Thanksgiving is the food lover's holiday of the year — all prior 364 days are just practice. The few days leading up to it are a marathon of planning, cleaning, cooking, baking, chopping, and storing. The day of is a flurry of activity, all culminating in a single centerpiece — the turkey. And of course the day after is all about sleeping in late (as cooks, we're not down with Black Friday) and way too many calories for breakfast. Let us help make your turkey day as easy as possible with lots of make-ahead apps and sides, the best bird you'll ever make, desserts for even the fullest stomachs, and a few treats for the next day.
Thanksgiving is all about family and togetherness, and nothing says welcome more than a small bite as soon as your guests arrive. Don't go crazy, make something that can sit while you heat up the rest of the meal (because you're smart and planned ahead).
This is what everyone wants, so treat the bird with respect and fear. Practice your carving skills on chickens a couple weeks prior and you'll look like an ace. Speaking of practice, I make a practice bird two weeks beforehand just to work out all the kinks — with such an expensive and coveted piece of meat, you can leave nothing to chance.
Turkey is great, but the sides are what make Thanksgiving a feast. You want to go overboard here — make more sides than you think you'll eat, then add a few extra. Every last one of these sides can be made at least one day in advance, which means day-of all you have to do is heat and plate.
This is our canonical mac and cheese recipe — ooey-gooey but also complex in flavor.
This is grandma's rich, tender, über-flavorful green beans, perfected.
Give this hearty, nutritious, and inexpensive combo a place at your dinner table this winter.
This is the simple, effortless dish of peas everyone wants around the holidays.
Braising butternut squash with spices really livens it up and creates a buttery-sweet-salty glaze.
I thought about calling this recipe "Crack Potatoes," because they're that addictive and there's no way to oversell this dish.
Memorize this recipe — it's easy, delicious, and healthy. I make this when I'm trying to be good and not eat bread.
If you're looking for a real taste of the South, this is it.
I know a lot of people who've never had cauliflower before, then tasted this dish, and fell head over heels in love with it.
No summer event is complete without a potato salad.
Because a good hamburger deserves a homemade bun.
Broccolini is a staple in my house and I've made it every way you can think of — but this is our favorite way to eat it.
When you clear away the food and set out these desserts, everyone will find room. Again, more is more and everything can be done ahead of time.
Too hot to handle.
Pumpkin Spice Everything.
If you've never had cookie butter, stop reading and get to your nearest grocery store and get some. I'll wait.
I'm about to change your life with two words: Nutella S'mores.
People will think that you're extra fancy and spent hours in a kitchen. And as far as I'm concerned, they are more than welcome to think that.
The Salted Caramel Frosting and coconut flakes add a lightness and a salty/sweet combination that tone down the chocolate without overpowering it.
Doughnuts and bourbon. Talk about a match made in heaven.
Let's get rustic...
The cake has a buttery, almond flavor and the pear topping adds a fresh, sweet element that could cure any bad day.
The Morning After
Don't forget about the next day! You'll have lots of cleaning up to do, and you don't want to do it on an empty stomach.
Once made, your family will force you to make these sweet treats every single week. You've been warned.
Reset your body with this bowl. Aside from tasting delicious, it's full of nutrients and extremely high in fiber that helps to flush out the indulgences of days prior.
Scones...the lovechild of a muffin and a biscuit.