Today Larson is back to help us out with some affordable, quick Thanksgiving dishes. Just in time!
You might remember her from the last post she did on quick, easy meals to take on the go. We don’t want anyone to be running around like a chicken with their head cut off, so let’s get right to it and welcome back Larson.
Affordable, Quick Thanksgiving Dishes
Hi there! My name is Larson Folkerts, the creator of Let’s Love to Cook and my recipe booklets “A Month of Dinner.” I’m a twenty-something wife and mother in small-town Texas with a passion for cooking and I’m on a mission to help others love to cook at home by making cooking (dinner in particular) easy, simple, affordable and approachable.
I have two recipe booklets titled “A Month of Dinner, Vol. 1 & Vol. 2” that feature 4 weeks of dinner and dessert recipes that are healthy, easy and fast to make, budget-friendly and use simple, coordinated ingredients so none of your money or groceries go to waste.
They feature weekly grocery lists, a pantry staples list and prep tips so all the hard work is done for you, you just have to cook! The recipes are kid, toddler and husband approved (with rave reviews) and also use ingredients that are accessible to everyone. They can easily be adjusted to be gluten-free and/or dairy-free and I give instruction on how to do that.
In addition to those two booklets, I just released a ‘mini’ seasonal booklet, “Let’s Love to Cook: Fall & Winter Recipe Collection” that features seasonal soups, pastas, entrées, slow cooker meals, freezer-food, sheet pan dinners and 30-minute meals. I tell you how to make the recipes gluten-free or dairy-free, how to cook a recipe on the stove top or in the slow cooker if applicable, what recipes you can coordinate with from “A Month of Dinner, Vol. 1 & Vol. 2” to use all your groceries and tips on how to prep, cook or freeze a meal!
Each of my recipe booklets is less than $15 as I want them to be affordable for anyone to help you love to cook at home.
You can also learn more about me in my previous blog post. Since that post was published earlier this summer, my husband and I welcomed our daughter in July and we sold our log cabin to move out onto my husband’s family’s commercial tree farm (hence the change in kitchen scenes in these new photos).
Enough about me, let’s talk turkey, y’all!
As soon as the clock strikes midnight on Halloween, I am full-on holiday season mode. I have always loved the holiday season—the music, the weather, the holiday cheer, the traditions and memories, the nostalgia. Thanksgiving doesn’t have the hype Christmas does, but let me tell you what makes Thanksgiving special: THE FOOD.
We all know Thanksgiving is about the food.
We come together with loved ones, say what we’re thankful for and stuff our faces with like 12 different dishes and then either pass out in food comas, snoring to the sound of a football game or have way too much wine and have a wild night with friends and family.
So for a holiday that’s all about the food, you need to knock everyone’s socks off with your assigned dish, right? You’ve offered (maybe reluctantly) to bring something to Nana’s house for Thanksgiving and she assigns you a side dish. Or maybe you’re doing Friends-giving and everyone’s bringing something for a potluck-style smorgasbord. So I’m here to help make sure you bring a dish that has everyone asking for the recipe.
There are so many traditional Thanksgiving favorites that we all know and love: turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, stuffing (or is it dressing?), corn casserole, gravy, cranberry sauce… y’all know them by heart, I’m sure.
I’m sharing my approach on some Thanksgiving staples.
These versions are cleaner, they’re lighter, they’re fresh and also they’re made completely from scratch with no “cream-of” soups, soggy canned vegetables or Velveeta cheese. While these recipes aren’t “healthy,” they’re cleaned-up renditions of favorites. I use milk, white wine, cheese and butter but I can assure you that these cleaner comfort foods have real ingredients that are better for you than most versions of the classics.
My husband and I have been eating Thanksgiving food for about a month as I’ve been testing and recreating these recipes to make sure they are worthy to go on your Thanksgiving tables. So be sure to tag me at @larsonfolkerts if you make any of these for your holiday, In fact, I love seeing what y’all are cooking in the kitchen from Let’s Love to Cook. You can also find more holiday content and watch me make some of the recipes below by following me on Instagram.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones, I hope this holiday season brings joy to your table!
Affordable, Quick Thanksgiving Dishes:
♡ Glazed Orange Scones
I’m throwing in a breakfast recipe for you because A. sometimes you do a Thanksgiving brunch or you’re entertaining guests and need breakfast ideas and B. these scones are SO GOOD! These are a must-make, if not for Thanksgiving, save them for Christmas. They’re dense, they’re buttery, they’re zesty, they have a special ingredient to make them taste like the holidays…trust me when I say, make the scones.
Makes 12 scones
For the scones:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg (this is the holiday spice, don’t skip!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon orange zest from a Naval Orange or orange of choice
1/2 cup cold butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon milk of choice
For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon orange zest (I do closer to 1 tablespoon, I like mine zesty)
Juice from 1/2 orange
+ In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.
Cut in cold butter. I have a great hack for you to make this easier on my Instagram. You can use a large-hole cheese grater (then use it again for grating your cheese for the Gruyère Scalloped Potatoes).
+ In another bowl, mix together the orange zest, egg, vanilla and yogurt, Pour into the dry mixture and combine. Add 1 tablespoon milk if the dough seems too dry.
+ Place the dough on a floured surface (and flour your hands, the dough will be sticky) and work into a ball then flatten it to a rectangle about 1/4” thick. Cut out 12 scone triangles.
+ Place on parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate for 10 minutes. While scones are chilling, preheat your oven to 400 and wash your dishes.
Bake the scones on the lined baking sheets for 13-15 minutes until just golden-brown.
+ While the scones are baking, make the glaze by stirring together all of the glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
+ Let the scones completely cool then either dip the tops of them in the glaze or pour the glaze over all the scones.
You can make these in advance and freeze them if needed!
♡ Not Your Grandma’s Green Bean Casserole
When I was trying to decide which Thanksgiving recipes to make, I took a poll on Instagram asking what everyone’s favorite turkey day dish is and I was absolutely SHOCKED when the clear favorite was Green Bean Casserole.
This is my take on the classic side dish. While it usually features canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup and crispy fried onions, I nixed those ingredients and created a more ‘cleaned-up,’ from-scratch variation with fresh, crunchy green beans, a parmesan, white-wine cream sauce and a homemade crispy onion topping. The one vegetable we do not like in our family is mushrooms so my rendition doesn’t feature them but they’re easy to add. Don’t be intimidated by this dish; while it looks tedious, it comes together quickly!
+ 1 pound fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
+ 1/2 tablespoon butter to grease baking dish
For the crispy onion topping:
+ 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
+ 1 tablespoon olive oil
+ 1/4 cup all-purpose flour or flour of choice
+ 1/4 cup Panko (you could use gluten-free Panko as well)
+ 1/2 teaspoon salt
+ 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
+ 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
+ 3 tablespoons grated parmesan
For the cream sauce:
+ 2 tablespoons butter
+ 2 cloves garlic, minced
+ 1/4 cup flour
+ 1 cup chicken broth
+ 1/4 cup dry white wine
+ Salt and pepper to taste
+ 1/4 cup grated parmesan
+ Thinly sliced mushrooms, optional (I didn’t use mushrooms but I know they’re ‘classic’ for green bean casserole).
+ Blanch the green beans in boiling water for about 5 minutes until they’re bright green and still crunchy. Drain and set aside.
+ Set the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make the onion topping by tossing your sliced onion, olive oil, flour, Panko, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and grated parmesan together in a bowl. Everything should be well coated. Transfer contents to lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. The Panko might not completely stick to the onions and that’s okay! It will still be part of the crispy topping.
+ While the crispy onion topping is baking, make the cream sauce. Melt the butter in a sauce pan. If you’re using mushrooms, add them to the butter to sauté. Next, add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add flour, whisking to thicken, then broth and wine. Whisk together over medium-high heat so sauce thickens. Lower heat to a simmer and add parmesan, salt and pepper to taste.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 and grease baking dish with butter. Add green beans to dish then add cream sauce and toss together so green beans are coated. Add crispy onions from baking sheet to the top of the green beans so they’re well covered.
+ Bake for 25-30 minutes. If you feel your onion topping is getting too toasted, you can cover with foil the last 10 minutes.
♡ Lightened-Up Simple Stuffing
Is it stuffing or dressing? In Texas and the South, people eat dressing and it’s made with cornbread. My recipe would definitely fall under the stuffing category, but it’s baked in a casserole dish, not in the bird. Whatever you call it, I’m calling it stuffing and this is my lightened-up, simple stuffing recipe. According to my brother-in-law this recipe is “fire.”
Makes one 9×13 dish
+ 1 tablespoon olive oil
+ 1 pound Italian sausage
+ 6 tablespoons butter + 1 tablespoon or so for greasing casserole dish
+ 1 large loaf French bread, STALE (let it dry out or toast it to get it dry) and cut into small 1-inch cubes
+ 1 large yellow onion, chopped
+ 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
+ Salt and pepper to taste
+ 1 teaspoon fennel
+ 1/2 cup dry white wine
+ 2 cups chicken broth
+ 2 eggs, beaten
+ A few tablespoons of fresh herbs of choice or whatever is on hand (thyme, sage, oregano, rosemary, parsley)
+ Preheat the oven to 375 and butter a 9×13 baking dish. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and cook the sausage until crumbled and brown. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon to use later.
+ In the same skillet, sauté your onion and celery with salt and pepper until tender. Add wine and fennel and simmer for a few minutes so wine is absorbed and cooked down. Transfer to a large bowl.
+ In the large bowl, add cubed bread, chicken broth, beaten eggs, sausage, herbs and any additional salt and pepper to taste. Stir everything so it’s well-mixed. Transfer to your greased baking dish and then cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes covered then an additional 20-30 minutes uncovered until golden brown.
♡ Gruyère Scalloped Potatoes
You can’t go wrong with scalloped potatoes. This recipe uses yummy gruyère cheese to give them a little flair to upgrade your basic scalloped potatoes. They fancy!
Makes an 8×11 or 9×9 dish, double for a crowd
+ 4-6 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced (I suggest using a mandoline)
+ 4 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon or so for greasing baking dish
+ 1/2 yellow onion, finely sliced (you can use the mandoline again)
+ 3 garlic cloves, minced
+ 2 tablespoons flour
+ 1 cup chicken broth
+ 1/4 cup white wine
+ 1 cup milk or cream
+ 1/2 teaspoon salt
+ 1/2 teaspoon pepper
+ 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
+ 1 cup Gruyère cheese, grated
+ 1/3 cup grated parmesan
+ Preheat the oven to 400 and then grease your baking dish.
+ In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter then add onion to sauté. Add garlic, careful not to burn, then flour. Quickly whisk so flour doesn’t burn.
+ Whisk in broth followed by wine, allowing the sauce to thicken while you whisk.
+ Slowly whisk in milk.
+ Add salt and pepper then thyme and reduce heat to a simmer, whisking so sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
+ Layer 1/2 of your thinly sliced potatoes in your baking dish then pour 1/2 your cream sauce on top of the potatoes followed by 1/2 of the Gruyère. Do another layer, using remaining potatoes followed by remaining cream sauce and Gruyère. Then add grated parmesan on top.
+ Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for an additional 15-20 minutes until cheese is browning and bubbly and potatoes are tender.
♡ Skinny Spicy Pomegranate Margarita
Need a new cocktail this holiday season? Give this skinny spicy pomegranate marg a try.
+ 4oz tequila of choice
+ 2 limes, freshly squeezed
+ 1/3 cup pomegranate juice (you can do more or less, depending on your preference)
+ 1/2 cup Topo Chico
+ 1 jalapeño, sliced (use as few or as many slices as you’d like)
+ Salt for rim, if desired
+ Rosemary sprig or thyme stems for garnish (great way to use your herbs from recipes).
+ Add tequila, a handful of ice, jalapeño slices, pomegranate juice and lime juice to a cocktail shaker. Shake until well-combined and the shaker is very cold.
+ Salt the rims of cocktail glasses and then add ice. Pour drink mixture into glasses. Top off with Topo Chico.
+ Garnish drinks with rosemary sprigs or thyme stems. Then add extra jalapeño slices, if desired! Cheers!
We hope you guys loved these recipes from Larson. As you can see, every recipe is so well thought-out and each one uses a lot of the same ingredients. It makes things so much easier when grocery shopping and also…no waste – which we’re always about.
x, The Skinny Confidential team.
+ check out this glowing green smoothie for the week after we all stuff our faces.
++ stalk Kris Jenner’s lemon cake if you need a dessert idea.