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.)
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?
All photos © Melanie Edwards/modernmami™