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18 Inspiring Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas
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Last Friday my youngest son and I donned our woolly wear—toques included—and spent a blustery morning at an apple orchard, collecting fruit for the coming weeks.

Some pieces will be used for snacking, while others will be turned into tarts and folded into blondies (laced with bourbon and pecans, I might add) for our Thanksgiving feast. We’re hosting 24 people on Sunday, and serving turkey with the usual trimmings. So today, I’m rounding up our favourite recipes for the holiday weekend in hopes of offering a little inspiration for your own weekend eats.


I don’t deliver much in the way of appetizers when it comes to serving a big holiday meal. After spending the better part of a week planning the perfect menu, brining a turkey and baking homemade desserts, I don’t want to see my friends and family fill up on a pound of nuts. Instead, I keep things simple by offering a modest cheese and cracker platter, or a good old-fashioned relish tray, made up of assorted pickles, briny olives, and fresh vegetables.

One year, when we woke up to frost on the ground, I warmed some soup from the freezer and passed it around in demi-tasse cups for a soothing pre-dinner sip (a huge hit with the guests, I might add). A seasonal soup, like our pumpkin and apple or butternut squash are popular choices for the fall, but really, any flavour will do, as long as it’s a smooth purée that can be sipped.

Side Dishes:

Truth be told, turkey doesn’t excite me the way the side dishes do, so it’s those that I turn to when it comes to filling up my plate. Orange and honey glazed carrots with thyme, roasted Brussels sprouts with mustard sauce, and French green beans with toasted almonds are three of my favourite dishes to consider. Of course, there’s also an abundance of mashed potatoes, and sausage stuffing on the table, not too mention cranberry sauce and gravy.

Main Event:

Does anyone eat anything other than turkey? I know sometimes people opt for ham or prime rib for their Christmas dinner, but I honestly don’t know of anyone that doesn’t serve turkey for Thanksgiving (side note: if you do offer something different, please let me know! I’d love to hear about it). Our tutorial on how to cook the perfect turkey is pretty much all you’ll need to get the main part of your meal on the table this weekend.

Here’s a tip, if you’re serving a big crowd like I do: the largest turkey I can order is 25 lbs., which is no longer large enough to feed our group. I don’t have the oven space to make two turkeys, so a few years ago I started ordering turkey breasts and leg rolls instead. The average breast is approximately 5 – 6lbs and serves 8-10 people. Leg rolls are slightly smaller, and feed roughly 3-4 people. The meat is boneless – not great if you’re looking for a carcass to make soup the following day – slices up easily and creates very little mess. I buy turkey wings and bones a few days before Thanksgiving and roast them for my gravy and accept the fact that because I have so many people around my table I won’t be making turkey stock after the meal, a small price to pay.


The best part of the meal for some, no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a selection of desserts. I usually make three – a pie or tart, something cakey, and a small 2-3 bite nibble. Here are some excellent choices if you’re still wondering what to serve:

Classic pumpkin pie
Maple walnut pecan pie
Gluten-free pumpkin cake
Cocoa beet bundt cake
Harvest apple caramel cake


There are always leftovers of some sort lying around after Thanksgiving. Here are some creative ways to make use of what’s hanging around post holiday dinner:

The leftover turkey sandwich
Thanksgiving leftovers your kids will love
Slow-cooker turkey stock

So, how many people are you hosting this year? Or did you get invited to someone else’s house? What’s your favourite part of Thanksgiving dinner?

Jan Scott is an event planner, food writer and the face behind the family food blog She's also the mom of two school-aged boys, and when she's not planning a party or writing about feeding a family she can be found in her kitchen whipping up lots of yummy things for her boys to eat.
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How to Make Your Family’s Favourite Stuffing Even Better
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Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, and if you haven’t already begun planning your meal, now’s the time to put pen to paper and get started on your menu.

For most of us, it’s a dinner rich with tradition, so there isn’t a lot of variation on the table from year to year. Turkey, and its perennial partner stuffing, take pride of place, and from there an assortment of side dishes, which may or may not change each year. 

In a previous post, we covered how to cook the perfect turkey, and now it’s time to learn how to make your family’s favourite stuffing even better. We also have a recipe for a classic and simple sausage stuffing, which can be used all year long, especially as an accompaniment to roast chicken or pork.

  • Although the terms are used interchangeably, there is a difference between dressing and stuffing. Dressing is baked outside of the turkey; when placed within the cavity of the bird, it becomes stuffing.
  • The stuffing can be made a day ahead, cooled, covered and stored in the refrigerator until needed.
  • Don’t stuff the turkey until just before you put it in the oven.
  • Estimate ¾ - 1 cup of stuffing per person. If you want leftovers, increase that amount.
  • The bread sets the tone for the dish, so use the one you’re most fond of. Italian or French bread is a popular choice and yields a soft bite. Whole-wheat bread adds heft and sweetness, while cornbread adds a nutty flavour. There is no wrong choice!
  • Pack the stuffing into the turkey loosely. It expands as it absorbs the bird’s juices and if tightly packed it won’t cook thoroughly.
  • Cut your bread into ½-inch cubes, or tear it if you want more of a rustic look.
  • If the bread isn’t thoroughly dried it will become soggy. Dry the bread cubes by placing them on a baking sheet and leaving them uncovered overnight, or bake in the oven at 300°F for 15 minutes or until they feel completely dry.

Simple Sausage Stuffing

Serves 8-10

You’ll Need:

  • 1 ½ lbs. mild Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 12 cups cubed day-old bread
  • ¼ cup butter, melted, plus extra for baking dish or foil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup finely chopped Italian parsley

Prep and Cook:

  1. Sauté the sausage meat in a large skillet set over medium heat, stirring frequently, until no longer pink. Add the onion and celery and cook until the onion is translucent. Drain excess fat from the pan and set aside to cool.
  2. Place the bread cubes in your largest bowl. Add the cooled sausage mixture, butter, salt, sugar, sage, thyme, chicken stock and parsley, and stir well to combine thoroughly.
  3. To bake separately from the turkey, preheat oven to 350°F and generously butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and sheet of aluminum foil with butter. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared dish, cover with the foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
  4. Otherwise, loosely stuff the neck and body cavity of the bird and cook as per your turkey recipe directions, baking any leftover stuffing using the instructions above.
Jan Scott is an event planner, food writer and the face behind the family food blog She's also the mom of two school-aged boys, and when she's not planning a party or writing about feeding a family she can be found in her kitchen whipping up lots of yummy things for her boys to eat.
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Welcome to the EatSavvy Blog where you’ll find great food ideas for your family. We want to help you tackle the day-to-day monotony of what’s for breakfast? Lunch? Snack time? Thanks to our amazing food editor Jannise Scott of, we’ve got some great tips in the kitchen as well. Get inspired.

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