Thanksgiving Dinner: Easy, Delicious Menu Options


Thanksgiving is around the corner, so it’s time to head to the grocery store and start food shopping for all your must-have cooking ingredients. Start thinking about the types of dishes you’ll be making this year and create a detailed shopping list. It’s best to beat the crowds and shop as early as possible. To help you kick-start your Thanksgiving menu, here are three recipes that will spice up an otherwise traditional meal:

Caramelized shallot mashed red-skinned potatoes:

I make mashed potatoes all the time, so for Thanksgiving, I like to make them a little more special by stirring in caramelized shallots.

For the caramelized shallots:

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

10 Shallots, thinly sliced

1?4 Teaspoon kosher salt

1? 4 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the potatoes:

4 Pounds unpeeled red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

3 Teaspoons kosher salt

1 Cup whole milk

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter (one stick)

1 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour and 10 minutes for the shallots; 40 minutes for the potatoes.

For the shallots:

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Add the shallots and stir occasionally until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon water, reduce the heat to low, and cover partially. Cook about 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes and adding an additional tablespoon of water if shallots are drying out or sticking. Stir in the salt and pepper. Set aside until the mashed potatoes are ready. (The shallots can be made a few days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator, then reheated at serving time.)

For the potatoes:

Place the potatoes in a stockpot. Cover with cold water and add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and cool until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to the pan. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk and butter. Use a potato masher to begin mashing potatoes. Slowly add in milk mixture and continue to mash. Potatoes should be smooth, with some chunks. Stir in reserved shallots, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.

Crisp Green Beans with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

3 Pounds French green beans, trimmed

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

2 Shallots, minced

1 Cup diced sun-dried tomatoes

1 Tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

¾ Teaspoon kosher salt

½ Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 to 10 servings

Prep time: 20 minutes, then 5 minutes to cool beans

Cook time: 12 minutes

Prepare an ice water bath. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook two minutes. Drain the beans and plunge into the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain. (This step can be done the day before. Refrigerate the beans until ready to finish.)

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until tender, about three minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook 2 minutes. Add the beans, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Cook until the beans are heated through, about five minutes.


Pumpkin roll

For the cake:

1 Teaspoon baking powder

2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 Teaspoon ground ginger

½ Teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ Teaspoon kosher salt

3 Large eggs

1 Cup white sugar

½ Cup pure pumpkin puree

½ Cup confectioner’s sugar

For the filling:

1 Cup confectioner’s sugar, plus extra for dusting

Two 3-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened

4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted

Butter, softened

½ Teaspoon vanilla extract

8 Servings

Prep time: 25 minutes, plus 2 hours to cool cake, 1 to 2 hours to set

Cook time: 15 minutes

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease and flour the paper. In a medium bowl, combine The flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. In a separate large bowl, beat eggs and white sugar until light and fluffy, and out 5 minutes. Mix in the pumpkin until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture. Pour the batter out onto the prepared jelly-roll pan. Drop the pan twice on counter to even out the batter and release any bubbles. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, dust a dishtowel with confectioners’ sugar. Immediately transfer the cake to the powdered dishtowel and gently roll from one short end to the other. Refrigerate on pan or plate until completely cool, about two hours.

For the filling:

Combine the confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Unroll the cake and spread with the filling. Re-roll cake and wrap the plastic wrap for one to two hours. Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.

Katie Lee is an acclaimed food critic and chef. Starting her career at PBS as a TV resturant critic, she then went on to create the foodie website, Lee was the first to host Bravo‘s Top Chef season one and wrote a cookbook titled, The Comfort Table. Lee has been featured in publications such as People, In Style, Life and Style, and Celebrity Living. Lee is a member of the council of Chefs for Humanity, a group that provides humanitarian aid worldwide and she is also a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, an organization that educates and mentors women in the culinary profession.

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