Attention all cooks! It is time to start prepping your kitchens, preheating your ovens, and setting your dinner tables because Thanksgiving is here again. With the big celebration right around the corner and the stress of cooking dinner for a large number of people, here are some quick, easy, and delicious meals, sides, and desserts that you can make this Thanksgiving.
The main course, an appetizer, and a side dish for your table.
Chicken and Chorizo Stew
The first dish is chicken and chorizo stew. This is a great meal to serve if you’re hosting a large or small gathering at your house this Thanksgiving. David Pope artist and food blogger has thoughts on this dish, “It’s an easy choice for the middle of the week, and you can substitute many of the ingredients for whatever you have lying around in your pantry!” The stew is simple to make and only requires fifteen minutes of prep time.
6 bone-in chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb semi-cured chorizo, sliced into roughly 1/2-inch pieces (if you can’t find semi-cured, use fresh) about 450g
1 large yellow onion thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers seeds removed and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1 cup dry sherry or any other dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 cans of tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup green olives pits removed
Turkey and Sweet Potato (or cranberry) Empanadas
The next dish is one that I will definitely be making as an appetizer for Thanksgiving this year: turkey and Sweet Potato or turkey and cranberry empanadas. I’ve had empanadas with meat and cheese in them but I’ve never had one with turkey, sweet potato, and cranberries in it. According to the website The Spruce Eats.com, this dish takes twenty minutes to prepare, and thirty-four minutes to cook and you can make as many as twenty servings. So even after Thanksgiving dinner is done you still have enough empanadas to enjoy the following week.
1 (14-ounce) package of refrigerated pie crust sheets
1 1/2 cups diced cooked turkey
1/3 cup turkey gravy, cold, from leftovers or a jar
3/4 cup mashed potatoes, cold, seasoned
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup leftover turkey dressing, bread or cornbread
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon water
1 cup cranberry sauce
Creamy Yuca Mash
Every family’s dinner table has different sides and the one side that is always constant during this holiday is mashed potatoes. Many individuals who live in South America call the root vegetable that we know as a potato a Yuca, which can be purchased at your local supermarket. Similar to the empanadas there are multiple ways to pair mashed potatoes; meat, gravy, vegetables, and eggs. The food blog, FoodHeaven says that this dish is, “…a great side dish for your favorite meals. Just pair it with a protein and veggies to balance out that plate.” This is a side you’ll definitely want to add to your table.
2 1/2 pounds of yuca root, chopped into 3” chunks and peeled
1/4 cup butter
Salt, to taste
Vegan options: Plant-based, organic and delicious
For those of you who enjoy a vegan lifestyle, don’t worry I’ve got you covered. The next items in this section are all vegan meals that you can prepare for Thanksgiving.
Instead of making a traditional stuffing laced with bread, butter, onion, celery, chicken broth, eggs, and spices. The recipe from LoveandLemons.com states that this dish is a mixture of vegetables and herbs that makes a delicious addition to your table. If you haven’t before you should make this dish for the upcoming holiday because the prep time is fifteen minutes, it takes forty minutes to cook and it serves up to eight guests.
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup coarsely chopped cipollini onions
3 cups chopped & stemmed mushrooms, a mix of shiitakes & creminis
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1/4 cup chopped sage, plus 8 leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons minced rosemary
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
5 cups cubed crusty ciabatta + nine-grain bread*
3 lacinato kale leaves, coarsely chopped or torn
2 cups vegetable broth, plus more for reheating
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Butternut Squash Casserole
The next vegan dish on this list is Butternut Squash Casserole. Usually, this recipe would require any kind of meat in the casserole such as roast chicken, turkey, ham, and even ribs. But the recipe found on LoveandLemon.com requires butternut squash, sourdough bread, white wine, celery, garlic, dried cranberries, and various other ingredients to create this meal. This meal takes twenty minutes to prepare, and in an hour it’ll be ready for you and your guests to enjoy!
2 cups cubed butternut squash
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
1 heaping cup of chopped leeks, white and light green parts, rinsed well
2 celery stalks, chopped
¼ cup dry white wine
3 garlic cloves, minced (or 5 cloves roasted garlic from this recipe, minced)
Heaping ¼ cup chopped fresh sage, plus about 12 small leaves
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
Heaping 5 cups cubed sourdough bread (1-inch cubes)
1½ cups vegetable broth, more if needed
8 tiny pearl onions, peeled and sliced in half
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
The last dish for this section is Vegan Pastelón. One of the things that I love about cooking is there are so many ways that you recreate a meal. Marta Rivera Diaz shares her knowledge about how to make vegan pastelón on the website Sense&Edibility has a great recipe that can help you create this beautiful meal.
6 yellow plantains
1/3 cup vegetable oil plus 1/2 tablespoon for the picadillo
24 ounces (2 packs) Impossible Burger
1 1/2 teaspoons sazón seasoning[ninja_form id=null
1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
kosher salt to taste
1 small (1 cup) white onion diced
1 medium (1 cup) green bell pepper diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup sofrito
1 cup (8 ounces) tomato sauce
6 manzanilla olives sliced (optional)
1 teaspoon capers
1 bay leaf
3 packs (24 ounces) of vegan cheese separated
Three perfect desserts to end the evening.
We’ve reached the final part of this list and my personal favorite, the deserts. Below are some options of tasty treats that you can make for you and your guests to enjoy this Thanksgiving.
Cajeta Quemada Bread Pudding
First, we have Cajeta Quemada Bread Pudding. This dessert is granted to satisfy your sweet tooth. Ericka Sanchez shared the recipe on her food blog, Nibles, and Feasts. She states that the dessert is, “Made with goat’s milk, it is smooth, spreads and pours easily, and has a very robust taste.” Sanchez tops off her dessert with cajeta (milk caramel) but recommends to anyone who wants to try and make this dessert add pecans as a topping to give a sweet and crunchy texture!
6-day-old bolillos, torn in ½-inch pieces
4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup cajeta quemada (burnt cajeta)
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Calabaza en Tacha
I can’t have a list of desserts without having at least one featuring the season’s most popular fruit, pumpkin. The next dessert on this list is Calabaza en Tacha or candied pumpkin. This is a simple and delicious dish that you can serve at the end of the evening. Vianney Rodriguez created the recipe on her food blog, SweetLife, and shares with her readers why they have to make this dessert for the holidays. There are various pairings that you can create such as you can serve your guest calabaza en tacha with ice cream topped with whipped cream, or you could serve the dessert with sides of raspberries, apples, and pretzels added into the mix.
1 pumpkin about 5lbs
2 lb brown sugar
2 lb piloncillo
1 cinnamon stick
2 anise star
½ gallon water
Rum Infused Pecan Pie
Finally, the last item on this list of desserts that you should try and make for this Thanksgiving is the rum-infused pecan pie. Enriqueta Lemoine mentions in her food blog, Enrilemoine.com shares her thoughts on this dessert, “a sweet pie made with corn syrup and pecans, sometimes bourbon, considered a specialty of the Southern cuisine.” This dish will be a great way to end the evening over some coffee or tea and conversation with your family.
1 basic pie dough recipe
2 cups of pecans halves
¾ cup of molasses
¾ cup of brown sugar
3 eggs lightly beaten
3 Tbs. of Ron de Venezuela Santa Teresa Añejo
2 Tbs. of melted butter
1 Tsp. of vanilla extract
The best thing about this holiday is celebrating the blessings that life has given you with the people that you love most in the world, all while eating a delicious meal and enjoying each other’s company. Whether you’re hosting this Thanksgiving dinner or bringing the dessert to your host’s house, everyone will appreciate the fact that you took the time to create something for everyone to enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving from the Wafi Media Team!