I was just realizing that we have only cooked our own Thanksgiving dinner, the whole fest, once! That was the year it was just the five of us and we stayed in our friend’s condo in Mammoth, CA. Every other year we have gone to visit with family somewhere else where they do the bulk of the cooking. It’s fun to spend Thanksgiving somewhere different almost every year though. And this year we’re off again and I won’t have to cook a big spread. I don’t mind not having to cook a turkey either, wink wink. What this means, however, is that I’ve got some pretty good side dishes that I’ve made throughout the years to contribute to our various Thanksgiving dinners. I thought I would share our family favorite Thanksgiving dishes, the ones that are so good they are on repeat every year. So if you need some new ideas to add to your Thanksgiving dinner menu, give one of these a try!
Let’s start with an appetizer. My cousin made this Cranberry Jalapeño Salsa Cream Cheese Dip a few years ago and we were hooked!
It sounded a little strange to me at first-cranberries, jalapeños, cream cheese…but this is SO GOOD. The sugar really helps to counteract the tartness of the cranberries and the spice of the jalapeños. I’ve seen a bunch of different recipes for this, you could just google it, but I use this recipe from NoBiggie and we love it. This is super fast and easy too and it makes a lot. The recipe calls for two packages of cream cheese and she suggests only using one at a time with about half of the salsa. This is a great idea because depending on how many people you are serving you can save the other half for later or even for another day. And as she mentions, don’t assemble this until you are ready to serve it, the salsa can get a little juicy and slide off the cream cheese. And Wheat Thins crackers are perfection with this dip. I like to buy an extra bag of cranberries when we see them at the store and put it in the freezer and then we usually make this dip again at Christmas or New Years. Don’t be scared to try this one, for the recipe click here.
This salad is really simple but so delicious. I just make the dressing ahead of time and then this is so easy to throw together. Which is why this is perfect for Thanksgiving dinner too when you are busy making other dishes. I love that this has a light dressing too so it’s not a heavy side dish. And my kids love the apples in this. This salad won’t disappoint, for the recipe click here.
I was assigned to bring some type of sweet potato dish one year for Thanksgiving dinner and decided to try this version of sweet potato casserole. This is amazing! Now this is the recipe I make every year and once people try it, they always ask for the recipe for themselves. I follow the recipe except for one little tweak-I don’t use the Cornflakes cereal. It just sounded strange to me when I first read the recipe so I didn’t add them and it’s so good that I just have never tried it with the Cornflakes. It’s just a personal preference. Also, I don’t do the alternating rows of nut topping and marshmallows. It looks pretty but I want a little of the nut topping and marshmallows in each bite so I spread the nut topping all over the casserole first and then sprinkle some marshmallows over that, just eyeball how many you like. You can also make this dish ahead of time up to the point of adding the nut topping and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. Everyone will love you forever if you bring this dish to Thanksgiving dinner, for the recipe click here.
I have a good homemade roll recipe that I used to make but it took over 2 hours from start to finish. I just don’t always have time for that. One day I came across the site Your Homebased Mom and saw that one of her most popular recipes was for these 30 Minute Rolls. Homemade rolls in only 30 minutes? Yes please! And these rolls are super good! They are quick enough to where I can decide last minute to make them for dinner and they don’t take too long for homemade goodness, and they are easy enough that my 11 year old can make them by herself. When I make them, people are always amazed that they only take 30 minutes. And these rolls are great to make for Thanksgiving because if you make some extra they are perfect to use for a little leftover turkey sandwich the next day. Or later that night. I don’t judge. For the recipe for these quick, delicious rolls click here.
And last, I have a dessert recipe to share with you. I must confess that I’m not a big pie lover. My aunt always made Thanksgiving dinner growing up and my mom always made the pies so I actually have some pretty mean pie making skills. And I like making pies, I’m just not a huge fan of eating them. The one exception is my mom’s Apple Crunch Pie. It is so good! Anyway, if you are looking for an alternative or an addition to pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dessert, you need to make this Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. My friend Caroline is a baking goddess and her and her sister-in-law have a blog called Two Carolines where they share all of their baking delights.
I made this Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting a couple of years ago for a Thanksgiving dinner and it was a hit! It has been talked about and requested again and again ever since! You need to click over and see the beautiful way that Caroline frosted her version too. The one I made is above and I opted for the easier, more “raw” method of just slapping the frosting all over the top. And the nuts are optional but we all like nuts around here and they really add a great flavor and texture to this dessert. Even if you don’t make this for Thanksgiving dinner, you should definitely make it at some point during the fall. For this recipe and to view some of their other yummy treats click here.
All of these pics have made me hungry! I can’t wait to share a Thanksgiving feast with my loved ones next week! I would love to hear any of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes too and hope you have a wonderful holiday!