If you have been following for a while, you know I like things to be as simple as possible, and at the same time, as beautiful as possible! In fact, even my mother-in-law last night was shocked when I showed up to her Sunday night dinner with a beautiful homemade pear tart, pear turnovers, homemade spiced pear jam, and homemade whipped cream, then spilled my secret and told her that the crust was store-bought puff pastry! Hey, it still took a long time to make everything, but I just removed a little margin for error with the crust! ;)
So when planning my Thanksgiving menu, of course, I'm all for family tradition, but also let's make this as stress-free as possible! Especially for my friends who aren't use to cooking and/or hosting, this is for you!
Last week, I shared a breakdown on Thanksgiving Hosting Made Simple and it's full of ways to keep it simple, including my seasonal tablescape that was picture-perfect and still had room for all of the food.
So you're planning your Thanksgiving menu (or just a festive fall dinner party!) and need a little help? I gotchu. I took a step away from a few of my family favorites (mashed potatoes!) and focused on special dishes that are enjoyable, but maybe take a little less time to prepare.
I'm the queen of combining 3 different recipes to create my own spin on a dish, but for the sake of *simplicity* I'm going to share one recipe that I based my dishes on, so you can recreate them or use them to inspire your own creations.
Up first: Apple pie
Let's be real, the desserts are what a lot of people look forward to the most! I'm actually not a pumpkin pie fan, but I *love* a good apple pie, so I made this one from scratch....using store-bought crust. Does that count? Yes, 100%. I'm totally outing myself here because everyone at the table thought that I also made the crust from scratch, and I didn't spill my secrets. ;) Apple pie is actually very simple and the crust can be as detailed or basic as you'd like! To achieve my lattice crust, I used one of the pie crusts and cut it into strips, then cut out some little leaf shapes with a knife to decorate it. Here's the recipe or use the one on the back of the pie crust box!
Fan Favorite: Whipped Sweet Potato Pie
I don't even know what to call this, but how cute is it? Whipped sweet potatoes- simple to make! Then some toppings to make it festive. Everyone loved this! I made two mini pumpkins and it was the perfect amount for 6 people.
Here's a close recipe, although I didn't add much of what they suggested to keep it as "healthy" as possible. ha! Only mallows + pecans as the topping.
Classic Veggie: Green Bean Almondine
I think my main complaint with the traditional Thanksgiving table is that everything is white or brown...all carbs!! SO instead of covering my green beans in cream of mushroom and onion crispies (never liked those anyway!), I'm showing them off with this fresh dish that is anything but boring! :)
The Bread: Sourdough Loaf Pumpkin
This is a regular sourdough loaf, but I used baker's twine to shape it into a pumpkin, complete with an almond stem ;) My general food policy is that it tastes better if it's a festive shape! ;) Everyone loved this! I usually serve sourdough toasted, and for this meal, it was served alongside a roasted tomatoes and burrata appetizer (similar recipe).
The Main Dish: Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze
Let's not get carried away. The glaze mix package came with the ham and I got it at Target! Ha! I waited until right before the dinner party to heat up the ham and add the glaze, so the photo below doesn't show the glaze. Once you pour it on, then bake a little longer at 400° it comes out so golden and perfect, and everyone loved it! If cooking a turkey scares you, I absolutely recommend a fully-cooked ham that you simply heat up in the oven!
I think the most important part of the ham is adding some herbs and green stems to decorate the serving plate. ;)
I hope this post was helpful as you plan this year's *simple* Thanksgiving menu! DM me @rhondajenkins if you have any questions!