Planning for Thanksgiving 2020

Thirty-seven days away!

I know it seems early to be planning, but I’ve already ordered my free range turkey from the same local farm as last year. As I said I would do (see Thanksgiving post from 2019), last year I cut the bird into pieces and dry brined it (for two days) before roasting on the big day.

The turkey was absolutely delicious and a big hit with everyone (except my vegetarian grandson, of course.) I will do this again this year. It takes a much shorter time to roast, and the meat is perfectly cooked and juicy.

My big worry was that I wouldn’t have the dressing from inside the bird, which I have always loved. I needn’t have worried. The dressing that I made was just as good, if not better and, since it is vegetarian, I didn’t have to make two versions. If you want to try this, here is the recipe. You can use chicken or turkey stock, if you like, but I used vegetable stock. The fresh herbs are key, and I used french bread, which gives you lots of nice crusty crunch.

Simple Is Best Dressing


  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter plus more for baking dish
  • 1 pound good-quality day-old white bread, torn into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 1/2 cups 1/4-inch sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2 large eggs

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 250°. Butter a 13x9x2-inch baking dish and set aside. Scatter bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until dried out, about 1 hour. Let cool; transfer to a very large bowl.

  • Meanwhile, melt 3/4 cup butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onions and celery. Stir often until just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add to bowl with bread; stir in herbs, salt, and pepper. Drizzle in 1 1/4 cups broth and toss gently. Let cool.

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk 1 1/4 cups broth and eggs in a small bowl. Add to bread mixture; fold gently until thoroughly combined. Transfer to prepared dish, cover with foil, and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of dressing registers 160°, about 40 minutes.

  • Continue to bake dressing, uncovered, until set and top is browned and crisp, 40–45 minutes longer.

Do Ahead: Dressing can be baked (before browning) 1 day ahead. Uncover and let cool, then cover and chill. Uncover and bake until top is browned and crisp, 50–60 minutes.

I always make my own whole berry cranberry sauce, using orange juice or cider as the liquid and flavoring with orange and cinnamon. Since I use juice instead of water, I reduce the amount of sugar. Don’t forget that you can freeze cranberries just as they are in their bags from the grocery store. I still have some from last year.

I haven’t decided on the green vegetable yet, although the brussels sprouts recipe from last year was really good, so I might go with that again.

Rather than having plain roasted butternut squash, which is a delicious side, last year I went with Oven-roasted Root Vegetables, but I omitted the potatoes because I was serving mashed potatoes:


1 large butternut squash, (1 1/2 to 2 pounds) halved, seeded and peeled
3 large Yukon gold potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed
1 bunch medium beets, (about 1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed and tops trimmed
1 medium red onion
2 large parsnips (about 8 ounces), peeled
1 head garlic, cloves separated, and peeled (about 16)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Place 2 baking sheets in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. (I used foil one-use pans.)

Cut all the vegetables into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Cut the onions through the base core to keep some of the layers in chunky pieces. Toss all the vegetables with garlic, olive oil and salt in large bowl. Season generously with pepper.

Carefully remove the heated baking sheets from the oven, brush or drizzle with olive oil. Divide the vegetables evenly between the 2 pans, spreading them out to assure they don’t steam while roasting. Roast the vegetables until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Cook’s Note
Some very large parsnips have a pithy core, which should be trimmed before cooking.

I will also be making my usual Jiffy corn casserole, which the grandsons love, mashed potatoes, gravy, and hot rolls.

Speaking of gravy, this is what I did last year. It’s work, but worth it!


The pies will be made by my daughter and grandson, and I imagine one of them will be pumpkin!

What are you planning this year? Any suggestions for vegetable alternatives?

This entry was posted in cooking, Holidays. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Planning for Thanksgiving 2020

  1. SGH says:

    Mashed potatoes are always a staple for Thanksgiving, but if there’s ever a potato request from my daughter, it’s “the cylinder potatoes.” Fondant potatoes. I make them taller than this recipe (choosing the thinner potatoes to start)…

    They might be too fussy for potatoes for a Thanksgiving dinner, but they are worth making sometime!

    I would love to add fresh cooked spinach as a dish for a green vegetable (fresh spinach cooked in butter, seasonings, lemon juice, & parmesan cheese), but only 4-5 of us would eat it. Plus, it’s cost prohibitive if everyone did. Shrinks too much. Brussels sprouts are safer choice & yours look amazing!

    I will try your dressing this year, though!

    Intrigued by the dry rub method, but…. I don’t think I can cut up a bird that isn’t cooked. I’ve only had the turkey responsibility 3 times in my life. Between trying to get the extra insides out, getting it physically somewhere besides the brining vessel, and trying to figure out how to cut the leg ties off before cooking, it was ridiculous each time! (Should never be my job!)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Menagerie says:

    Reblogged this on The Last Refuge and commented:
    It’s that time of year again, and Stella takes us step by step.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Bernadine says:

    Mmm your food looks delicious! I totally get what you mean by planning early! I hope you can follow my blog as I have yours, it helps me out a lot! here’s my latest post:
    Have a great day!


  4. Pingback: Planning for Thanksgiving 2020 – American Broadcasting CommUnity

  5. Menagerie says:

    I’m lucky to not have to plan and prepare the whole meal. My husband’s family has a huge extended family gathering. We each have to bring the same thing every year, the crowd expects the old favorites. Mine are sweet potato casserole, with pecan topping, and Derby pie.

    Those of us on keto are thinking about bringing some keto friendly vegetable, but will probably just indulge for a day. I think it will be good to have a treat like bread and dressing, corn and sweet potatoes. But I am also worried that I’ll get really sick.

    Thanksgiving dinner for us is the best, most wonderful meal of the year. We usually have four generations, although sadly there are only a few of that oldest generation left this year, and they live out of town. Everyone tries hard to make it, and friends or co-workers adrift for the day are welcome guests, so we usually have between 40-60 people.

    Kids are everywhere, so my sister in law had the grand idea of getting a huge bouncy house, and that has been a big hit. And a big relief for the adults!

    There will be two or three hams, a couple of turkeys, mountains of potatoes, green beans, dressing, slaw, corn casseroles and plain corn, macaroni, squash casseroles and broccoli salads, the must haves like cranberries and hot breads. Unending gallons of sweet tea (blech!) and a gallon or two of the unsweetened for the traitors among us, cokes, and wines and secret nips giving way later to coffee with desserts.

    Pies and cakes, gooey bars and cobblers. Then, football. Along with lots of laughter, catching up, tall tales. And love.

    Life is best in the fall.

    Liked by 9 people

  6. bayoukiki says:

    PLEASE give ideas for a vegetarian main course! My son stopped eating meat 3 years ago. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas since I’ve prepared a meatless Shepard’s Pie. He enjoys it but we need some variety, preferably something that doesn’t require loads of time and 15 spices I don’t have!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Planning for Thanksgiving 2020 - Randy Salars News And Comment

  8. jeans2nd says:

    With Mom and DIL, have yet to cook a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, let alone a turkey, but I do so enjoy reading everyone else’s stuff.
    Just a lurker on this post… are keeping it up, are you not, Stella?

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Robert says:

    Always a hit
    Carrot Soufflé
    1 lb. fresh carrots
    ½ c. melted butter
    3 eggs
    1 c. sugar (I usually cut this in half…carrots are naturally sweet)
    3 tbs. flour
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1 tsp baking powder

    Peel and dice carrots then cook in salted water until tender.
    Drain then blend with butter in blender or Cuisinart until smooth.
    Add remaining ingredients and blend well.
    Spoon into greased one quart casserole dish.
    Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: CTH: Planning for Thanksgiving 2020 - wlvrns!

  11. tblakney says:

    Great story and recipes !! Thanks!!!


  12. tblakney says:

    Wow!! Love the ideas from Stella’s place!!! Thanks


  13. stella says:

    Ran across this today. Sounds great as a main course, but he suggests at the end of the video that you could substitute caramelized mushrooms for the ham to make a side dish for Thanksgiving.

    It’s a squash version of twice-baked potatoes. I’ll bet you could do this with sweet potatoes too.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. tanvibytes says:

    It’s never too early to start planning thanksgiving meals lol. I’ve been planning for the last 5 weeks, I’m so excited! 🙂 Awesome recipes!
    p.s. I started a blog recently, I hope you check it out!


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