Planning our Thanksgiving feast is not something I take lightly, and there really are many factors to consider when creating a holiday menu. My family are traditionalists, and they really feel that Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a turkey. I tried to change things up last year and wanted to create an Umbrian menu with a lovely roast pork for our main course. Unfortunately the very idea of no turkey for Thanksgiving brought my granddaughter to tears. So……. each and every year we have our turkey, and when entertaining my husband’s entire family, we usually throw in a ham as well. My family does allow me a little creativity when it comes to planning our first course as well as the dessert, but along with our turkey every year I am expected to make my Baked Holiday Squash, and some sort of mashed potato dish that the kids can cover in gravy. This Holiday Squash dish is one I have made since my kids were young, I do not measure the ingredients, but simply cook by taste. I usually cover the outer edge in chopped toasted walnuts but for some reason I took the photo of this dish without the nuts. Every time I try and change this squash dish for another side dish I got a lot of moans and groans, so this dish, just like the turkey must stay on the menu for Thanksgiving.
As well as the turkey and squash dish, my family have other likes and dislikes which makes holiday menu planning a tad tricky. My Son-In-Law requests sausage in the stuffing, though I like to include some fresh fennel and chestnuts in it as well. We also always have some type of cranberry relish, but that is something I am always experimenting with as I try to create a new family favorite. To round out our main course, I pick two extra vegetable side dishes, one being a green vegetable such as green beans, Brussels sprouts, or sautéed greens. My grandkids are not really into vegetables yet (apart from the squash dish and mashed potatoes) so the side dishes can be geared to more adult tastes. Since I am presently in love with brussels sprouts, I’m planning to make my Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Gratin as one side, and maybe a green bean dish for the other. I am sharing some of my favorite holiday vegetable dishes that I often use when menu planning to help you create the perfect Thanksgiving menu this year. Enjoy!
Buon Appetito & Happy Thanksgiving!
Deborah Mele (Revised 2017)