The fourth Thursday in November not only lets us spend the entire day watching football but gives all the home cooks out there an opportunity to showcase their culinary skills for family and friends. But in addition to making the many elements of this sit-down or family-style feast for the senses — from traditional, crispy-skin roasted turkey to a bevy of sides: creamy, garlicky mashed potatoes smothered in gravy, classic stuffing, tender-crisp roasted Brussels sprouts, and, of course, sweet, decadent pumpkin pie and holiday cheesecake — you hard-working folks also have to put on your hosting hat.
We love Thanksgiving cooking, too (maybe that’s why 80% of Americans consider the holiday their favorite), but we wish for you to put your energy where it matters most: enjoying the company of those you love at gatherings large and small.
In this round-up of mouthwatering sweet and savory Thanksgiving recipes, we’re grateful for time-saving techniques and new holiday traditions that reduce stress and spark joy, such as selecting beautifully prepared foods to include in your holiday repertoire. And if you’re not at the helm of Thanksgiving festivities this year, these dishes make great holiday potluck offerings for you and yours to “gobble” up!
The beauty of this roasted chicken alternative to traditional turkey is that it cooks in less time and is guaranteed to stay moist! Plus, this recipe has a “built-in" side dish. Serve your bird on a platter surrounded by a mélange of pears, leeks, and bacon hash that comes together in the roasting pan while it cooks.
Buttery sweet baked Brie, a soft French cheese known for its edible “blooming" rind, makes an elegant addition to a traditional Thanksgiving cheeseboard. Spread a thick dollop of creamy pumpkin butter on store-bought puff pastry dough, add a sprinkle of chopped candied walnuts for crunch and sweetness to offset the Brie's signature earthy flavor, and then wrap it up like a holiday package and bake to a golden brown. Pair your baked Brie with chardonnay or pinot gris to complement all the savory, creamy goodness.
These delicious puff pastries are the perfect Thanksgiving appetizer shortcut. Use store-bought puff pastry and a wide selection of Harry & David spreads to make several “pinwheels" — so named because you roll the pastry into a log and then slice off rounds to bake, revealing the sumptuous, colorful filling.
If roasting turkey is your jam, let Harry & David provide the sides! Brown sugar-whipped sweet potatoes topped with a marshmallow streusel capture all the comfort and deep flavor of homemade in a fraction of the time. Pair these sweet potatoes with two more sides, such as creamy Brussels sprouts and bacon and blue cheese scalloped potatoes, for a trio of side dishes to bring to a Friendsgiving potluck!
A holiday cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory can be the centerpiece of your dessert board. Order one (or more!) of nine delicious flavors available online exclusively through Harry & David. Flavors include white chocolate raspberry truffle — creamy cheesecake swirled with seedless raspberries and set in a chocolate crust. Or keep it traditional and order the classic original flavor, the recipe for which dates back to the 1940s. Or do like we do and get in on the exclusive Thanksgiving holiday pumpkin cheesecake — a spiced pumpkin cheesecake filling and graham cracker crust.
Served in an iconic copper mug, the Moscow mule is an easy-to-prepare refreshing toast to Thanksgiving. This recipe takes the classic ginger beer, vodka, and squeeze of lime combination to new heights, with minimal effort that is big on flavor. Create a spiced pear syrup from Royal Riviera Pears with treasured, warm fall spices, such as cardamom, cinnamon, and clove. Add the syrup to ginger beer for a perfect non-alcoholic libation.
Layer sturdy Wolferman's English muffin bread with cream cheese, and maple and cinnamon spread, top with warmed apples and a pan-toasted oat and walnut topping, and conjure up a classic, bubbly, baked fall crisp for a quick, celebratory Thanksgiving day breakfast.
Harry & David pumpkin spice Bundt cake stands in for traditional challah bread for this rich and moist holiday breakfast. The nutmeg- and cinnamon-laced cake absorbs the classic sweet egg and milk wash, griddled to perfection, and is on the table in less than 10 minutes! Serve with warm, cozy, buttered rum coffee for a fantastic day-after Thanksgiving breakfast, brunch, or dessert.
Read more to help plan the most delicious and entertaining Thanksgiving meal:
Theresa Gambacorta is a food writer and 25-year veteran of New York City's restaurant industry. Her writing has appeared in such titles as La Cucina Italiana, Men's Fitness, Muscle and Fitness, and Centennial's special interest publications. She is the co-author of chef Joey Campanaro's Big Love Cooking (Chronicle) and is currently working on a cookbook about Persian cuisine to be published by Knopf.