A couple of years ago, I used one of my now famous beer bread recipes as a means of distracting my entire extended family from discussing my recent breakup.
Them: “We heard about you and ____! I’m just so sorry. What hap-“
Me: “Have you tried my beer bread?”
And you know what? It worked like a charm. I learned then what I’m about to pass along to you:
Girl. What you bring to Thanksgiving matters.
And maybe you’ve got an incredibly sweet family that does nothing but brag about your many accomplishments and wouldn’t DREAM of asking you, yet again, if you’re seeing anybody. But I firmly believe we all need to be upping our Thanksgiving game as best we can in our early years. Not only are you honing your skills, but it’s the easiest way to convince your family (and whoever else) that you do in fact have your crap together.
That’s where I come in.
I’ve rounded up some of the best, yummiest, easiest, and most unique Thanksgiving dishes out there into this year’s Single Girl’s Guide. I’ve cooked or tasted almost every single one, or a recipe incredibly similar.
So whether you’re already thinking ahead or you know you’ll be at Target at 11pm on Wednesday, I’ve got you covered!
If you’re bringing an appetizer…
Go. with. cheese.
Everybody loves it, and it’s really easy for you to seem fancy and together when you actually put in about 20 minutes of prep time. I adore these mini candied pecan goat cheese balls from Peas & Crayons. I like to stick a pretzel stick or two through the center to make them even cuter and easier to eat, but you can easily serve these with crackers and they’ll be a hit. Also GOAT CHEESE.
To go even simpler, try making your own charcuterie board using this handy dandy little infographic. If you have a Trader Joe’s in town, look no further for the perfect ingredients for building a unique and yummy cheese tray. This girl shows you just what to buy from Trader Joe’s, but I really liked the looks of this ten-minute cheese board as well.
If you’re bringing a classic, Thanksgiving-style side dish…
I’m drooling. Are you drooling?
When it comes to side dishes, go for classic (and simple) recipes with a little something unique. Those mashed potatoes up there have cream cheese in them (yes, way) and are divine. Here’s another great recipe that uses bacon and, once again, GOAT CHEESE, to liven up a Thanksgiving staple.
If someone’s already bringing the mashed potatoes then I’d recommend a vegetable. This corn casserole isn’t lying; it really is the best. It’s got plenty of cheese and bacon, and is way cooler than showing up at Thanksgiving with a bowl of thawed frozen corn. I love, love, this recipe (sometimes I make it for dinner and eat it straight out of the casserole dish).
Chef-in-Training has a great carrot casserole recipe that goes with the turkey-vibe, but isn’t likely to be brought to the table by any else. Plus Nikki is one of my favorite food bloggers, and I’ve yet to make a recipe of hers that I didn’t like. It’s cheesy, buttery carrots in a creamy white sauce with bread crumbs on top, so, you know, just make it.
If you’re bringing bread…
Then you’re a lucky girl.
Because everyone loves bread, and as long as you don’t burn it then you ought to be just fine. Those dinner rolls up there are Gimme Some Oven’s 1-Hour soft and buttery dinner rolls and deliver what they promise. If you’ve never made bread before (aka used yeast) then you may allow yourself a little extra time to be sure you get all the steps right. Otherwise these guys are pretty foolproof, in my experience.
And, there’s always beer bread. If you haven’t made it before you are missin’ out, sweet thing. Here’s a super classic recipe. Beer bread only requires 4-5 ingredients and no rise time, so it’s a great beginner bread that packs a punch. I mean, just look at this stuff.
If you’re bringing dessert…
Then please, do yourself a favor and don’t show up with a plain old pumpkin pie, or worse yet, a store-bought one.
Pie is complicated to be sure, so why not go for one of these easier, more unique variations?
I mean, come on. I’d take that little thing over a slice of pie any day. This recipe is via Delish, which means there’s a handy dandy video, too! And these mini pumpkin pie bites are all kinds of cute; not nearly as lame as said store-bought pumpkin pie. Amirite?
Lastly, if you’re absolutely sick of pumpkin everything, these caramel apple cheesecake bars are maybe my favorite dessert ever. Still got the fall-vibes going, but not as cliche as pumpkin.
I hope this helps!
I really do like Thanksgiving: I love the parade, the yummy food, and the excuse to talk about gratitude and spend time with my family. But we all know it can have it’s moments. So, bottom line. If you’re just going to get bugged all day about when you’re getting married, or moving closer to home, or having a kid, then at least have the best dish of the day this Thanksgiving. You’ve got it in you, I promise!