I know I’m not the only one who feels that the real star of Thanksgiving is dessert. Actually, make that desserts, because chances are there’ll be more than one sweet item gracing your table; maybe pies and ice cream, possibly rounded out with cheesecake, cookies, pudding and so on. On Thanksgiving, over the top is barely enough.
We usually go old-school at our feast, ending with, among other delights, a nice pumpkin pie. But if you’re still deciding, take a look through our most popular Thanksgiving desserts. This just might be the year I take a crack at David Tanis’s sublime, ruby-hued cranberry curd tart, set in a gluten-free hazelnut crust. If you’re cooking the turkey, you naturally have the option to delegate the last course. Now would be the perfect time to do it, leaving your dessert deputy time to plan something spectacular. Maybe pass along the collection below as an extra nudge.
For those who have family and friends from out of town staying over, Thanksgiving festivities can last the entire weekend. Preparing a few meals in advance can make the holiday a lot simpler. Why not take an hour this weekend to simmer a pot of Lidey Heuck’s vegetarian cabbage soup? Keep it in the fridge for quick reheating.
You may also want some speedy, easy recipes to fall back on for the rest of the week. Kris Yenbamroong’s pad krapow gai (Thai basil chicken), adapted by Alexa Weibel, is a savory marvel of ground chicken and green beans stir-fried with garlic, chile and fresh basil. And it’ll be ready in only 15 minutes.
Lex also has a recipe for a sweet and salty celery salad with apples and blue cheese that you can throw together in 20 minutes and serve with any simple roast chicken or fish. It’s terrific on your Thanksgiving table, too, providing a crunchy, juicy contrast to all those rich carbs.
Here are two more quick meals to round out the week. Alison Roman’s tomato-poached fish with chile oil and herbs, full of toasted garlic and shallots, has the perfect jolt of spiciness to contrast with the mild fish fillets. And Anna Francese Gass’s bright and zingy lemon pesto pasta is a classic Italian recipe that calls for adding a generous spoonful of grated lemon zest and some lemon juice to basil pesto. And if pasta feels too heavy at the moment, do as the Italians do and spread the pesto on crostini, or drizzle it on a caprese salad or grilled vegetables.
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Read More: Our 27 Most Popular Thanksgiving Desserts