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FAQs: Thanksgiving Menus

Created December 8, 2016
a plate with a crescent-wrapped brie and slices of apple
Recipes, tips and advice for making this year's dinner go more smoothly than ever. MORE+ LESS-

Options beyond turkey, vegetarian options, wine pairings and more!

I'm looking for an easy -- and I mean EASY -- appetizer for Thanksgiving. Any suggestions?
How about 3-ingredient easy? Crescent-Wrapped Brie is a holiday classic, and it absolutely could not be easier. Other great (easy) Thanksgiving choices are Turkey Cranberry Pinwheels, Mini Crescent Dogs and Bacon Cheddar Pinwheels.

My Thanksgiving celebration includes guests following a vegetarian diet. How can I make holiday favorites that also meet their dietary needs?
Easily! Plan the menu ahead of time so you have a variety of foods, including something for your vegetarian guests. Here are some vegetarian recipes to get you started: 

I’d like to serve some non-alcoholic drinks at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. Any ideas?

When it’s party time, I want to mingle with my guests--not be stuck in the kitchen with frilly toothpicks. What party foods can I make ahead?
There are so many options when it comes to make-ahead party foods…everything from Chex mixes, slow cooker ribs, bite-sized appetizers, meatballs, fondue, dips with baby carrots and veggies and fresh-cut fruit. Here are some ideas:

I have a vegetarian coming to dinner… what do I serve them instead of turkey that will still wow them?
Great question! There are a variety of meat-free options depending on what you're looking for. Here are a few of our favorites:

For an easy-to-prepare entrée, try something like this recipe for stuffed acorn squash. It is easy to prepare, and has lots of the flavors that are part of a traditional Thanksgiving menu. Here are a few other choices:

I have just one oven, so I try to cook more than one dish at a time--my turkey and several side dishes bake at different temperatures and times. Is there an easier way to get everything done?
Absolutely—just use your microwave oven and slow cooker! Some of your side dishes can be baked or cooked ahead of time and reheated in the microwave or in the oven when the turkey is “resting”, waiting to be sliced. And all the while, you can use a slow cooker to make the mashed potatoes!

What wine goes well with turkey?
It’s good to look at the whole menu when selecting a wine to go with a meal. Many people prefer white or lighter wines with poultry, but a red wine is also good to stand up to all the flavors of the side dishes served with turkey.

Try these picks:

  • Red wine: A nice red that isn’t too heavy or strong is a Pinot Noir. Beaujolais Nouveaux, usually just released in November, is a nice partner to the Thanksgiving menu, as well.
  • White wine: Chardonnay is a good choice. Some prefer sweeter wines, but be careful not to choose anything too sweet — it might clash with your dinner and desserts.

I’d like to try something different other than roasting my turkey this year. What would you suggest?
There are a couple of alternatives to roasting a turkey:
Try this Grilled Turkey recipe Turkey on the Grill.

How do I prepare a tofurky? Do I still need to use a meat thermometer?
Tofurkey is a great meat alternative if you have several vegetarians coming over for dinner. It is made from tofu and is shaped like a small turkey. Check out the following website for details on cooking this product:

My family is small. What alternatives are there to whole turkeys? 
Turkey breasts are perfect for up to 8 people, depending on the overall size. Try this Oven Roasted Turkey Breast recipe Turkey Breast with Cheesy Cornbread Stuffing

More Thanksgiving questions? Ask our experts in the Community.