Thanksgiving 2020 Survival Guide ~ the Best Recipes from my Home to Yours

Pecan Pie Bars (with a Secret Ingredient)

I’ve got you covered with 24 well-tested, fabulous and inventive recipes for your celebration! 

My favorite recipes for Thanksgiving with the necessary ingredients and techniques for complete success.

This is obviously a different holiday as the COVID-19 pandemic is still in our midst – create lists of the dishes you would like to make and shop early as to separate yourself from those last day large crowds.
Purchase your non-perishable ingredients soon! Order what you can to be waiting for you at markets. Be picky only when needed – looking for the best fresh fruits and vegetables. I usually shop at many farmers’ markets and better grocery stores – this year I’ll move a little more swiftly (masked) in just a few.

We might also be cooking for less guests and family. I still enjoy making my favorite dishes in a good quantity as leftovers are heaven after the holiday, and you might not want to cook much in the coming days!

The morning after Thanksgiving I’ll send you tips on how to us up many leftovers.

As you are shopping, prepping and cooking this year keep this mind – the rewards of cooking for yourself (and family & friends) is paramount!
Dishes made at home tend to be more nutritious (without too much salt or preservatives) when you cook for yourself, you control the ingredients you use. 

I am careful not to add the same ingredients in multiple dishes. If you are serving Pecan Pie, then choose Pine Nuts to add crunch to a side dish instead of Pecans. If Rosemary flavors the Marsala Gravy, choose some Tarragon in the stuffing.

The Main Course: Making the Turkey & the Most Magnificent Gravy
(Press on recipe titles)

Roast Thanksgiving Turkey Basted with Fruit Juices and Marsala Gravy

Karen’s trusted turkey recipe. Detailed instructions that are easy to follow. I have developed this recipe after years in the kitchen. Basting the bird with pomegranate and pineapple juices will produce a finished turkey with a glowing, yet subtle mahogany color. And, the acid in the juice cuts down on the gamey essence of the turkey.

Karen’s Marsala Turkey Gravy for Thanksgiving

It’s all about the gravy?! Learn how to make a dark, caramelized and flavorful gravy – and it’s not difficult… just need to follow a few steps. It will make your Thanksgiving celebration a hit!
The trick: roast the vegetables on the bottom of the pan until they are dark, caramelized and very golden in color. Then, the chicken stock (or turkey stock is added) and the gravy will start to become something delicious. If the broth is added too soon – the gravy will never have a chance to develop a dark color… and rich flavor.

My Favorite Side Dishes: THE POTATOES

Creamy Layered Purple & Ivory Mashed Potatoes (Perfect for Thanksgiving)

How amazing are these potatoes? They can be made days ahead and reheated. What I love about this recipe – besides it’s gorgeous presentation is they are not heavy, but light and creamy. But no cream in the recipe. Just the right amount of milk & butter… but not too much. Garlic adds depth and flavor – an awesome recipe for special occasions. Purple Peruvian Potatoes layer with Yukon Golds creating a striped pattern.

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes with Aged Gouda – Maple Syrup Glaze

These “fanned” sweet potatoes simply bake in the oven with a syrupy, maple glaze. Tuck garlic in the crevices and sprinkle with fresh rosemary. I love adding a touch of grated, aged gouda cheese on top – your Thanksgiving company will scream ”YUM!”

Incredible Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic

Not loaded with fat – these are crispy oven baked and seasoned well!
Add the Garlic-Butter Topping and Parsley just before you serve them
Looking for a quick and tasty Thanksgiving side dish? Here it is!
Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1/2″ wide batonettes, toss on your baking pan with a little oil, and a mix of savory seasonings.

Natural Candied Yams with Apple Cider – Cinnamon Glaze

I grew up eating these every Thanksgiving. A beautifully sticky glaze that’s not too sweet. The trick: reduce Fresh Apple Cider!
Cook yams, peel, slice and layer in a casserole with an Apple Cider Cinnamon Glaze. Broil until lightly blackened around the edges. Oh my!

Vegetables and Important SIDES:

Haricot Vert with Sliced Radishes and Pan-Fried Shallots with a Miso-Lemon-Maple Glaze

Beautiful flavors and colors ~ you’ll love the pan fried shallots (better than those canned fried onions!) Sauté Haricot Verts in a hot skillet to blacken the edges. Add Sliced Radishes and a quick stir in of Miso, Lemon Juice and Pure Maple Syrup. All tastes delicious with Pan-Fried Shallot Rings on top! 

Roasted Carrots with Fresh Figs ~ Pomegranate Glaze and Pistachio

Carrots caramelize with the figs with a delectable just-sweet-enough glaze…  all roasted in one pan. A Vegan recipe.
Here is a colorful, balanced side-dish that excites the palate rather than weigh it down. The perfect combination of roasted veggies & fruits with nuts, herbs and a zippy (well….zesty!) glaze.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Spiced Candied Pecans

Brussel sprouts will cook quicker when cut in fourths, with each edge caramelizing a bit. The spiced candied pecans add a touch of crunch and sweetness.

Haricot Vert with Garlic, Almonds, Pomegranate Seeds and Shiitake “Bacon” with Za’atar Seasoning

Full of color & flavor – can be made early in the day. Vegan. Make perfectly cooked Haricot Vert with a mixture of textures and colors.
Sauté Haricot Verts in a hot skillet to blacken the edges. Add Garlic Chips, Shiitake “Bacon”, Toasted Almonds, Pomegranate Seeds and
Za’atar Seasoning.

Chestnut Stuffing with Shiitake Mushrooms, Apricots and Fresh Herbs

A simple stuffing with a great well rounded flavor. Lots of celery, mushrooms and chestnuts with essential herbs; tarragon and sage. Apricots lend a sweet note and a dot of color. Try different varieties of breads to produce unique textures.

Chunky Cranberry Sauce with Pineapple and Ginger

The perfect Cranberry Sauce – chunky, tart-sweet and loaded with fresh pineapple and a touch of ginger. The only one I make! Finished in less than 15 minutes.

Karen’s Cornbread

A simple cornbread, which is gluten-free adaptable. Freshly baked, fluffy, moist and buttery ~ that’s not too sweet. My favorite cornbread recipe… delicious with fresh corn kernels!
With delicious stuffing being served – all seem to adore this cornbread.

To Start / Hors d’oeuvres:

Rosemary & Spice Mixed Nuts

Pecans, Walnuts, Almonds and Brazil Nuts are roasted in a slow oven until fragrant and lightly golden. Kissed with fresh Rosemary and hints of a sweet-salty flavor. Just a nibble before the main meal.

Prosecco Cocktail with Spiked Cranberry Syrup

A quick syrup that transforms a glass of bubbly Prosecco or Champagne. Made with Cranberry, Pomegranate and Orange juices.

Goat Cheese and Garlic Pâté with Walnuts and Chives ~ Balsamic-Honey Drizzle

Perfect for any party, toast up your favorite bread, and add some crudité – serve extra roasted garlic cloves on the platter.

Tuscan Stuffed Mushrooms

The pick up appetizer that’s a party-pleaserWhat’s inside: tender chicken, vegetables and farro (or brown rice for gluten-free), roasted eggplant and smoked mozzarella.

Serving Soup:
Many Holidays I love to start with a good homemade soup –
another idea is to serve in small glasses or large shot glasses for
Hors d’oeuvres, instead of a bowl.

Kabocha Squash Soup with Apples and Cashew Crema – Vegan

Perfect for Thanksgiving! See my easy way to peel a Kabocha Squash. You’ll love the Cashew Crema with hints of maple & cinnamon ~ the Spiced Cashews make a terrific, crunchy garnish.

Acorn Squash and Celeriac Soup for Fall

Super creamy – yet cream-less. A Creamy & Chunky Soup with a Coconut Cream Swirl and Hatch Chiles… very comforting and healthy!
The secret ingredient: Pineapple Juice.

Celery Root Bisque Soup with Garlic Pita Croutons

A healthy soup with a creamy texture from the celery root (celeriac) and potatoes. Delicious and Silky Smooth. Add a swirl of Cashew Cream for a decorative touch. Dairy Free & Vegan.

If serving a buffet (I might do all the serving this year) ~ I’m all for a delicious composed salad!

Raspberry Crunch Salad with Raspberry-Almond Oil Vinaigrette

Crispy, Crunchy & Sweet ~ a brilliant, colorful, healthy salad… make place at your Thanksgiving table for this treat! Make the dressing ahead and adorn with my Nut and Seed Crunch 

Fall Salad with Pears, Pomegranate Seeds and Zesty Garlic Confit Vinaigrette

A delicious and healthy Fall Salad with Caramelized Pears, three Greens, julienned Purple Carrots, Pecan Halves, Pomegranate Seeds and an awesome Zesty Garlic Confit Vinaigrette. 

Winter White Salad with Pink Peppercorn Vinaigrette

Seasonal Vegetables are teamed with Shaved Manchego Cheese and Pine Nuts. A Zesty Pink Peppercorn Vinaigrette adds tang and bite.

Fall Salad with Chèvre and Apples

A salad to “fall” in love with! Starring Fall ingredients like Radicchio, Pink Pearl Apples, Pink Radishes, Delicate Squash and teamed with Chèvre Cheese and Pistachios.

THANKSGIVING DESSERTS to come next week!!!

Best ~ from my kitchen to yours,


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