One of my favorite times of the year is Thanksgiving at my friend Seale’s house. Each year she opens her home for a misfits/orphans Thanksgiving potluck. There’s lots of food, drinking (gimme a glass of dat Chardonnay!), board games, and just happiness all around (unlike St. Pat’s, which becomes a yearly game to see which of us will drink so much we cry first). As much as I love spending the holidays with family, this is one tradition I hate passing up!
The best part is having this wonderful, huge, food focused group of people to try out new recipes on. This year the Beau and I have the honor of making the turkey, which leads me to my first Thanksgiving potluck recipe….
Budget Bytes’ Roasted Chicken (or Turkey) with Root Veggies: if you’re like us, and get the honor of makin’ the bird, this recipe is worth trying! We used it last year for Christmas with my mother, and made a few adaptations: brine the Turkey for 1-2 days (then no basting is necessary!) and add the vegetables in halfway through. The fats from the bird soak in to the vegetables while they roast, and the lemon, garlic and thyme is flavorful yet fresh. If you’re just cooking for two, consider using a whole chicken or small turkey– we make it often just for ourselves, enjoy tons of leftovers, and use the carcass to make our own chicken stock & soup afterwards!
Foccacia Rolls OR Honey Wheat Rolls: We’ve done both, adapting both bread recipes at the time in to rolls. The foccacia is ridiculously easy if you’re inexperienced with making bread, but producing delicious results. There is also something so decadent and comforting about eating fresh baked bread at Thanksgiving!
Pumpkin S’mores Cupcakes: LAWDY! I haven’t made these yet, but what a beautiful alternative for dessert. We usually have 4-5 pies at Thanksgiving, so I love seeing something else sweet, seasonal and decadent, yet bite sized and more controlled than being able to cut whatever size piece of pie you want and of each of them. God, I’m so guilty of that, and suddenly my pie plate is the size of a pie.
Pumpkin Yogurt Parfaits: This is another on my “to make” list, but I love that it’s essentially a “lightened” Thanksgiving dessert. If you want something more decadent, you could use Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream in lieu of the greek yogurt. You could add a little chocolate drizzle or homemade granola instead of graham crackers. Either way? Delicious, light, but certainly that sinful taste. Pumpkin pie in a jar.
Roasted Butternut Baked Penne: A wonderful, autumnal dish that is great for a Thanksgiving side. The dish is rich, flavorful, and filling, but I found overwhelming as its own meal. But a scoop as a side? Amazing. If you’re hitting up a potluck with vegetarians, you can leave out the bacon or split the recipe in two: one vegetarian and one with bacon. But the bacon is delicious, so don’t skip it!
Stuffed Pumpkin with Bread & Cheese: I love pumpkin and squash dishes, but they tend to get shoved into pies and sweetened sides alone. Last year my friend Molly made this. The nice thing about it is the diversity– she used cornbread for the filling, along with more cheddars and sharp cheeses. It was delicious and, unsurprisingly, it was eaten up by everyone in about two bites. Because of its versatility, our Molly also added bacon to one of them (and left one bacon free). I’ve been fantasizing ever since and am sad she won’t be joining us for Thanksgiving to bring this delicious dish.
Boursin Mashed Potatoes: Every holiday table needs a big heaping bowl of mashed potatoes, and these ones provide a delicious little extra something without scaring off the pickiest of eaters. The cheese in these makes them super creamy and flavorful. The recipe is pretty low-cost to make, which means you can easily double or triple to feed the hungry masses.
Summer Vegetable Tian: Don’t let the word summer fool you– the thyme and combination of yellow squash and zucchini make this just as appropriate for autumn and winter. It looks moresinful than it is with that light spatter of cheese, and the flavors are vibrant and warming. Tricking people into eating healthier? That’s my game. And since it’s cooked in a glass or metal pan? Easy to prepare ahead of time and cook at your final destination! No muss, no fuss.
Hmm…. looks like I probably should have named this ALL SQUASH: ALL THE TIME…
What are your favorite dishes for the holidays? Any standby recipes you always bring to a potluck?