Thanksgiving dinner….. Your menu is probably filled with family classics that everyone looks forward too and it’s not Thanksgiving without them, for me my it’s my Great Grandmom’s candied sweet potatoes. Passed down family recipes are what make this meal and this celebration, Thanksgiving but it’s always good to add a few new recipes to the menu each year. I have selected six of my favorite go to Thanksgiving recipes that showcase the fall harvest with it’s spectacular Bucks County Produce. Three courses of perfect additions to any Thanksgiving menu.
Thanksgiving dinner doesn't have to be overwhelming or exhausting if you're organized and choose a menu with recipes that can be prepped in advance and then finished last minute.
I worked in and co-owned a vegetarian restaurant for 12 years, preparing your menu 80 percent of the way and only having 20 percent to complete right before serving makes it simple to feed a crowd. When I plan out a menu I think about the season, occasion, what’s available and how much time am I really going to have to prepare the menu. Then I map out the menu with ingredient lists and prep lists. I start from the weekend before and write down what can be done each day so your not prepping everything the day before or day of. Then the day of Thanksgiving I write out a timeline having the menu items listed when they have to go into the oven and at what temperature, when things need to be pulled out from the refrigerator to come to room temperature and most importantly what items are going in which dish. This way during the last crucial hour of trying to get everything on the table you can have help without having to go over the same thing over and over again. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, in a restaurant there’s a whole team of people that are feeding you and your not expected to do it alone.
Always remember this holiday is about family, friends and the blessings we all have and share.
|Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic, Quinoa Pilaf with Green Apples, Dried Cranberries & Pecans, Pumpkin Tiramisu, Pumpkin, Cremini & Kale Cannelloni with Pumpkin Cashew Cream Sauce, Citrus, Fennel and Pomegranate Salad|
|Citrus, Fennel & Pomegranate Salad|
I love this salad, the colors are sparkling and the flavors are bright which is a nice contrast from the rich holiday menus.
Fruit salads are a nice touch with your Thanksgiving menu for a both sit down or a buffet. I serve this salad in vintage martini glasses as a first course, it breaks up the meal, cleanses the palate from the hors d'oeuvre course and which makes the meal all that more special. The great thing about this salad is that it can be prepared ahead of time, assembled last minute and can even be set out at place settings before guests sit down. On a buffet just portion out into glasses and set out on buffet, I think having somethings served family style and somethings portioned in individual servings adds a nice touch to your buffet.
Citrus, Fennel and Pomegranate Salad
Makes about 2 quarts
- 8 Navel Orange, Cut into Supremes
- 4 Ruby Red Pink Grapefruit, Cut into Supremes
- ½ Fennel Bulb, Core Removed and Sliced Thinly
- ¼ cup Fennel Fronds, chopped
- 1 Pomegranate, Seeds Removed
- Black Pepper to Taste
Each Component can be prepared a few days before and assembled that day.
- In a medium bowl add orange supremes, grapefruit supremes, fennel and fennel fronds, stir into combined.
- Spoon into serving dish or individual cups.
- Top with pomegranates and fresh cracked black pepper.
|Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts|
This is my favorite way to prepare brussels sprouts, they get caramelized and the outer leaves get crispy. You’ll never boil them again.
I also serve these at room temperature if I’m doing an antipasti table and they always go first.
Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts
2 Pounds of Brussels Sprouts (look for the smaller ones)
- ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
- Sea Salt to Taste
- Pepper to Taste
Brussels sprouts can be prepped the day before and put in a zip top bag until ready to roast.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Trim the bottoms off the brussels sprouts and cut in half, store in zip top bag for later or place in bowl.
- Add olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper and mix until combine.
- Place on half sheet pan cut side down and place in oven on lower rack.
- Roast until cooked through but still bright green, about 15 -20 minutes depending on size.
|Quinoa Pilaf with green Apples, Dried Cranberries and Pecans|
In this recipe I've used classic Thanksgiving flavors like apples and cranberries with quinoa which may not be that familiar as a Thanksgiving ingredient but I think this mix of these ingredients will become an instant classic.
I’m a super fan of quinoa not only because it’s super healthy and delicious but because it’s fast and easy to prepare. I make this a lot, great as a side dish but is also perfect as an entree. I've filled this pilaf inside roasted turnips or acorn squash I've hollowed out and then finished them in the oven. Either way this pilaf is perfect for fall.
This dish can made ahead and then reheated in the oven or can prepared and then served right away.
Quinoa Pilaf with Green Apples, Dried Cranberries and Pecans
Fits a 2.5 L Casserole Dish
- 1 Cup White Quinoa
- 1 ½ Cups Red Quinoa
- 4 Cups Vegetable Stock
- ¼ Cup olive Oil
- ½ red Onion, Diced
- 2 Stalks Celery, Diced
- 1 Clove Garlic, Minced
- 1 ½ tsp. Herbs De Provence
- 1 tsp. Salt
- Black Pepper to Taste
- 2 Green Apples,Diced (skins on)
- ½ Dry White Wine
- 1 Cup Dried Cranberries
- 1 Cup Toasted or Maple Pecans (recipe to follow)
- ¼ Cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
- Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh colander and drain, pour into a heavy bottom stock pot. Top with vegetable stock and stir. Turn on medium high heat when stock comes to a boil cover with lid, turn down to medium low and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until quinoa is al dente.
- While quinoa is cooking turn a saute pan on medium high and add olive oil, onions, celery and garlic, stir. Add herbs de Provence, salt and pepper, saute until the onions and celery are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add apples and pour in wine, simmer 5 minutes to cook out alcohol.
- Pour onion mixture over cooked quinoa and stir until combined,
- Add cranberries, pecans, and parsley, fold in. Check for seasoning.
- Serve immediately by spooning into serving dish or can be reheated later.
- To reheat cover with lid or foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
What is Herbs De Provence?
Traditional Provencal dried herb blend of rosemary, fennel seed, basil, savory and lavender, became very popular in the US in the 1960s, thanks Julia!
|Herbs De Provence|
Where to buy Herbs De Provence?
Peace Valley Lavender Farm
802 New Galena Road
Doylestown, Pa 18901
You can order online but it’s more fun to visit the store and lavender fields.
Pantry staple at my house, I use them in salads, entrees and desserts. I feel if you have to toast the pecans anyway…. Why not add maple syrup?
- 2 Cups Pecans (whole or Chopped)
- 2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
- 2 Tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
- Sea Salt to Taste
These will last up for at least two weeks in a airtight container.
- Preheat oven to 350
- In a medium bowl add pecans, oil and maple syrup. Stir until combined, pour into a ½ sheet pan and spread out in an even layer.
- Place on middle rack in oven and roast 20 minutes, stir after 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven, sprinkle with sea salt and scrape onto a cooled ½ sheet.
- Store in container with lid in cool, dry place.
|Pumpkin, Crimini and Kale Cannelloni|
The thing I love most about baked pasta dishes is that you can make it in advance and just heat and serve, it’s also a great way to feed a crowd. These would go perfectly with any Thanksgiving menu and makes both an excellent main course for the veggies’ at your table but also a wonderful side with your traditional Thanksgiving menu.
Short on time and don’t want to make fresh pasta?......Dried lasagna noodles would work great as well.
It may seem like a lot of steps to cook each component of the filling separately but it’s so worth it, layering the flavors with each ingredient take this cannelloni to the next level.
Pumpkin, Crimini and Kale Cannelloni
- 1 Medium Or 2 Small Sized Sugar Pumpkin or Butternut Squash
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 10 Passes with Grater of Freshly Grated Nutmeg
- 1 ½ Pounds Crimini Mushrooms
- 1 tsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves
- 2 Bunches of Kale, Washed, stems removed and Ripped into 2 Inch Pieces
- 1 Pinch of Red Pepper Flake
- Sea Salt to Taste
- Pepper to Taste
- 1 recipe of Thyme and Black Pepper Pasta (Recipe to Follow) or 2 Boxes Dried Lasagna Noodles
- 1 Recipe of Pumpkin Cashew Cream Sauce (Recipe to follow & you’ll have extra to serve on the side)
- Preheat oven to 400 Degrees
- Peel and dice pumpkin about ½ inch in cube. Toss with olive oil to coat, 1 tsp of salt and nutmeg. Transfer to ½ sheet pan and spread out pumpkin in even layer. Roast in oven for about 15 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked through but not mushy, set aside to cool.
- Wipe down crimini mushrooms with a damp towel, remove stems and cut in quarters. In a saute pan on medium high add olive oil to coat, crimini mushrooms and thyme. Saute, stirring often until mushrooms are cooked through about 15 minute, finish with a pinch of salt. Set aside to cool.
- In the same saute pan on medium high heat coat with olive oil, kale, red pepper flakes and salt. Stir to coat kale in oil. Cover with lid to wilt for 5 minutes, remove lid and stir until kale is tender. Add pepper to taste.
- Bring Large stock pot of salted water to a boil. If using dried lasagna noodles follow the instructions on package. For fresh pasta -Roll out dough with a pasta maker or with rolling pin to ⅛th inch thick, cut pasta in 5 inch squares. Cook pasta for 3-5 minutes, carefully drain and brush with oil to prevent sticking.
- Grease 2 (9 x 13) baking dishes
- Lay pasta out flat, add a thin layer of pumpkin, crimini and kale to the top third. Roll up and place cut side down in baking dish close to each other.
- Top with pumpkin cashew cream sauce down the center, leaving the outer inch on each side to get golden and crispy.
- Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes and then remove foil and place back on top rack of oven to brown.
- Rest 10 minutes before serving.
If you were afraid to make fresh pasta before give this fail proof recipe a try, so simple in the food processor and really takes no time at all.
I can’t think of a better way to tell someone you love them then a huge bowl of freshly made pasta. This thyme and and black pepper pasta works perfectly with the pumpkin, crimini and kale filling for the cannelloni but would be delicious as any type of pasta.
Thyme and Black Pepper Fresh Pasta
- 1 Cup “00” Four (all purpose works fine as well)
- 1 Cup Semolina Flour
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp, Fresh Thyme Leave
- Black Pepper to Taste
- ½ Cup Water
- In the bowl of a food processor add flours and salt, pulse until combined.
- With the processor running on low add olive oil, thyme leaves and pepper. Then slowly pour in water until dough just starts to form a ball. Knead a few times and wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes to let gluten relax.
- You can store the pasta in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Fresh pasta like to cook in a large stockpot with lots of salted water. It cooks much faster than dried pasta so start checking after about 4 minutes.
|Pumpkin Cashew Cream Sauce|
Creamy, nutty and delicious.. Perfect with pasta or any recipe you would use an alfredo or cheese sauce.
To make cashew cream you have to soak them overnight in the refrigerator so you have to plan this recipe a bit but it is so worth it.
Pumpkin Cashew Cream Sauce
- 2 cups Raw Cashews
- ¼ Cup Olive Oil
- 2 Shallots, Minced
- 1 Clove Garlic, Minced
- 2 Sprigs of Thyme
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 ½ Cups Pumpkin Puree
- 1 Cup Vegetable Stock
- Freshly Grated Nutmeg to Taste
This sauce reheats beautifully so it can be made the day before.
- Rinse cashews under cold water, transfer into a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- After the cashews have soaked overnight drain in colander. Transfer into a blender, cover with cold water until cashews are just covered. Blend until smooth.
- In a heavy bottom sauteuse pot on medium add olive oil, shallots, garlic, thyme and salt, stir and saute until shallots are translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Add pumpkin and fold into shallot mixture, mixing often to almost cook the pumpkin puree, about 6 minutes.
- Pour in vegetable stock, scrapping the bottom of the pan to get any brown bits. Pour in 2 cups of cashew cream, turn down heat to medium low. Add freshly grated nutmeg to taste.
- Heat until sauce is hot and thick. Remove thyme stems and check for seasoning.
- Serve immediately or reheats beautifully.
This is a delicious, easy, no bake, make ahead dessert. It’s creamy, luscious and a show stopper, if you have a trifle dish go ahead and use it.
This recipe takes about 10 minutes after you brew your coffee, make the night before or the morning of so the flavors have time to marry together.
- 2 (8 oz) Tofutti Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
- 1 (10 oz) Can Pumpkin Puree
- 3 Tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
- 1/12 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tbsp. Brandy ( I use Pear)
- 2 tsp. Chinese 5-Spice
- ½ tsp. Cinnamon
- 1 ½ tsp. Freshly Grated Ginger
- 1 Cup Confectioners Sugar (I use organic)
- 1 Cup Strongly Brewed Coffee & 2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup, for Dipping
- 1 ½ Packages of Biscoff Cookies
- 1 Cup Toasted or Maple Pecans, Chopped
- In a large mixing bowl add Tofutti cream cheese and pumpkin puree, blend together until combined with hand or stand mixer.
- Add maple (3 Tbsp), vanilla, brandy, Chinese 5-spice, cinnamon, ginger and confectioner sugar, blend until all ingredients are combined and mixture is fluffy.
- Pour coffee and maple syrup in a shallow container and set aside after giving it a stir.
- Dip each Biscoff cookie in coffee before lining the trifle bowl for about one second, just to get a little liquid absorbed into the cookie but not to much to make them mushy.
- Line the bottom of the trifle with dipped cookies in an even layer, breaking the cookies if needed.
- Line the bowl with cookies upright around the sides of the bowl.
- Fill the center with ⅓ of the pumpkin filling, smooth with spatula.
- Sprinkle ⅓ the chopped pecans over the pumpkin filling and add another layer of cookies
- Add the 2nd 3rd of pumpkin filling followed by ⅓ of the pecans.
- Top with last layer of cookies and then last 3rd of pumpkin filling.
- Sprinkle with the remainder of pecans and cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Before serving dust the top with cinnamon.