What I cook for Thanksgiving

I have cooked a lot of holiday meals over the years. Most of what I cook is traditional and old fashioned, the kind of dishes that don't need a recipe. I respect tradition and although I will usually throw in something different its basically the same main dishes each year.

Here's what I make:
  • Roast Turkey (sometimes I get 2 small turkeys, one to roast and one to fry.)
  • Dressing
  • Gravy
  • Baked Ham
  • Collards (fresh)
  • Potato Salad
  • Sweet Potato Casserole (Click here for recipe)
  • Homemade Rolls
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Almond Pinecones and crackers (Click here for recipe)
  • Sweet Tea
  • Coffee after dinner
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Pecan Pie
Hot Pepper Vinegar is put on the table for those who want on their collards (delish!). Potato Salad and Deviled Eggs are often brought by others as is various other deserts like Apple Pie. I might also add String Bean Casserole or some sort of Corn dish.

One thing I like about having the Deep Fried Turkey is that the men usually cook it and it gets all the guys outside and out of the kitchen. lol  But I find I must have the traditional roast turkey as well as some of the family really expect that. Plus its hard to have dressing and gravy without it.

Here are ways I make all this a little easier.
  • The collards can be cooked and chopped at least one day before.
  • I bake the sweet potatoes and make the main part of the casserole the day before.
  • I make the cheese part of the Almond Pinecones the day before.
  • Deviled Eggs can be made the day before.
  • I set out a stick of real butter in nice butter dish at least an hour before dinner so it will be easier to spread on the rolls.
  • The pies can be made the day before.
  • Dump ice trays into container and make sure there is enough ice at least day before.
  • Set the table the day before.
  • Clean out the refrigerator at least one day ahead, I'm gonna need the space.
  • Any house cleaning that is not done before now doesn't get done (except kitchen cleaning as I go). I may wipe down the bathroom before guests arrive but that's it. I've learned not to stress over it and just get on with dinner.
  • Stop everything at least a half hour before time for family to arrive and "chill"!
  • I have learned to let others wash the dishes after dinner. They want to do it and I enjoy the rest. 
One battle I have is space. I have a small house and its hard to come up with enough seating as well as counter space for desserts and such. Even some side dishes end up on the counter because there is no way to get everything on the table. But you know what? No one seems to mind, they just want to enjoy the day with family. They don't even seem to care if the turkey is dry or the gravy just never thickened enough. It seems every year there is something that just doesn't turn out just right.

Would love to hear your comments. What do you cook for holiday meals?

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