It’s the best food holiday of the season! We are only a few weeks out from Thanksgiving and it’s time to start planning the menu if you have not already. When it comes to food, we turn to one of our favorite Iowa food bloggers: Kristin of Iowa Girl Eats. Many of her recipes are gluten-free and all are super yummy and so easy to make. She shared her favorite Easter recipes with us this year and now she’s back to share her ideas for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. The best part? Many of these dishes are easy to make ahead so you can save time on Thanksgiving Day for important activities (like eating).
We’ve broken these recipes down by course so you can easily plan your Thanksgiving menu. Still planning décor and execution? Check out our 5 fall DIY projects and tips for hosting the ultimate Friendsgiving.
Thanksgiving Recipes from Iowa Girl Eats
Simply click through the drop-down menus to explore our Thanksgiving menu from Iowa Girl Eats!
Hot and filling, this cheesy dip is the perfect comfort food to kick off a day full of eating. Best of all- it only has five ingredients! It’s an easy dish to make ahead for a large number of people. Make as many pans as you need of it and set it down in front of the crowd watching football- trust us, they’ll notice it.
Looking to add a little spice and color to Thanksgiving? Sweet bell peppers stuffed with goat cheese and bacon may not be your typical Thanksgiving finger food, but it sure will shake things up! These stuffed snacks are easy to assemble and only need a few minutes in the oven to achieve gooey, broiled goodness.
A classic party dish for easily feeding a large group of people! Kristin put together a gorgeous platter of cheese, grapes, olives, fruit, nuts and crackers with easy-to-find grocery store ingredients so you don’t have to worry about an expensive trip to a specialty store. The best part of a cheese platter? It gives you the perfect excuse to serve wine (not that you really needed one).
For those of you hosting elegant and refined Thanksgiving dinners, Kristin has the perfect sweet-meets-savory appetizer. These prosciutto roll-ups are stuffed with lemon goat chest, fig spread and then topped with lemon dressing- all while resting on a bed of arugula. Serve these at Thanksgiving and you’ll have guests wondering when you’ll be appearing on the Food Network.
Easy assembly? Check. Even easier for guests to eat? Check. For bite-size versions of a fresh Caprese salad, try Kristin’s Caprese skewers. You can easily fill a platter with this little trio of mozzarella, tomato and basil, all drizzled with a sweet balsamic reduction. Does it count as an entire salad if we eat 10 of them?
Kristin gave us two great ideas for main dishes if you’re looking to go above and beyond the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. If you still want poultry on the menu however, we recommend the bacon-wrapped turkey breasts. Oh, we had you at bacon? This is the perfect dish if Thanksgiving dinner is a smaller affair and you don’t want or need to do an entire turkey. She provides a step-by-step process for stuffing lean turkey breasts with wild rice stuffing (which we also have featured in the next section), then wrapping the turkey in bacon and roasting it in the oven. Served with a sweet and spicy cranberry-apple chutney, this recipe is a fun way to deviate from the usual 14-pound bird.
Okay, we know there are those of you out there who Do. Not. Like. Turkey. We’re not judging you- there’s no law against skipping turkey on Thanksgiving! For a festive alternative, Kristin recommends a ham baked in a brown paper bag. You read that right! The advantage to baking a ham in a brown paper bag is the ease- you don’t have to glaze it since the bag seals in moisture and juices. Use an already-cooked smoked ham and you’ll have your main dish ready in as little as 40 minutes.
Still thinking about that wild rice stuffing we mentioned before? Don’t worry; we are too! Wild rice stuffing is a great gluten-free alternative to traditional stuffing if you have gluten-intolerant guests or if you’re just tired of the same old stuffing every year. This dish can easily be prepped the day before and is a festive mix of wild rice, bacon, mushroom, spices, almonds, Parmesan and cranberries. Serve it on the side or stuff your turkey with it, like in the recipe above. If you want to stick with classic stuffing, no worries! We have another wild rice recipe below.
Looking for a fun way to incorporate a healthy vegetable? It’s not so hard to eat your veggies when there’s bacon involved! This has to be one of the easiest side dishes to make for Thanksgiving- simply sauté green beans with bacons, shallots and garlic. Voilà!
We all love mashed potatoes but don’t worry, we didn’t forget the sweet potato-lovers out there! This healthy version of a gratin mixes sweet potatoes with caramelized onions and a gluten-free breadcrumb topping. Skip the heavy cream and cheese on this dish so you have more room to try everything else!
If you love wild rice but want to stick with classic stuffing, you can still incorporate it into your Thanksgiving dinner with these Instagram-worthy harvest bowls. Consider this your salad- toss wild rice with cinnamon, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, chopped apples, cheddar cheese, dried cranberries and almonds. Drizzle sweet fig balsamic vinaigrette and there you have it, the perfect autumnal salad!
It’s not fall without butternut squash! Kristin specializes in super easy recipes and this is no exception. She gives step-by-step instructions for easily chopping up a whole butternut squash (but if you want to buy it pre-cut, we won’t tell anyone). Season it, roast it and drizzle with balsamic vinegar right when it comes out of the oven for a colorful, tangy side dish.
You’ve seen these party potatoes before- we featured them in our Easter recipes post with Kristin. They’re so popular and easy to make that we just had to bring them back! You even have the option to make your own cream of chicken soup! This dish is an easy mix of hash browns, sour cream, cream of chicken coup, cheddar cheese and green onions. This is also a super easy side to throw together the day before.
Anything with caramel and apples gets our vote for a winning dessert. This recipe includes instructions for a homemade gluten-free caramel sauce- bonus! This simple concoction of apples, oats, cinnamon, butter and of course, caramel sauce, is even better served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
This dessert may be gluten- and dairy-free, but it’s definitely not free of rich, chocolate flavor! Feel free to make this the day before so it can refrigerate overnight and cross one more to-do off your list. The crust has crushed almonds that add a crunchy contrast to the chocolate filing. Top it all off with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh fruit and you have the perfect sweet finale.
Looking for a hands-on dessert with no baking and only three ingredients? This caramel apple cheesecake dip is made of just caramel sauce (you can use the one from the other caramel dessert above), cream cheese and whipped dessert topping. Kristin likes to take the extra step of sprinkling crushed graham cracker and caramel sauce on top of the dip once it’s chilled. Scoop it up with apple slices or graham crackers and you have dessert!
This goes out to all the Reese’s lovers out there. These individual desserts are great for a small or even medium-sized party; it just depends on how much assembly you want to do. Kristin made her crust out of cookie sandwiches and dates and then a yummy filling that includes peanut butter, cream cheese and whipped cream. The piéce de résistance? Hot fudge topping and Reese’s garnish! This takes a few extra steps but is so worth it!
Have we made you hungry and ready for Thanksgiving? If you’re looking for cocktails to pair with these amazing dishes, check out our six favorite Thanksgiving cocktails. For more fall inspiration, our Fall @ HM blog page is full of Thanksgiving and fall décor ideas!
Special thanks to Kristin of Iowa Girl Eats for sharing her favorite Thanksgiving recipes with us! Head over to her site at www.iowagirleats.com for more yummy gluten-free recipes!
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