Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Thanksgiving Menu by Aven Ellis!

Letting one of my favorite people take over p&b today...she's not only an epic author, amazing friend/advice giver, but she SLAYS in the kitchen. Aven...take it away, xo! *ps, be sure to peep the end of this post for something extra sweet!


Thanksgiving. Yes, you can do it!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Why? Because it’s all about the friends, family and food. I thrive on Thanksgiving Day. As someone who loves to cook, it’s my big game day of the year. I plan my menu. I do all the shopping, I make a timeline of when things need to be done (more on that later) but I live for it.
But for some of you this is a foodie nightmare. The idea of hosting a big meal, timing everything just right, crossing your fingers for a non-dry bird-can be super stressful.
Never fear! I’ve got a simple Thanksgiving menu for you that will make you Food Network ready in no time. Ready to get started? Okay, let’s do this Thanksgiving thing!

First Step: Plan your menu.
This requires some thought. One of the key things I learned back in seventh grade, thanks to a teacher named Mrs. Nyland, was that you never want multiple sides in the same color. Think about this. Turkey with squash and sweet potatoes? With green beans and sprouts? A colorful plate is a beautiful plate.
I also like to mix some lightness into the menu. There’s no need for Thanksgiving dinner to be all heavy, calorie-dense foods. Pick your favorites, but pick with balance. I’m a big believer in a harvest-theme salad on the Thanksgiving table as a counter balance to the stuffing/dressing. (Stuffing-baked in the bird. Dressing-baked in a dish.) The menu I’m showing you today is simple with complimenting flavors:

Maple Glazed Turkey Breast
Harvest Salad-Mixed Greens with roasted delicata squash, honey goat cheese, dried cranberries, hazelnuts and a maple balsamic vinaigrette. (Not your thing? Easy subs! You can do pear, pecans, blue cheese. Apples and walnuts. Make it yours!)
Mashed sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes
Bread stuffing or cornbread dressing
Cranberry sauce
Pumpkin pie

Second Step: Plan your shopping trip.
Get your recipes together and make the list out by sections: produce, meat, dairy, frozen, and miscellaneous. Shopping in order will make you super organized.

Third Step: Create your timeline.

I usually make my cranberry sauce a few days before and let it hang out in the fridge. Homemade cranberry sauce is super easy! I simply use the recipe the back of the bag. Like it jellied? Dozens of ways to make that, too.
Pie? I bake the day before. The night before I also do all my prep for stuffing/dressing: chop onions, celery, etc. and store in containers so you are ready to go on game day.
I also create a timeline working back from when I want to eat. I write a schedule: when to take out the turkey breast, when to put in the oven, when to put the dressing in, when to start potatoes. This gives me a feeling of control having the game plan, and it’s something I don’t skip in preparation.

Fourth Step: Cooking.
I love turkey breast on the bone, easy to manage and cook. Need to feed more? You can cook two at the same time. Victory. Here’s a recipe for you to try:
For a classic bread stuffing, you can’t go wrong with this one:
The salad with delicata squash (the goat cheese/hazelnuts/cranberries were my additions):
And I love this pumpkin pie by Danielle Walker:

And while you have a break in between dishes, you can set the table. Or do it the night before, or that morning. Above is a sample place setting with salad fork, dinner fork, bread plate, knife and spoon and wine glass. As far as wine? I love pinot noir with my Thanksgiving meal-but I say drink what you like.

Fifth Step: ENJOY YOURSELF! And because you’ve worked so hard, you go watch football while others do the dishes, okay?
Happy Thanksgiving!

And since Thanksgiving is the start of the giving season; Aven is giving away an e-copy of her rom-com hit Surviving the Rachel!

Entering is easy, follow both of us on IG: @avenellis @polishedandbubbly and leave a comment below telling us what your fave Thanksgiving food is! Winner will be announced on my IGStory on Saturday, November 25th!