Six Thanksgiving Menus

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, these Thanksgiving menus may inspire your own celebration, whether traditional, make-ahead, casual buffet, an intimate table, vegetarian, lower-calorie – plus a bonus, my own "dream" Thanksgiving menu! Use an entire menu or better yet, mix and match a new recipe or two with your own family favorites. All the recipes are from Kitchen Parade or A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables.

More Thanksgiving Recipes
from Kitchen Parade
More Thanksgiving Vegetable Recipes
from A Veggie Venture

A Traditional Thanksgiving Menu

~ all of Thanksgiving's homemade favorites ~

A Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Menu

~ Thanksgiving favorites made ahead to serve at home or to carry ~

A Menu for a Casual Thanksgiving Buffet

~ crowd favorites that can be served hot or at room temperature ~

An Intimate Thanksgiving Dinner for a Small Table

~ some recipes better suited for smaller groups ~

A Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu

~ recipe ideas for vegetarian guests or vegetarian options ~

Lower-Calorie Thanksgiving Menu

~ investing calories wisely, even on Thanksgiving ~

My Dream Thanksgiving Menu

~ if I could pick my very very favorites ~
(because some times there's just no choosing)

~ Apple Cider & Bourbon Cocktails ~

Roast Turkey
Sausage Stuffing
(my grandmother's recipe)
Three Secrets for Rich & Creamy Mashed Potatoes
with Turkey Gravy

~ Savory Bread Pudding with Butternut Squash, Chard & Cheddar ~
(for the vegetarians)

Homemade Whole Cranberry Sauce for the Slow Cooker
Cranberry Chutney
(yep, two cranberry dishes)

World's Best Green Bean Casserole
(the recipe which changed my life, some day I'll tell the story!)
Butternut Mac 'n' Cheese
Silky Smooth Corn Pudding
Squash Puff
(my Auntie Gloria's recipe)
Spinach Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole
(yes, lots and lots of veggies!)

Bodacious Brussels Sprouts
Wild Rice Salad
(and salad, too)

Homemade Butterhorns (Thanksgiving Crescent Rolls)
(my grandmother's recipe)

American Apple Pie
with Flaky Tender Pie Crust
Fresh Cranberry Cake
Honey Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pecan Pie
(yes, lots of desserts too!)

about my photograph

Full corn' moon rising over eastern Wyoming, western Nebraska, early September 2009. Photo © Kitchen Parade All Rights Reserved.

The "full corn" moon shot was taken somewhere just east of the Wyoming-Nebraska border, a lovely hilled area with ribbon roads snaking eastward. We topped a hill to see a huge moon just above the horizon. By the time we stopped and I'd scampered to the side of the road to frame the shot, the moon was already half the size, although still mammoth. Still more amazing? Behind us to the west was a beautiful mountain-view sunset!

Sun setting near Wyoming-Nebraska border, early September 2009. Photo © Kitchen Parade All Rights Reserved.

Both shots are "straight out of the camera" (except cropping) taken with a brand-new "vacation" camera, the 10mp 12x zoom Panasonic Lumix. By recommendation, I'll tell you that I took this camera on vacation the first time doing something I don't recommend, taking an unfamiliar camera on a trip, without even having read the book. That said, I put the camera on "auto" and we just started shooting and hoping. Lucky, it worked out beautifully.

I wish I could take credit for discovering this camera but can't. For months, I looked at one point 'n' shoot camera after another, never finding exactly what I hoped for in a single package, feeling both frustrated by indecision and overwhelmed by all the choices. So when Lydia Walshin from The Perfect Pantry and the cookie-baking non-profit Drop In & Decorate mentioned she'd bought the camera for a trip to Brazil, I ordered one the same day – and am so glad I did!

Update: We used the Lumix as a "vacation camera" for five years, then the lens was scratched. We looked at other cameras, then bought another Lumix! We love its pictures, the ease of shooting and how easily it fits into a pocket or a purse!

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.