It's autumn, which means the pumpkin spice-infused air is getting crisper and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I have experienced many approaches to Thanksgiving menus over the years - including some unique ones - thanks to parents and extended family from all over the world hosting the holiday and putting their personal spin on Thanksgiving staples. Turkey enchiladas, anyone?
While an adventurous menu can be an experience, there's something about the tried-and-true, quintessential American Thanksgiving dinner that I've always held dear to my heart. After being along for the ride for many Thanksgiving culinary...experiments, my cousins and I decided to create our own tradition with a post-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving potluck, where we get together to take back control of the lovely traditional meal.
We've held our potluck one week after Thanksgiving for the last 14 years, and to keep it fun, we compete with each other for the best dish of the night. This isn't a challenge we take lightly, and we go all out every year scouring the internet and our favorite cookbooks for the best recipes to try. Since we've had some absolutely delectable dishes over the years, I wanted to share our favorites with you. I hope you try one or more of these, because I can promise you won't be disappointed.
This salad with farro cooked in apple cider, fresh vegetables, pistachios and shaved parmesan will be the perfect start to your meal with a flavor palette made for Thanksgiving.
For the Sides:
- Brown Butter Skillet Cornbread
- This cast iron skillet cornbread with a toasted buttery crust and sweetened with another fall staple - maple syrup - is the perfect complement to a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
- Wolfgang Puck Black Truffle Mac and Cheese
- This elevated mac and cheese was served at the 2016 Oscars Governors Ball. Puck's version relies on top-quality pasta and a blend of aged white Cheddar, creamy and nutty Gruyère and freshly grated Parmesan. It's decadent without deviating too far from the traditional. You can source fresh truffles online from Marky's Gourmet Food Store.
- Melt-in-Your-Mouth Potatoes
- You're going to want seconds of this side dish! These potatoes are roasted in butter and herbs for a crispy outside and finished with chicken broth for a perfectly soft and tender center.
- The Best Sweet Potato Pie Casserole
- This extra-special sweet potato pie has a crunchy topping and a delicious pumpkin pie like treatment with brown sugar and vanilla for a deep caramel flavor. Is it dessert? The jury is out, but we'll keep it in the side category. Sweet potatoes are a vegetable, after all!
This is a classic cheesecake, the big, sweet, velvety variety that makes guests smile with delight when you serve it and sigh with satisfaction when they take their first bite. The lemon blueberry topping complements the cake perfectly. I've made this cake again and again, and it is always a crowd favorite. The recipe is easy to follow and guaranteed to be the ultimate end to your meal.
Tip: Bake for 60-75 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle like jello when you take it out. If it is completely set, it is overcooked. Turn the oven off and open the door slightly. Let it sit for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool in the pan before chilling in the fridge.