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   Plenty of Thanksgiving
Dinner Ideas  ~  Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes 

thanksgiving dinner ideas

We have some great Turkey Advice so also see how to prepare the  Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey!

Take Time to Give Thanks 

Do you get so busy preparing for Thanksgiving that you forget to be thankful? Many of us do. We get so wrapped up in all the preparations, the cooking and all the family coming that we forgot to stop and remember all our blessings. 

Before you say your prayers and eat your meal, make it a tradition at your Thanksgiving table this year, to take the time for each member of your family to share what they are most thankful for in the past year. You might be surprised at the things your family is thankful for this year.

Pumpkin Pie Cake

Pie Ingredients:
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups of sugar
1 large can of evaporated milk
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 15 oz. of can pumpkin

1 package yellow cake mix
1 stick butter
1 cup chopped walnuts

Mix together pie ingredients and pour into an ungreased 13 x 9 inch pan. Sprinkle
over top of this in layers: 1 package yellow cake mix, 1 stick butter, melted; 1
cup chopped nuts. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees or until knife comes out
clean. Serve with whipped cream topping.

Pumpkin Pie Bars

1 (18 1/2 oz.) box of yellow cake mix
1/2 cup of butter or margarine, melted
4 eggs
1 (30 oz.) can of solid pack pumpkin (3 cups)
1 cup of sugar, divided
1/2 cup of light brown sugar (firmly packed)
2/3 cup of evaporated milk
1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
1/4 cup of butter or margarine, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
Remove 1 cup of the cake mix; reserve. In a small bowl, lightly beat 1 egg.
In a large bowl, stir together remaining cake mix, melted butter and beaten
egg. Press into prepared pan. In a large bowl, lightly beat remaining 3 eggs.
Stir in pumpkin, 1/2 cup of the sugar, brown sugar, evaporated milk and
cinnamon. Pour over cake mixture in pan. To the 1 cup cake mix, add
remaining 1/2 cup sugar, walnuts and softened butter; mix until crumbly.
Sprinkle over pumpkin mixture. Bake 50 to 60 minutes. Serve warm or cool.

Double Layer Pumpkin Pie

4 oz. of cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon of milk or Half & Half
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 1/2 cups of thawed Cool Whip
1 Graham cracker crust
1 cup of cold milk or Half & Half
2 pkg. (4 oz. serving size) of instant vanilla pudding mix
1 can (16 oz.) of pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground of ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground of cloves

Mix cream cheese, 1 tablespoon milk or cream and sugar in large bowl with wire whisk until smooth. Gently stir in whipped topping. Spread on bottom of
crust. Pour 1 cup milk into bowl. Add pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk
until well blended, 1 to 2 minutes. (Mixture will be thick.) Stir in pumpkin and
spices using wire whisk; mix well. Spread over cream cheese layer.
Refrigerate at least 3 hours. Garnish with additional whipped topping and
nuts if desired.

Traditional Pumpkin Pie

1 (9") pastry shell
1 (16 oz.) can of pumpkin
1 (14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each of ground ginger, nutmeg & salt

In large bowl combine all ingredients except pastry shell; mix well and turn
into shell. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce oven temperature
to 350 degrees; bake for 35 to 40 minutes longer or until knife inserted 1"
from edge comes out clean. Cool before cutting. Garnish as desired.
Refrigerate leftovers.


Create Lasting Family Traditions for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time of food, family and fun. Traditions are passed down from one generation to the next. It's never too late to create new traditions. It doesn't even have to be something "huge" either. Sometimes the smallest things can be the fondest memories.

Food is one of the first things that come to mind when thinking about Thanksgiving. People practically obsess over the perfect meal, forgetting the reason for the holiday -being thankful for our blessings. Does one person do all the cooking and everyone just show up? Try something new by having the hostess fix only the main dish, whether turkey or ham, and maybe a dessert. Then have everyone else split up the side dishes and desserts. The entire day is less stressful for everyone, leaving more time to enjoy the meal and make more memories. Before long, you will all have your specialties, like Grandma's homemade applesauce, that it just isn't Thanksgiving without.

Create a family cookbook by putting together all the traditional favorites recipes. As new things are tried, and enjoyed, add them to the book. As the younger generation grows up and gets married, present a copy to the new bride and groom. This way the recipes get passed down and not forgotten.

Thanksgiving Craft: Cornucopia Centerpiece

One of the most recognizable symbols of Thanksgiving is a cornucopia, or horn of plenty. It represents a bountiful harvest. It can make a lovely centerpiece on any holiday table. There are many different ways you could make a cornucopia, using different materials, many of which you can find around your home.

By using a wicker basket shaped like a horn, it is quite easy to do a basic cornucopia. Most craft stores carry them, usually in early fall, if not year round. Once you've selected a lovely basket, you can either fill it with artificial or real fruit and vegetables. If you chose to use real produce, it's probably best to wait to fill the basket the day of your dinner so it doesn't spoil before dinner. Some fall leaves scattered around the cornucopia are a nice finishing touch.

If the children want to make their own cornucopia, they could make it out of paper. There are many patterns online for adorable paper cornucopias. Have the children glue the horn to a green piece of paper and arrange the fruit anyway they want, gluing them in place. They could even be covered in plastic and used as placemats, in addition to a centerpiece. Younger children might need help cutting the more complicated shapes. Remember to supervise children as is appropriate during the cutting and gluing stages of any craft.

Salt dough clay could be used to create a one of a kind cornucopia. With a little patience, forming the horn isn't very difficult. Start with a flattened piece of clay (use a rolling pin to flatten) and trace a circle using a plate. Cut out a wedge, so it can be curled around to make the horn. You can use a funnel to help hold the clay's shape while it dries. Some types of clay can be dried in the oven. Once dry, paint the cornucopia tan. Then make the various fruits and vegetables that you want to fill the cornucopia, following the same drying procedure for the clay you are using. If you want the pieces to last longer, spray them with a clear sealant once the paint has dried completely.

A horn could also be made from paper mache' by using a wire frame shaped like the horn. Some fruits and vegetables could be made over various size balloons. Again fresh or artificial produce could be used to fill the cornucopia as well.

With a little creativity, it does not take long to make a lovely cornucopia centerpiece for your table. Look around your house and you may find all you need already there. Saving some money is always something to be thankful for.

Tips to Keep the Stress Out of Thanksgiving Dinner

Why do people always get stressed at the holidays? Is it the rush to get everything done? Is it wanting everything to be "perfect"? Is it having to deal with family members that know how to push our buttons? Most likely it is a little of each. So how do we have a stress free Thanksgiving dinner? Here are a few simple tips to have a more enjoyable Thanksgiving dinner.

1. Plan ahead - While planning the Thanksgiving meal, do you plan who is going to help? Instead of doing it all yourself, recruit your family to help. Not only will the work go faster, it's more fun working together. Make a list of what needs done before everyone arrives. Give everyone something to do and assign things that are age appropriate to the children. Before you know it, the leftovers will be wrapped in foil and everyone will have had a great time.

2. Covered dish meal - If you are having a large group get together for Thanksgiving, divide the menu amongst all those attending. The host family can provide the main dish (turkey or ham) and the drinks. Each family brings a favorite side dish and dessert. If you want to make sure there is a variety, provide a menu and mark things off as people chose what they want to fix. 

3. Simplify - Instead of having a huge feast, prepare a smaller meal. We all tend to overeat at Thanksgiving, so make an effort to make fewer dishes. Not only will the preparation be smaller, so will our waistlines. Another option is to prepare as much ahead of time as you can. Slow cookers can be used to make all kinds of foods, even desserts. Many things can also be made as "freezer meals" and stored for weeks before re-heating them. The less actual cooking you need to do on Thanksgiving, the lower your stress levels will be. 




Let help prepare your Thanksgiving dinner by providing great Thanksgiving recipes and easy Thanksgiving dinner ideas.


Thankfully Easy Gravy Recipe

5 cups turkey stock 
1 cup water 
1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
1 tsp poultry seasoning 
1/2 tsp ground black pepper 
1/4 tsp celery salt 
1 tsp salt 

Place water in small mixing bowl. Slowly add flour stirring as you add to dissolve flour. Bring turkey stock to a rapid boil over high heat. Once boiling reduce heat to medium low. Add flour mixture slowly stirring as you go. Once all the flour mixture has been added, stir in poultry seasoning, pepper, celery salt and regular salt. Bring back to a boil. Continue boiling until gravy is the consistency you like. 

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes*

6-8 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 small onion, chopped
milk and butter to taste
1 egg, beaten
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. dried parsley

Cook the potatoes and onions until fork-tender. Drain, trying not to lose too many of the onion pieces. Mash with enough milk and butter to taste.

Add the additional ingredients except the butter, and beat until well-mixed. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray, and add the potatoes. Dot with butter. Refrigerate.

When ready to serve, bake at 400 degrees (straight from refrigerator) for 30 minutes. If you remove from refrigerator ahead of time and the potatoes come to room temperature, cut down on the baking time.

*These can be made a day or two in advance, and save time on the day of the meal! 

Cornbread Stuffing

1/2 stick of butter
1 cup diced celery
2 cups diced onions
2 cups water 
1 16 oz can of corn, drained
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 
1/2 teaspoon paprika 
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 chicken flavored bouillons
6 cups crumbled cornbread
1/2  cup chopped pecans 
Dash of black pepper

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 2 ½ quart baking dish and set aside. 

Melt the butter in large skillet over low heat. Add onion and celery and cook for approximately 5 minutes or until tender. Add water, corn, bouillon, paprika, oregano and pepper. Mix well and then add the cornbread and chopped pecans. Stir through the chopped parsley and spoon mixture into baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes.

Mashed Sweet Potato Bake

6 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/4 cup orange juice 
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

Peel and slice potatoes and boil in water until tender. Drain. Mash with a potato masher or electric mixer. Add orange peel, orange juice, brown sugar, butter, salt and cinnamon,. Add egg and milk. beat till fluffy. Add additional milk if necessary. Turn into a greased 1-quart casserole. Cover; bake in a 350 degree over for 45-50 minutes.  Serves 6 to 8.

Thanksgiving Corn Soufflé

l box JIFFY Corn Muffin Mix
l 14 oz. can creamed corn
l 14 oz. can whole kernel corn - drained
2 eggs beaten
l 1/2 cups sour cream
l stick butter - melted in microwave

Combine all ingredients in greased 9 x 13 greased casserole pan. Bake 350 for 40-50 minutes. 

This corn souffle is always on the DinnerPlanner Thanksgiving table!

Christmas Eve Ham Balls

1 lb. of lean pork, coarsely ground
1 lb. of lean ham, coarsely ground
2 eggs
2 cups of soft breadcrumbs (white baker bread, broken up by hand, crusts and centers)
1 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 cup of cider vinegar
1/2 cup of water
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
1 teaspoons of dry mustard
10 whole cloves

Glaze: Bring to a full, rapid boil. Mix ham ball ingredients together with hands. Form into 2 inch small egg size balls by squeezing tightly 4 times into shape. Place ham balls,
side by side, in a glass/enamel baking dish. Pour the boiled glaze mixture over the ham balls, covering each one by spoon if necessary. Cover loosely with foil (don't seal edges around pan). Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. 45 minutes on first side; turn each ham ball over. Spoon glaze over ham balls again. Bake 45 minutes on second side.

During the last 30 minutes, remove foil and periodically spoon glaze mixture over the ham balls. Serves 6-8 people, 6-10 ham balls/person. Traditionally served with German potato salad and baked beans.

Sweet Potato Filled Oranges

6 oranges 
3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup butter, softened, divided
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans

Start off by cutting the tops off the oranges, about half an inch off the top should do nicely. Scoop out the flesh of the orange leaving a nice shell to fill up. In a mixing bowl mix up the sweet potatoes, orange juice, eggs, vanilla extract, 1/2 cup butter and the grated orange peel. Fill up the orange shells with the mixture and put them in a deep casserole dish to hold them up. That was the easy part; now let's really get into the work. In a small pan combine remaining butter (1/2 cup) with brown sugar, flour and pecans. Cook this until the sugar dissolves. Spoon sugary pecan mixture over the filled oranges. Fill casserole dish with about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom to help the cooking process and prevent burnt orange shells. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Broccoli Casserole 

3 (10 oz.) boxes of frozen broccoli florets
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 (2.8 oz) can French Fried Onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan, prepare broccoli according to directions. Drain broccoli in a colander.  Leave the broccoli in the colander and add mushroom soup, sour cream, mayonnaise back into large sauce pan.  Stir to combine and cook until just hot.  Add 1 cup of the cheese and 3/4 of the French fried onions. Stir to combine.  Add the broccoli and stir lightly to combine.  Pour into a casserole dish and cook for about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and add rest of cheese and onion.  Cook additional 5 minutes or until bubbly.

Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes 

6-8 thinly sliced potatoes 
1 can cheddar cheese soup 
1 cup Velveeta cheese 
1-1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese 
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk 
Salt and pepper 

Spray crockpot with cooking spray. Fill crockpot half full of the sliced potatoes.  Layer 1/2 can of soup, 1/2 cup Velveeta cheese in chunks, 3/4 cup grated sharp cheese, and 1/2 can of milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Layer remaining ingredients in same order.  Cook on high about 5 hours or low about 7 hours. You may need to add more milk if too thick. 

Thanksgiving Cheesecake Surprise

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese 
3/4 cup white sugar 
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin pie filling 
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp ground ginger 
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg 
2 eggs 
1/4 tsp salt 
2 prepared 8-inch pastry shells 

In large mixing bowl beat on medium speed cream cheese and sugar until cream cheese is smooth. Add pumpkin pie filling, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg mixing until all ingredients are incorporated together. Add eggs one at time making sure to beat each egg into mixture thoroughly. Add salt and beat on medium speed until creamy. Fold pumpkin mixture into piecrusts evenly. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven 45 minutes or until set and toothpick inserted in middle of pie comes out clean. Cool to room temperature. Garnish with cool whip.

Pumpkin and Eggnog Pie

1 can (15 ounces) 100% pumpkin 
1 1/4 c. prepared eggnog
2/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin-pie spice 
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs, beaten
1 (9-inch) frozen deep-dish pie crust
8 oz. container whipped topping
nutmeg (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In large bowl, mix pumpkin, eggnog, sugar, spice, salt, and eggs with a whisk until well blended. Place frozen pie crust on cookie sheet, and pour in the pumpkin mixture (it will come to the top of the pie crust.) Place cookie sheet with the pie on the center rack of the oven. 

Bake pie for about 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours, or until filling puffs up around edges and center is just set but not puffed. Remove from oven, and cool pie completely on wire rack. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve topped with a dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with nutmeg, if desired. Keep leftovers refrigerated. 


Christmas Holiday Brunch Egg Bake

3 cups of shredded Mozzarella cheese
3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained
8 oz. cooked ham, cut into fine julienne strips
1/4 cup of margarine, melted
1 3/4 cups of milk
8 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup of sliced green onion
2 tablespoons of fresh snipped parsley
1/2 cup of flour

In a large bowl, lightly toss cheeses together. Sprinkle half of the cheese mixture in an ungreased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. In medium skillet, cook mushrooms and green onions in the margarine, until onions are tender. Arrange vegetables over cheese. Arrange ham
strips over vegetables. Sprinkle remaining cheese over ham. (To make ahead, prepare to this point, cover and refrigerate.) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl using a wire whisk, blend flour, milk, parsley and eggs; pour over layers in baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until mixture is set and top is lightly browned. Let stand about 10 minutes. Cut into squares and garnish with fresh parsley. Serves 12.

Delicious Turkey and Apple Bake

1/4 cup chopped onion 
1Tbsp butter or margarine 
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted 
3 cups cubed cooked turkey 
1 large unpeeled tart apples, cubed 
1/3 cup golden raisins 
1 tsp lemon juice 
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 
1 (9 inch) pie crust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Over medium heat melt butter in a saucepan. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Mix in the soup, turkey, apples, raisins, lemon juice and nutmeg. Be sure to mix all ingredients together well. Heat until just heated through. In a large ungreased baking dish place soup mixture. Roll out pie crust on a floured surface. Place rolled pie crust over top of soup mixture being sure to tuck sides of pie crust down sides of dish. Cut slits in top of crust to allow steam to escape. Place in oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is brown. 

Thanksgiving Leftover Pot Pie

1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 package (9 oz.) frozen chopped spinach
3 cups cooked turkey
1/2 cups country or baked ham
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) canned cream of chicken soup
2 1/2 cup milk, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup butter or margarine 

Cook onion, sliced carrots and celery with a little bit of vegetable oil in the skillet under just tender. Stir in the spinach and pour it all into a shallow baking dish (at least 3 quarts or bigger). Spread the chopped turkey and ham cubes evenly over top of everything in the dish. Next, in a medium mixing bowl blend together undiluted soup, 1 cup of milk and ground pepper. Pour this evenly over top of everything in the dish. Now mix together the flour, grated cheese, butter (or margarine) and remaining milk until nice and smooth. Pour this over top of everything in the dish. Bake 45 minutes to one hour at 400 degrees F. The top will be golden brown when done.

Yummy Leftover Turkey Soup

1 leftover turkey carcass 
3 medium onions, chopped 
2 large carrots, diced 
2 celery ribs, diced 
1 cup butter, cubed 
1 cup all-purpose flour 
2 cups half-and-half cream 
1 cup uncooked long grain rice 
2 tsp salt 
1 tsp chicken bouillon granules 
3/4 tsp pepper

In a large kettle place leftover turkey carcass and cover with water. On high heat bring water to a rapid boil. Lower heat, cover and allow simmering for an hour. Remove turkey carcass and allow cooling to room temperature. Strain broth into large bowl. Reserve strained broth. Be sure to save any piece of turkey meat before empting strainer. Remove any turkey meat that remains on the carcass. Cut meat into bite size pieces or shred. Place butter in clean kettle over medium heat melting butter completely. Add unions, carrots and celery. Sauté until onion is translucent and carrots and celery have softened to your liking. Lower heat to lowest setting. Blend in flour until completely moistened. Add 1/3 of the reserved broth to kettle stirring to mix all ingredients together well. Bring to a rapid boil and cook uncovered for 2 minutes or until mixture thickens. Add half and half, rice, salt, pepper, chicken bouillon and remaining broth. Bring back to a rapid boil. Add turkey meat. Lower heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour.



    Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes &  Thanksgiving dinner ideas!