I Hosted An Early Thanksgiving This Year — Here Are The Recipes That Turned Out Best (And Worst)
If you're looking for ideas for your own holiday meal, this will help.
Can you believe it's already almost Thanksgiving? On one hand, we wait all year for the best food holiday out there. On the other hand, planning, cooking, and hosting the big day can be really stressful.
This year, my Colorado family celebrated Thanksgiving early — for Canadian Thanksgiving. 🇨🇦 For anyone who might not know, Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October. My husband is Canadian, so it's a holiday we celebrate twice each year — and for that, we can definitely be thankful!
I wanted to share my family's Thanksgiving menu this year — the recipes, grocery list, prep plan, and the even things I wish I'd done differently in hindsight. Cooking for the holidays is tough! Hopefully this can help make it easier for some.
Similar to my typical week of meal planning on a $100 budget, I wanted to also keep the big Thanksgiving meal under that price point. This year, in addition to my own family of five, we were also hosting some guests for Thanksgiving — so I knew it would be a challenge.
Every Thanksgiving, I make a mix of recipes that my family already knows and loves — plus a few new ones. Once I settled on a lineup this year, I pulled everything into a grocery list. This list includes everything I needed to make the meal, except for dried spices, olive oil, and drinks.
Here's everything that was on the menu this year:
Back to the groceries: Everything — other than the turkey — rang in at $85.79. I knew the turkey would be the most expensive part, so I price-shopped it elsewhere.
Trying to find a whole turkey in my town in October is far more challenging than one might think. It took a bit of work calling around to different stores to see if they had any in stock, and for what price. Thanks to an amazing Target employee who was aware of a recent shipment, I scored the deal of the season: a 15-pound turkey for $12.17.
When I added the turkey back into the rest of the haul (pictured below), the total came to $98.79.
When it comes to the actual cooking, the biggest lesson I've learned over the years is to make everything you can in advance. Here was my game plan this year:
THE NIGHT BEFORE:
• Make Dinner Rolls
• Make Cranberry Sauce
• Make Dressing (note: I prefer making this the night before so the flavors can fully soak in overnight)
• Wash, peel, and cut potatoes for Mashed Potatoes
THE DAY OF:
• Roast Turkey in oven
• Make Gravy
• Make Green Beans
• Make Mac 'n' Cheese
• Finish Mashed Potatoes
• Make Pumpkin Pie (note: in hindsight, I should have made this the night before)