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Last week, I shared with you my plan to help you host a high style, low budget Thanksgiving.
This week, I'm giving you ALL my recipes (plus free printables!), tips, and a master grocery list.
Over the last two decades of hosting this holiday, I have learned exactly how to have a fantastic and stylish celebration on an incredibly low budget.
The Step-by-Step Guide to Hosting a High Style, Low Budget Thanksgiving! Recipes
A huge part of that was the in the recipes that I have adapted and perfected.
I believe in hosting a simple Thanksgiving filled with traditional foods and lots of it.
In my experience, people prefer the tried-and-true dishes over whatever is currently trendy on the foodie blogs.
So here are my recipes, tips, and tricks (along with free printables) to help you with your Thanksgiving Day menu.
The High Style, Low Budget Thanksgiving Menu!
Cream Cheese with Chutney and Crackers
Savory Spiced Pecans
Entrees and Sides:
The Ultimate Make-Ahead Gravy
Cornbread Dressing with Smoked Bacon and Pecans
Slow Cooker Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Vanilla Bean Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecan Topping
Roasted Mushrooms and Green Beans
Tips and Suggestions for the Appetizers:
Forget recreating those fancy-schmancy cheese platters you see on Instagram.
Stick with this simple formula – 3 cheeses + grapes. That's really all you need. Pick up everything from the deli section of your local supermarket.
I always grab a chunk of triple cream Brie, a slab of sharp cheddar, and some kind of “fun” cheese (like a jalapeno-spiked Gouda). Pair with grapes and call it a day.
Simplest Appetizer Ever
The simplest (and most universally adored) appetizer I know is a small jar of fruity chutney dumped on a block of cream cheese and served with crackers.
The Best Nuts
I love to make these Savory Spiced Pecans from any pecans I have leftover from making the cornbread and sweet potatoes.
I do them a few days before and store in a Ziploc bag. On Thanksgiving, I just dump them into a small white bowl and serve.
Tips and Suggestions for the Entree and Sides:
Brine The Turkey
The number one way to make your turkey juicy and tasty is to brine it.
Skip those time and supply intensive wet brines – go for this no fail and beyond easy dry brine.
I do mine the night before and store the turkey (in it's roasting rack) in the fridge.
Prep the Food and Delegate
It can be tricky trying to cook Thanksgiving when you only have one oven (I know – I'm right there).
So my biggest tip is to delegate the actual cooking of several dishes to friends or family. For example, a few days before Thanksgiving,
I prep and make the Cornbread Dressing with Smoked Bacon and Pecans and Vanilla Bean Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecan Topping up to the point where they are cooked in the oven.
Then, I cover them in tinfoil, write the cooking directions (time and temperature) on them in Sharpie, and deliver them the night before to whomever has volunteered their oven for cooking duty.
Two dishes done and then delivered ready to serve for the meal.
Buy cornbread mix-in-a-box or even pre-made from the bakery department of your local supermarket.
I always make up the Roasted Mushrooms and Green Beans (up until the get cooked) the day before and store it in a Ziploc bag in the fridge overnight.
Buy The Rolls
Buy the rolls. Thanksgiving is not the time to mess with baking bread. Unless you're a bread savant – BUY THE ROLLS.
Another option (and the one I do) is to take up someone on their offer to help and ask them to bring the rolls.
It's The Same Thing
FYI, dressing and stuffing are EXACTLY the same thing. Forget all that cooked in the bird/not cooked in the bird nonsense. They. Are. The. Same. Thing.
Tips and Suggestions for the Desserts:
My number one tip for Thanksgiving desserts is to delegate.
I never make the pies. They are always something that I have other people (the ones who offer to bring a dish) do.
Pies are pretty easy but can be time-consuming so see if someone else will do them.
Personally, I love making cupcakes and they can be cooked and the frosting made the night before.
But you can totally have someone else do them (or skip them completely). Another totally cool option?
Not Everything Has To Be Homemade
BUY DESSERT. There's no law that says everything has to be homemade.
If you do serve pie, don't forget the whipped cream (buy it – don't make it) and/or vanilla ice cream.
Master Grocery List
And, for your convenience, here's a master grocery shopping list for you – just fill in the amounts of each item that you'll need.
Check out my tips for a simple, elegant, and affordable Thanksgiving.
Click here to see some high-style, low-cost decoration options.
And here's a great tutorial (with free printables) for a cool Thanksgiving leftovers station.