Thanksgiving holidays scream F-O-O-D!!! One of the most cooking, eating-est, food-comatose-encouraging holidays is merely days away! So, now is the time to make definitive, unbreakable plans to INDULGE RESPONSIBLY! Yes, we can nibble on a little extra here and there, but to sit and PLAN to overdo it is weak, unhealthy, and unnecessary. Let’s make plans to NOT! Portion-size and quantity of food often play a greater part in over-indulgence than quality.
Okay, enough with the lecture, right? We’ve read several lists of “traditional” Thanksgiving menus, and they mostly include similar foods. However, our traditional family meals have ALWAYS included DOUBLE the “top ten” items listed, making our traditional feast more like a “Top 20 Menu List” buffet rundown! Haha! Below, you’ll find an insight to our “irregular,” fascinating holiday gathering menu, including meals, meats, and fabulous side dishes. Bon appétit! And Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Here’s the list of our top ten traditional Happy Thanksgiving menu items, followed by a more in-depth description of the selected items and how they make it to dinner every year, should you choose to read a little more. :)
We’ve always lived near several aunts, uncles, even grandparents, so Thanksgiving for us has always included many, many family members. Since it’s lots of us, we’ve yet to experience the kind of tv Thanksgiving where all the food is placed on the long family table, and everyone takes turns passing the entrees and fixing their plates at the dinner table. CUTE, but impractical and literally impossible FOR US!
Our Thanksgiving (and most holidays) involve lots of family members getting together at one chosen home, potluck style! Yes, every family is responsible for bringing at least one or two dishes, meats, sides, desserts, and drinks.
After most of us have arrived, we gather together, bless the food, and indulge in an endless spread of food galore, BUFFET STYLE!!! Yes, there are always plates and plates of dishes and desserts to make towers of left-over platters “to go!” It’s quite amazing!
This tradition still reigns! November 22nd is nearly here! Here’s a breakdown of only a portion of what we anticipate indulging in, together!
1. TURKEY, HAM, CHICKEN
Turkey and ham are tandem centerpieces at our family Thanksgiving buffet tradition, ALWAYS! We usually have one main turkey, and 3 or 4 varieties of ham, including, honey-baked, spiral, smoked, and pineapple-glazed. More recently, a variety of chicken continues to pop up, including baked, bbq’d, smoked, even fried.
2. TURKEY DRESSING
Aunt Mary makes the absolute BEST turkey (or chicken) dressing on the planet Earth! As ANY family member, visitors, or friends who makes the best dressing, and in unison, you’ll hear, “AUNT MARY!” Hands down, it’s understood that her dressing is THE dressing to partake in for Thanksgiving. Our family has always only done dressing, not stuffing (physically stuffing the turkey with it).
3. MASHED POTATOES
My mom is famous for her “real” mashed potatoes, not the flakey instant potato mix. Don’t get me wrong, we’ll eat the instant potatoes, only if we must. But Mom makes hers with the tastiest, “golden/yellow” potatoes (or red potatoes), and no instant potato can compare. Thanks, Mommy! :)
4. GRAVY - TURKEY AND/OR BROWN
Can’t have dressing or mashed potatoes without some delicious, semi-thick, homemade gravy. Again, Auntie Mary’s famous for this, too! Both brown gravy AND turkey gravy! Where would we be without Auntie Em! :)
5. SWEET POTATOES AND/OR CANDIED YAMS
The providers vary, but there are always either baked and/or candied sweet potatoes on our traditional menu. My mom makes the best candied yams!
My mom, again, is famous for her fried-creamed corn! I am talking SCRUMPTIOUS! The summer seasons tend to yield more flavorful, tenderer corn, but when she doesn’t serve corn on the cob, or my uncle doesn’t grill them, Mom brings yet another famously delicious traditional side dish! Thanks again, Mom!
7. MACARONI & CHEESE
This is yet another famous, traditional dish that either Mom or Aunt Mary reign supreme. I can make a mean mac’n cheese myself, only because I make it just the way mom makes it, but in MY mind, it’s never quite as perfect as mom’s, so... Nonetheless, she makes the best, stove-top, homemade mac’n cheese EVER!
8. GREEN BEANS/CASSEROLE
Though I don’t eat green beans (whether sliced, diced, casseroled, baked, or French cut), someone usually provides a dish of green beans in some form or fashion. Apparently it’s tradition. Yum....... :)
Supposedly not a typical Thanksgiving menu item on traditional menu lists, but it's definitely traditionally expected on most of our family dinner get togethers. And, yes, Aunt Mary’s is made with the best, homemade tomato sauce (plus ground turkey, herbs, and spices)! I am getting hungry just thinking about!
10. PECAN PIE, SWEET POTATO PIE, DESSERTS GALORE!
Okay, the rest of us DO contribute to the potluck menu, but once again, Aunt Mary (who also enjoys cooking so much, she cooks in her “spare time,” just FYI) makes the best of both pies. Enough said!
We didn’t mention cranberry sauce because we don’t have a homemade cranberry sauce chef in our family. We’ve always only eaten Ocean Spray (and ONLY Ocean Spray brand!) cranberry sauce. It’s perfect!
We also ALWAYS have a plethora of desserts! From homemade pound cakes (Aunt Mary again), to semi-homemade German chocolate cake, strawberry cream pie, lemon squares, Minneapple-Ups (see here), caramel cake, banana pudding, peach and apple cobbler, and more galore! It’s almost ridiculous, the variety and flavors to choose from!
There are actually quite a few additional, traditional menu items we enjoy each and every Thanksgiving, but since we’re exhibiting quantity and intake control, we stopped the list here. :)
What are some of your favorite family holiday dishes and traditions? Is there a must-have dish that you anxiously anticipate Thanksgiving dinner for? Tell us all about it in the comments section below. :)
From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving Holidays, and remember to give thanks for ALL that you’ve been blessed with.
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