Whether you’re hosting a huge friends-giving, or having the whole family over for the big day… having a potluck-style dinner is the way to go if you want to save time, money and effort - but still have an amazing spread. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite classic Thanksgiving dishes... check it out! Homemade Cranberry Sauce Whether you like the canned stuff or not, you can't deny that cranberry sauce is an absolute MUST on the Thanksgiving table. This fresh, zesty cranberry sauce can be prepared the day before! From the queen Martha Stewart herself, here’s a great recipe for orange-scented cranberry sauce. Two 12 ounce bags of fresh cranberries 1 ½ cups of sugar 4 wide strips of orange zest, plus one cup of freshly squeezed orange juice Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, orange zest, and 1/2 cup water; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in orange juice. Green Bean Casserole Here's another dish you can easily assemble the day before, and pop in the host's oven before dinnertime. We've all had the classic from-a-can version of green bean casserole, and can agree it's scrumptious... BUT, sometimes a little extra effort goes a long way... the folks at Midwest Living have a great step-by-step recipe for a delicious, creamy green bean casserole. 1/2 cup of oil 4 large shallots, 3 thinly sliced (about 1 cup) and 1 finely chopped (1/3 cup), divided 4 teaspoons cornstarch 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise 3 tablespoons butter 1 pound cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped 1/4 cup Madeira or chicken broth 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth 2/3 cup whipping cream 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg In an 8-inch skillet, heat oil until shimmering. Separate sliced shallots into rings; toss in a small bowl with cornstarch. Shake off excess in a fine-mesh strainer. Add about a quarter of the shallots to the pan; cook, tossing a bit, until lightly golden, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining shallots. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil; prepare an ice bath. Cook beans in water until just crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to ice bath; drain and pat dry. Preheat oven to 375 degrees . In an extra-large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms. Cook, tossing occasionally, until mushrooms have released their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add chopped shallots and garlic; cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add madeira; cook, stirring, until almost evaporated. Add flour; stir to coat mushrooms; cook 1 minute. Add about half of broth, scraping up bits from bottom of pan. Add remaining broth and cream; bring to a simmer. Cook until sauce has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Season with kosher salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add green beans; stir to coat. Transfer mixture to a 3-quart baking dish (or you can bake in skillet, if oven-proof). Bake, uncovered, until bubbling around edges, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle shallots over casserole. Make Ahead Tip: You can fry the shallots 2 days ahead. Store at room temperature, very loosely covered with foil (if desired, re-crisp in oven before using). The green beans can be cooked 1 day ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. The casserole can be assembled (minus the topping) 1 day ahead, and kept refrigerated, covered. Bring to room temperature before baking. Apple, Sausage and Herb Stuffing Stuffing, dressing, whatever you call it... it's amazing in every form! Whether you cook it IN the turkey or not, put sausage in it or not, we can all agree that this versatile dish is a MUST. This recipe comes from the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten. Her apple, sausage and herb stuffing is to die for. Make ahead, and bake the day of. 16 cups 1-inch bread cubes, white or sourdough (1 1/2 pound loaf) 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter 2 cups medium-diced yellow onion (2 onions) 1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks) 2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored and large-diced 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley 1 tablespoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 3/4 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed 1 cup chicken stock 1 cup dried cranberries Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place the bread cubes in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Remove the bread cubes to a very large bowl. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, melt the butter and add the onions, celery, apples, parsley, salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Add to the bread cubes. In the same saute pan, cook the sausage over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and cooked through, breaking up the sausage with a fork while cooking. Add to the bread cubes and vegetables. Add the chicken stock and cranberries to the mixture, mix well, and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until browned on top and hot in the middle. Serve warm. Mashed Potatoes Oh man, there really is nothing better than a big steaming bowl of fluffy mashed potatoes... and while it seems like a simple dish, there are endless possibilities when it comes to the preparation. Regardless, I want to eat them all! If you need some inspiration, the folks over at Buzzfeed just tested 6 amazing recipes and reviewed each in detail. Definitely worth a read! Slow Cooker Cider We had to include a drink on this list! No Thanksgiving is complete without a spicy, aromatic glass of classic apple cider... and once you try this recipe, the store bought stuff just isn't gonna cut it. Also, this is by far the easiest recipe of the bunch, but you'll still look like a rock star chef when you waltz in with a jug of this stuff. Best of all, Taste of Home has a recipe you can make in your crock pot the day before! Want some more cocktail/mocktail ideas? Check out Your Holiday Lights' blog for some ideas. 2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches) 1 teaspoon whole cloves 1 teaspoon whole allspice 2 quarts apple cider 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1 orange, sliced Place cinnamon, cloves and allspice on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and tie with a string to form a bag. Place cider and brown sugar in a 3-qt. slow cooker; stir until sugar dissolves. Add spice bag. Place orange slices on top. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours or until heated through. Discard spice bag. Note from the editor: add rum Now share with us some of YOUR favorite Thanksgiving treats!
The holiday season has arrived! That means shopping, decorating, and stoking the fire. With all the fun that surrounds the most wonderful time of year, there are some serious dangers. Window Genie wants to wish you a happy holiday with a few safety reminders. Continue reading "Holiday Safety Tips"
Fall is here and that means some people are excited, and some are depressed! Whether you love the transition to colder weather or you dread the holiday seasons, you can make this fall an enjoyable romp for the entire family by following our fall bucket list: Continue reading "Fall Bucket List"
What’s your leaf removal strategy? A little clean-up every weekend, or one big leaf haul at the end of the season? Are you a rake person, or a leaf blower person? And who’s cleaning your gutters? It seems that throughout October and November, every time you blink there’s another layer of leaves and debris covering our lawns. Thankfully the weather across the country has been mild (if not downright unseasonably hot), and fall foliage is beautiful… because we’re sure spending a lot of time outside keeping our homes looking tidy! Here are some of our favorite leaf clean-up tips and tricks: Continue reading "Best Leaf Removal Tips and Tricks"
Cutting down on time, cost and effort around the home is essential to your sanity, we know. We compiled a list of our favorite house hacks found on Pinterest. When it comes to DIY cleaners, organization hacks, tips to managing food waste and more… we got you! Let us know what some of YOUR favorite ways to stay tidy are in the comments… enjoy! Continue reading "Our Favorite Pinterest Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier"
For a lot of America fall is a time to celebrate. Football is back, school is back, leaves are changing colors, and pumpkin spice flavoring is everywhere. But as summer starts winding down, our homes might need a re-fresher. Spring cleaning is all about clearing the clutter and brightening our homes up. Fall cleaning is really about getting your home ready for colder weather. Here are a few things that we recommend you get done before fall is in full swing. Continue reading "End of Summer Cleaning List"
Whether you’re looking to sell your home, or simply want to make some improvements for you, we’ve compiled a list of easy DIY home improvement projects that won’t break the bank! These can be done over a weekend and typically cost less than $100… let us know in the comments what we forgot! Continue reading "4 Simple DIY Home Improvement Projects That Won’t Break The Bank"
When house hunting, it’s important to know the difference between a big deal, and a little deal. Hideous wallpaper? Not a deal breaker. Cracked foundation? Deal breaker. It’s important to have a hard line on “needs,” and to be aware that you may not get all your “wants.” Knowing what to look for, and what to overlook, can make your house hunting experience a lot less stressful. While buying a house is a very complicated, important decision… here is a list of 3 things to consider during your search - that you may not have considered! Continue reading "3 Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a House"
It’s that time again! Spider season. Mid-summer is the special time of year when a spider’s biological clock starts ticking harder than Marissa Tomei’s. August is usually the prime time for male spiders to start seeking a mate to extend their lineage. Spiders are usually solitary, but when it’s time to find their special someone, they begin to emerge in droves. I know some are going to rail against the murdering of these eight-legged freaks, but for us arachnophobes, we see things differently. Here are some easy ways to keep Charlotte and her web from bothering you and your family. Continue reading "3 Ways to Keep Spiders at Bay"
When life gives you lemons, you can make a whole lot more than lemonade! (Ask Beyonce!) There are a TON more uses for lemons than you may think. Whether it’s to make a special treat, to clean your home or amplify your beauty routine… lemons are deceivingly versatile! Continue reading "Surprising & Unique Uses for Lemons Around the Home"