As in the recent past, I am not hosting Thanksgiving dinner. I will be a very happy guest at my brother and sister-in-law's home, bringing only the stuffing (changed up a little bit of course!). However, I do host a large gaggle of my extended family on Friday afternoon for a more casual buffet. In the past, I've often made my butternut squash lasagna, which is a lightened up version of a Bon Appetit recipe that calls for a ridiculous amount of cheese. My version is still rich and delicous, but doesn't quite pack the same high fat punch. The last time I made it, I used sheets of fresh spinach pasta which was both delicious and attractive.
This year I've ordered a ham and a smoked turkey breast from Edwards of Virginia. Ham is always a fun and easy buffet option (and I get a bone for soup!) for the non-kosher and the smoked turkey, though repetitive, provides me with the turkey leftovers I otherwise wouldn't have. My plan is to provide pretty heavy hors d'oeuvres and then the turkey and ham with an assortment of condiments and light sides. I'll flesh that out with a large salad garnished with persimmon and pomegranate seeds and rolls and call it dinner. As a nod to the large number of kids in attendance, I'll also make this "beefaroni" type casserole, though I'll make tons as this tends to attract adults as well.
I've already made two cranberry dishes: a simple cardamom infused sauce and a more complex gingered cranberry fig chutney. I also cooked down this Tuscan onion confit for several hours until it was beautifully caramelized, and made a batch of this tapenade. On Friday morning I'll roast off a couple of butternut sqash and some parsnips for this delicious sounding puree.
Dessert will be simple after the two day eating frenzy. Vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce and a cranberry cake from a Dorie Greenspan recipe. If I'm feeling very ambitious, I'll also do some seasonal biscotti and cranberry oat squares.
If you need more side dish ideas, I encourage you to consult food52.com which has a wealth of great ideas. In addition, check out my comfort mash and fall farro salad for a slightly healthier bent.