What makes it a special Thanksgiving meal for you?

November 26, 2008 at 8:56 am 45 comments

When we have Thanksgiving dinner with my husband’s family, it’s truly a group effort. I love that! No one is attempting to do it all alone, thus creating for herself a crazy, stressful Thanksgiving morning.

Most of the plan revolves around “What things make it a special Thanksgiving meal for you?” And whatever the answer is, that’s what you make!

Abraham’s family (or at least his mother) would live without mashed potatoes at the Thanksgiving meal. Not me. They are a must-eat! So that’s what I’m contributing. My Kitchen Aid mixer will be whirring tomorrow morning while I whip up the creamy goodness.

The Piper boys grew up loving canned cranberry jelly, so that’s always on the table, though Noel always makes some delicious homemade cranberry relish for herself and others who prefer something non-gelatinous. There is always a request for hearty amounts of sweet potatoes with marshmallows, too.

So, I ask you, what makes it a special Thanksgiving meal for you? What are your must-eats?

Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe for your chance to win my Thanks-GIVE-ing giveaway! I’ll choose a winner on Friday.


Entry filed under: Family, Food.

Thanks-GIVE-ing: A giveaway for subscribers And the winner is…

45 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Pam  |  November 26, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Oh, this made me want to have Thanksgiving all over again (ours was in October)
    For my hubby, it’s definitely stuffing which I have had to learn to cook since I’m Italian and Italians aren’t big on stuffing.

    I also really like homemade cranberry sauce such as this Maple Tangerine Cranberry Sauce:

    Another dish that is quickly becoming a favorite is:
    Sweet potato & Leek Gratin

    I love “Fine Cooking” magazine and look forward to the Thanksgiving issue every year.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!

  • 2. Larry  |  November 26, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Being an ignorant Brit I have never had a thanksgiving dinner. Usually however when it comes to meals I will accept quantity as a substitute for quality. Thankfully at home I get both…

  • 3. jennapants  |  November 26, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Brent and I were just discussing potatoes!!! He, like you, considers mashed potatoes a “must-eat” at Thanksgiving. I could do without them. Give me something with kick…like a sweet potato. I’ll slather gravy on the turkey and stuffing/dressing.

    btw, were having thanksgiving tonight. i’m curious if anyone else will be doing something like this???

  • 4. Stacey  |  November 26, 2008 at 10:23 am

    I ordered a Maple Fried Turkey from a local restaurant. I do a cranberry orange fennel relish, roasted brussel sprouts with bacon, mashed taters and dressing and a pumpkin cobbler and chocolate creme brulee. I love sweet potatoes but we eat them weekly here roasted and baked so I am forgoing the sweet tater’s this year. Oh and a new addition Spinach Madeline, which is apparenly a southern fave.

  • 5. Stacey  |  November 26, 2008 at 10:25 am

    And WHY does is NOT surprise me that Aber likes the cranberry from the can……………….

  • 6. Talitha  |  November 26, 2008 at 10:27 am

    I MUST HAVE (my mom always knows) Stuffing/Dressing!
    Thanksgiving would not be thanksgiving dinner without stuffing….

  • 7. Morgan  |  November 26, 2008 at 10:44 am

    mac and cheese
    sausage balls
    yeast rolls
    squash casserole
    umm…yeah I like it all!

  • 8. Stephanie  |  November 26, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Green bean casserole!!!! I love it!

  • 9. Tonyia  |  November 26, 2008 at 11:27 am

    OOOOHHHHHH…… I have. to have. the dressing. Seriously.


  • 10. Melissa Parnell  |  November 26, 2008 at 11:52 am

    we always have at least these 3 things:
    casseroles of every side dish known to man
    gallons upon gallons of sweet tea.

    that’s our Thanksgiving meal, in the south at least. 🙂

    are you bringing your gravy to go along with your mashed potatoes? my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

  • 11. andrea_jennine  |  November 26, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Pumpkin pie!

  • 12. Crystal  |  November 26, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Oh, sweet potato casserole is definitely a Thanksgiving must-eat. I really love the kind with the crumbly pecan topping, but I don’t discriminate against marshmallows either.

    I’ve never had the opportunity to contribute to an actual Thanksgiving meal because our grandmas are very insistent on doing it all themselves, but I did get to make the sweet potato casserole for a lunch at church this past week. It was yummy and much better than the watery mess I ended up with when I first attempted one 4+ years ago. My confidence has been restored.

  • 13. mahlbrandt  |  November 26, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    We’re doing the same thing this year! My special dish is green bean casserole. Incidentally, it’s also super easy to make!

  • 14. Kristin  |  November 26, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this post! I was encouraged to include others instead of trying to be this “superwoman” who will (no doubt) be tired, snappy and bitter by the time pie is served.

    My collection of must haves are:
    mashed potatoes
    ginger cranberry sauce and canned sauce too
    bean casserole

  • 15. Courtney  |  November 26, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Mashed Potatoes for sure are my “specialty” – we like them with absolutely no lumps and with some cream cheese added (I usually beat it up a little at first to make it easier to stir through). Using FF cream cheese helps with the overall fat content, too, though my hubby insists on some actual butter in there too. 🙂

    This year we are going to try to make “Thanksgiving in a bite” – which will probably be a small bit of roll, with turkey, then dressing, potatoes and a cranberry from the cranberry relish on top. (This stems from our friends discovering a “Picnic in a bite” this summer).

  • 16. Denita  |  November 26, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Two must-haves for our Thanksgiving dinner at my house:

    Orange-Ginger Cranberries (I posted the recipe at your husband’s site, if you’re interested!)
    Candied sweet potatoes with LOTS of marshmallows!

    Of course, one can’t forget the main star of the table–a finely brined and seasoned, roasted-to-perfection TURKEY! *drool*

    Happy Thanksgiving to the whole Piper Clan–and to all my wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ! 🙂


  • 17. carissa  |  November 26, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    turkey. i am maybe one of the few people on earth who truly enjoy turkey on days besides thanksgiving, even without gravy and cranberries. pumpkin pie. of course. and usually we throw in some sort of mexican-influenced food, like tamales, pozole, whatev.

    this year, the first thanksgiving without my family, i’m bringing the guacamole to thanksgiving in skokie, il. :]

  • 18. Abbie  |  November 26, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    The cranberry relish is a must have around here as well. It’s such a nice contrast to the savory turkey.

    Have a great thanksgiving. I’ve been enjoying your blog!

  • 19. Leah  |  November 26, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    My fam did the traditional turkey and mashed potatoes with gravy, and that is just Thanksgiving to me! Since I have been married, I have added a yummy corn casserole to the mix. The dish that most reminds me of my family Thanksgiving, though, is a beautiful cranberry-apple-marshmellow salad (it is a lovely shade of pink). I never ate it much growing up, but I have to make it everything Thanksgiving now!

  • 20. Karla  |  November 26, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Sweet potato pie. My mother-in-law makes the BEST!!!!

  • 21. amanda  |  November 26, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    of course the turkey, dressing, and canned cranberry 😀 sweet potato casserole with pecan streusel topping is my favorite, though. i’m not a big pie fan, but yesterday i made a pumpkin cheesecake that’s fabulous, so maybe that will become a new tradition!

  • 22. Greta  |  November 26, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Mmm, I can hardly wait!
    My mom makes some delicious dressing in the shape of, well, pucks…little mounds. They’re so tasty and you can carry them around to snack on before or after eating the main meal.

    I don’t know that I could pick just ONE thing that makes T-giving dinner for me but that is definitely a fave!

  • 23. Julie  |  November 26, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Turkey just doesn’t thrill me like a nice piece of salty ham. And I especially love ham with homemade rolls… Now that I’m making the Thanksgiving dishes for our family, it’s nice to be “in charge” of the menu! I try to ask others what they like, too, of course… 🙂

  • 24. shawnda  |  November 26, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    That’s a GREAT way to prepare the familiy meal – bring what makes it special for you! I like it!!!! : ) This is lame-o, but it’s the stuffing for me ; )

  • 25. Susan  |  November 26, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    I’m pretty easy–

    Turkey, Mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and PUMPKIN PIE!

    Of course, thanksgiving is always EXTRA special with the Miller family recipe homemade dinner rolls, so that’s what I’m making tomorrow. (I’m also making Miller-recipe sweet potatoes, but that’s just to be nice and help…)

    We’re having dinner at Roger’s mom’s…so anything that can “Miller-ize” it is important to me.

  • 26. diane  |  November 26, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    the must haves for me are my own sausage and bread sage stuffing AND canned cranberry sauce! i could care less if i have the turkey! HA!

  • 27. Courtney T  |  November 26, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    My mom makes like 5 pies (2 pumpkin, 2 apple, and 1 pecan) on Wednesday night. As a matter of fact, she just flew in from Florida and is on her way to my sister-in-laws house to get started on her pies!!! Her stuffing is amazing too!

  • 28. Susan  |  November 26, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Any casserole smothered in a “cream of” soup is fine by me.

  • 29. Chelsea Bass  |  November 26, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Dressing (aka stuffing) with the perfect consistency and flavor. My granny’s is the best. I really need to practice making it. Hubs says he won’t mind being the taste-tester.

  • 30. Steph  |  November 26, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Isn’t Thanksgiving dinner ALLLL about the mashed potatoes and gravy?!!!! I’ve never liked the gravy with “parts” in it, so I opt for a can of gravy while everyone else has the homemade with giblets. None the less it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the mashed potatoes…ahhhh.

  • 31. nmwally  |  November 26, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    I LOVE sweet potatoes – I was at a Thanskgiving where they didn’t serve them a couple years ago, & didn’t know what to do!

    I also love the canned cranberry sauce – the kind that retains the shape of the can when you open it. No one else in my family seems so attached to it anymore, though. I actually just bought some yesterday to eat with my meal last night – not even my husband wanted any!

  • 32. sumijoti  |  November 26, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Pecan pie with whipped cream, Honeybaked ham or turkey, (yes, we cheat over here), homemade cranberry sauce.

    We don’t stick hard and fast to the traditional foods since we are from South Africa and didn’t grow up with the Thanksgiving holiday. But the above mentioned foods are my favotires in the line-up and i’d be dissappointed if they weren’t on the menu.

    Have a lovely Thanksgiving, Molly!

  • 33. Stephanie G.  |  November 26, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    mashed potatoes are a must. also, we always have pecan pie and sweet tea. (can’t get much more southern than that)

  • 34. Courtney  |  November 26, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Mashed potatoes and gravy followed by pumpkin pie and Cool Whip.

  • 35. Kristen K.  |  November 26, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Mashed potatoes and gravy are definitely a must! So is stuffing. Another family favorite is cranberry marshmallow salad. I’ve never really liked the canned cranberry jelly and I could take or leave the turkey.

  • 36. jasonbindewald  |  November 26, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Stuffing and Sweet Potatoes with brown sugar…mmmm, I can’t wait ’til tomorrow!

  • 37. Neely Tamminga  |  November 27, 2008 at 6:09 am

    I ate Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday night too, Jennapants (smile).

    Stuffing (made with sausage), Jennapants’ sweet potato casserole, and brussel sprouts! That’s Thanksgiving to me.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Molly!

  • 38. Chris  |  November 27, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Daielewicz Must Eats For Thanksgiving:

    Turkey and stuffing
    Mashed potatoes and gravy (sans gravy for me)
    Cranberry sauce
    Black olives
    Pumpkin Pie

    Of course, we love it all, but these are the non-negotiables:)

  • 39. Chris  |  November 27, 2008 at 8:24 am

    AND I like your way of working together to make it a special day. We do, as well. So much more like the First Thanksgiving:)

    Have a Happy one!

  • 40. Jane  |  November 27, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Every year I put the cranberry from the can on the table and it sits there. No one here likes it but it is tradition to have it sitting there in the shape of the can. Hilarious to all of us!

  • 41. Chris  |  November 27, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Oh, yes. We must have Grandpa’s crescent rolls and sparkling grape juice, too.
    I guess the whole meal is nonnegotiable for us…

  • 42. Sarz  |  November 27, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    Its really interesting to hear about all the different foods you guys eat over there (as we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia). I am still trying to get my head around sweet potato with marshmallows? EnJOY! 😉

  • 43. anna  |  November 27, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    i’m not sure i could call it thanksgiving without turkey sandwiches with a little cranberry sauce as leftovers.

  • 44. Dawn  |  November 28, 2008 at 12:49 am

    Turkey and Cranberry-Apple Cornbread Stuffing
    Sweet Potatoes
    Pie and Coffee

  • 45. Erin  |  November 28, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Peanut Butter Pie – it’s a recipe from my grandma and SO good!


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