Thanksgiving Ideas to Try Something New

With the holiday coming next week, preparations here are well underway.  Decorating, cooking and sharing time with friends and family is the heart of the holiday.  With over five years of posts, sometimes it is good to revisit past posts with holiday ideas.  In looking back, I realized I’ve not done a post on stuffing/dressing.  I’ll have to get some good photos this year for one on the many variations I like to do. This one was made with sourdough bread, onions, bacon and mushrooms with sage and oregano, a recipe from Bon Appétit from at least 20 years ago.  Yum!!  But I’ve also done dressing with Italian sausage, and another time with wild rice.  So many ways to create great flavor for the holidays.

One of my most read posts from 2015 and updated in 2016, is How To Brine and Bake a Moist Succulent Turkey.  It doesn’t take as much as you think, and I show you how to make room in the frig for it too.

Brining Turkey - 18

While the turkey is brining, serve some wonderful hot nibbles from my post on Appetizer Meals.  These are lighter versions of fun football food, to take the edge off hunger on the holiday.

Appetizer Small Plate Meals ~ From My Carolina Home

If it is just the two of you, try my Roasted Garlic Turkey Breast.  It is special enough for a holiday if you add some cranberry sauce to the meal, but we often have it through the year.

Roasted Garlic Butter Turkey 6

Or try my Panko Crusted Turkey Breast.


If you like ham instead of turkey, or you need a second entree for a large gathering, try one of these ways to cook Slow Cooked Ham with Two Methods.

Slow Cooked Ham at

Maybe this is the year to try a new side dish.  In years past, my mother and I would experiment with side dishes, dressing and desserts every Thanksgiving.  Even the turkey had different herbs and spices from year to year.  One year heavy on the sage, then the next would be a lighter version with garlic and oregano, or some other variation.  Of course, the cranberry sauce had to be there, but the one year she tried a whole cranberry sauce with orange peel there was a small revolt.  Jellied only, please.  Still, there would always be something new to try.   So here are some ideas for you.  First, make the mashed potatoes a bit more special with my Cheddar Onion Mashed Potatoes.  Still delicious with a bit of turkey gravy on top, it also makes great side dish for ham if that is your holiday main course.

Cheddar Onion Potatoes at From My Carolina Home

Give the vegetable side dish a new twist with my Squash Broccoli Casserole.

Winter Veggie Side Dish Casserole at From My Carolina Home

Perhaps some Garlic Zucchini would hit the spot.  Or, make this for a fresh side to go with the leftovers.

Garlic Zucchini ~ From My Carolina Home

Try my Baked Spinach with Roasted Garlic, a great side for turkey, ham or Prime Rib.

Spinach Garlic 17

Another great side for ham is my Parsley New Potatoes with Sour Cream Sauce.

Parsley New Potatoes with Sour Cream Sauce

If you have a bit of baking time the day before, try my Rustic Egg Bread as your bread for the holiday meal.

Egg Bread 14

Need a different pumpkin dessert for the big day?  Try my Pumpkin Toffee Dump Cake.

Pumpkin Toffe Dump Cake ~ From My Carolina Home

Sometimes I’ll do a Creme Brulee, when we’ve had enough pumpkin.

Creme Brulee ~ From My Carolina Home

Then, make sure your home is guest ready with Getting Really Ready for Company.  There are so many things to think about, and you might be surprised at what you find in your own home when you do one simple thing.

Is Your Guest Room REALLY ready? ~ From My Carolina Home

But most of all, hug your loved ones and enjoy the fellowship of the day. Cherish the small moments, rejoice in being with your family and friends.  Those times are precious beyond measure, greatly missed when loved ones are gone.  It is a season of gratitude, which I often mention, like this post – Itadakimasu and Musings on Gratitude.  From that post, these words still ring true “I will strive to live in the moment, letting go of the past, savoring the present, looking forward to the future. We can all take a moment each day to stop and breathe, listen to the rain on the roof, appreciate the fragrance of a fresh flower or a delicious meal, delight in that moment which is unique to that day and time and will not come again in exactly the same way. Cherish family and friends.” I did an entire month of Japanese Inspired posts, which you can see by clicking on that category on the sidebar.  I hope you will read that post on living in the world and in the moment.

Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year, a whole day of fun, enjoying good food, watching the parades and football, and I am looking forward to it next week.  I have the turkey in the freezer, and the required jellied cranberry sauce in the frig still in the can.  As I’ve said many times before, it just isn’t Thanksgiving unless it has the can markings on the side and is served in my grandmother’s cut glass dish.

Are you trying anything new for the Thanksgiving holiday?

More great ideas for Thanksgiving –
Thanksgiving 101
Williams Sonoma Thanksgiving Entertaining
The Best of Thanksgiving

12 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Ideas to Try Something New

  1. That jellied cranberry sauce….a classic from childhood. I believe I read yesterday it was the #1 most disliked food on the holiday table. The year I was guided to Cosmopolitan Cranberry Sauce was a year of flavor awakening. It will go in the lovely crystal dishes too, next to the sliced stuff, as there are some in the family who prefer one way and not the other. Both of my daughters live nearby with their families, and one has taken on Thanksgiving, and the other Christmas Eve. I get the big Christmas dinner. (Still trying to talk the hubby into a table for 12, not 8, as the children are growing). As long as we have some mashed potatoes to go with the turkey and gravy I am happy. I love a “crisp” green bean with shallots for a side.

  2. I could live the rest of my life never eating another bite of turkey. HOWEVER I do love all the fixings that go with it. We won’t have company this year so that is what I am doing..all the fixings with no turkey.

    I live in an are where a lot of Amish live. There is one restaurant in particular that is VERY busy all the time since it is included in a tourist attraction. They serve great dressing. I was told that when they make dressing, they include the left over mashed potatoes from the day before. I have tried that and it makes for wonderfully moist dressing.
    xx, Carol

  3. Everything looks delicious! It is morning and I am already hungry for dinner after looking at this. I am not trying anything new for Thanksgiving, but I may try the garlic turkey breast another time. They are small enough to have from time to time.

  4. farmquilter

    Since it will just be me and my dad, I’m just doing a turkey breast, so I’m off to check out your roasted garlic and panko crusted turkey breasts. Thank you for the new to me recipes!

  5. Mary

    You’re making my mouth water! I had to chuckle about the cranberry can markings. As children, we always fought over who got the end piece with the ring markings. So silly now! We need to get rid of our 90* temperatures so we can appreciate cooking that turkey.


    Sent from my iPad


  6. Hi friend! We are actually Dining out st a fancy restaurant for the first time in our 31years of marriage and of celebrating a traditional family thanksgiving. We’re really looking forward to it. An elegant evening …with a three course meal…jazz band….❤️

  7. Patricia Evans

    It will just be my hubby and me for Thanksgiving, but I still need to make a traditional turkey dinner, usually with a whole turkey since at the seasonal sale price it’s much cheaper than buying a turkey breast. We love the leftovers and soup made with the carcass. I do make fresh cooked whole cranberry sauce, it’s easy and I can control the sugar content. And homemade pumpkin pie with real whipped cream. But oh, so much prep and clean up for a meal that takes 15 minutes to eat!

  8. Thank you so much for your yummy recipes, some of them jumped out and said “try me”. I live in New Zealand so we dont celebrate Thanksgiving down here, but really, good food is in fashion any time.

  9. bonniecoleman

    Hi Carole!  I tried your Brined turkey recipe and it was delicious.  Also, the Pumpkin Toffee dump cake for my grandson who wanted a pumpkin pie.  He said it was better than pumpkin pie!  Hahaha!  So thank you for sharing the recipes.  I am not a cook and don’t really enjoy the process but when I do, I want it to be a verified source for a positive result.  So thanks again for sharing the well tested recipes!  Happy Thanksgiving!  Bonnie in South GA

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