My 10 Thanksgiving Dinner Favorites

As we gear up for Thanksgiving dinner, I thought I’d list the essentials I think make the perfect spread for the holiday.

What makes Thanksgiving dinner perfect? There are several ingredients I really feel I want to have at the table. Some of mine probably wouldn’t make your list, but I imagine it’s more likely there are items on your list that did not make mine!

1. Turkey

I’m not a huge fan of turkey: the only time I really eat roasted turkey is on Thanksgiving Day and the few days afterwards as we consume the traditional leftovers. But I have to admit that my mom can make a turkey much more moist than many others can, and that, at least, makes it all the more appealing.

2. Honeybaked Ham

Years ago, I worked for a company that provided its employees with a gift certificate for Honeybaked Ham every year. It’s always a nice addition to Thanksgiving, but I’d never forego the turkey.

3. No-Giblet Giblet Gravy

I’ve always found the dry, chalky texture of giblets a major turnoff. So my mom made a compromise: she makes a cream-based gravy with chicken stock and a bit of turkey meat and we use that instead.

4. Rice

You have to have something to pour either item #3 or item #5 over, right? We’ve been using brown rice over the past few years because it’s healthier than white rice.

5. Butterpeas

These alternatives to the pastier lima beans are a nice twist and carry a nice flavor.

6. Dressing

They say “stuffing” is what you cook inside the bird and “dressing” is what you cook outside the bird. We don’t do stuffing; instead, my mom uses her own mother’s cornbread dressing recipe.

7. Broccoli Casserole

Mom came up with her own broccoli casserole with chopped broccoli, cheese and rice. It’s one of those recipes that are ridiculously simple but that no one else can ever get quite right.

8. Macaroni and Cheese

No Kraft here: this is the traditional baked kind, a Southern staple that we only really have this time of year.

9. Hot Buttered Rolls

Continuing with the starches, let’s add a nice fresh-out-of-the-oven buttered roll or two.

10. Blueberry Cheesecake

Again, it’s a ridiculously-easy recipe but everyone who’s tried it said theirs never turns out as well. Mom has made this for years for various family gatherings. When I was a kid, one of my cousins who was about my age walked up to Mom as soon as he arrived and asked her if she brought “that purple stuff.”

That’s my list.

What are the criticals on your Thanksgiving Day menu?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.