Whether you’re cooking Thanksgiving Dinner for the very first time, or cooking for the first time outside of North America, you’ll find these basic recipes perfect for a traditional Thanksgiving meal! Using readily available ingredients you can make Stuffing-without Pepperidge Farms, Gravy-without a mix from McCormick, and Apple Pie without Mrs. Swanson. Certain ingredients-such as cranberries and pecans-may have to be substituted with a local ingredient, or have a friend ship you a care package!

Simple Brine for Turkey Breast

If you don’t have enough guests to cook a whole turkey, consider cooking several turkey breasts. When brined, turkey breasts are kept moist and are easy to serve. Turkey breasts are also much easier to find, at least in Europe, than are whole turkeys.



Brining and Baking a Whole Turkey

Alton Brown and Ree Drummond are two of my favorite cooks! I not only love their humor, but their dependable recipes. So when I began brining turkeys, I drew largely from their expertise in creating this recipe.


Homemade Stuffing or Dressing

Even you don’t have a bag of Pepperidge Farm Stuffing available, you can make a delicious, traditional Bread Stuffing! If you want something more exotic, search on the web or in a basic cookbook. You’ll find cornbread stuffing, chestnut stuffing, sausage stuffing, and everything in between. However, this classic recipe is a good place to start.


Simple Mashed Potatoes

Everyone has their favorite way of making mashed potatoes, don’t they?  I like to use Idaho baking potatoes because their texture is quite dry, but outside of North America you won’t find an Idaho potato! Do a little experimenting to find the best potatoes where you live.


Great Gravy even without Turkey Drippings!

If you bake a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey, you won’t have good drippings for making a good gravy. However, you can still make a tasty gravy if you follow these steps.


Mashed Sweet Potatoes

As though sweet potatoes weren’t sweet enough, we add brown sugar and marshmallows! But they’re such a tradition at our house. I originally made this recipe using canned sweet potatoes but fresh work just as well. Just peel them and cut into large pieces. Cover with salted water and boil until barely tender.


Butterhorn Rolls

Mix up the dough for these yummy dinner rolls on Wednesday…and enjoy fresh rolls with your Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday! There’s nothing like fresh, homemade rolls. I usually bake mine before putting the turkey into the oven, unless I have a second oven available.

All-American Apple Pie

This fall favorite is a winner! I always use a combination of two different types of apples. Granny Smiths tend to keep their shape and are tart in flavor. Combine them with a softer, sweeter apple, such as Braeburn or Macintosh, for a wonderful blend of textures and tastes.


Sour Cream Apple Pie

This creamy pie is a nice alternative to a traditional apple pie. I often double the topping for even more of that sweet, crunchy “crust”.


No-Fail Pie Crust

If you’ve always been afraid to try making a pastry crust, this one’s for you! I love the fact that it makes 4 generous crusts-not skimpy-so I have enough for my entire Thanksgiving dessert buffet. While the pastry can be made by hand-using two knives or a pastry blender-I much prefer making it in a food processor, if one is available.


If you’d like more Thanksgiving recipes to add to your dinner menu, check out this blog where I share other appetizers, side dishes and pie recipes from my 2011 Thanksgiving Dinner.

Happy eating! And Happy Thanksgiving!