That Time We Successfully Hosted Our First Thanksgiving

November 27, 2016

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving! I’m proud to share we successfully hosted our first Thanksgiving in our new home. And, we even broke out the fancy china.

I’m a terrible blogger in the sense that I probably should have written this as a forward-looking post for what to serve on Thanksgiving (but then you wouldn’t have known it was a success!). But instead, so I remember it for next year, I figured I’d share our Thanksgiving menu and what we had around the table.

This Thanksgiving, my husband and I hosted my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and step-father-in-law. While it was our first time hosting, I am getting pretty pregnant, so everyone was awesome about dividing up the dinner menu and bringing something. Some items, like the pies, were driven in from Maine, while the stuffing from Massachusetts was made the morning of.

We decided to eat dinner around 5pm, so we slept in and then had a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast. We spent most of the morning looking at all the new baby gear that has taken over our home before getting the turkey ready.

With the football games on and my fantasy team dominating, we started with the appetizers.

  • Swiss and cheddar cheeses, with crackers
  • Bacon wrapped dates (made sans almonds). My husband absolutely loves these, and it was almost criteria for a wedding venue – if bacon wrapped dates were on the menu, he was interested. Needless to say, we fell in love with a place with bacon wrapped scallops, not dates, so I make these for him when I can.
  • Eggplant fritters with mozzarella. Ever since becoming pregnant, I cannot get enough of eggplant. Eggplant rollatini, eggplant parm, eggplant sandwiches. When my sister-in-law said she was bringing these, I couldn’t have been happier. While they take some time to prepare, dipped in sauce they are fantastic!

And then it was on to the main meal. For probably the fifth time since moving in, we ate in the dining room, and for the first time, on our wedding china that I insisted we register for just so we can host holidays (bonus: it is dishwasher safe).

Our Thanksgiving menu featured:

  • Tom Colicchio’s Herb Butter Turkey. I was all about going to the grocery store the last several weeks to spend $400 so I could get a free turkey. Securing the turkey was no problem for me, but making it? Totally intimidated. Luckily my sister-in-law dove right in and made this recipe. We did roast it upside down (breast down) first and then flipped it over. It came out moist and was delicious – and turkey usually is not my favorite part of the big meal. What I think did help was that we did use a digital meat thermometer inserted into the thigh, so we could gauge how fast the bird was cooking.
  • Mashed Potatoes. Midway through the mashed potatoes boiling, I decided to add a bit of truffle oil we had to the potatoes. It wasn’t overpowering but gave just a little hint of flavor.
  • New England Yam Bake. Mix yams with brown sugar, marshmallows, and pineapple. Enough said. This was always on the Thanksgiving table growing up, and I was excited to have it on my table this year.
  • Sausage, Apple and Craisin Stuffing. My mother-in-law made her stuffing the morning of. While we have a double oven, once of the nice things I realized was that almost everything could be cooked at the same temperature for close to the same time (the two casseroles and the stuffing at 350 degrees, for at max 40 minutes). Something to think about as you plan your meal!
  • Roasted Asparagus. We wanted some green on the table, and asparagus was on sale. I spritzed it with olive oil and roasted it for about 15 minutes on 425 in the toaster oven.
  • A trio of breads. While I was ready to make a mix from a box, my sister-in-law decided to make her own. She brought loaves of cranberry walnut, corn, and pumpkin. My favorite? Pumpkin!

After all this food, let’s just say I was very happy to be rocking maternity jeans. Thank god for elastic waist!


We settled in for an evening of Netflix, watching Scrooged and Princess Bride, while enjoying slices of pumpkin and apple pie made by my step-father-in-law, with a side of vanilla ice cream. All in all, a wonderful, relaxing Thanksgiving – and I would be lying if I didn’t say us kids (yes, us in our 30s) went to bed with a sense of accomplishment that we can successfully host a Thanksgiving!

I’ve pinned all these recipes to my “I Cooked This” Pinterest Board. Check it out to find other tried and true recipes!

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