Friends, Thanksgiving is here. Thanksgiving is here! How did this happen? Both Garett and I had an unbelievable busy September/October at work, we are in the midst of moving, and you know how it goes, life just happens. I swear we blinked and November appeared out of nowhere.
They say the older you get, the faster time passes. Isn’t this the truth? I of course always assumed this was something adults used to just say, trying to make youngsters feel bad, or impose some BS wisdom on us. And wouldn’t you know it, now that I am an adult (ugh), I am finding this to be 100% accurate. It is ridiculously true and I cannot stand it.
This is all due to perspective of course. As a child, you don’t understand the concept of time, and haven’t lived long enough to make sense of it. Instead, things seem to take impossibly long. Well kids, that will change. Things come full circle alright.
So, Thanksgiving is nearly here and I feel totally unprepared. I always manage to pull it together in time, but the magic truly happens at the last-minute. And it’s okay, because Thanksgiving is my JAM. It is by far my favorite holiday, I love everything is represents. A day dedicated to giving thanks and enjoying amazing food is my idea of perfection.
So much so, that I take on the task of dinner mostly by myself. Yes, I am a control freak, and yes I honestly enjoy it. I do welcome help of course, but because I have the luxury of taking the entire week off work, I have 3-4 full days to prep. I savor the beautiful disaster that is making everything from scratch, and taking my time to craft the most heart-felt, over-the-top, glutinous feast of the year.
Some of you are probably cringing right now, cooking is not for everyone. But guess what? If you have someone like me in your family, you can count on having a spectacular meal. And if you are the family member that cooks, then you are enjoying this as much as I am.
And I take my Thanksgiving planning very seriously. The last couple of years being the exception, I typically have my entire plan laid out several weeks in advance. I always use a spreadsheet (shocking, I know), and I include every.single.detail. It is not just a menu, oh no that would be too simple. It is also a minute-by-minute cooking schedule and shopping list. That is what happens when a planner turns home cook. Painstaking details.
I am working on putting together a Thanksgiving Ebook, one that will show you how to put together the ultimate holiday plan. A full on guidebook, and filled with unique recipes. As you can likely predict by now, it didn’t happen this year. But there is always next year!
In the meantime, I am instead including our favorite Thanksgiving recipes of all time. Those we have used in the past and repeat on our menu often, as well as some newer favorites. Happy planning friends!
If you are new to Paleo Thanksgiving, or want a series of ideas, there are some great resources from some of our favorite sites.
- Our personal favorite complete resource for all things Paleo Thanksgiving is from none other than Nom Nom Paleo. As noted below, we pretty much made half of her original menu for our first Paleo-giving.
- This roundup from Paleo Leap has some great holiday classics as well as an entire menu.
- This comprehensive breakdown from Cook Eat Paleo includes every possible variation from every category.
- Paleo Magazine has an entire menu plan to make things really simple.
- I am a huge fan of maple on my turkey, and we all know maple and apple make a happy pairing. This Maple Glazed Spicy Apple Turkey is a total winner.
- For a classic variation, this traditional turkey from Primal Palate is a great option.
- Sub grass-fed butter in this recipe and you have a fab herb-butter roast turkey.
- As I have already mentioned, Maple Bacon Turkey is our ultimate favorite. We actually modify this recipe to be Paleo pretty easily, or you can make it as-is.
- Garlic “Mashed Potatoes”are a fantastic and indistinguishable from the real thing.
- Simple, yet always a hit, you cannot go wrong with Brussels and Bacon.
- If you are the sweet potato casserole type, these Paleo Streuseled Sweet Potatoes are for you.
- Squash needs to appear somewhere, and we prefer ours as a sweet and savory salad with brown butter.
- This Clean Green Bean Casserole is a super healthy variation of the original.
- We made this incredible Grain Free Thanksgiving Stuffing last year and everyone adored it. It will be reappearing on this year’s menu.
- Cheesy potatoes always please, and this Potato and Celery Root Gratin is our family’s ultimate preference.
Sauce and Gravy
We like both gravy and fresh cranberry sauce on our table, and these are our go-to’s.
- My family loves cherries, so we all prefer this Cran-Cherry Sauce from Nom Nom Paleo.
- For a crazy quick and simple sauce this 3-Ingredient option from Cook Eat Paleo is a great one.
- Michelle Tam knows her gravies, they are seriously all incredible. But this Umami Gravy takes the cake. All our guests ask for this recipe and request it throughout the year. Pro tip – make a double batch and freeze half. You will need it for leftovers!
- This Best Thanksgiving Gravy is a prefect classic option.
- Our Mulled Cranberry Cider Sangria is easily doubled and served in a punch bowl for a crowd.
- This Apple Cider Sangria is a perfect refreshing pitcher cocktail.
- This rich and warming Pomegranate Vanilla Sangria feels like the holidays.
Pies are a must on Thanksgiving, fortunately there are numerous options. I usually make one Paleo option and one traditional for those who can/want to enjoy the classics.
For the pumpkin pie lover:
- This Paleo Pumpkin Cheesecake, and what I will be making this year, is pure pumpkin divinity.
- Simple straightforward and classic Paleo Pumpkin Pie very close to the original.
- This Pumpkin Mousse Torte is bursting with flavor and surprisingly easy to put together.
For the fruit pie lover:
- These Paleo Sticky Apple Bars are a fun and easy variation, plus they’re no bake.
- A double crust Paleo Apple Pie is a crowd favorite.
- This Apple Cider Cream Pie is a unique take that is light, airy, and refreshing.
- Cranberries, custard, and brown sugar mix together beautifully in this Cranberry Tart.
For the pecan pie lover:
- These bite size Paleo Pecan Pie Cookies are a lovely mini treat.
- Our family adores chocolate pecan pie. This Paleo version is the closet I have found to our traditional favorite.
- For a traditional option, we made Emeril’s Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe for years. It is to die for.
For the chocoholic or those who want something different:
- Last year I tried something completely new and different from our usual pies, and served this Salted Chocolate S’mores Tart. To say it was a hit would be major understatement.
- Think of this Chocolate-Caramel Hazelnut Tart as nutella in pie form, with buttery caramel to boot.
- If you enjoy salty and sweet, and handheld desserts, our Malted Walnut Brown Butter Bars are a great option.
Now that we have been through all our suggestions, what are your family’s favorite recipes?
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