Countdown to Turkey Day The Soft Menu Plan

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Welcome back to Countdown to Turkey Day, where we are getting ready to host Thanksgiving without overwhelm.

If you are just checking in, so far, we have the following:

Thanksgiving Traditions, The Good and the Bad

Thanksgiving dinner is one of those meals that comes with many expectations. There are a lot of traditions, some good and some that should definitely be left in the past. As we continue the discussion, I want to be one hundred percent clear that we are discussing recipes. It is absolutely ok to continue to serve your cousin’s green bean casserole or your sister’s sweet potatoes with marshmallows, even if they aren’t your favorite. That’s the only compromise we mean.

We’re not saying to allow Great Uncle Wayne to drink too much and tell problematic stories or jokes. We also don’t think you need to accept anyone’s rude behavior. Yes, Uncle Wayne is an adult, but this is your home.

Boundaries are good.

Got it?

Here is your printable Thanksgiving menu planner

We even have a Thanksgiving Menu Printable – The Soft Menu Plan to make that easier. This printable has three columns: one for your ideal Thanksgiving menu, a second for your planned guests’ ideal menu, and the third for the great compromise.

As you work through your menu plan, here are some things to consider.

soft menu plan decorative only

How to plan a Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Do your holiday meals feel well put together, or do they more often seem to resemble a potluck mishmash of flavors?

While you are sitting down to plan your Thanksgiving meal, try to think about how the elements of one dish may hint at an aspect of the others on your menu. There is absolutely nothing wrong with serving the same family recipes year after year, but if you are the host and want to add something new, don’t hesitate to make a compromise. Don’t expect to throw out everyone’s favorite recipes and not have a few hurt feelings.

Our Thanksgiving menu has a Southern/Cajun theme, which you can find on this Google Spreadsheet from a past Friendsgiving.

The Cajun seasoning of the turkey also appears in the sausage of the cornbread dressing. The sausage is also used to flavor the collard greens. I swapped out the pecans for almonds in the apple, sage, and cranberry dressing to tie it with the broccoli salad and the green beans.  Cranberries are in the cranberry sauce—surprise!— the apple, sage, cranberry dressing, and broccoli salad.  

In addition to a flow of flavors, textures should be considered, too. Not everything should be a soft casserole. Ensure some crispy bites and crunches that stand out against the warm, rich feels of the mashed potatoes and dressings.

Some of Home-Ec101’s Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Here are some of our favorites:

Collard Greens, no holiday meal would be complete here without them.

Cornbread, we have both sweet and plain.

Roast Turkey if you brine your bird, skip the initial hot blast, or you’ll end up with a very dark turkey.

Cornbread and Andouille Sausage Dressing

You’ve got your mission and printable; now it’s time to do it. Ready? You do know we are always happy to talk it out.

What will you be serving for Thanksgiving this year? Will you be trying new recipes or sticking to old favorites? Is there anything you are looking forward to?

It’s always the cornbread dressing for me.

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