Thanksgiving Meal Ideas – Help For Your Busiest Time of Year


Thanksgiving time of year brings much stress as it does joy,

and there is never any telling which way you’ll go …

unless you’re prepared and ready.

Most people have their jobs and families to deal with daily.

Finding  time can be challenging.

If you’re the one hosting dinner then it’s definitely time to consider planning and not waiting till the last minute.

When I was younger, and I was the one hosting, I’d fall into the trap of procrastination.

Lucky for me, I had some awesome girlfriends that pitched in and made our festive dinner a success.

It takes organization to create a great thanksgiving dinner!!

They say “hind-sight is always 20/20” and there is much to be said about living and learning, but when it comes to creating and hosting a dinner at your home, you want to get it right straight away.

I created this list of prized recipes found and shared on the web mostly for me.

I have found it way easier to be prepared with recipes stowed away for when they are needed.

 These recipes will come in handy during the busy season.

Here are some of my most favorite recipes found and cherished!


Thanksgiving Meal Ideas


Ingredients For Potato Gratin   YUM

  • 4 pounds mixed baby potatoes, such as Red Bliss, Peruvian Purples, and Fingerlings
  • 2 cups heavy cream, plus some to cover
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
  • 2 sprigs each fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves, cracked
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Halve the potatoes and toss them into a large baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, put the cream, butter, herbs, and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Cook for about 5 minutes, to infuse the cream with flavor.

Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the hot cream mixture through a strainer over the potatoes, (discard the herbs and garlic), if there is not enough cream to go 3/4 of the way up the potatoes then pour some additional cream on top to make up the difference.

Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through and top begins to brown. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray



Thanksgiving Meal Ideas


  • 4 acorn squash (about 1 pound each), halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups diced celery
  • 2 leeks, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
  • 10 ounces day-old rustic rye bread—crusts removed, bread cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 6 cups)
  • 7 ounces vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup vegetable stock or low-sodium broth


Preheat the oven to 350°.

Brush the cut sides of the squash with olive oil and season the cavities with salt and pepper.
Place the squash cut side down on two baking sheets and roast for about 25 minutes, until just tender

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter in the 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
Add the celery, leeks and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.
Add the apples and thyme and cook over moderately high heat until the apples just start to soften, about 5 minutes.
Scrape the mixture into a large bowl.
Add the bread, chestnuts, parsley, cream and stock and toss well.
Season with salt and pepper.

Turn the squash cut side up. Spoon the stuffing into the cavities and bake until the squash are tender and the stuffing is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Justin Chapple



Thanksgiving Meal Ideas


In a medium pot with  boiling water, cook the barley until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add one-third of the mushrooms and cook over high heat, stirring, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to the large bowl. Repeat in 2 more batches with 4 tablespoons of the oil and the remaining mushrooms.

Add  sage, lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 cup of oil to the bowl. 

Season with salt and pepper.

Toss together.

Recipe contributed by Kay Chun


Thanksgiving Meal Ideas


  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt


Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot and fill with cold water to cover the potatoes.
Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low.

Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
Drain the sweet potatoes in a colander, shaking the colander to help remove excess water.

Pour the potatoes into a large bowl.

Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and Greek yogurt to the sweet potatoes.
Mash to your desired texture and serve warm.

Contributed by Todd Porter and Diane Cun



Thanksgiving Meal Ideas

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter
1 fresh bay leaf
2 ribs celery with greens, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground thyme
2 teaspoons hot sauce, or to taste
6 cups veggie stock
1 (28-ounce) can cooked pumpkin puree
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 crisp apple, finely chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat.
Add the oil and melt the butter.

Add bay, celery, and onion.
Season the veggies with salt and pepper.

Cook 6 or 7 minutes, until tender.
Add flour, poultry seasoning, and hot sauce, to taste, then cook flour a minute.
Whisk in veggie stock and bring liquid to a bubble. Whisk in pumpkin in large spoonfuls to incorporate it into the broth.

Simmer soup 10 minutes to thicken a bit then add in cream and nutmeg. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.

While soup cooks, assemble the relish: combine apple, onion, lemon juice, cranberries, chili powder, honey, and cinnamon.

Adjust seasonings in soup and relish and serve soup in shallow bowls with a few spoonfuls of relish.

Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray


These are just a handful of my favorite recipes.
Here are some other ideas for your Thanksgiving planning –

If there is anything you would like to share about this time of year, stressors or joys, leave a comment below.

There are many people that are going through holiday cheers or sneers and would love to know they’re not the only ones!




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13 Replies to “Thanksgiving Meal Ideas – Help For Your Busiest Time of Year”

    1. I’ll have to come up with some healthy recipes for Easter that will help my chocolate loving friends and family!

      You’re not the only one 🙂

      Thanks for your comment.

  1. Great recipe ideas for someone like me who is terrible at planning for big meals like Thanksgiving. Thankfully I am not trusted with the more important things like the turkey but I’m pretty sure I can handle making these dishes. The baked acorn squash looks amazing and will be a nice addition for my vegetarian friends!

    If someone has a dairy allergy what would you recommend using instead of the heavy whipping cream?

  2. Thank you for sharing these delicious recipes with us. That is the amazing thing about recipes, they are not only useful for thanksgiving, but anytime of the year.
    Be Blessed

    1. Hi Linda, it’s great having these on hand for anytime of the year. Thanksgiving meal ideas are good all year round!
      thanks for your comment.

  3. I have really enjoyed reading your recipes and would love to incorporate both the Acorn squash and the barley and caramelized mushrooms. I know our stores don’t carry pre cooked chestnuts , but we use to have chestnut dressing when I lived at home and I’m sure I can find some fresh nut somewhere and incorporate them.

    Thanks for some great looking dishes

  4. I’ll try the potato gratin recipe! It sound absolutely delicious. Do you think I could put some meat in it as well, maybe chicken? This year I’m doing dinner for the entire family and as you said, it takes time and preparation to get it right..however, I’m not a good cook whatsoever…that’s why I was thinking all-in-one dish. Pumpkin soup sound pretty yummy as well! Thanks for those great recipes and saving my dinner 🙂

    1. The potato gratin is my all time favorite, sooo good! Happy I am able to help save your dinner with these awesome recipes contributed by such great people sharing on the web! Happy thanksgiving to you and your family.

  5. Your site is really easy to read and I did enjoy your recipes. Are you cooking all that for Thanksgiving? Your home page is very attractive and I really liked the way you have used pictures. It is a very welcoming site to visit and easy to navigate. I wish you every success.

    1. Thank you, Margaret! I am happy you find it easy to navigate, my number one priority. I won’t be cooking ‘all that’ but I do like having the recipes on hand when I need them. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours =)

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