A Foodie’s (Ideal) Thanksgiving

A Foodie’s (Ideal) Thanksgiving

[Odyssey Article 18]

A collection of our favorite Thanksgiving foods and food recipes.

Mikayla and I might be long distance best friends, but the holidays always bring people together. We also make the perfect pair because Mikayla likes to cook, and I like to eat. (No shame.) We always talk about food and recipes, so with the holidays right around the corner, we decided it’s only fitting we put all our favorite traditional recipes and food finds in one place. If we had it our way, this would be our perfect Thanksgiving feast. (Just try keeping your mouth from watering!)


Thanksgiving Appetizers

Mikayla: “Apps are awesome, but I always eat way too much of them and forget to save room for the main course… Regardless, I like switching up the appetizers. They’re generally quick recipes, so it’s easy to make a small variety. Here is one of my go-to’s.”

Carson: “You can’t go wrong with a good veggie tray and creamy ranch dip. However, my cousin often makes amazing cream cheese and bacon-stuffed mushrooms and bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers to start the meal.”

Main Course


Roasted Turkey

Mikayla: “I love cooking, and I look forward every year to what I’m going to do with my Thanksgiving turkey. I started brining them a few years ago, and I’m a pretty big fan of the brine technique now. This is the turkey recipe I’m trying this year. I can’t wait!”

Carson: “Turkey is the Thanksgiving staple, but my favorite turkey, aside from the one my uncle deep fried a few years back, is actually from a barbecue place called Rudy’s. (Pair the smoked turkey with their house pickles, and you’ll never go back… except to buy more.)”


Roasted Ham

Mikayla: “I’m not a huge fan of ham (except on rare occasions). However, this recipe sounds pretty ‘ham’ good.”

Carson: “Honey ham is one of my all-time favorites. Throw a couple slices of pineapple and some Hawaiian sweet rolls into the mix, and the taste buds will sing your praises!”

Side Dishes

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Mikayla: “This dish isn’t one making my leftovers list. Like Carson mentions, it’s just not the same without that fried onion crunch. Nonetheless, this one with fried shallots looks great!”

Carson: “To me, green bean casserole is special because it’s only as good as it tastes on Thanksgiving day. Otherwise, the onions (my favorite part) lose their crispy crunch. My mom makes this easy and delightful recipe.”

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

Mikayla: “I could live off just potatoes for the rest of my life and not complain. But even to that extreme, I never get sick of my mom’s mashed potatoes. She “secretly” puts in a little bit of ranch dressing when mixing them up… (but you didn’t hear that from me.)”

Carson: “I’m what you call an ‘equal opportunity potato eater’, and I never met a potato I didn’t like. (Y’all know what I’m talking about.) However, I do prefer my mashed potatoes with the skins and then loaded up with cheese, bacon, and the works.”

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Casserole

Mikayla: “Sweet potatoes are awesome. As much as I love standard potatoes, you must have both on Thanksgiving. Here’s another recipe finding its home on my table this year – Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Bacon.”

Carson: “My mom typically makes a really simple, pecan-less sweet potato casserole, but I saw a video the other day for these sweet potato bites, and they are too cute not to mention!”


Rainbow Carrots

Mikayla: “I’m usually not a fan of cooked carrots. (Raw and covered in ranch dressing, I tolerate them.) However, this recipe was killer. It even made my cousin, who hates carrots, go back for a second helping.”

Carson: “Like Mikayla, I’m not a big carrot person, but this recipe for whole honey-roasted carrots on Pinterest definitely caught my attention.”


Roasted Corn Cobs

Mikayla: “I live in Wisconsin, and the second you leave the city, it turns right into corn fields. Granted, sweet corn is WAY better when you have it fresh-picked in summer, but I have nothing against creamed corn either.”

Carson: “When it comes to corn, y’all… I’m on a starchy cloud. One of my favorite creamed corns also comes from Rudy’s (copycat recipe here), but I do have a weakness for buttery, parmesan-crusted, grilled corn on the cob, as well.”


Dinner Rolls

Mikayla: “I don’t bake much, but my dad, brother, and I have a tendency of making everything possible into a sandwich. Thanksgiving is no exception. Toss me a roll, and watch me go!”

Carson: “If you guys didn’t realize by now, all carbs are fair game, so any form of bread is the same story. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has dinner rolls on another level, but (on a side note) I do miss J.R.’s Bar-B-Q’s sweet, jalapeno cornbread muffins which were out of this world.” (J.R.’s closed its doors awhile back, but here’s another scrumptious jalapeno cornbread muffin recipe to satisfy your cravings.)

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

Mikayla: “I can go for a smooth or chunky cranberry sauce, but if you look to switch it up, you should try these sugared cranberries. They’re incredibly photogenic and give you the perfect combo of tart and sweet.”

Carson: “I prefer smooth, jellied cranberry sauce over the chunky kind, but you can give your cranberry sauce an upgrade with a little port and orange!”




Mikayla: “Due to a series of unfortunate events (a.k.a. college), I refuse to eat box stuffing ever again. However, I still love stuffing on Thanksgiving, and this apple cranberry rosemary stuffingpairs perfectly with my turkey for this year.”

Carson: “Whether you refer to it as dressing or stuffing, I don’t care for mushy bread, so feel free to call it whatever you please. Nonetheless, don’t think I left you hanging! Here’s a recipe for a delicious (looking) French bread stuffing.”


Brown Gravy

Mikayla: “My advice: pour it on everything, and (a little leftovers tip) hot gravy and cold turkey together are a new kind of wonderful.”

Carson: “Before it closed, we had a seafood restaurant down the road called The Shack. It had what my mom referred to as “crack gravy”, and (true to its name) it was the best gravy to every touch my tongue and clog my arteries.”


Pumpkin Pie

Mikayla: “I eat my pumpkin pie the right way – smothered in whipped cream. Yet, if I had my number one dessert pick, it would be an apple-cherry crisp. This recipe is pretty close, but I suggest using your favorite kind of apple (about half to three quarters the amount) and then adding tart cherries.”

Carson: “I know pumpkin, sweet potato, and pecan pies are traditional, and I do like them, but they aren’t my number one pick. At the end of the day, Marie Callender’s cherry pie is my absolute favorite, and I’m super sad the one by my apartment closed down. (R.I.P.) However, if we aren’t talking pie, I’m completely hooked on my aunt’s 7 Layer Delight.” (Check out a similar recipe here.)


Thanksgiving Leftovers

Mikayla: “Put EVERYTHING on a sandwich. That’s what I always do, but you must layer it just right, so the gravy ends up in the middle. Otherwise, it’s just a sloppy mess leaving you feeling like you wrestled a turkey… and lost.”

Carson: “My mom likes to eat her Thanksgiving leftovers cold right out of the fridge (*gag*). I have to at least throw them in the microwave… but if you feel fancy, definitely give this turkey panini or beer batter fried turkey recipe a try!”

The holidays will be here before we know it, but let us not forget the true spirit of this time of year. Spend time with the people who mean the most to you, sample all the foods you enjoy, and live/love every moment. It’s time to get away from the hustle and bustle of summer and fall and slip into the comforts of the upcoming new year. Happy Holidays, everyone, and good eating!

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One comment

  1. Yahoo! · November 23, 2016

    Hi Honey, all of this food looks so good and tasty.  I am adding greens & ham,  cornbread patties and bread pudding with lemon sauce.  I really miss My Lacys’  greenbean  casserole, Yummy, loving you, Gran.


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