It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving weekend is right around the corner, but here we are! If you are hosting this year, it is time to start making a firm menu and handing out assignments for those that want to contribute. Today we are rounding up 30 of our favorite recipes to help get your menu started. We love starting the afternoon off with a festive cocktail and lots of good appetizers. Our list includes everything from fried turkey to buttermilk biscuits, creamy brie mac and cheese to deep dish apple pie. There is something for everyone coming to your table in this roundup. We have also included the ever-important “day after” recipes for those of you looking to refresh some of your leftovers. Don’t miss the Thanksgiving Hangover Breakfast Sandwiches…. that is one of our favorite recipes in the list!
Entertaining does not have to be fancy to be delicious and delightful to your guests. We love having friends over in the summer for a backyard barbecue, and instead of spending hours prepping for a fancy feast, we like to have a really fun menu like this Semi-Homemade Hot Dog Bar. We love that we can cook hot dogs to order and let everyone fend for themselves with the hot dog bar ingredients to make their own meal. We have included suggestions for some of our favorite summer hot dogs below, and also encourage our guests to create their own flavors! If you are really in host and hostess mode, you can write out our ideas below (and some of your own!) to help guide your guests through the hot dog bar. The key to success with a menu like this is to think smart, not hard. You’ll notice that there are some repetitive ingredients amongst the list. We have also “semi-homemade” some of the ingredients, including the bbq pulled pork and chili, which have come from the prepared food section at the grocery store. If you want to make all of the bar toppings from scratch, by all means have at it. But if you don’t have time, you can still pull this off pretty easily. Having repeat and pre-made ingredients helps eliminate a ton of prep time in the kitchen, but doesn’t take away from the fun of the presentation. For reference, we like to plan for 2-3 hot dogs per person when making our ingredient list.
The Hot Dog Lineup:
- Asian Slaw Dog: Asian slaw, cilantro, sesame seeds, sriracha ketchup.
- The Cincinnati Dog: chili, onion, mustard, cheese.
- BLAT Dog: bacon wrapped dog, tomato, arugula, avocado, mayo.
- BBQ Pulled Pork Dog: pulled pork, barbecue sauce, everything bagel coleslaw.
- Chicago Dog: tomato, mustard, giardinara, sliced dill pickle.
- Mexican Dog: avocado (or guacamole), pickled jalapeños, cilantro,
Thank you for following along with us for the last two weeks as introduced some of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes. Below is our full Thanksgiving Menu, including a timeline to help you be a rockstar host. The timeline starts this weekend. A lot of us will be hosting smaller gatherings this year, and many people will be hosting holiday gatherings for the first time. If you want to be relaxed and enjoy Thanksgiving this year, you must be organized and start prepping now. You will be so glad you did come Thursday! If you are still looking for more recipes to fill up your Thanksgiving Menu, checkout our Thanksgiving 2019 Menu. It is packed with loads of our favorite dishes including deep fried turkey with buttermilk gravy, our “best ever” mashed potatoes, and the love-it-or-hate-it green bean casserole. We have also included some table decorating ideas for a more low key celebration. We know that Thanksgiving is going to look different for everyone this year, but we hope your holiday is still filled with lots of good food, family, and friends (even if those family and friends are joining you virtually).
Thanksgiving Prep List
The Weekend Before Thanksgiving (This Weekend!!)
- Plan out your full grocery list and do all of your food shopping.
- Stock up on beer, wine, and cocktail ingredients.
- Finalize your ideas for table linens and decorations. See our ideas below!
3 Days Before (Monday)
- Make the sauces for the appetizer dipping platter if you are making them from scratch. Refrigerate until Thanksgiving Day, about 30 minutes before serving.
- Cut the sourdough bread for the stuffing and let it sit out overnight to dry out.
- Make the cinnamon honey butter for the cornbread muffins. Refrigerate until Thanksgiving Day; serve at room temperature.
- Make your pie crust for the deep dish apple pie; refrigerate until the day before Thanksgiving.
1 Day Before (Wednesday)
- Set your table. Designate tableware, serving dishes, barware, and dishware that you will need and make sure it is set aside and available for Thanksgiving Day.
- Refrigerate any beer, champagne, or white wine.
- Roast the vegetables for the appetizer platter. Cool completely and refrigerate overnight until 30 minutes before you are ready to serve appetizers.
- Make the mac & brie to the point of baking. Set aside to cool and refrigerate overnight. Take out 30 minutes before cooking, top with the brie cheese and bake.
- Peel and dice the sweet potatoes. Blanch them in hot water. Cool and refrigerate overnight.
- Prepare the turkey breast up until it is ready to bake in the oven; refrigerate overnight. Take out 30 minutes before cooking so that it isn’t cold going into the oven.
- Slice/shave the brussels sprouts for the brussels sprout salad. Cover with a damp paper towel and refrigerate overnight.
- Prepare the dressing for the brussels sprout salad; refrigerate overnight.
- Completely prepare and bake the apple pie. Let it rest for 30-40 minutes after baking before refrigerating overnight. Keep the pie in the springform pan; do not remove it until you are ready to serve.
- Make the pumpkin cornbread muffins. You can cover them with foil and reheat in the oven just before serving.
- Assemble the sweet potatoes and make the crumble.
- Take the bacon wrapped turkey breast out of the refrigerator 2 hours before you want to eat dinner. Cook the turkey breast 90 minutes before you want to eat, so that there is plenty of time for it to rest and be sliced before serving.
- Take the appetizer ingredients out 30 minutes before you want to serve appetizers. Assemble the ingredients on a platter and let sit at room temperature.
- Assemble the brussels sprout salad. It can be dressed up to 30 minutes before dinnertime.
Table Decorating Ideas
We know that your Thanksgiving might be smaller this year, but that doesn’t mean that it should be any less celebratory and special. For our table this year, we have chosen to combine a bunch of different shades of whites and creams for a rustic chic look. We used ivory pillar candles from Crate & Barrel, various sizes of white pumpkins we found on Amazon, and bouquets of white roses that we divided into small arrangements across the table. If you don’t have small vases, short water glasses are a great substitute! We completed our look with rattan chargers from Pottery Barn, white dishes, napkins from Chilewich, and an assortment of gold napkin rings from Crate and Barrel. We particularly love the “grateful” napkin rings they are selling this year! The overall look is simple, elegant, and very easy to pull together.
We know that Thanksgiving 2020 is probably going to look a little different for most of us this year. If you are used to having a large gathering, downsizing your menu and vision can seem a little sad. Our tip for enjoying the holiday to the fullest is to prepare your menu as you would any other year. If Thanksgiving doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving without 10 side dishes, go ahead and make your traditional full menu! We suggest that this year you downsize the quantity but not the scale of your traditional Thanksgiving menu. We all need a little holiday cheer after the strangest year of history, plus, who doesn’t love Thanksgiving leftovers?
Even with a small gathering, we love to have an appetizer out and ready for our guests to arrive. Because a traditional Thanksgiving menu is loaded with carby side dishes, we like to keep appetizers light. Save the baked brie for other winter gatherings. We love this roasted vegetable platter because all of the components can be made the day before. We love the addition of the romesco sauce and the lemon aioli to provide a zesty punch, but you can serve the vegetables with any dipping sauce you enjoy. All it takes is some quick assembly on Thanksgiving Day and you will have a gorgeous appetizer to set the tone for a festive holiday dinner. We have gone ahead and listed out every vegetable and dip on the platter that we used in the recipe below, but we encourage you to plan out your platter so that you do not have any repeating vegetables in your main dinner menu.
Roasted Vegetable Platter
A healthy and robust appetizer platter to have waiting for your Thanksgiving guests!
- 1 head of cauliflower, stem removed and cut into florets
- 1 acorn squash, seeds removed and sliced into wedges
- 1 package petite rainbow carrots
- 3 beets, rinsed, peeled, and sliced into wedges
- 1 can of artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- romesco sauce, or dip of your choice
- lemon & garlic aioli, or dip of your choice
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Prep the vegetables that need roasting (cauliflower, squash, carrots and beets) so that all of them are peeled, have their seeds removed, and are chopped into large bite sized pieces. Lay the vegetables on a cookie sheet or two so that they are in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast the vegetables until they are fork tender, anywhere from 30 – 40 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the oven and let cool so that they are warm or room temperature. If you are making the vegetables the day before, refrigerate and bring out to room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Serve the vegetables on a platter with romesco sauce and lemon aioli, or any dips of your choice. Serve with small forks and/or toothpicks to allow your guests to help themselves.
As you may have seen yesterday on our Instagram, we harvested our garden veggies before the snow came in Colorado and wanted a dish that we could really use up a good bulk of our produce. This Ratatouille Tart is gorgeous, garden veggie heaven. It comes together by slicing zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant and layering them in a pie shell. If you want this dish to be a visual stunner, spend the time to alternate all of the vegetables as you layer them into the pie crust. Don’t make this for dinner on a weeknight when everyone is already starving. We have saved some time by purchasing a pre-made pie crust and marinara sauce, but if you really want to over-achieve, go ahead either from scratch, as well!
Makes: 1 pie; 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes Total Time: 3 hours
Ingredients for the Tart:
- 1- whole wheat pie shell, thawed if frozen (we love the Whole Foods frozen version!)
- 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 2 zucchini
- 2 yellow squash
- 1/2 of 1 large eggplant
Ingredients for the Herb Oil:
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 large clove garlic, mined
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Thinly slice the zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant. You want the eggplant to be roughly the same size as the squashes, so depending on the size, you may want to cut it into quarters lengthwise before slicing. Lay all of the sliced vegetables onto kitchen towels. Season well on both sides with salt and let the vegetables sit for 30 minutes to purge most of their liquid. You will be rinsing the vegetables later, so really season them well to make sure enough liquid gets removed during this stage.
- While the vegetables are purging, par-bake the crust. Use a fork to poke the bottom layer of the pie crust. Layer with the 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Par-baking the crust and using a layer of Parmesan helps keep the pie bottom from becoming soggy later on. After 10 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside until it is back to room temperature.
- While the pie crust is in the oven, reduce the marinara sauce. Heat a small sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the marinara sauce to the pot and let it simmer and reduce. You want to reduce it by about 25%, so that it is thicker and more of a tomato paste than a tomato sauce. When it has reduced accordingly, remove from the heat.
- The final step before assembling the tart is to make the herb oil. Combine the herb oil ingredients (olive oil – salt) in a small mixing bowl. Set aside until you are ready to use.
- We are finally ready to assemble the tart! Put all of the vegetables into a colander and rinse well with water to get rid of the excess salt. Pat the vegetables dry with a kitchen towel.
- Add the marinara sauce to the bottom of the pie shell in an even layer.
- Starting with the outside edge, layer the eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash in alternating patterns around the outside of the pie crust. To give the tart a nice visual texture, try to layer the vegetables as vertically as possible. Continue to layer the vegetables in the tart shell until it is completely full to the center.
- Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the vegetables with the herb oil. Be generous with this, but you might have some oil leftover.
- Use thin strips of foil to cover the outside edges of the pie crust. You want to make sure you take the time to do this well before the tart goes in the oven so that the crust does not burn. Put the tart in the oven and bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour. The tart is done with the vegetables are cooked through and fork-tender.
- Remove the tart from the oven and finish by topping with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Let it sit and rest for about 10 minutes (you can lightly cover with foil) before slicing.
The unofficial “end of summer” is approaching and we are using Labor Day as an excuse to cook on the barbecue and celebrate. In honor of Labor Day, we have compiled some of our favorite recipes to create the ultimate summer sendoff. We have a little bit of everything, most of which can be prepped ahead of time, so that you can spend your holiday in the backyard enjoying the weather.
- Strawberry Lemon Rose Sangria
- Cucumber Lemonade Gin Fizz
- Classic Guacamole
- Kale & Artichoke Dip
- Spicy Turkey Burgers
- Juicy Lucy Burgers
- Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork
- Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri
- Summer Pesto Pasta Salad
- Spicy Watermelon Salad
- Hatch Chili Mac
- Elote (Grilled Street Corn)
- Farmers’ Market Brown Butter Orzo
- Everything Bagel Coleslaw
- Summer Berry Trifle
Creating an appetizer board is our go-to vehicle for feeding mouths as they walk through our door. There is always a little something for everyone and for some reason having more appetizers feels less stressful than having one and hoping it’s a winner. We love Greek food and often make a dinner party menu featuring this type of cuisine. Keeping that in mind, we set out to make a board of Greek appetizers (mezze) that mostly stays away from our traditional meat and cheese boards. If you feel like over-achieving you can make many of these items from scratch, but to save time we have purchased them from Trader Joe’s. Pro Tip: whenever we purchase a pre-made dip from the grocery store, we always give it a little TLC before serving. For this board we used Trader Joe’s labneh and hummus; we transferred each into smaller bowls and drizzled olive oil and red chili flakes on the labneh and olive oil and everything spice on the hummus. It’s a small touch that makes the board look better and less like you just got home from the grocery store.
Makes: 8 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes
- 1 container small tomatoes on the vine
- 1 English cucumber, sliced on a bias
- 1 block (6-8 oz) feta cheese, cut into bite-sized cubes
- 1 container dolmas
- 1 jar of grilled, marinated artichoke hearts, drained
- 1 jar Greek olives, drained
- 1 bag of Trader Joe’s Olive & Herbs Mixed Nuts, or similar
- 1 package pita, cut into small wedges
- 1 container hummus
- 1 container labneh
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- red pepper flakes
- Everything Bagel Spice
- Prep the ingredients that need a little TLC. Slice the cucumber into thick slices on a bias. Cut the feta into large chunks. Drain the dolmas, artichoke hearts, and olives. Cut the pita into wedges.
- Transfer the hummus and labneh (or any other dips) into small ramekins or bowls that will fit on your board. Top each dip with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Sprinkle red pepper flakes on the labneh and Everything Bagel Spice on the hummus.
- Arrange the platter. Start by putting the two ramekins of dips onto the platter. From there, layer each of the ingredients in at least two places on a large board. We try and mix and match the ingredients but also make sure that dry ingredients like the pita or mixed nuts stay dry by being placed near a ramekin. Once the board is full and assembled, serve immediately.
This year was a special Mother’s Day for a lot of reasons. This was the first year that Tate’s mom was celebrating being a mother to both a human and a fur child, and due to the pandemic, the first year that Tuck’s parents were home for Mother’s Day. We knew we had to do something really special to celebrate the big day. Tuck’s mom took the lead on menu planning and prep so that all the moms could have a relaxing day without being slaves to the kitchen. Here is how the menu and day played out.
We tried to create a menu that had a little something for everyone. Our mom loves Israeli food and the restaurant Safta here in Denver in particular. When Safta opened she went to a food event with the head chef, Alon Shaya, which means we are all owners of his cookbook. We wanted to take elements from his book that we all love and create a menu from it. Originally we had planned to have appetizers and lunch as two separate courses, but decided having lunch as one big platter of food would serve the mood of decadence and be easier to prepare. It ended up being very family style, which feels appropriate to the day even if it isn’t the best social distancing practices.
When planning a menu as extensive as this one, it is important to be strategic in time management and designating specific areas to extend the most energy. The first step to doing this is buying as many items that are pre-made as possible. We bought all of the “snacks” from our favorite Middle Eastern market, Arash. They have better hummus than we could ever make on our own and it is an easy way to eliminate a lot of prep work. Making homemade pitas with a menu this large would be absurd, so we bought those as well and threw them on the grill so that they were hot and crunchy when we sat down to eat. We marinated the chicken kabobs and lamb meat the day before, so that all that was left to do the day of for those dishes was to cook them on the grill. The pound cake is a favorite recipe of ours from the Safta cookbook and easily can be made the day before, which eliminated having to spend a lot of time Sunday morning on dessert.
The final preparation for lunch was pretty easy with the help of a few extra hands. We had Tate’s dad grill the lamb and chicken in the backyard, Tuck’s dad on roasted cauliflower duty, and the Tuck’s mom assembling the platters. The key to any platter, as you can read from our cheese board assembly posts, is that more is more. We divided the dips into small ramekins so that each platter had a little bit of everything and filled the boards with veggies and pitas once the entrée kabobs were cooked. The visual is stunning and almost overwhelming- they are always a crowd pleaser!
We hope everyone has had a nice recovery from the Super Bowl this weekend! While February seems like a low key month after the holidays, we have a marathon of events including the Super Bowl, The Academy Awards, and Valentine’s Day all happening within weeks of each other. In contrast to our punny Golden Globes Menu, we have created some simple, yet elegant, small bites for the Academy Awards. If you have been following us at Tuck & Tate, you know we love a good cheese board. They are so easy to assemble and always a crowd pleaser. To up our game for the Academy Awards we have included pate, charcuterie, and all the appropriate accompaniments.
Pate & Cheese Board
Makes: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes
- 1/4 lb prosciutto, thinly sliced
- 1/4 lb soppressata, thinly sliced
- 1 package pate (we used a peppered pork pate)
- 1 wedge blue cheese
- 1 wedge goat cheese, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup castelvetrano olives
- 1 small jar Dijon mustard
- 1 small jar fig preserves or honey
- 1 green apple, thinly sliced
- various thick crackers or toast, for assembling small bites
- Assemble the ingredients on a medium-sized cutting board or serving platter. Be sure to include small spreading knives, forks, and spoons for each item, as needed.
Here at Tuck & Tate we love just about any reason to have a party. After the winter holiday season ends and New Year’s Eve has passed, we anxiously await the start of awards season. The Golden Globes nominees were announced a few weeks ago and we have been trying to cram in every movie and TV show we can before the show airs this Sunday. Each award show we host a small get together with lots of drinks, snacks, and voting ballots. We all vote for who we think will win each category and usually have a small prize for the winner. In the spirit of a good theme, we always try to make a punny dinner menu based on the nominees and award recipients.
We created this menu with two things in mind: 1) you are probably just getting over the rush and stress of the holiday season and don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, and 2) you may have set some health-related resolutions that you don’t feel like breaking in the first week of the new year. The two of us made this entire menu in under two hours, and with the help of extra hands could have done it all in 90 minutes. With the exception of the dessert, the dishes are all VERY healthy so that you can snack without guilt while you watch the Globes.
We plan to serve all of our dishes at the same time, appetizer style so that everyone can grab what they want when the show starts. We like to keep it casual and let our guests help themselves as we anxiously watch the red carpet and show.
Ricky Gervais- Host of the 2020 Golden Globes
Ellen Degeneres- Winner of 2020 Carol Burnett Award
Tom Hanks- Winner of the 2020 Cecil B. deMille Award
Joaquin Phoenix- Joker- Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama
Christina Applegate- Dead To Me – Best TV Actress Musical or Comedy