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A Fast and Easy Thanksgiving Dinner

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Make a fabulous Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings in only the time it takes to roast the turkey.

This menu serves eight, though you'll need to double the green beans. The shopping list reflects the scaled-up amounts.

Whether it’s your first Thanksgiving dinner or you’re just pressed for time, this is the menu to choose when you want to keep things simple and delicious. The turkey is brushed with butter and roasted unstuffed, without any multi-day brining processes.

While the turkey roasts, you have plenty of time to pull together the classic sides: bread stuffing with apples, bacon, and mushrooms; fluffy mashed potatoes with rustic bits of skin in the mash; a quick cranberry relish, and green beans with toasted almonds.

For dessert, skip the fussy pie crust and serve a sophisticated sage-pumpkin Bundt cake: you can either bake it the night before Thanksgiving, or put it in the oven when the turkey comes out.

Menu Timeline

The night before:

  • Cut up the bread into cubes for the stuffing and leave out overnight to dry.
  • If you like, make and bake the Pumpkin-Sage Bundt Cake.

4-1/2 hours ahead:

  • Heat the oven to 325°F and prepare the turkey for roasting.

4 hours ahead:

  • Put the turkey in the oven.
  • Assemble the stuffing (but leave out the eggs and liquid for now).

3-1/2 hours ahead:

  • Make the giblet broth for the gravy.
  • Make the cranberry relish.
  • Prep the green beans and toast the almonds for the topping.

2 hours ahead:

  • Make the mashed potatoes; keep warm by setting the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.

1-1/2 hours ahead:

  • If you haven’t already made the Bundt cake, prepare the batter and pour it into the pan.

1 hour ahead:

  • Add the eggs and broth to the stuffing and put it in the oven to bake with the turkey.

45 minutes ahead:

  • When turkey is done, remove it from the oven and tent it with foil to keep warm.
  • Raise the oven temperature to 375°F. Put the cake in the oven to bake with the stuffing.
  • Make the gravy; keep warm.

15 minutes ahead:

  • Remove the foil from the stuffing to let the top get crisp.
  • Cook the green beans and toss with the almonds.

Just before dinner:

  • Remove the stuffing and cake from the oven.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce

  • 5 lb. medium russet (Idaho) potatoes
  • 1 lb. fresh green beans
  • 1 head celery
  • 3 medium leeks
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 2 medium apples
  • One 12-oz. package fresh cranberries, picked over and stemmed
  • 1 small navel orange, including the peel, cut into eighths

Meat, Eggs & Dairy

  • One 14-lb. turkey (preferably fresh and natural), with neck and giblets
  • 3/4 lb. bacon
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1-1/4 lb. (5 sticks) unsalted butter

Other Groceries

  • 14- to 16-oz. loaf French bread
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried oyster mushrooms
  • 3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup crystallized ginger

Pantry Staples

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • Olive oil, for brushing turkey
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • kosher salt
  • black peppercorns

The Menu

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