Happy Tuesday everyone, I’m finally sharing Our 2019 Thanksgiving Menu and Guide and I am so excited! This year’s menu is all about the traditional Thanksgiving meal…but with a few twists, some brand new recipes, and most importantly…how to make everything in advance. Yes, our menu is all about making dishes ahead, so that the cook can enjoy the night with family and friends too. Our goal here is for less stress and an incredibly delicious meal.
I’m a little late, but very excited to be sharing this year’s Thanksgiving menu with you guys! Between the book release, promo events, keeping up with daily content, and travel…it’s been a bit of a challenge to squeeze in time to photograph our entire Thanksgiving. But here it is, and it turned out great. My goal with this year’s menu? Create an entirely make-ahead/prep-in-advance menu. Certainly everyone’s dream menu, right?
I think the one question I’ve been asked most since mid-October is what my favorite make-ahead Thanksgiving side dish is. Followed closely by what my favorite turkey recipe is. I heard you guys, and I’m here to answer all your questions and give you all the best make-ahead dishes. So let’s get to it. I’m sharing my full menu below, complete with tips, tricks, and even my oven schedule.
Half Baked Harvest 2019 Thanksgiving Menu
Tip: don’t skip out on breakfast, trust me it’s always nice to have a little something before a full day in the kitchen.
Tip: make these a day or two ahead time. EASY.
Bonus: Vanilla Chai White Russian…if you need a nightcap.
Tip: Always include at least one vegetarian main course. It’s nice to have a main course that’s just as hearty and exciting as the turkey for any vegetarian eaters.
Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey (I make this every year…it never fails me)
Tip: make these all ahead of time and don’t stress about a thing.
Creamed Spaghetti Squash with Brown Butter Walnuts (keep these warm in the instant pot)
Tip: make an extra pie or an additional cookie. You can never have too many desserts, plus it’s always nice to give guests something to snack on throughout the night
Thanksgiving Week Prep
– organize, make your list, get prepared
– set the table
– grocery shop
– buy wine and alcohol
– prepare the croissant stuffing, chill until ready to bake
– make white wine pan gravy
– prepare the sweet potato casserole
– bake the pumpkin chocolate chip cookie pie
– bake turkey pastries
– prepare the cranberry sauce
– make the butternut squash spinach lasagna, chill until ready to bake
– make the mashed potatoes
– bake butter pecan chocolate chip cookies
– make the brussels sprout salad
– make the Hasselback butternut squash
– prep the rolls, chill until ready to bake
– make the creamed spaghetti squash
– final grocery trip for last-minute items
In the Morning…
– remove the turkey from the fridge and start prepping
– begin roasting the turkey
– make the goat cheese stuffed bacon wrapped dates
In the Afternoon…
– begin baking off the sweet potato casserole, butternut lasagna, and stuffing
– start warming the mashed potatoes in the slow cooker and the spaghetti squash in the instant pot or on the stove.
– toss the pomegranate salad together, but don’t add the dressing until just before serving
Before Guests Arrive…
– make/bake the cranberry brie tarts
– set out bacon-wrapped dates and cocktails
– remove the turkey and let it rest, then carve
– bake off the rolls
– set out the sides
– serve up the turkey, gravy, and all the sides!
Of course, enjoy the night with family and friends. You deserve it!!
Question: what recipes are you looking forward to serving up most this Thanksgiving? Can’t wait to see what you all make!
Finally, some tips
Tip 1: Think about your Menu
A few things to be thinking about when creating your Thanksgiving menu. How much oven space do you have, how many people are you serving, and does anyone have any dietary restrictions.
Depending on how many leftovers you’d like, plan on anywhere from a pound to a pound and a half per person. If everyone is heading out the door at the end of the day, I would go closer to a pound per person. If your guests are staying through the weekend go for a pound and a half. Bone-in breasts are a nice option if you don’t want to cook more than one turkey. And lastly, keep in mind, that if you’ve got a lot of sides, guests will probably eat less turkey.
Tip 2: Make an Oven/Food Schedule
This is probably my number one tip to easily getting dinner on the table…and at a reasonable hour. An oven schedule is essential for staying on track on Thanksgiving Day, especially if you’re working with limited oven space.
Tip 3: Test Your Recipes
If you’re trying new recipes, make sure you test them out before Thanksgiving Day. No one wants to be disappointed on Thanksgiving with a bad batch of mashed potatoes. Test your recipes out now so they are perfect for Thanksgiving.
If you’re working with limited oven space, I highly recommend using your slow cooker and instant pot. They can cook mashed potatoes from start to finish, or just keep your dishes warm without taking up any oven space.
Tip 5: Make a To-Do List TODAY
About a week or so before Thanksgiving, I sit down and make a checklist of everything that needs to be done before we sit down to eat. I make my list by the days leading up to Thanksgiving.
Tip 6: Use A Meat Thermometer
This might be a no brainer, but don’t try cooking your turkey based solely off of time…no one wants to cut into a beautiful looking turkey only to find that it’s still raw inside. Using a thermometer is the best way to know when your turkey is cooked to perfection. This one is my favorite.
Tip 7: Roast Your Turkey in a Butter Soaked Cheesecloth.
My number 1 tip for the best turkey. Grab my favorite herb butter roasted turkey recipe here.
Tip 8: Don’t Cook the Stuffing Inside the Turkey
If you cook the stuffing inside the turkey, you’ll have to overcook the turkey in order to actually cook the stuffing to a temperature that’s safe to eat. And even then you end up with soggy stuffing…and dry turkey. Not good. Instead, bake the stuffing separately and get soft on the inside and crisp on top stuffing that actually tastes good.
Tip 9: Set the Table Way Ahead of Time
This is something my Nonnie taught me, and it’s probably my favorite entertaining trick. I like to set my dinner table ideally a week ahead. If that’s not possible, at least the night before. It’s one more thing you can cross off your checklist early. Plus you’ll be guaranteed to have the table set and looking pretty when guests arrive.
Tip 10: Create a Seasonal Tablescape
When setting your table, don’t stress too much about making it perfect. I love the imperfect, perfect look. My best budget tip for creating an elegant tablescape is to incorporate the food onto the table. My favorite thing to do is to use fresh produce around my table to add pops of color. I certainly love a bouquet of flowers, but food can be equally beautiful, if not prettier. In addition, I like to surround the table with candles, use fresh herbs for greenery, and seasonal fruit for color.
Above all, make the table cozy and inviting, and trust me, everyone will have the best night.
Question: What are your best Thanksgiving tips/tricks? Leave any that you have in the comments so that we can all learn something new today!
And with that, I think I’ll leave you all to sit with this and ponder your family’s Thanksgiving menus. Above all, I’m hoping this menu helps you to create your best holiday meal yet!
If you make anything from Our 2019 Thanksgiving Menu and Guide , be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!