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Easy Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Ideas and Recipes

Published by Kristopher Magdefrau

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Do you serve the same rather clichéd main dishes each and every Thanksgiving Day? Roasted turkey? Dressing made from a box of stuffing mix? Sweet-potato soufflé? Oh, and what about green-bean casserole? Isn’t it time you tried something different and at least a little unique? If so, here are some ideas to help you spread your culinary wings this holiday and dazzle your family and dinner guests with a Thanksgiving menu that has more than a little pizazz.

Glazed Turkey with Granny Smith Apples

If you want to serve turkey, go right ahead. There’s nothing wrong with turkey. In fact, turkey is not only delicious but also nutritious. However, instead of simply tossing a tom or hen into the oven and letting the bird bake until it’s done on the inside and brown on the outside, try dressing it up a little the recipe below.

Note: The recipe calls for Granny Smith apples, a variety noted for its versatility and tartness, as well as the fact that it maintains its shape when cooked.(virginiaapples.org)

Recipe for Glazed Stuffed Turkey


  • Turkey
  • 3 cans (10 ½ ounces each) turkey or chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 Granny Smith apples


  1. Preheat oven according to the directions on the turkey.
  2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey.
  3. Rinse turkey with cool water; then pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Melt butter or margarine.
  5. Add garlic cloves and thyme, stirring well.
  6. Loosen skin on turkey’s breast.
  7. Rub mixture beneath the loosened skin.
  8. Insert toothpicks to hold the skin back in place.
  9. Mix brown sugar with paprika, mustard, black pepper, onion powder, and salt.
  10. Sprinkle two tablespoons of mixture inside turkey cavity.
  11. Quarter Granny Smith apples (adjust number based on size of turkey).
  12. Place quartered apple slices inside turkey cavity.
  13. Tie turkey’s legs together with cotton string.
  14. Place turkey in roasting pan.
  15. Rub remaining brown-sugar mixture over turkey.
  16. Pour broth into pan.
  17. Bake turkey, following basic directions, until thoroughly cooked and golden brown.

Easy Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe with Water Chestnuts

This stuffing takes quite a few ingredients and a little time, but it will be well worth the effort you’ve expended when you see all the smiling faces around your dinner table. Since the recipe serves 12 hungry diners, if you’re expecting fewer guests or don’t want any leftovers, you might want to adjust it accordingly.


  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 15 whole-wheat crackers
  • 8 slices toasted whole-wheat bread, with crust removed
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 raw egg
  • 6 hardboiled eggs, diced
  • 1 can (5 ounces) water chestnuts, chopped
  • 5 cups chicken or turkey broth
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped.
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (omit if using self-rising cornmeal)
  • 1 teaspoon soda (omit if using self-rising cornmeal)
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Well grease a pan or iron skillet.
  3. Combine cornmeal with buttermilk, raw egg , soda and baking powder (omit last two ingredients if using self-rising meal).
  4. Add salt and sugar.
  5. Pour mixture into pan or skillet and bake until done.
  6. Remove from oven and crumble.
  7. Cube bread and crumble crackers.
  8. Mix bread, crackers, and cornbread.
  9. Add chopped hardboiled eggs, broth, celery, chestnuts, and seasonings.
  10. Add broth (if you need to increase the amount, add a little bit at a time until stuffing mixture is thoroughly moistened but not soupy).
  11. Pour mixture into greased pan.
  12. Reduce oven to 400 degrees.
  13. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked through and lightly browned.
  14. Serve with gravy (If you want something different, try adding some drained canned mushrooms, a little cream, and some dried sweet pepper)

Easy Thanksgiving Yam Recipe with Lemon Glaze

According to the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission, yams are one of the most nutritious vegetables people can eat. In addition to having so much nutritional value, yams are also delicious, especially when glazed as they are in this recipe, which unlike the recipe for stuffing take hardly any time at all to prepare. In fact, the most time you’ll spend is the 40 or so minutes you’ll have to wait for the dish to bake, but you can use that time to prepare other dishes, to set the table, or even to sit down and relax.

Note: Since the recipe serves only 6 to 8, if you think you’ll need more, adjust ingredients accordingly.


  • 6 medium sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh-squeezed or bottled
  • 3 tablespoons margarine, unsalted
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (fresh grated if possible)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon peel, shredded


  1. Place potatoes in large pot and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce heat.
  3. Boil just until tender on the outside, approximately 10 to 12 minutes, but center is still a little resilient to piercing.
  4. While potatoes cook, combine water, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt in a saucepan.
  5. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugars dissolve.
  6. Simmer for 8 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Add lemon juice, nutmeg, and 2 tablespoons margarine.
  9. Using remaining margarine, grease a shallow glass or ceramic baking dish (choose one large enough to hold all the mixture without its cooking and spilling over into the oven).
  10. Peel potatoes then cut crosswise into ¾-inch-thick slices.
  11. Arrange potato slices in a single layer.
  12. Cover with lemon juice mixture, reserving some for basting.
  13. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, basting occasionally, until glazed and caramelized around the edges.
  14. Remove from oven and cool a little before garnishing with lemon peel.

If you would like to try some original green recipes, please check out “Easy and Original Green Bean Recipes for Thanksgiving.” And, if you want something different for dessert, try this “Easy German Chocolate Cake Recipe” or these “Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Bread Recipes.”

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