30+ Easy Menu Ideas for Thanksgiving

Easy Holiday Menu Ideas

Although 2020 has been a challenging year in so many ways, it seems like this time of year is always a good reminder to reflect on what we have, and what we’re thankful for. Thanksgiving will look different for a lot of people who celebrate it this year, practicing social distancing or having a smaller gathering than usual. One thing our family has always embraced is the sharing of a meal with those that you’re thankful to have in your life.

We’ve put together some easy menu ideas for thanksgiving, to help take away the stress of planning what to cook – whether you’re preparing a small meal, or feeding your whole family. You’ll find plenty of inspiration, from hot and cold mains, to sides then add in some salads and a dessert or three and we’ve got you covered. Many of these recipes can be prepared in advance, so you can sit back and enjoy the festivities.

Planning your menu

We have numbered each recipe to correspond with the list below to make planning your menu a little easier

1/. Cooked in advance and ready to serve on the day

2/. Prepared in advance, cook on the day

3/. Prepared in advance but needs attention ie. for salads the ingredients can be washed and sliced then stored ready to be combined with the dressing on the day – we don’t want a soggy salad:) some ingredients like avocado are best sliced close to serving

4/. Prepare on the day

5/. Cooked in advance, reheat on the day

Mains

Easy Menu Ideas for Thanksgiving showing Orange and Sage turkey roulade

1/. Festive Chicken Terrine is flavoured with brandy, Dijon mustard, leeks and tarragon, and speckled with cranberries, dried apricots and pistachio nuts all wrapped in bacon.

2/. Orange and Sage Turkey Roulade has to be the most, succulent, super flavourful and easy to carve alternative to roasting a whole turkey. It makes for a perfect centrepiece, is ridiculously moist and entirely foolproof.

2/. Festive Pineapple Glazed Ham is going to shine as the star of your Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter or for that matter anytime table. You’ll be amazed how a few simple ingredients turns into the most delicious sweet, sticky glaze that pairs beautifully with ham.

2/. Best ever Maple Glazed Bacon Turkey or Chicken is succulent and loaded with flavour. The breast stays gloriously moist and the bacon adds its smoky goodness to the meat and flavours the juices for an outstanding gravy. 

The bird is marvellously golden brown and glistening with a delicious maple syrup, orange juice and dijon mustard glaze and perfumed from inside with the flavours of onion and thyme that add to the gravy juices.

It’s easy to make, and economical for a large gathering and perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas spreads as it can be made three days in advance, and the flavour only gets better.

3/. Thai Mango and Lobster Salad is a stunning main for when the temperatures begin to saw and you don’t want to be in the kitchen sweating it out. Mangoes say summer is here and this Thai mango and lobster salad says delicious. Mangoes and seafood marry so well and this is a combination we love. Sweet mangoes and succulent lobster tails teamed with avocado, asparagus, mint and coriander along with a spicy lime dressing. All these fresh clean flavours combine to deliver a fabulous flavour burst. What’s not to like?

3/. Mexican Prawn, Mango and Avocado Salad which is danced with lime juice, coriander and chilli bringing it all together. We just love this salad served as an impressive stack or simply mixed and popped onto crisp little lettuce leaves. Pile a platter with mini little gem lettuce leaves and serve a huge bowl of the prawns, mango and avocado. Guests help themselves. Too easy!

Must Haves

fresh chicken on a plate with a bowl of brine to show

How to brine chicken or turkey is a great method to deliver supremely moist,  plump and perfectly seasoned chicken or turkey, as it improves the poultries ability to retain moisture. 

As the holiday season is rapidly approaching we know a lot of people are already starting to think about their menus, and turkey or chicken is one very popular main course choice.

We’ve joined the brining ranks and will definitely not go back to our old ways as it’s easily done and the moistness, and tenderness speaks for itself. 

Classic Turkey Stuffing

Mum’s simple classic turkey stuffing is a must for Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. It’s the only stuffing we want and need for our celebration feast. It’s super easy, and quick to prepare, and tastes delicious. What more could you want.

 

 

Making the best chicken or turkey gravy comes down to two ingredients, those tasty, caramelised and flavoursome brown bits on the bottom of the pan after roasting our fowl along with some of the fat and pan juices, and really flavoursome stock, most preferably homemade.

Let’s face it the gravy we serve for our holiday festive feast is one of the most important additions to the table.

Sides

2/. Mum’s Simple Classic Turkey Stuffing is a must for Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. It’s the only stuffing we want and need for our celebration feast. It’s super easy, and quick to prepare, and tastes delicious. What more could you want.

2/. Brown Sugar and Ginger Glazed Carrots are sweet, sticky caramelised and a complete winner as a side dish. We love to roast these carrots in the oven on high heat to caramelise and bathe the carrots with butter, brown sugar and orange juice, resulting in a deep concentrated flavour.

2/. Brussel Sprouts with Bacon Onion and Garlic is a delicious combination. Anyone who thinks they don’t like brussel sprouts will be sure to change their mind after tasting these little beauties.

4/. Making the Best Chicken or Turkey Gravy comes down to two requirements, those tasty, caramelised and flavoursome brown bits on the bottom of the pan after roasting our fowl along with some of the fat and pan juices, and really flavoursome stock, most preferably homemade. 

Let’s face it the gravy we serve for our holiday festive feast is one of the most important additions to the table.

4/. Whipped Creamy Mashed Potatoes are a must for the holiday feast. Potatoes that are velvety smooth, buttery and ultra-creamy that’ll have your guests swooning for a second serve all with just five simple ingredients.

4/. Crispy Roast Potatoes. Who doesn’t like golden brown chunks of potato, crisp and crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

They’re roasted in a garlic and rosemary infused extra virgin olive oil, then when golden they’re tossed in the fried garlic and rosemary that infused the oil, and dusted with salt flakes and fresh pepper. Add a smidge of finely chopped parsley, and you’re good to go. Devine!

5/. Candied Sweet Potatoes are sticky, sweet and bathed in butter, brown sugar and orange juice. In a word, delicious. The perfect partner for a baked ham and they are a must for the holidays

Super quick to prepare and cook, they’re extremely popular on holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter as a side dish. These are so good you’ll find yourself making a big batch to eat on their own.

5/. Creamy Potato Bake with thin slices of potato swathed in cream, garlic, a dusting of nutmeg and each layer sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Call it creamy potato bake, potatoes Dauphinoise or potatoes au gratin, the results are the same. It really is the ultimate potato side dish and is very easy, and simple to put together.

5/. Steakhouse Creamed Spinach is a brilliant, must have side dish. It’s creamy, and velvety with the spinach as the star ingredient, and the best part is that it’s all made in one pot.

It can be made ahead of time, and gently reheated easily, which makes it a perfect side dish for entertaining.

Salads

Generally speaking all of these salads are rated a 3/. so they can be prepared in advance and with a little attention on the day they can be assembled and served. By having everything that could be washed, cooked and sliced already prepared you’ll have time to enjoy your day. Too Easy!

Note: Some of the salads call for a dressing to be added while the cooked ingredient is still hot, this is a necessary step, so do as directed in the recipe.

Avocado for example is one ingredient that is best sliced close to serving, so use your judgment, if in doubt about how an ingredient will hold don’t cut it until ready to serve.

White Peach and Prosciutto Salad relies on premium produce. Simple quality ingredients married together is all this delicious salad needs. This is a salad that we make throughout the stone fruit season when sweet juicy peaches and nectarines are in peak season.

The salty prosciutto marries perfectly with the sweetness of the peaches, and the peppery baby rocket brings its own welcome addition to this simple but stunning, tasting salad. Add some rich vincotto dressing to the rocket leaves and you’ve got a party of four ingredients that were made for each other.

Mango and Red Onion Salad says summer is here and we’re so glad. Mangoes are one of summers highlights in the food arena. Kensington Pride mangoes, here in Australia, are the best all round mango for flavour and aroma. This salad is super simple to prepare, but it totally needs full flavoured mangoes to deliver.

Watermelon Feta  Mint and Olive Stacks are sweet, salty and refreshing. So simple to put together. It’s really not a recipe, rather than a delicious combinations of flavours.

No-Mayo Potato Salad is a healthier alternative to potato salads made with a heavier mayonnaise dressing. It’s a potato salad that’s a classic with lemon and dill, and the potatoes really soak up the delicious fruity olive oil and dijon mustard dressing. 

Roasted Sweet Potato Avocado and Pickled Ginger Salad smacks of full on flavours. Roasted, and caramelised sweet potato, nutty avocado, sweet pickled ginger and a host of fresh ingredients, all doused with a fantastic basil dressing. Seriously, what is not to love?

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Garlic Yoghurt Dressing is a great salad for winter or summer. Cauliflower florets covered with spices and roasted till they start to caramelise which adds great flavour to this hefty salad. Loaded with fresh coriander, mint, parsley, almonds and chickpeas this salad is filling and satisfying. Topped off with a fresh and zingy lime, garlic and yoghurt dressing. What’s not to like?

Spicy Red Lentils with Capers and Currants is one of those salads that’s so good, in so many ways. Let’s talk about flavour. It is mildly spicy, with a clean fresh taste thanks to the currants and capers. It’s extremely portable which makes it great picnic fare. Note: prepare this salad by cooking the lentils and then dressing while still hot, then on the day of service combine the remaining fresh ingredients.

Easy Egg and Bacon Potato Salad is sensational. It wouldnʼt be summer without barbeques and it wouldnʼt be a barbeque without potato salad. Waxy potatoes, crunchy sweet and sour gherkins, piquant onions, hard boiled eggs and crispy bacon along with the best mayonnaise makes it a complete winner. It pairs perfectly with any grill, barbeque or potluck, making this our go to side dish for any warm weather get together. It’s also a must have salad for Christmas that pairs perfectly with baked ham.

Desserts

Maple Pumpkin Flan

Desserts are a must have on the day, but they don’t need to rob you of your day. So we have assembled only desserts that are a 1/. Cooked in advance and ready to serve on the day

With this selection we have taken the last minute preparation, split second timing and added washing up out of the day.

Spiced Maple Pumpkin Flan is the texture of creme caramel, made with pumpkin and spices, swimming in a maple flavoured caramel moat. Super easy to make, economical, and downright delicious. 

Simple Meringue Kisses are light and sweet, with a thin melt-in-the mouth outer gossamer shell, with a soft, chewy marshmallow inside. Kissed with fresh whipped cream they are perfect for entertaining.

Pear and Ginger Upside Down Cake is a little winner of a recipe. It’s oh so moist, gingery, studded with pecan nuts and topped with sweet, caramel pears. 

Fresh Apple Crumble Cake is a little winner, and very easy to make. We’re always on the hunt for the next delicious apple cake recipe, and this cake delivers big time.

The base is like a shortbread, with thinly sliced pieces of apple that sort of melt into the sandy shortbread, it’s then baked for a second time, with a delicious creamy custard poured over the apples, then topped off with a buttery, cinnamon crumble. What’s not to like.

Flourless Chocolate and Orange Cake is a take on Claudia Roden’s, famous Orange and almond cake. This cake is incredibly moist, and is delicious served with ice cream, cream or a little marmalade thinned with orange juice as a sauce.

Quick Sticky Date Roll with Butterscotch Sauce simply needs to be in your repertoire. It’s ridiculously easy to make and incredibly satisfying to eat. The best part of this dessert is it’s a dessert for all seasons, simply heat the butterscotch sauce for the colder months.

Quick Caramel Apple Poke Cake is super moist, perfectly spiced and studded with tender pieces of fresh apple. Add to that a creamy, rich caramel sauce that oozes through the cake and you’re in cake heaven. Apple and caramel are a classic pairing, the tart Granny Smith apples meet with the sweet caramel and perfectly balance.

Quick No Churn Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is a winner. No ice cream maker, no problem. This smooth and creamy, super easy and quick recipe, uses just three ingredients. Have a spare 5 minutes, and you’ll have made your ice cream. Too easy!

Pear and Almond Impossible Pie is a fabulous pantry standby dessert that only takes minutes to make. I was making this dessert in the early 80’s and it had completely slipped off my baking radar until now. I guess it is the constant quest to discover the next fabulous recipe to make that sometimes a favourite just goes to the back of the pack. Not anymore!

Chocolate Nemisis Cake is best described as an ultra chocolate, ultra smooth, chocolate mousse cake that’s so smooth it just melts on the palate leaving you wanting more. This is a must try cake for all of the chocolate lovers of the world.

Lemon Roulade looks impressive, yet it is so easy to make and the wow factor is in the eating. Lip puckering lemon curd married with softly whipped cream all rolled together in a super airy and light sponge cake. What’s not to like about this incredible lemon roulade

French Apple Cake is really a lot of apple with a little bit of batter joining the apples together, baked till tender then a sugary, butter topping finishes off the cake. It’s more of a crustless tart than a cake.

Apple Frangipane Tart is easy to make. We love a good apple tart and the frangipane almond base is super easy. It is an almond pastry cream and is rich and velvety and pairs beautifully with apples. Tart heaven!

Italian Lemon Mascarpone Tart is creamy, tangy, lemony and delicious and the best part is it’s super easy to make especially if you use ready rolled pastry

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