Thanksgiving is about tradition. And of course, you want all the trimmings: the roasted turkey, the potatoes, the Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. But it’s also about the harvest. So why not take advantage of some of fall’s best, when the bounty of veggies and fruit are just at their peak of ripeness and flavor?
High-quality ingredients—fresh poultry, just picked organic squash, seasonal root vegetables and heirloom apples—will make all the difference between an OK dish and one that delights and surprises with the intensity of tastes, textures, and aromas. Yes, the holiday is about great conversation and sharing at the dinner table, but incredible food will only enhance the feeling of well-being, community, and connection. Add these essentials to your Thanksgiving dinner checklist for a spectacular feast to remember.
Red, green or yellow, fragrant apples ripen in September and October. Whether tart and crisp or sweet and mellow, apples lend a feeling of coziness to your meal, not to mention the enticing aroma of, say, a Fuji simmering in cinnamon and cloves. Serve mugs of hot apple cider when your guests arrive, garnished with a cinnamon stick, or add an apple dish to your menu. Bright orange Roasted Apple Pumpkin Soup with Potatoes makes a vibrant first course or serve a pleasingly sweet-sour-earthy side dish of Slow Roasted Potatoes, Turnips, and Apples featuring tart green Granny Smiths and dried cranberries.
No Thanksgiving menu is complete without potatoes. Mashed potatoes are the classic choice, but these can be bland and dry. You want to use Little Potatoes, which, in addition to being far more nutritious, boast a silky, smooth texture and complex flavor profile—from buttery and mineral to bold and a bit exotic. You can choose from tri-color or fingerling, purple-splashed, red, blue or yellow, adding visual pizzazz to the celebratory table.
Try a twist on the usual mashed recipe with Boursin Cheese Mashed Potatoes (here’s the video recipe), Light Mashed Potatoes with Kale & Goat Cheese, Baked Mashed Potato Bites, or if you need something quick and easy, 10 Minute Garlic Parsley Mashed Potatoes—or a vegan or dairy-free version. For something a little different, try one of these: Rosemary Goat Cheese Scalloped, Parmesan scalloped with carrots, scalloped with ham or au gratin with cauliflower and ham.
The bird is the star of the show, and there’s nothing wrong with a traditional stuffed, trussed and roasted turkey. If you want to experiment with something non-traditional, though, try Slow Cooker Lemon-Dill Turkey Breast and Potatoes. Not only is this dish easy and stress-free since you can put it in the Crock Pot the morning of or the night before, it’s moist and juicy, and loaded with refreshing citrus and bright dill—a nice foil to the requisite mild sides. Or make Turkey Pinwheels with Potato, Cheddar and Apple. This entrée combines three Thanksgiving staples in one and looks gorgeous on the festive table garnished with rosemary and pecans. It’s not a whole roasted bird, true, but probably a lot more tender and flavorful.
After everyone’s returned for seconds and thirds, adjusted their belt buckles and headed home, here are some inspired ideas on what to do with all those leftovers. Happy Thankgiving!
What do you serve to make your Thanksgiving feast extra special? Any great tips, tricks or recipes? Tell us on social media: @LittlePotatoCo (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter).
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