My Thanksgiving dinner menu doesn't change much from year to year. It is made up of tried and true family favorites, but they are not all considered traditional Thanksgiving recipes.
Making my Thanksgiving meal plan early allows me to start picking up some of the ingredients early as I find them on sale. I recommend making your menu plan as early as possible so that you can start looking for the ingredients at the best possible prices in your weekly sales ads. Look for coupons and match them to sale prices to save even more.
Be flexible with your Thanksgiving dinner meal plan! Many of the traditional Thanksgiving ingredients will on sale, but it is still a good idea to create a backup plan in case an item is too expensive (or is out of stock) to be included in this year's menu. Life will go on even if you serve apple pie instead of pumpkin or pecan.
Take your time and life circumstances into consideration when making your menu plan. I prepare for our celebration over several days to make it easier. If your time is limited, consider spreading out the cooking like I do, having your extended family help out by bringing a dish, or cutting back on the number of dishes you make. I like to make all the dishes when it is my turn to host, but my sister-in-law is an engineer with limited spare time, so when she hosts she has a potluck Thanksgiving. When my mother-in-law hosts Thanksgiving, she makes a turkey, a green vegetable side dish, and a potato side dish. It isn't the traditional feast, but everything my mother-in-law makes is amazing, so it is still a wonderful holiday dinner.
Printable Thanksgiving Menu Planner
Print out this Thanksgiving Meal Planner here or by clicking on the image below.
Thanksgiving is about spending time together with an attitude of gratitude. The actual dishes served at dinner are a distant second!
My Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Plan:
Before Dinner Snacks:
While I am preparing dinner, I set out a veggie tray, nuts, and a plate of fudge for guests to snack on. I know fudge is not an appropriate appetizer, but it has become a tradition since I brought it to our first squadron Thanksgiving party as a newlywed. When I was asked what I brought I said, “an appetizer” and the other guests, who didn't quite get my sense of humor, took me at my word.
Thanksgiving Dinner Menu:
Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Gravy and Sauces
Thanksgiving Dessert Menu:
We usually follow dessert with a long family walk and then come home and play a few board games.
Thanksgiving Dinner Organization:
I set the table the night before. I turn the glasses upside down, so they don't collect any dust.
I make the mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving morning and keep them warm in a crockpot. For more tips on mashed potatoes visit here.
I bake the stuffing in a casserole dish rather than in the turkey, so our vegetarian guests can eat it, but also because the turkey cooks faster with an empty cavity.
More Thanksgiving Ideas and Tips:
- How to Create an Elegant Thanksgiving Centerpiece
- How to Create Lump-Free Potatoes
- Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids
- Avoid food Waste: Don't Cook Holiday Food You Don't Like
- Organization and Planning Tips for Thanksgiving
- Recipes to Use Up Leftover Turkey
- Brown Bag Thankful Tree
What is on your menu for Thanksgiving dinner this year?