Thanksgiving has become a favorite holiday for many of us who have moved to the US, as it brings both friends and family together for one of the year’s best feasts. Even if you happen to be with a smaller family group, your crew of pals (hello, Friendsgiving!), or just the two of you and your kiddos—we’re passing on recipe inspiration, tips, and tricks to up-level your holiday table, pleasing both the traditionalists and those who crave something lighter to pair alongside the bird. Check off the apps, cocktails, swoon-worthy salads, and veggie-forward sides, then learn about twists on turkey technique and plan out the desserts and leftovers. Any way you slice it—we’re sharing some of our favorite recipes to be thankful for.
Kick off the Feast With a Luxurious (& Secretly Easy To Make) Starter
Let’s set the scene. You have the turkey in the oven, the sides prepped, and a cocktail poured. But realistically, it will be at least an hour or so until everyone officially sits down to eat. That’s where crunchy fresh crudités, toasted baguette, and a super-impressive app like this Whipped Goat Cheese with Warm Candied Bacon and Dates come into play. Store-bought goat cheese gets glammed up via a blitz in a food processor with olive oil and cream cheese. Then, warmed spicy-sweet candied bacon and chopped dates step in as leading ingredients to round out this winning start to the main event.
Say Cheers with a Festive and Impressive Pre-Batched Cocktail
Leave the wine until dinner and set the mood with a deliciously festive cocktail. Mixing up a large-format bevvie that you can pre-batch before any guests arrive is the ticket to feeling like a true MVP host. Mix up a Cranberry Pineapple Sangria studded with sugar-rolled whole cranberries or a fragrant Earl Grey Bourbon Punch and have everyone pour their own (leaving you with more time to enjoy their company vs. shaking up individual drinks). Want something bubbly to really set the mood for celebration? The delicious champagne-based Saint-Florent Cocktail will for sure do the trick!
Meet Your New Fave Creamy, Cheesy Corn Casserole
I have a little secret to share. This is one of the first recipes I made and created when I moved to NYC and started participating in Thanksgiving almost 22 years ago. It’s something I now have on rotation every year, and friends and family alike have taken the recipe to use at their holiday tables. When it comes to a simple and oh-so-delicious side, the Cheesy Corn Casserole is it. Sauté some chopped jalapeño and garlic, then add in canned corn, creamed cheese, and a handful of Parm and shredded cheddar. Once it’s melted and filling the kitchen with wafts of deliciousness, pour the mixture into a baking dish and finish in the oven with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs and more cheese. A bonus? You can prepare the dish a day ahead (minus the breadcrumb topping) and then pop it into the oven with the rest of your sides for a final sizzle.
Wow Your Guest With a Squash Salad That’s Almost Too Pretty to Eat
Americans love pumpkin in desserts, but if you’re craving some of the good old roast variety, this salad should hit some of those delicious caramelized flavor notes. Never tried or maybe even heard of Honeynut squash? It’s time to make amends. These babes are about half the size of regular butternut squash (and significantly sweeter) and make a perfect portion to star in this Honeynut Squash with Radicchio & Miso side dish. The caramelized roasted squash halves get paired with bitter leaves of radicchio, tart apple slices, and a handful of hearty cooked grains. Drizzled with a warm miso-garlic-cider vinegar dressing and a textural pop of toasted pine nuts, it’s truly a showstopper on the plate.
You Can’t Forget the Bird: Now Here’s a New Way to Roast It
If you’re a purist and want to try your hand at roasting a whole bird the traditional way, this classic Maple-Glazed Roast Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy is a surefire hit. But, if you’re like me and after the best route to a juicy, never-dry turkey, the (some might say controversial) trick is to break it down into parts, brine it, and then bake it on a wire rack in the oven. Gasp! I know. But you’ll find that the Expertly Spiced & Glazed Roast Turkey recipe outlines this technique in an easy-to-manage way. Don’t feel like you can handle the knife skills yourself? Kindly ask your butcher or supermarket meat department to help you break down the bird into pieces: the legs and wings, and then keep the breast whole with the backbone removed.
Pecan Pie Meets Cheesecake for This Twist on a Sweet Finale
Pies are usually the go-to for Thanksgiving dessert, but we have to say, this four-ingredient, no-bake Pecan Pie Cheesecake might be a new favorite. It won’t take up valuable oven space and can be made the day before and left to set in the fridge. Have a few apple fans in the house? This Salted-Butter Apple Galette with Maple Whipped Cream is an easy way to satiate their sweet tooth with a dessert that’s pretty to look at and even better to spoon into and enjoy.
This Is Not Your Average Next-day Turkey Leftover Sandwich
We’ve all done it before. You buy a turkey you *think* is an appropriate size for your family or group of friends and find at the end of the night your Tupperware containers are packed to the gills with leftover meat. Enter the spiced Turkey Shawarma with Crunchy Vegetables, where the leftover meat takes on new life mixed with warming spices like black pepper, coriander, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, and cayenne for a subtle kick. Top it with a crunchy and zingy veggie mix of cucumber, onion, carrot, and radish. It’s tart from a splash of red wine vinegar and herbaceous thanks to torn mint, parsley leaves, and dill fronds. It’s all piled into a pita for the best kind of post-turkey day sando.
For similar Australian Women in New York Thanksgiving articles, check out some other posts below, including tips on where to watch the Thanksgiving Parade (it hasn’t changed much since 2019!).