Real-Life Testers: First-Timer Thanksgiving Dinner Menu
Never cooked a Thanksgiving dinner before? No problem! Our real-life tester, Melissa Collins, is a Turkey Day novice as well, and so she followed our First-Timer menu -- no crazy techniques or ingredients necessary, we promise!
Our real-life tester, 25-year-old Melissa Collins of San Francisco, has never prepared a whole Thanksgiving feast on her own, but this year she wants to host the Big Day for all of her friends. See what this Thanksgiving novice had to say about our First-Timer menu!
No Wacky Ingredients!
These recipes call for easy-to-find ingredients that won't trip up Thanksgiving first-timers.
A Simple Bird
The Herb Butter-Basted Turkey with Cranberry Grapefruit Sauce was one of Melissa's favorite dishes!
The recipe calls for a 12-pound turkey. Melissa confessed that this was still the biggest piece of meat she's ever cooked!
The Making of a Pro
Learning how to maneuver a Thanksgiving turkey for the first time was a little difficult, Melissa says, but clearly she became quite the professional--look at that beautiful bird!
The Root Vegetable Bread Salad is a yummy side dish that only takes 30 minutes total to prepare, and only uses one bowl!
Let Us Bake Bread
The Root Vegetable Bread Salad calls for one load of any French or Italian bread. The lightly toasted bread cubes create a nice crunch with the root veggies.
The salad is also tossed with lemon juice and parsley, giving the ingredients a delicious flavor, but nothing too fancy or difficult! However, Melissa did confess that she forgot to add in the chopped red onion -- whoops!
Hot or Warm!
The good news? This side dish can be served warm or at room temperature, which makes it an excellent option for beginner Thanksgiving chefs.
Stick a Fork in 'Em
Sweet potatoes are a great ingredient for novice cooks--you just bake, and they taste great! Which is exactly why we chose the Maple-Mashed Sweet Potatoes as a side dish in our First-Time menu.
Maple and Milk
The deliciously sweet sauce for the sweet potatoes is simple too--just bring to a boil and combine with the mashed sweet potatoes!
No Trip-Ups Here
The sweet potato dish, like the rest of our First-Timer menu options, is simple and easy to navigate.
Punch of Parmesan
The Green Bean Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts was Melissa's favorite dish--she loved the flavors and variety of ingredients.
The first step of this easy salad recipe is to submerge the onions in a bowl of ice water for 30 minutes. Brrr!
Melissa said the salad was super easy to make and (bonus!) it can sit for hours and still taste fresh and flavorful.
What could be tastier than toasted pine nuts?
Pecan: Pee-can or Puh-cahn?
The Pecan Pie with Bourbon Ice Cream is a beginner's dream dessert because the filing doesn't crack like tricky custard pies can. Using a frozen piecrust makes it even easier!
Bourbon Ice Cream
Melissa loved the spiked ice cream--also a super simple treat--that goes along with this pie. Just grab some vanilla ice cream, stir in some bourbon whiskey and refreeze.
Melissa says these dishes definitely fulfilled the beginner-friendly promise! Although, after cooking a whole Thanksgiving meal on her own, she'll opt for a potluck option or delegate some of the dishes this Turkey Day!