8 Easy Thanksgiving Dishes When Hosting Thanksgiving for the First Time

Are you hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year? If you are, then you might be stressing out wondering what to cook for your guests. After all, hosting can be expensive and if it’s your first time, you might not know where to start.

At Addition Financial, we understand that the holidays can be stressful and expensive if you’re not prepared. That’s why we’ve taken the time to collect some easy (and affordable) Thanksgiving dishes that you can prepare for your guests this year.

#1: Roasted Garlic Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts can be a bit polarizing but even people who think they don’t like them may change their minds when they’re presented with this easy Thanksgiving dish.

The addition of honey, balsamic vinegar and bacon turns an everyday vegetable into something spectacular. Because this side dish cooks in just 12 to 14 minutes, you can even make several batches if you’re cooking for a crowd. Get the full recipe here.

#2: Cranberry Chutney

There’s nothing wrong with cranberry sauce from a can if it’s what you love, but one easy way to shake up the Thanksgiving menu is with a homemade cranberry chutney. Chutney is an Indian staple that combines fruit, nuts and spices.

This recipe combines cranberries with apples and celery together with the warming flavors of cinnamon and cloves. It works as an accompaniment to cheese and crackers, or as a side dish with your Thanksgiving turkey. You can find the recipe here.

#3: Butternut Squash Soup

There’s no better way to start your Thanksgiving dinner than with a bowl of hot seasonal soup. Butternut squash has a natural sweetness that’s perfect for Turkey Day and its bright orange color will fit right in with your harvest decor.

The soup we’ve chosen has only six ingredients and it couldn’t be easier to make. Once it’s on the stove, all you need to do is let it cook and puree it when it’s done. You can find the full recipe and serving suggestions here.

#4: The World’s Simplest Thanksgiving Turkey

The centerpiece of most Thanksgiving dinners is a perfectly roasted turkey. Cooking a turkey for the first time can be intimidating, but if you use this simple recipe you won’t need to worry about your turkey being overcooked.

We chose a foolproof roasting method from the Food Network. The most complicated part of this recipe is remembering to turn up the oven at the right time – but a timer can help remind you. Get the recipe and see for yourself how easy it is by clicking here.

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#5: Classic Turkey Gravy

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without gravy – and yet, for many home cooks, making gravy is an intimidating and stressful process. The key is understanding the technique.

If it’s your first time making gravy, your best bet is to stick with the classics. We found a simple recipe that explains the technique for making gravy. It even offers some pointers on how to rescue your gravy if it’s too thin or too thick. Find out how to make it here.

#6: Pimento Cheese Spread

Need something for your guests to nibble while you’re putting the finishing touches on dinner? We recommend some pimento cheese spread, a Southern staple that’s found its way into dining rooms around the world.

The best part about pimento cheese spread is that it has only a few ingredients and can be ready in just moments. The recipe we chose has only six ingredients. If you make it in a food processor, it can be ready in less than five minutes from start to finish. Learn how to make it here.

#7: “Simple is Best” Thanksgiving Dressing

You’ll probably have at least one guest who looks forward to the dressing more than the turkey. The good news is that your Thanksgiving dressing recipe doesn’t need to be complicated. Just make sure to include the delicious flavors we all associate with Thanksgiving dinner.

The simple recipe we recommend combines the savory flavors of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme – just like the song – to make a delicious stuffing that you can prepare quickly. You can save some time by picking up a package of poultry herbs, which are available in many supermarkets during the holidays. Get the recipe here.

#8: Pumpkin Pie

You can’t host Thanksgiving dinner without dessert, and there’s no dessert more iconic than pumpkin pie. You don’t need to be an expert baker to make a killer pumpkin pie.

The recipe we like is one that uses only five ingredients. It takes a shortcut by using a premade pie crust and pre-blended pumpkin pie spice. You’ll need only an hour to make it, and it can be made ahead of time. Simply top with a little whipped cream and you’ll have a dessert that everybody will love. Get the full recipe here.

Hosting Thanksgiving for the first time can be overwhelming, but the eight easy recipes we’ve linked to here will make your job a snap – and keep your hosting expenses under control.

Need help creating a budget for your Thanksgiving meal? Click here to learn about our savings accounts!