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Thanksgiving Dinner: Meal and Menu Ideas for the Holidays

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated across North America. It holds different meanings for different people but for most it is a time to gather with friends and family and share a holiday meal. Because Thanksgiving Day dinner is such a highly anticipated meal, it is important to ensure that it is well thought out and planned. The following is a list of ideas for planning the perfect Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving Turkey

Much food is consumed on Thanksgiving Day but undoubtedly the turkey is the pièce de resistance. A well-cooked bird presented on a garnished platter is a classic centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table.

When buying a turkey most people today choose a frozen bird. Generally speaking, a frozen turkey is easier to obtain than a fresh one, more economical and most frozen turkey’s are available pre-basted for extra moistness. If a fresh turkey is prepared it is important to remember to pre-order as they are sometimes harder to find.

For smaller gatherings it may seem like a waste to cook an entire turkey. In this case, options such as a frozen, pre-stuffed turkey roll may work well. Many grocery stores carry turkey pieces as well that can be cooked separately such as the legs, breasts or thighs. A large turkey will provide several meals with leftovers so even a smaller gathering may enjoy the beauty of a whole cooked turkey and then enjoy the leftovers for several days.

Side Dishes for Thanksgiving Dinner

Mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole or candied yams are traditional and well-loved side dishes that are traditionally served along with a turkey. A classic green bean casserole or scalloped corn might provide a rich vegetable on the side. For a lighter option, a nice salad or some steamed vegetables can add another choice for those who may be health conscious.

A basket filled with bread is always appreciated. Baking fresh bread smells amazing but may not be feasible because of the time that it takes to prepare. Many bakeries today offer breads that have been made oven-ready and are ready to be baked at home.

Thanksgiving is traditionally an American and Canadian holiday but it is celebrated by families of diverse backgrounds. With this in mind, it may be nice to personalize the Thanksgiving meal by including side dishes from the various ethnic backgrounds that will be eating together.

Thanksgiving Day Desserts

While pumpkin pie is the traditional Thanksgiving Day dessert it should be noted that there is a vast array of desserts that can be made with the fruits of the Thanksgiving season. Pumpkin not only makes delicious pie but can also be used to make cheesecake, rolls, quick breads and muffins.

Apples are also in season and can be used to make pie, crisps, cobblers, dumplings and cakes. A basket filled with fresh apples makes for nice holiday decor and also provides a healthy dessert options for guests who are looking to avoid sugar.

When providing dessert for a large group of people, trifle is a wonderful way to go. It is relatively easy and economical to prepare and provides a large amount of food. Ingredients can be made from scratch or bought to make things a little bit easier.

The turkey, side dishes and desserts are the main parts of a Thanksgiving meal but there are other things to consider such as beverages, appetizers and table decor. One family may choose to eat Thanksgiving dinner off of paper plates while watching football on television while the next may enjoy a full sit-down dinner eaten off of grandmother’s china and crystal glasses. The important thing is to make Thanksgiving dinner an enjoyable and memorable holiday for everyone.

Pumpkin Pie Recipes

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