Our favorite Thanksgiving recipes

Drunken Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie

“Begin with the end in mind.” YES.

I consider Thanksgiving to be one of those great “3F” holidays: Food, Friends, and/or Family. In the last few years, we’ve taken on the cooking for Thanksgiving, a luxury of cooking-from-scratch when any other given Thursday in the year is typically spent cobbling together any old meal or leftovers for a quick post-work/school meal.

These are some of the recipes that we’ll be using – or that I recommend – as a great way to fill out your table with some tasty foods to share with the ones you love. This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the options out there, and there are several items I haven’t included that will be on the table – some made by us (like mashed potatoes) and others made by family (such as squash or pumpkin pie). I just wanted to share things that I know make a really tasty table; you can supplement as you wish with the items of your choice. And, since kids are funny about food, I’ll just say that I only expect ds to eat a roll and a can of cranberry sauce. So…yeah, it’s all about knowing your audience.


For those of us who are omnivorous, Thanksgiving is ALL about the turkey, and we love Cooks Illustrated’s grilled turkey recipe. There are two reasons why this is such as fantastic way to go with a turkey: 1) it produces a really moist, flavorful turkey, and 2) by using the grill, it keeps the oven free for other things!

Since the Cooks recipe is paywalled, I’m linking to the same basic recipe as posted by Seattle Foodshedhttp://seattlefoodshed.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/classic-roast-turkey-on-the-grill/

Rather than buying rolls, I decided to make my own using a recipe from the people at Fleischmann’s. Their Sour Cream Rolls are flavorful and light, and the recipe is super-easy. These rolls disappear quickly once they get to the table, and I consider that a good problem to have.

I started making Stuffing a couple of years ago, and it was so tasty that (while I consistently keep blanking on taking a picture of it) I’m totally making it again. This stuffing is also totally customizable, so if you want to make it vegan or vegetarian, that’s easy as pie.

Mmm. Pie.

A while back, FOR SCIENCE, I tried seeing whether the idea of making a Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie was better than the idea of a Bourbon Pecan Pie. In my estimation, the chocolate variation is better than the non-chocolate version, but that’s also because I think chocolate goes with just about everything.


No matter how you celebrate Thanksgiving, have fun – and, if at all possible, great food.

Avocado Bruschetta

In the past few months, I’ve become fairly well obsessed with avocados. I’ve been eating them for decades, in small bites (as part of sushi rolls), but it was only in the last few years that I became a fan of guacamole and chunks of avocado in salads. Recently, when we were trying to come up with what to do with some swordfish destined for the grill, I offered to make a bruschetta.

Quite a long time ago, I fell in love with a swordfish sandwich made by a now-defunct Boston restaurant, Division 16. The sandwich involved a braided roll, a thin slice of swordfish steak, and bruschetta. It fell apart as you ate it and it was just the most wonderful thing ever. That’s how my association with meaty fish and bruschetta started, and it’s a pairing I’ve enjoyed many times since.

We’ve done bruschetta many times, including on scallops, which is a particular favorite of mine. So, when the question came up during my shopping trip of what to put on the swordfish, I headed straight for the avocado and vowed to try making an avocado bruschetta. It’s insanely easy, and it definitely holds its own versus the meaty swordfish (and tuna, as well). If putting this on scallops or lighter-flavored fish, I’d recommend using a smaller shallot, unless you like a lot of shallot flavor. I tend to use gargantuan shallots that grab you by the ears and shout “HELLO!” loudly in your face, and that can overpower more delicately flavored seafood.

This dish would ABSOLUTELY go with any grilled poultry, as well, so feel free to play with it a little. Additionally, add some shelled edamame and make it an entrée. Or serve it on crostini. Or put it on matzoh (as we did the other night). Seriously, I love eating this; the combination of flavors just makes me so incredibly happy…


Avocado Bruschetta

So pretty…so tasty…


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 0 minutes

Serves: 2-4



1 shallot (size it to your shallot level preference)

1 ripe avocado

1 medium-sized tomato

2 Tb olive oil

1 Tb lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste


Make it Happen

1. Peel and dice the shallot; place it in a mixing bowl.

2. Slice open the avocado and remove the pit. Scoop out the avocado halves in whole pieces if you can, then chop them into half-inch chunks. Add to the bowl.

3. Dice the tomato and add to the bowl.

4. Add the olive oil and lemon juice to the bowl; stir well to combine. Add salt and pepper to your taste.

Thanksgiving Stuffing

The funny thing about this recipe is that I actually made it last year for Thanksgiving, as a try-out on a recipe idea, with the full intention of posting it on the blog. And then, er, I just kinda got distracted. Even funnier – I forgot to take a picture of it. So, yeah, I’m two for two. BUT, this is me finally posting it, and when I make it AGAIN for Thanksgiving this year, I promise to update this post with a picture.

Now sure, stuffing is easy as all get-out: just open up the box and pour it into boiling water, right? Well, yeah…if that’s what you want. And while some of the boxed stuffing is pretty tasty, it’s also heavily laden with salt and other stuff, and I really wanted to see if I could control what went into my own stuffing and have it come out easily as well – if not better. I was very pleased with the outcome, and I’m definitely looking at this as a good go-to recipe for big meals. Since we have taken to grilling our turkeys, the oven is typically free for items like this – so bear that in mind when planning your cooking schedule. Also – make sure that you try a bite of it before you put it in the oven so that you can be sure you’re happy with the level of flavor. I don’t aim for super-salty, and if you’re used to that in your stuffing, you may find the need to adjust the salt level. I will note that I don’t call for low-sodium chicken broth here; if you are looking out for salt, I highly recommend using that instead of the “regular” stuff.

Prep Time: 1-1/2 hrs (but can be spread out as you have time and may go faster if you’re a faster chopper than I am…which is always possible!)

Cooking Time: approx. 1 hr

Serves: 8-10


2 loaves of bread (14 cups when chopped into 1/2″ cubes) – ciabatta & sourdough

7 celery ribs (2 cups chopped)

1 small yellow onion (1 cup chopped)

8oz mushrooms (3-1/2 cups minced in 1/4″ pieces)

2 Tb butter

3 Tb olive oil (divided)

1/2 Tb dried chervil

1/2 Tb dried parsley

1/2 Tb dried thyme

4 cups chicken broth

Make it Happen

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Chop all of the items that are noted above for chopping and set aside separately; make sure to have the bread in a large bowl. (Seriously, this is the biggest amount of active time…put on some music and just go with it.)

2. Melt butter and 2 Tb olive oil in a deep pan, adding celery and onion. Stir to combine.

3. In a separate pan, sauté mushrooms in another 1 Tb olive oil for approx. 5-7 min.

4. Add the herbs and broth to the celery and onion pan; stir well to combine.

5. Add the mushrooms to the bread and stir well to combine.

6. Add the broth mixture to the bread/mushroom bowl; stir well to combine.

7. Immediately pour the mixture from the bowl into a greased or enameled roasting pan or a greased large baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350F for 30min.

8. Remove part of the foil and cook for another 15-20min until the stuffing is browned. Remove foil and serve!

Happy Thanksgiving!