Preparing for Thanksgiving: Our Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Plan

by Melanie Edwards on November 22, 2013 · 4 comments

in Recipes

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Plan

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Thanksgiving is less than a week away, which means that this weekend, we’ll be buying our turkey and all of our Thanksgiving dinner ingredients. Since we tend to serve pretty much the same traditional dishes each Thanksgiving, it’s not hard to plan our Thanksgiving meal and purchase our dinner items. I’ve already purchased a few items at my local Walmart during one of my grocery shopping trips since they’ve had Thanksgiving items available for a while now. (By the way, if you still need some last-minute Thanksgiving dinner inspiration, you should check out the Thanksgiving recipes Walmart has up on their site.)

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Plan

Our Thanksgiving dinner menu is full of wonderful Puerto Rican and Caribbean food along with a few traditionally American dishes. I love the variety of food we eat on Thanksgiving and how our children are growing up seeing mixed cultures come together. From dishes such as yellow rice that I grew up eating in a Puerto Rican household and dishes my husband grew up eating like Trinidadian macaroni pie, plus new additions our family has come to love like pumpkin cheesecake, our Thanksgiving dinner menu has something for everyone to enjoy. Check out our full Thanksgiving dinner menu plan with a little explanation of each item and links to recipes where available!

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Plan with a Caribbean Flair

  • Turkey: Our turkey seasoning includes adobo, sazón, and white vinegar, with which we marinate the turkey for two days.
  • Stuffing: Using carne molida (picadillo style ground beef) as a base, we add some of the turkey neck meat and bread crumbs to create a mixture for stuffing into the turkey before baking.
  • Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas): Really any yellow rice can be served. Some years I make yellow rice with corn or with mixed vegetables, but arroz con gandules is a very traditional Puerto Rican yellow rice that is most commonly found at large family gatherings and holidays.
  • Sweet Potatoes or Cheesy Mashed Potatoes: My kids love eating mashed potatoes and while my husband and I also love them, we both grew up eating sweet potatoes with our Thanksgiving meal instead of mashed potatoes. You can find either or at our Thanksgiving dinner (and sometimes both!).
  • Macaroni Pie: Bringing in a little of my husband’s culture, I have added Trinidadian macaroni pie to our Thanksgiving dinner menu on a yearly basis. The great thing is that my kids have come to love this dish as much as my husband and I love being able to appeal to my husband’s childhood memories with something as simple as cooking one of his favorite foods.
  • Cranberry Sauce: I have yet to try making my own cranberry sauce, so we still use the canned version. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to try making it from scratch!
  • Gravy: Gone are the days of buying canned gravy! I now make my own turkey gravy using the turkey drippings along with chicken broth and flour.
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake: Though I didn’t grow up eating pumpkin or sweet potato pie, the first year after I got married, I tried making a pumpkin cheesecake recipe I found and my husband and I loved it. Naturally, it’s now become a part of our Thanksgiving dinner menu!

What is normally on your Thanksgiving dinner menu? Does your Thanksgiving meal plan change from year to year or do you typically serve the same dishes?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennae @ Green & Gorgeous November 26, 2013 at 12:11 am

Melanie, this sounds SO much like our Thanksgiving menu! We have turkey and Caribbean style stuffing (which is basically mashed sweet potatoes with some raisins, brown sugar and cinnamon added), my mom’s Puerto Rican seasoned rice with either olives or capers, macaroni pie and cranberry sauce. There are a couple of other things that we have sometimes, but all of these are staples for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And I’m sharing my mac & cheese recipe tomorrow. Thanks for linking to yours!

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Melanie Edwards November 26, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Your stuffing sounds like a dessert, Jennae! ;) We do have some other dishes at times, it can vary from year to year, but these are some basic staples. Plus, my husband and I have made our own menu through the years. Can’t wait to see your recipe!

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Kim November 9, 2014 at 7:50 am

Hello, thanks for sharing. I am a Trinidadian girl and my hubby is an American and for the past four years we have been hosting a rather large Thanksgiving dinner for his family as well as my family which has been quite the feast. My menu incorporates both the American and Trini culture. Because my hubby and the kids do not eat Trini food throughout the year, I really go all out and make all my favorites as well as theirs (yellow rice, stew chicken, callaloo & crab, macaroni pie, curry goat, fried plaintains) and then with the assistance of his family, I serve all the traditional american dishes. My kids love this holiday and it is a great way to kick off the season. Thanks

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Melanie Edwards November 17, 2014 at 1:14 pm

That is so wonderful! I love the fusion of cultures and blending traditions to make new ones for your family. Happy Thanksgiving!

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