Designs of Any Kind’s Guide to a Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner

Our countdown to Thanksgiving has officially arrived. It’s Thanksgiving week and the true work of shopping and actually preparing all of the recipes you’ve gathered has officially started. Yay! 

And if you are one of us that’s a bit behind and still not sure what to put on the Thanksgiving table, then we have you covered! We’ve put together our ultimate traditional Thanksgiving dinner so you can still wow your guests and look like you’ve been strategically planning your menu out for weeks. You’ve got this!    

We’ve also put together some of our tips and tricks that have helped us throughout the years, when tackling larger dinners and events. 

Here’s to an amazing Thanksgiving filled with friends, family, great food and even better wine! With love from my kitchen to yours – Mel


The Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Click on images for recipes

Honey Nut Butternut Squash and Pear Bisque

Herb Roasted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy

Apple, Sage and Sausage Stuffing

Mashed Potatoes with Chives & Garlic

Orange Bourbon Cranberry Sauce

Haricots Verts Casserole 

Classic Pumpkin Pie

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie


Wine Pairings

Herb Roasted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy  /  Pinot Noir, Spanish Garnacha

Orange Bourbon Cranberry Sauce  /  Zinfandel

Mashed Potatoes with Chives & Garlic  /  Chardonnay

Apple, Sage and Sausage Stuffing  /  Petite Sirah

Haricots Verts Casserole   /  Chardonnay, Viogner, Sauvignon Blanc

Classic Pumpkin Pie  /  Gewurztraminer, “Medium Dry Amontillado” Sherries or Olorosso Sherries

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie  /  Sweet Madeira


Tips & Tricks

Cook ahead

Make the beginning and end of the meal 1 day in advance. That means the soup and the dessert, in this case. Also do any step in a recipe that allows for advance cooking or preparing.


Mise en Place

Prep your ingredients the day. This means chopping, measuring and even cooking (when possible) all of your ingredients and placing them in Tupperware, arranged by recipe on trays in the fridge. If you peel and chop potatoes, makes sure to store them in water, so they don’t brown.


Set the table

Either the night before or right away in the morning, make sure to completely set your table.


Simple is best

It’s easy to go crazy with testing out fun flavors and recipes, but when it comes to entertaining a variety of people, stick with simple, classics.


Dish duty

In the heat of the dinner prep, the dishes can easily pile up, which can be unsightly to your dinner guests and overwhelming come the end of the meal. Make sure to take regular breaks to wash the dishes, or assign someone else dish duty so you can stay focused.


It’s okay to cheat or accept help

Thanksgiving can be a lot of work, even for the most experienced cook. Make life a bit easier on yourself, pamper yourself with a glass of wine and allow others to help out – whether it’s bringing a dish or two, helping occupy the kids, set the table or keep the dishes at bay. It’s also very okay to cheat and purchase items from the store. A store bought pumpkin pie can be just as good as a homemade one. Instead of elaborate hors d’oeuvres, stick with a few interesting cheeses and a rustic baguette to keep your guests occupied will you put the final touches on the meal.


Don’t own a turkey roasting rack?

Not a problem! A thick spiral of crumpled up tin foil works just as well. You can also use a mixture of carrots, onion slices and celery, left rather large, to raise the turkey. The point of a roasting rack is to allow the heat to circulate around the entire turkey.


Turkey a bit dry?

Before serving, lightly pour warm chicken or turkey broth over the slices.

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