11 Simple Dishes for Thanksgiving

A BGSK Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the time of year to make a fuss, to overcomplicate, to bite off more than you’d normally dream of chewing. If you’re an avid cook, that’s welcome news. Time to put away the 30-minute weeknight recipes and the brilliant shortcuts to flavor, time to make pie from scratch and braid a million biscuits. I love that spirit. In fact, I channel Thanksgiving-style complexity on random weekends.

But BGSK is about cooking being accessible to all, even those without the time, space, or wherewithal to make 18 dishes for a feast. Plus, often the simple offerings are best: Turkey, rubbed with garlic and a spice or two and roasted until the skin is crisp. Mashed potatoes with butter and cream–and nothing else. Plain pumpkin pie with plain vanilla ice cream.

Whether you’re hosting a Thanksgiving dinner or contributing to one, here are my recommendations for simple additions to the table. They’re straightforward in technique and in flavor, but they’re no less delicious for not being as challenging as BC Calc…or turkey brining.

**Simple Thanksgiving Dishes**

Appetizers & Hostess Gifts

Lemon Herb Popcorn

Old Bay Peanuts Salty roasted nuts that take advantage of the mysterious savor of Old Bay spice mix. They’re easy to make ahead, and they’ll tide guests over til turkey without taking a toll on their appetites.

Herb & Lemon Buttered Popcorn. Addictive, not-too-filling, and brightly flavored, this popcorn is perfect for nibbling. Package in cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon to give as a gift.

The Main Course

Roasted ChickenRoasted Chicken. Look, I’m going to be straight with you: I’ve never roasted a turkey all by myself. My mom’s the best at it. I see no reason to interfere. If I were hosting a relatively small Thanksgiving on my own, I’d probably roast a couple chickens.

Braised Turkey Legs. Not my recipe. But, I’m totally enamored of this idea to braise turkey legs instead of roasting a whole bird. Especially smart if you’d like to take care of the main ahead of time. I imagine this would reheat beautifully.


Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables with Pomegranate Vinaigrette. An easy side. You can also make without the pomegranate vinegar if you don’t want to seek it out. Either way, coating roasted veggies with a dressing makes them better than every day.

Super Simple Slaw. So easy you should memorize it. Even better, my favorite slaw is crunchy and bright, the perfect antidote to richer foods. And if you don’t have room for it on your plate on Thursday, you’ll be happy to find it in the fridge for Friday snacking.

Seeded Corn Bread. A cross between a quick bread and a yeast bread, this simple-to-make carb will make the house seem so cozy. Top with poppy, sesame, and sunflower and sesame seeds for texture.


Iced GingersnapsPumpkin Chocolate Chip Clafoutis. Not into making crust? (I swear it’s not that bad, but…) Clafoutis is a lot like the delicious, delicious filling of a pie. You simply scoop portions onto plates instead of cutting out slices.

Pretty Little Iced Gingersnaps. Pick up the classic spices of the season with these bright white glazed cookies. If you want to simplify more, skip the icing and pack up the plain cookies: they’ll still be super tasty.


Turkey ReubenPumpkin Pancakes. If you’ve got some leftovers from the can of pumpkin puree, mix it up into these simple, delicious pancakes. Top with as much syrup as you’ve got stomach for.

Turkey Reubens. You could make a regular turkey melt (hint: use the fancy cheeses leftover from the cheese platter). But, especially if you have extra slaw, you can do one better by mixing up some dressing, grabbing two slices of rye, and assembling a killer turkey reuben.

Posted in: How To
  • Heathbar

    I first had dates stuffed with cream cheese at a catered event about twenty years ago. Not sure I would want them with the icing inside as that would be too sweet for me. Good idea to add the nuts

  • Mark

    Love Old Bay Peanuts!

    • http://biggirlssmallkitchen.com Cara

      Thanks, Mark!

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