What can I bring to Thanksgiving Dinner?

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, wonderful smells and Food Network has the best shows on.  I just learned that more than 42 million Americans eat Thanksgiving Dinner at someone else’s house. THAT means the question comes up, “Well, what can I bring?” Here are some great easy recipes that will for sure be memorable and if you don’t have time to cook anything…just bring a bottle of wine.

“Can you bring an appetizer?”

Sure! This is an easy standard recipe that my mom showed me years ago. To me this just tastes like Thanksgiving and Christmas, plus it looks so festive.

You’ll need:

–          1 jar Cranberry Chutney

–          Wedge of Brie

–          Crackers

 Here in the mid-west we have access to this awesome concoction called Wisconsin Wilderness Cranberry Chutney. When I lived in other areas, I could get some yummy cranberry creation at the deli of a gourmet grocery store. Just don’t use plain ol’ cranberries, find it with a little rum or citrus, it will give a nice zing (and if you’re at a complete loss, I will ship you some Cranberry Chutney just email me brynnreedy@yahoo.com.)

Spoon the cranberry goodness over a wedge of brie cheese. Once you arrive at the host home, heat until melty either in the oven or a microwave. Serve with crackers and watch everyone ruin their appetite for dinner.

“Can you bring a veggie?”

Sure! How about some green beans and since it’s a holiday, let’s add a little bacon to the mix. My mother-in-law made this and I think she got the recipe from Paula Deen (shocker).

You’ll Need:

–          Green beans

–          1 lb bacon (I used pepper’d bacon and it was delish)

Preheat oven to 375*. Trim and wash the green beans and blanch in a pot of boiling water. Only blanch them for about a minute, you will want them to still be very crisp because they will keep cooking in the oven.

Wrap a bundle of green beans with a piece of bacon and put on a rimmed cookie sheet with foil. Cook for about 20-25 min, until the bacon is done. This is a favorite with the men around the table.

“Can you bring some rolls?”

Sure! This is one a great easy recipe for Salt & Pepper Rolls from Martha Stewart that you can even make a day or two ahead of time and heat up before dinner.

You’ll need:

–          1-2lbs of pre-made pizza dough, thawed (the above picture is one 1lb and it made 16 little rolls)

–          3 tablespoons olive oil per pound of dough

–          Coarse ground salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350*. Cut the dough into equal size pieces using a knife. Learn from my mistake! Don’t just try to pull it apart into equal sizes – cut the dough in half; half again, etc, etc.  until you have 16 equal pieces per pound of dough you are using. It will turn out much nicer in the end.

Form each piece in to a tight ball. Pour 2 tablespoons oil (4 if using 2lbs of dough) into bottom of baking pan, turn each dough ball to cover with oil and arrange in rows. Cover dish with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place for an hour until dough doubles in size.

Season with salt and pepper. Use a lot more than you think you’d need, getting in between the rolls if possible. Bake for 35 minutes. Brush hot rolls with remaining olive oil.

“Can you bring a pie?”

Sure! Most likely they will already have a pumpkin pie, so let’s switch it up a little and make my Dad’s favorite: Pecan pie.


You’ll need:

–          1 package pre-made pie crust (I use Pillsbury in the red box)

–          4 eggs beaten (save a little to brush on the crust)

–          ¾ cup brown sugar, packed

–          2 tablespoons melted butter

–          ½ teaspoon salt

–          1 teaspoon vanilla

–          1.5 cups light corn syrup (like Karo)

–          2.5 cups whole pecan halves

Preheat oven to 450*. Line a pie dish with raw crust, prick with a fork. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add sugar, butter, salt, corn syrup and stir together. Stir in pecans and pour into a pie pan.

Bake for 10 min, then lower temperature to 350* and bake for 25 minutes or until center is set.

Get creative with the crust! I used a cap from the pantry to make little circles around the edge of the pie for a cute scalloped look. Cute kid option:  do a hand turkey out of the other half of the crust and put in the middle of the pie.

Have a great, safe Thanksgiving Holiday. I have so much to be thankful for, I’m sure you do, too! Enjoy!

This post was contributed by our guest foodie Brynn Jeffries.  Brynn lives with her husband and 19-month-old daughter in Chicago’s northwest suburbs. Besides being a mom, She spends 50+ hours/week with her other dream-job at a Fortune 500 company so her husband can stay home and raise their daughter. Her love of cooking and Type-A personality compel her to keep trying new recipes that can easily fit into the working mom’s life (may she be a hard working SAHM or full-time outside the home.) Brynn shares her cooking trials on her blog Working Mommy Recipes. While most of the recipes are inspired by the monthly publications or daily email tips she subscribes to, many of the recipes have been adjusted to be easier or fit what the pantry has in stock. Favorites are one pot recipes (since she doesn’t have a dishwasher) and dishes that can double as tomorrow’s lunch at your desk. All of the recipes are given a “Daddy Rating” 1-7 from Brynn’s husband based on how many nights a week he will eat that dish (the higher the better). Optional addition to all recipes is a nice glass of wine on the side – Enjoy!


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