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Thanksgiving Menu: Recipes for the Entire Meal


Last year I spent hours choosing the recipes I would use for Thanksgiving.  Everything turned out  well.  Being a creature of habit.  We’ll have the same menu this year.

Take advantage of my time investment and relax instead of planning your holiday menu.  It’s all here, the recipes (or links) and the shopping list for linked recipes.

 Family All Together At Christmas Dinner

Brined Turkey

I was nervous so I decided to follow Martha on this one.  I’m glad I did, it turned out great. CLICK HERE for full instructions.

What I love about Martha’s instructions is how complete they are – they’ll make you look good!

Read the Diva Guide – Let’s talk Turkey for information on selecting the perfect turkey for your holiday meal.

Shopping List:

1-3/4 cups coarse salt
1 cup sugar
3 medium onions
3 leeks
3 carrots
3 celery stalks
bay leaves
flat-leaf parsley
whole black peppercorns

To Prep the Turkey:
1 fresh whole turkey
2 sticks unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups dry
white wine


I like the stuffing I grew up with, which has no chestnuts, so I don’t go with Martha on the stuffing front. I do use whole wheat bread cubes to make it a little better for you. This one is modified from Betty Crocker.

Note: If stuffing will cook in your turkey (ours will), prepare the stuffing immediately before you are going to put the turkey in the oven.

12 Cups of Whole Wheat Bread – Cubed (Mom makes her own sometimes)
3/4 Cup unsalted butter
3/4 Cup minced onion
1 1/2 Cups chopped celery, stalks and leaves
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt
1 Teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon ground sage
Organic chicken broth – Enough to moisten to your taste.

In a cast iron pan or other pan over medium heat melt the butter, then sauté the onion and celery until the onion is soft, stirring occasionally. Stir in the salt, pepper, and sage and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Place the bread cubes into a large, deep bowl. Pour 1/4 cup of the butter/celery mixture over the cubes – toss well.

Repeat steps until all of the butter mixture is used. Toss the cubes thoroughly to coat.

Add Chicken Broth a little at a time until you reach your desired moistness. Stuff turkey immediately before roasting.

Don’t place warm stuffing into a turkey that is going to sit out – it needs to go immediately into the oven.


I go with Martha Stewart on the gravy front too! Classic, step by step easy to follow instructions. CLICK HERE.

Shopping List:
Reserved giblets and neck from turkey
unsalted butter
2 celery stalks
1 carrot
1 leek
1 medium onion
flat-leaf parsley
bay leaf
whole black peppercorns
3/4 cup dry white wine
all-purpose flour

Cranberry Sauce

This recipe from RecipeZaar CLICK HERE couldn’t be any easier.  It calls for 1 cup of sugar, I always start with less and add more to taste. This is a dish that is easy to prepare a few days in advance.

Shopping List:
I bag of Cranberries

Candied Sweet Potatoes

This recipe is modified from a recipe that I found on the wholefoods site.  I cut back the butter and sugar, omitted the ginger and don’t use any toppings – Don’t call me a kill joy, I figure my kids already love, love sweet potatoes so why add even more sugar.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup golden brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place potatoes in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.

Combine butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture over sweet potatoes and toss to coat. Cover dish well with foil.

Bake 50 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until potatoes are tender and syrup thickens a bit (basting occasionally) about 20 minutes.

Serves 8

Mashed Potatoes

I prepare a pretty basic mashed potato.

2 lbs of Potatoes
2 Tablespoons of Butter
1/4 Milk
1 Teaspoon of Salt (to taste)
1/2 Teaspoon of White Pepper (to taste)

Peel and Cut Potatoes – Do this a up to 4 days in advance. Cover and store until showtime.

About an hour before the turkey is done, boil potatoes until cooked – don’t overcook or they’ll be mushy. Drain and rinse.

Place in a mixing bowl, add butter, milk, salt and white pepper. Mash. I use my Kitchen Aid Mixer, on slow – until just mashed – does a great job.


Organic Frozen Corn – I medium bag.
1 tablespoon of Butter
1/2 Cup of Water

Throw the corn with the water and butter together and roast for about 1/2 hour towards the end of your turkey cooking.


With so much going on a simple salad is nice.

Mixed Washed Organic Spring Greens
1/2 Cup of Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup of Shredded Carrots
1/2 Cup of Feta Cheese

Serve with Raspberry Vinaigrette – I don’t make my own.

Whole Wheat Rolls

Frozen – Whole Foods sells a whole wheat roll in the freezer section that is par cooked. You finish them in the oven. I love the fresh baked rolls without having to make them from scratch.


Apple Crumble a la mode
Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream

Dessert Shopping List:
Mix of Apples
Brown Sugar
Lemon Juice
All Spice
Ground Ginger
Ground Cloves
Pumpkin –
I use whole sugar pumpkins If using canned you’ll need enough for 3 cups.
2 Eggs
2 Cans of Evaporated (non fat) Milk
Whipping Cream
Whole Wheat Frozen Pie Crust – Not willing to take on pastry yet!

Final Notes

Make the holiday meal preparation easy on yourself, prepare as much as possible in advance. Peel and cut the potatoes & sweet potatoes in advance cover them with water and store chilled till needed, prepare the filling and topping for apple crumble the day before, shred the carrots for the salad in advance. This way on Thanksgiving you’ll be working on the things that can’t be done in advance.


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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Robin @ toxicbeautyblog.com November 23, 2009, 6:28 pm

    What an incredible spread you must have if you make all these wonderful recipes! This year we are being lazy and going to a friend’s house. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

    • Tania Reuben November 23, 2009, 7:50 pm

      Well… I’m farming a few dishes out this year.
      One family is bringing the Candied Sweet Potatoes and another the Salad and a Veggie side.
      It shouldn’t be too bad! And I’m so excited to have SPUD delivering our turkey on Wednesday!

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