November 24, 2015

My favorite Thanksgiving recipes

It’s been a very, very long time since I shared with you a proper Thanksgiving menu.  Ok, so maybe I’ve never given you a proper Thanksgiving list of delicious dishes.  That’s because I’m usually not the one in charge of hosting the feast because Adrian and I join our US family Tom and Louise for a great party every year.  In return, I’m responsible for some of the appetizers, side dishes and desserts.  And I have lots to choose from.  

Since we moved to Pittsburgh almost six years ago, I’ve only hosted Thanksgiving once.  And it was a small party comprised of three people, Adrian, our good friend Claude and me – three international friends celebrating Thanksgiving (a holiday non-existent in our countries) in Pittsburgh.  But it was so worth it!  

I did not commit to making a whole bird and opted instead for this seriously tasty Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast from Barefoot Contessa.  It was a hit that I replicated over and over again for regular dinners that I wanted to tweak into something special.  So, if you’re not cooking for a small army, this recipe will definitely do the trick and satisfy your guests.  In fact, I went with two boneless and skinless turkey breasts tied up (I had the butcher truss the turkey breasts with kitchen twine) and smeared with a heady paste.  As you’ll see, it’s the same spectacular rub that I use for this other outrageously delicious Herb-Roasted Pork Loin recipe.  Don’t you just love versatility?  And by the way, you should give this pork loin dish a whirl for Christmas.  You won’t be disappointed!

Now, without further ado, here are some of my go-to recipes for the upcoming Thanksgiving feast:


Besides the store-bought wine and beer, this homemade Hot Mulled Wine is a great festive addition to the Thanksgiving menu and all throughout winter.  For something more celebratory, this bubbly Prosecco with Berry Ice Cubes is the way to go, while for a non-alcoholic option, this fizzy Ginger Tea Lemonade is a crowd-pleaser.


In terms of appetizers, I like to go with something light, to still leave room for the main course, yet fancy.  This elegant Vegetarian Bruschetta is a nice sweet and savory combination, while the Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates with Prosciutto and Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts are guaranteed to vanish in the blink of an eye.   


Since I’m not cooking the big bird (or the stuffing), I love to add to the sides spread.  In the past, my contribution to the Thanksgiving table featured this flavorful Baked Cauliflower with Pork and Béchamel Sauce that always got me rave reviews.  I also love these rich Mashed Potatoes with Cheddar Cheese and Mixed Herbs or these flavor-packed Baked Potatoes with Garlic and Fresh Herbs, which are similar to a potato gratin without the cream and heaviness. 

Although this Cucumber Salad is without a doubt a summer recipe, it’s a refreshing addition to the Thanksgiving meal.  Good thing cucumbers are available year round. 

When it comes to vegetables, I usually opt for this smooth Creamed Corn and my grandma’s Sweet Green Peas.  

And I can never omit my favorite Cranberry-Orange Sauce.  

If you want to give a twist to your traditional dinner rolls, try these airy Popovers; they’re a brilliant alternative.   


When it comes to desserts, I feel that the possibilities are endless.  Although pumpkin pie is probably supposed to be front and center, I sometimes like a tasteful change-up and this Pumpkin Tiramisu is an epic choice.  

Additionally, who said that sweet potatoes are only supposed to be a meek side dish?  This amazing Maple Sweet Potato Cake proves how sweet potatoes can be a sublime ingredient in desserts as well. 

Years ago, I saw Giada bake this extra-special Spiced Apple-Walnut Cake for a casual family Thanksgiving dinner.  If you’re an apple lover, this glorious Apple Sharlotka might become a regular on your holiday table.  

And if you feel particularly adventurous and up for a chocolatey challenge, this stunning Chocolate Cake with Walnut Brittle is a showstopper.  

For something more tamed yet equally luxurious, try this silky Chocolate Tart.  Put some twists on your desserts this Thanksgiving; it pays off to be different!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone and Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!)