Everyone has his or her favorite Thanksgiving pie recipes that shouldn’t be messed with! This year, my mom made a homemade pumpkin pie. It was delicious! But one of my all-time favorite pie recipes is my mom’s Sour Cream Apple Pie. It’s so easy. You can even cheat and use a frozen pie crust if you want to (shhh, I won’t tell)!
Maybe one of more of these recipe ideas will help as you plan your Thanksgiving meal! They’re all great, but if I could recommend just one it would be the turkey! BEST. TURKEY. EVER.