Thanksgiving Archives - Percolate Kitchen

Leftover Turkey Pot Pie Casserole with Biscuit Topping

Here’s the thing about Thanksgiving that is often overlooked with the planning, prepping and cooking; the dinner is only as good as its leftovers!

I mean, what’s Thanksgiving without leftover turkey sandwiches, pie for breakfast, and figuring out what to do with your leftover cranberry sauce? (I’ve got a great recipe on the way for that one, actually!)

But there are only so many days of turkey sandwiches one can take, right? That’s where I take what we’ve got left… and turn it into leftover turkey pot pie!

I’ll be straight up with you here: this isn’t a super quick recipe, like most of the recipes you’ll find here on Percolate Kitchen. It’s not crazy weeknight friendly, and you can’t throw it together in 20 minutes.

BUT, it’s relatively simple, and each part of the recipe comes together while another part cooks. So it won’t take you half an afternoon to put together – maybe an hour or so.

If you want to make it even faster, you can use precooked vegetables (frozen and thawed, veggies leftover from another meal, or made during a meal prep power hour), and instead of the biscuit topping, use a sheet of puff pastry or phyllo dough. It should bake in about the same length of time, and the instructions are similar: just make sure the veggies are soft and cooked through, the liquid is bubbling at the sides, and the pastry or topping is browned and flaky.

Another variation for when you don’t have leftover turkey

Just use leftover roast chicken! Or chicken thighs browned beforehand and diced. Poached chicken breast, shredded. Poached turkey, diced. use what you have!

The beauty of a pot pie is that it’s crazy amenable to leftovers. That’s the whole idea of the dish!

The only important things I would stress? Potatoes are a must, as far as I’m concerned. Their starchiness adds thickness to the pot pie sauce that is hard to replicate- without them, the dish runs the risk of being too liquidy and soggy.

But seriously? This is not a complicated casserole.

It’s a great way to change up the Thanksgiving flavors that you might be a little, ah, over by Day Three.

AND, and it makes pretty dang good leftovers itself!

That’s like, the inception of leftovers, right? Using leftovers to make a dish and then eating the leftovers to that dish!?

You’re so clever. I knew I liked your brain.

Enjoy your turkey, your family time, and your leftovers. Happy Thanksgiving!

This is such a fresh new take on pot pie AND how to use leftover turkey after thanksgiving or christmas! She's also got some good ideas on chnaging this up to suit your own family leftovers too, which is helpful.
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Leftover Turkey Pot Pie with Biscuit Topping
Servings: 6
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
for the casserole:
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 large carrots peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 small white onion peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 2 large russet potatoes washed (about 1 pound) and diced
  • 1/3 cup white flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock/broth
  • 3 cups diced cooked turkey (about 2 pounds)
for the biscuits:
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk or buttermilk
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400*F.
  2. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add the carrots, onions, garlic, and potatoes and stir to coat.
  3. Whisk in the flour until thick and creamy, then slowly whisk in the chicken stock/broth. Let the mixture come to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes have softened through.
  4. While the vegetables are cooking, make the biscuits. Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk or sift to combine. Slowly add the milk and stir until the dough is wet and sticky.
  5. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and carefully pat into a large square. Using a sharp knife or a pastry scraper, slice the biscuit into 6 squares/rectangles and let the dough rest for a few minutes.
  6. While the dough is resting, spread the cooked turkey evenly on the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish.
  7. Once the vegetables have softened, remove from heat and pour the mixture evenly over the turkey.
  8. Using a metal pastry scraper or spatula, lift the squares of biscuit dough and arrange on top of the casserole, side by side and evenly spaced, but not touching. Sprinkle the biscuit dough squares with a little salt.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the liquid is bubbling at the sides of the dish, and the biscuits have browned.
  10. Remove and let cool slightly before serving.

12 Cooks Reveal Their BEST Butternut Squash Recipes for the Holidays

I love making butternut squash recipes in the winter and fall, especially for the holidays! this is a great roundup. She's even got a cool tip about how to slice a butternut squash- i was so scared the first time, but her idea really worked!

I’ve always had a thing for finding new butternut squash recipes; especially for the holidays! There’s something almost addicting about their slightly nutty, slightly sweet, creamy texture and flavor.

Butternut squash is at its best between the months of September and March; part of why it’s such a great recipe to have in the fall.

 

“The only problem I can find with butternut squash is that I can’t stop eating it!”, says Jessica from Coffee and Crayons (her delicious recipe for 5 Ingredient Oven Roasted Garlic and Herb Butternut Squash is below!)

And I have to say, I 1,000,000% agree. You can find butternut squash on our table most nights throughout the fall and winter.

So when I started planning my Thanksgiving menu for the year, my eye kept turning to butternut squash. I love it for its simplicity; one of my all-time fave ways to eat butternut squash is cubed and roasted with olive oil and salt.

Which reminds me: have you ever found yourself trying to cut a ginormous butternut squash and it feels like an impossible task? Me, too! Sometimes I feel like I’m gonna cut my whole arm off along with the squash.

Here’s one of my favorite kitchen tips for slicing a hard-to-cut butternut squash: pop it in the microwave for 10-30 seconds first! This will soften the skin enough so that the knife slips right in.

Of course, that’s not so easy when you have a jumbo sized squash on your hands inside a teeny tiny kitchen with a small microwave to match, but oh well. it’ll work in most instances #tinykitchenproblems

IF YOU LIKE BUTTERNUT SQUASH RECIPES, I THINK YOU’LL ALSO LOVE THESE, TOO! 

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Thanksgiving Turkey With Herb Butter Seasoning

This is How To Store Your Fall Produce

So now that you’re armed with some easy-slicin’ squash, let’s get to some fab recipes that feature it, ok? Ok!

Oh, but first: if you’re trying to get your Thanksgiving plans in order, I’ve got a Survival Guide for that! Click here to check out the detail on my awesomely comprehensive Thanksgiving Survival Guide, packed full of recipes, cheat sheets, charts, lists and more, so you can be on top of your Thanksgiving planning this year.

(If you’re even the slightest bit overwhelmed by cooking for Thanksgiving, you need this guide in your life!)

All right! On to the recipes!

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta, from Jenn at Peas and Crayons

I love the pop of color that cranberries bring to this dish! Plus, everything is better with cheese. Salty feta is a great balance to the creamy butternut squash and the tart cranberries. This would look fab on a holiday table spread! Click here for the recipe.

Easy Garlic Herb Roasted Butternut Squash, from Katie at Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Garlic and herby butter coat roasted butternut squash cubes here. It’s a simple dish made by first roasting butternut squash in the oven, then tossing it with garlicky butter and freshly minced herbs. This seems like the kind of recipe that would be even better on Day Two (and so perfect for a make-ahead power hour side!) Click here for the recipe.

Easy Butternut Squash Skillet, from Tiffany at Eat at Home

Disclosure: I’m a huge fan of Tiffany’s. She shares not only simple, easy-to-follow recipes, but she’s a meal planning genius as well. Her newsletter always has tons of great value. And I love this easy, simple butternut squash skillet side. It’s cooked in the cast iron pan, one of my must-have kitchen items! Click here for the recipe. 

5 Ingredient Oven Roasted Garlic and Herb Butternut Squash from Jessica at Coffee and Crayons, guest posting for Rachael at Eazy Peazy Meals 

Only 5 ingredients!? Sign me up, seriously. Jessica at Coffee and Crayons guest posted on EZPZ Meals with this incredibly simple butternut squash recipe, and I fell in love at first sight. This is an easy recipe to make on the side when you’ve got something a little more complicated cooking, like a full Thanksgiving meal. It shows that you really don’t need to get all detailed and crazy to have a good side dish! Click here to get the recipe.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash from Karen at 365 Days of Slow Cooking

We were discussing the idea of using our slow cookers for holiday cooking over in my Facebook group, Busy Mamas Cooking in Tiny Kitchens, and afterward, I fell down a Pinterest rabbit hole of holiday dishes made in the slow cooker. That’s how I found this deliciously simple butternut squash in the slow cooker recipe! Our general consensus during that Facebook chat was that yes, using a slow cooker is an awesome way to free up stovetop space and have a hands-off approach to holiday cooking. So this recipe from 365 Days of Slow Cooking fits right in with that! Click here to get the recipe. 

Butternut Squash Homefries from the Stacie and Jessica at the Real Food RD’s

How genius is this idea!? I love a good plate of crispy, creamy, fried potato homefries, but subbing butternut squash in place of potatoes blew my mind when I saw this. It’s such a great idea, saves calories, and tastes incredible! Click here for the recipe

Farro, Kale and Butternut Squash Gratin from Land O’ Lakes 

I love the chewy texture of farro and it’s one of my favorite additions to add into holiday and seasonal salads. That’s why I got so pumped to find this butternut squash gratin dish, and even more thrilled that it also calls for kale! I think the nutritional benefits of farro, squash and kale balance out the butter and heavy cream. Eat this one in good health. Click for the recipe. 

Butternut Squash with Wilted Spinach and Blue Cheese from Whole Foods

This is another deceptively simple recipe that calls for only a few ingredients but delivers huge flavors. I love the pungent blue cheese mixed with creamy roasted butternut squash, and the wilted spinach adds heft to the dish. Click here to get the recipe.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Kale and Almond Pecan Parmesan, from Angela at Oh She Glows

Kale, almonds, pecan, parmesan cheese, skillet cooked, roasted butternut squash… this recipe is everything I love about a fall dish AND include cheese. It’s a keeper and I plan on putting this one into some serious rotation. Click here for the recipe. 

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Beets, from Julia at the Roasted Root

Maple roasted butternut squash for sweetness and flavor, roasted beets for color and health benefits, the whole thing together for maximum tastiness and a gorgeous presentation. I love this combo of roasted goodness from Julia, and her funny take on why we need more beets in our lives was an entertaining read as well. Click here for the recipe. 

Oven Roasted Butternut Squash, from the Sonia at the Healthy Foodie

Sonia keeps it real and proves that a great dish is found in the quality of the ingredients and the use of good technique. She roasts her butternut squash to perfection but makes sure it browns nicely in the oven, getting a great caramelized crust in the process. She says, “Caramelization really is the key with this dish. You’d be surprised what it brings to the squash in terms of depth and flavor.” Click here to get the recipe. 

Roasted Bacon and Butternut Squash Side Dish, from Tracy at Baking Mischief

Everything is better with bacon, isn’t it!? Tracy ups the tasty factor to 11 by adding crispy, salty, delicious bacon to roasted butternut squash. It’s a perfect balance of texture and flavor and I can’t wait to try it out! Click here for the recipe.

There you have it; 12 of the BEST butternut squash recipes for your holiday table!

Which one do you think you’ll make first this year?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious about cooking evvvvverything for Thanksgiving this year, check out my gotta-have-it Thanksgiving Survival Guide!

Each guide is packed with traditional recipes, meal plans, grocery lists, worksheets, timelines, and more.

It’s all you need to get you totally large and in charge of your holiday feats this year, minus the rushing around and the overwhelm. It’s a huge help!

From-Scratch Green Bean Casserole

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From-Scratch Green Bean Casserole
A beloved Thanksgiving staple, green bean casserole is usually made with canned mushroom soup. This recipe not only recreates the canned soup flavor and mouthfeel by using fresh ingredients but does so in about 15 minutes of prep time. Try as I may, green bean casserole is really only a green bean casserole when you've used canned French fried onions. I must have tried a half dozen times to replicate the texture on my own, and I couldn't! So stick with the pre-made French fried onions; they'll retain a crispness even after cooking that is difficult to replicate using raw ingredients.
Servings: 6
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 12 ounces fresh green beans washed, trimmed, and cut into 2" size lengths
  • 8 ounces sliced button mushrooms
  • 6 ounces French fried onions
Instructions
  1. Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. While the water is heating, fill a large bowl halfway with water and add a handful of ice cubes.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add the green beans and cook briefly, about 3-5 minutes, until they have turned bright green and have started to soften. Immediately transfer the green beans to the bowl of ice water, then drain and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until combined. The flour mixture will be clumpy; that's okay. Cook the flour mixture about 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until it begins to brown.
  4. Once the flour has browned slightly, slowly add the chicken stock, 1/4 cup at a time, whisking between each addition until smooth. Do the same with the heavy cream, then turn the heat to low and simmer the mixture, whisking often, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350*F.
  6. Spread the green beans into a large casserole dish, then add the mushrooms.Stir to combine.
  7. Pour the cream mixture over the green beans and mushrooms, spreading evenly.
  8. Top with an even layer of French fried onions, then place the dish in the oven.
  9. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the cream is bubbling and the beans and mushrooms are soft and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit before serving.
Recipe Notes
TIME: 45 MINUTES SERVES: 6 PEOPLE

Thanksgiving Turkey With Herb Butter Seasoning

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Thanksgiving Turkey with Herbed Butter Seasoning
I may be in the minority with this, but I firmly believe that when it comes to the Thanksgiving turkey, simple and traditional is best. I’m not sure there’s much better than a hot, juicy turkey and crackling, crispy skin. It’s making me long for Thanksgiving dinner just thinking about it! This is a standard recipe for a traditional Thanksgiving-style whole turkey, coated in seasoned butter and roasted in the oven. It leaves space for you to play around with your own seasonings if you wish, but keeps the old school vibe alive. Plan on serving at least 1 ½ pounds turkey meat for each guest, and cook at about 15-18 minutes per pound. This can vary depending on your oven and anything you have stuffed inside the turkey; so try to keep your dinnertime a little fluid, if possible. Leaving some space for flexibility will make for a more relaxed and enjoyable holiday meal! This recipe calls for minced fresh herbs to be added to the butter wash; I recommend using fresh sage or thyme. It also calls for chicken stock and red wine to be added at the start as a jumpstart on making gravy from the drippings; this step can be skipped if you prefer.
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons your preferred spice minced (see note)
  • 1 22 pound turkey thawed if previously frozen, rinsed and patted dry
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350* and line your roasting pan with tin foil. Pour the chicken stock and wine in the bottom of the pan.
  2. Whisk together the butter, salt, pepper, and spice until the salt has dissolved.
  3. Place the turkey in the roasting pan and use a barbecue brush or spoon to completely smother the turkey, inside and out, with the butter mixture.
  4. Tent a large sheet of tin foil on top of the turkey to prevent the skin from drying out during roasting
  5. Place turkey in the oven and roast. Every 30 minutes or so, remove the tented foil and baste the entire turkey, then replace the foil.
  6. About 30 minutes before the turkey is done, remove the tin foil tent and discard. Baste the turkey and continue to cook another 30 minutes. This last blast of heat on the bare turkey will brown the skin and crisp it up prior to service.
  7. Remove the turkey from the oven and let rest another 20 minutes or so before carving. This helps the turkey stay juicy!

How to Survive Cooking Your First Thanksgiving In 6 Important Steps

Thanksgiving Survival Guide | Percolate Kitchen (click to read the full post!)

Cooking your first Thanksgiving can be nervewracking. It’s a big day with SO MUCH pressure, it can feel overwhelming!

So you’re the person in charge of Thanksgiving dinner this year. Lucky you!

Except…. not. There are so many moving parts to Thanksgiving, how can you keep track of them all!?

Maybe you’re freaking out about cooking your first Thanksgiving because you’ve never cooked for these many people before?

Or, last year you cooked and it was a disaster. Cold turkey, chewy mashed potatoes (how!?), and a dinner that finally got on the table 3 hours after you meant it to.

 

Or, your mom/grandma/aunt/uncle has always cooked an AWESOME dinner but they’re not able to this year, and the pressure is on!

Or, your kitchen is teeny tiny and you have zero space for a normal week’s groceries and gadgets, let alone the amount you’ll need for MORE.  

Fear not, my busy friend. I’ve been there, I’ve burned the mashed potatoes, and I lived to tell the tale.

You will, too!

But before that, here are 6 steps I learned from the ground up that can help you survive cooking your first Thanksgiving, whether you’re new to the game or just plain freaking overwhelmed.

Before we get into the 6 steps, download your copy of the Thanksgiving Game Plan! I’ve got a FREE packet for you, with 2 cheat sheets and a checklist for your Thanksgiving prep. Leave your name and email down below and I’ll send it to you!

6 STEPS TO CONQUERING THANKSGIVING DINNER

STEP ONE: WRITE IT ALL DOWN

This is the first, and possibly the most crucial step of the whole process of Thanksgiving dinner: get it all out on paper.

Start with an enormous list; include every single thing you’ll need to remember. Just get it all out, then work backward from there, breaking the list into smaller parts.

Write your whole guest list first.

As you’re figuring out the guest list, now is the time- before you decide on the menu- to find out who’s got allergies, who’s vegan, who’s able to bring their famous pumpkin pie along, etc.

Don’t forget the kids!

For example, do you have an uncle who likes to pour gravy all over everything, even his salad? Make a quick note of that on your guest list, so you don’t forget when you’re writing out your menu.

Then, write your entire menu.

This is the fun part! Keeping those with dietary restrictions in mind, figure out the recipes you’ll be making for the big day.

Cruise Pinterest, magazines, blogs, Google, ask your friends and family on Facebook for recipe recommendations. Keep it simple, but have fun!

If a recipe is super new to you, try to fit in a ‘practice’ run in the week or so before Thanksgiving. Being familiar with a recipe helps to take the edge off the stress of cooking on the day of.

Another important tenet of writing out your menu is deciding on what you can make ahead of time and chill or freeze until Thanksgiving Day; I’ll touch on the specifics of that later in the post. But it helps to, as you’re writing out your menu for the day, make a mental note of what can be made ahead to take some of the day-of pressure off.

How do I know what to serve at Thanksgiving dinner?

If you’re drawing a blank on what a typical T-giving day menu includes, no sweat. Here’s what I always make sure to have on the big day:

  • the turkey, turkey seasoning, and stuffing/dressing
  • gravy, made with the turkey drippings and extra gravy made ahead of time with chicken stock
  • mashed potatoes
  • salad
  • 1-2 casseroles/side dishes
  • cranberry sauce
  • bread rolls/biscuits/etc

THAT’S IT. Anything else is extra. Trust me on this one. You do not need to pull out all the stops!

Write a rough timeline

This is where the dirt meets the road, my friends. Once you have the particulars like guest list and menu figured out, your timeline (or ‘game plan’) will be the single most important process of the meal- before you start cooking.

I’d wager to say it’s more important than the actual cooking. With the right game plan, your stress load will be remarkably minimized! 

The trick is to start early. 

No matter how much more time there is between now and Thanksgiving, take a few minutes and write out everything that needs to be done between now and the morning of.

This includes grocery shopping. Turkey ordering. Booze procurement. Make-ahead items. The breakdown of cooking Thanksgiving day itself.

Still feeling overwhelmed? 

I’ve got a great download that will help you – and it’s FREE! Download this ‘Game Plan’ packet that includes three helpful cheat sheets: one to help figure out your overarching gameplan, one to figure out how much food to serve, and a Thanksgiving Day checklist. 

 

STEP TWO: UTILIZE YOUR GUEST LIST

Accept the help!

I get it, I do. It’s hard accepting help. I struggle with it all the time.

But with a dinner like Thanksgiving, it’s okay to lean on people. When someone asks, “what can I bring?” be honest. Tell them!

Here are some suggestions you can ask people to bring
    booze
    desserts
    whipped cream
    ice cream
    serving dishes and spoons
    napkins, cutlery, glasses, tablecloth
    side dishes

In all actuality, everything but the turkey can be brought potluck-style by someone else.

(And technically, the turkey can be brought in from somewhere else, too!)

What about the cleanup?

Don’t forget to figure this out! Try not to make it all on you; you’ll be doing enough that day!

Add extra plastic storage containers, cling film, and ziplock bags to your grocery list so that you store leftovers and send stuff home with guests.

If someone asks how they can help, ask if they’ll chip in with cleaning and storing food after the meal. It’s a cheesy old adage, but it’s true: heavy hands really do make light work!

STEP THREE: FIGURE OUT HOW MUCH FOOD YOU’LL NEED

Check out the image below; I’ve created an easy primer for figuring out how much food you’ll need for each guest. Obviously, you can play around with this; kids will eat less, some adults will eat more.

And don’t forget the leftovers! Turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving is one of my favorite parts of the holiday!

Click the image to enlarge. You can also fill in your email address in the box below the image to download this AND the gameplan primer AND a checklist for the day, all in the one go!

STEP FOUR: CREATE A GAME PLAN

What’s your Thanksgiving game plan?

Think of a football coach in this way; you need to have a full ‘game plan’ mapped out ahead of time. This is what helps you create a clear path to Thanksgiving victory.

The best way to create a ‘Cooking Your First Thanksgiving’ game plan is to start big, then whittle it down to actionable steps.

Here’s what I mean by starting big, then whittling down:

BIG THING: grocery shop

WHITTLED DOWN:

Decide on the items you’re making (don’t include the dishes guests may be bringing).

Write down every single ingredient you’ll need, then check your cupboards and fridges to see what you’ve got and what you can substitute in.

Then, write your grocery list.

Clear your fridge for the onslaught of new items you’ll be bringing home.

Bring your list to the store (aside: Somehow, I manage to forget this every year 🤦 Don’t be like me. Remember your list!)

BIG THING: Cook Thanksgiving dinner

WHITTLED DOWN:

Decide the time you want dinner to be on the table, then work backward from there: How long will the turkey take? That’s when it goes in the oven.

Other questions to help figure out your timing: How long to prep the turkey before it goes in the oven? What items can be cooked beforehand and then reheated for dinner? What can be made in the ~20 minutes while the turkey rests after it’s out of the oven?

Tip: To avoid looking at your now enormous list of clear steps and getting overwhelmed, start with the smallest, easiest things first. Not only will it feel good to cross a handful of things off your list in a short period of time, but it will get the ball rolling in a ‘snowball’ effect; more things done means more momentum for the rest.

Need help organizing your thoughts? Here’s a game plan primer to download!

Click the image to enlarge; OR, leave your name and email below and get this game plan, plus the food amounts cheat sheet I mentioned in the last step and a master checklist.

You can do this!

 

STEP FIVE: WORK THE GAME PLAN

Getting down to business on the day of Thanksgiving

Now comes the real balancing act: cooking (and reheating) everything on the day of Thanksgiving, and getting it all on the table at the same time.

This is the step that I struggled with for years! I would find myself frantically mashing potatoes while everyone else was sitting down to dinner, privately cursing my mismanaged time.

But I’ve gathered a few tips in the meantime that will help you not make some of the same mistakes I did early on! Click the images below to enlarge. You can also pin them to save for later!

STEP SIX: HAVE A PLAN FOR CLEANUP

It’s the least fun part of the day, but don’t forget the post-Thanksgiving dinner cleanup and storage.

Having a rough idea of how this will play out will make it go much smoother and faster. I personally kind of enjoy cleaning up after Thanksgiving, although I’m usually beat after all that cooking. But it’s a nice time to reflect and chat with people on a more casual, one-to-one level.

Plus, when you’re in the kitchen you’re located at the prime advantage point for sneaking another piece of pie or a glass of wine. Score!

When people ask if they can bring something to help, sometimes I’ll tell them not to bring anything but to plan on chipping in to wash dishes.

I also make sure to always clean as I cook, which cuts down on the anxiety-inducing pile of post-dinner casserole dishes.

And lastly, I make double sure that there’s plenty of big ziplock baggies, plastic storage containers, cling film, tin foil, etc to both store food easily and send people home with leftovers.

There you have it; the Six Steps to Cooking Your First Thanksgiving!

If you’re a veteran Thanksgiving cook, or you think I forgot something- I wanna hear about it! Do you have any extra tips and tricks you wish you knew before jumping into cooking a Thanksgiving dinner? Leave a message in the comment section below!

Don’t forget to download my FREE Thanksgiving Game Plan by entering your email in the boxes below. You’ll get access to a gameplan breakdown cheat sheet, a checklist for the big day, and my food amounts cheat sheet. It’s a really helpful little packet!

Still nervous about cooking for the big day? I got your back, busy friend. Click here to buy my whole Thanksgiving meal plan, including recipes, grocery lists, cheat sheets, worksheets, storage and make-ahead ideas, and fully itemized grocery list. It’s insanely helpful and jampacked with info that will save you a TON of time planning, prepping and getting ready for Thanksgiving!

Pear, Leek, and Cheddar Bread Pudding

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I brought this side dish to my company Thanksgiving Side Dish Only party, and it was a HUGE hit! What's better is, it's a totally make ahead recipe, too- I made it two days beforehand and let it sit in the fridge til I was ready to bake. So easy! Can't wait to bust it out for my holiday dinner recipes, too. Great pin!

This easy make-ahead savory bread pudding makes a GREAT Thanksgiving side dish!

I have made it a couple of years in a row on Thanksgiving, and it’s always popular for being just a little different and out of the box- but still really well suited as a holiday dinner side dish.

What I really love about this simple bread pudding is how well it does when it’s made ahead, and left to sit in the fridge before baking.

You know how some soups and sauces are even better the same day?

That’s the same idea behind this pear, leek and cheddar bread pudding! Letting it chill out in the fridge for a while makes the flavors come together even better than when you make it the day of.

And when it comes to the cheese you use in this savory bread pudding, let me tell you – the sharper the cheddar, the better the flavor.

I like using really sharp, blow-your-mouth-off cheese in this dish. Sharp cheddar really holds its own against the sweet flavor of pear and the chewy, crusty texture of the bread cubes.

Plus, I mean, we’re talking about cheese. I get all the heart-emoji over cheese, in any form.  So when it’s added to a Thanksgiving side dish, I’m a pretty happy bunny.

Thanksgiving side dishes can get a bad rap sometimes, I think.

In the balancing act of tradition with new-ness, sometimes side dishes can be either boring as all heck, overplayed, or just weird.

This pear leek and cheddar bread pudding is none of those things.

➡It hangs out really well with savory turkey, especially when said turkey has an herby crust.

➡It’s a perfect foil against creamy, crunchy green bean casserole.

➡It’s a sweet-enough side that kids dig it.

And it actually holds up banging as a leftover. The next day when you’re throwing together that perf turkey sandwich, add a spoonful of this bread pudding on top.

 

You’ll be thankful you did (see what I did there?)

It’s time to change up the roster of your usual Thanksgiving side dish, guys. Try adding this sweet, savory, cheesy Pear, Leek and Cheddar Bread Pudding to your holiday table!

 

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Pear, Leek, and Cheddar Bread Pudding
Servings: 4
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 2-3 cups diced day-old bread let it get good and dried out
  • 1 cup minced leeks
  • 1 pear peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F.   In a large bowl, toss together the bread, leeks, diced pear and cheddar.  
  2. Combine the eggs, heavy cream, garlic and salt. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and toss to distribute evenly.

  3. Dump the contents into a 9"x13" ovenproof baking dish and spread out evenly, making sure all the ingredients are still evenly distributed.
  4. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the egg and cream mixture has set and the top bread cubes have browned and crisped.  Remove from the oven and serve warm.