The Step-by-Step Guide to Hosting a High Style, Low Budget Thanksgiving! Recipes

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Last week, I shared with you my plan to help you host a high style, low budget Thanksgiving and this week, I'm giving you ALL my recipes (plus free printables!), tips, and a master grocery list. Over the last two decades of hosting this holiday, I have learned exactly how to have a fantastic and stylish celebration on an incredibly low budget- and a huge part of that was the in the recipes that I have adapted and perfected. I believe in hosting a simple Thanksgiving filled with traditional foods and lots of it. In my experience, people prefer the tried-and-true dishes over whatever is currently trendy on the foodie blogs. So here are my recipes, tips, and tricks (along with free printables) to help you with your Thanksgiving Day menu.

Last week, I shared with you my plan to help you host a high style, low budget Thanksgiving and this week, I'm giving you ALL my recipes (plus free printables!), tips, and a master grocery list. Over the last two decades of hosting this holiday, I have learned exactly how to have a fantastic and stylish celebration on an incredibly low budget- and a huge part of that was the in the recipes that I have adapted and perfected. I believe in hosting a simple Thanksgiving filled with traditional foods and lots of it. In my experience, people prefer the tried-and-true dishes over whatever is currently trendy on the foodie blogs. So here are my recipes, tips, and tricks (along with free printables) to help you with your Thanksgiving Day menu.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Hosting a High Style, Low Budget Thanksgiving! Recipes

The High Style, Low Budget Thanksgiving Menu!

Appetizers:
Cheese Platter
Cream Cheese with Chutney and Crackers
Savory Spiced Pecans

Entrees and Sides:
Herb-Roasted Turkey
The Ultimate Make-Ahead Gravy
Cornbread Dressing with Smoked Bacon and Pecans
Cranberry Sauce
Slow Cooker Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Vanilla Bean Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecan Topping
Roasted Corn
Roasted Mushrooms and Green Beans
Rolls

Desserts:
Easy Pumpkin Pie
Sherry's Apple Pie
Black Bottom Cupcakes
Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Tips and Suggestions for the Appetizers:

  • Forget recreating those fancy-schmancy cheese platters you see on Instagram. Stick with this simple formula – 3 cheeses + grapes. That's really all you need. Pick up everything from the deli section of your local supermarket. I always grab a chunk of triple cream Brie, a slab of sharp cheddar, and some kind of "fun" cheese (like a jalapeno-spiked Gouda). Pair with grapes and call it a day.
  • The simplest (and most universally adored) appetizer I know is a small jar of fruity chutney dumped on a block of cream cheese and served with crackers.
  • I love to make these Savory Spiced Pecans from whatever I have leftover from making the cornbread and sweet potatoes. I do them a few days before and store in a Ziploc bag. On Thanksgiving, I just dump them into a small white bowl and serve. 

Tips and Suggestions for the Entree and Sides:

  • The number one way to make your turkey juicy and tasty is to brine it. Skip those time and supply intensive wet brines – go for this no fail and beyond easy dry brine. I do mine the night before and store the turkey (in it's roasting rack) in the fridge.
  • It can be tricky trying to cook Thanksgiving when you only have one oven (I know – I'm right there). So my biggest tip is to delegate the actual cooking of several dishes to friends or family. For example, a few days before Thanksgiving, I prep and make the Cornbread Dressing with Smoked Bacon and Pecans and Vanilla Bean Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecan Topping up to the point where they are cooked in the oven. Then, I cover them in tinfoil, write the cooking directions (time and temperature) on them in Sharpie, and deliver them the night before to whomever has volunteered their oven for cooking duty. Two dishes done and then delivered ready to serve for the meal.
  • You don't have to make the cornbread for the Cornbread Dressing with Smoked Bacon and Pecans from scratch (I do – here's the recipe), buy cornbread mix-in-a-box or even pre-made from the bakery department of your local supermarket.
  • I always make up the Roasted Mushrooms and Green Beans (up until the get cooked) the day before and store it in a Ziploc bag in the fridge overnight.
  • Buy the rolls. Thanksgiving is not the time to mess with baking bread. Unless you're a bread savant – BUY THE ROLLS. Another option (and the one I do) is to take up someone on their offer to help and ask them to bring the rolls.
  • FYI, dressing and stuffing are EXACTLY the same thing. Forget all that cooked in the bird/not cooked in the bird nonsense. They. Are. The. Same. Thing.

Tips and Suggestions for the Desserts:

  • My number one tip for Thanksgiving desserts is to delegate. I never make the pies. They are always something that I have other people (the ones who offer to bring a dish) do. Pies are pretty easy but can be time-consuming so see if someone else will do them. Personally, I love making cupcakes and they can be cooked and the frosting made the night before. But you can totally have someone else do them (or skip them completely). Another totally cool option? BUY DESSERT. There's no law that says everything has to be homemade.
  • If you do serve pie, don't forget the whipped cream (buy it – don't make it) and/or vanilla ice cream.

And, for your convenience, here's a master grocery shopping list for you – just fill in the amounts of each item that you'll need.

Next Friday, I'll be sharing a comprehensive timeline (in printable form!) for your entire Thanksgiving plus a complete rundown of my simple, yet chic decor plan for this year. See you then!