The holidays can be a thoroughly overwhelming time — even when they technically haven’t started.
Getting a sense of your Thanksgiving Day feast menu in advance can ease the stress of the day, and ensure you’re not quick-thawing a 20-lb. turkey the day you plan to serve it.
A home cook might compile recipes in a Word document (as I have done for years, with a fair amount of success). Even simpler, some of the sites below will make up a menu for you.
One Epicurious app for Android allows you to choose the recipes you want to make, and then puts the ingredients from each one into a shopping list. So easy.
1. Epicurious is a great place to start for Thanksgiving recipes. I like the handy timeline; a list of budget-conscious, American wine recommendations; suggested tools; and tons of recipes from Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Sunset Living and more.
I love the suggestions from fellow cooks — you can click on helpful reviews and have them print along with the recipe, a great tool — and I love this Thanksgiving menu planner.
It asks six simple questions — like: How many people are you serving? Do you want something traditional, modern, exotic? Do you want the dishes to be healthy? — and then spits out a menu (I got “Ted Allen’s Modern Thanksgiving“) you can reject or accept.
2. If this is your first Thanksgiving at the stove, check out Cooking Light’s Thanksgiving for the Novice. Their suggested lineup is basic: creamy salsa dip, sausage and mushroom stuffing, honey-roasted sweet potatoes, classic pumpkin pie. But there are also dozens of fun, approachable and often health-conscious feast day recipes to be found here, including ideas for cocktails, “perfect” pies and what to do with leftovers.
3. A new site for me, and the one I’m using to plan my own meal this year, is Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs’ Food52. There are ideas for how to dress up your Thanksgiving table, an approachable how-to for the Russ Parsons dry-brined “Judy bird,” and contests among home cooks to find the best recipes for Thanksgiving staples like mashed potatoes.
Recipes that are currently catching my eye: cider-glazed sweet potatoes with bacon, pecans and blue cheese (below); beer-and-bacon glazed collard greens; crispy delicata squash rings with currant, fennel and apple relish.
If you like a recipe, you can click the button with the little turkey on it that says “Add to My Menu” and it pops the recipe into a Thanksgiving file. I love this.
4. A few other sites to try include Martha Stewart Living’s Everything Thanksgiving (it does literally look like EVERYTHING, from appetizers and side dishes to fall centerpieces and projects for the kids).
I like the practical thrust and the nice visuals at the Food Network, which is a great place to find themed recipes for a Paula Deen-style Southern menu or a failsafe batch of ideas from science guru Alton Brown. If you want how-to videos, this is also the best place to start.
Finally, if you like moral support in your cooking adventures, start with the Thanksgiving recipes at Chow, the site connected to the active Chowhound forums. Search the Home Cooking board before you ask your question; chances are, it has been asked (and answered, in detail) before.
What are your favorite Thanksgiving Recipe sources? Happy Cooking!
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