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Thanksgiving Entertaining with Bridget Lancaster

The host of our television shows will serve a dessert-laden menu that includes pie, pudding, and crisp, and will represent her West Virginia roots by serving dressing (no matter what her northeastern colleagues call it).

Published Nov. 15, 2017.

We hope this Thanksgiving will find you and your loved ones sitting down to a perfectly cooked turkey, an array of favorite sides, and a pie or three. If you’re hosting dinner or making a side or dessert to take on the road, we’re here for you. After testing thousands of Thanksgiving recipes and cooking for our own families over the last 25 years, we know exactly what needs to happen between now and November 23rd—the planning, the shopping, the cooking. Find all of our Thanksgiving recipes and tips in our Thanksgiving Guide.

Are you in the midst of planning your Thanksgiving meal? Here, Bridget Lancaster offers some inspiration with the details of her holiday celebration.

Home or away?


When do your festivities kick off

My out-of-town family is arriving the weekend before Thanksgiving, so we’ll probably get in the holiday mood with some mulled cider—fortified with a drop or two of bourbon.

Any special diets to consider?

No specific diets, but I like to add at least one fresh vegetable side as a counterpoint to the otherwise heavy meal. So I’ll most likely make one of the Cook’s Country Brussels sprouts salads.

Bridget's Thanksgiving meal

What’s your favorite recipe?

I don’t want to live in a world without gravy, so I always make a big batch of our Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy, but I’d have to say that it’s the cornbread stuffing that makes the Thanksgiving meal. And despite the title of the recipe (Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing) and what my northeastern coworkers say, if you don’t bake it in the turkey it’s cornbread “dressing,” not “stuffing.”

What’s your family’s consensus pick recipe?

I’d hear some choice language if a cheese ball didn’t appear during premeal football watching.

Any new recipes this year?

I’m a bit of a culinary coward when it comes to changing up items on the Thanksgiving menu, but I’m planning to make banh mi with leftover turkey the next day.

What’s your must-have gadget for Thanksgiving cooking?

Besides a wine glass or pants with an elastic waistband? Then I’d say the slow cooker, which keeps quarts of gravy hot and ready for the ladle.

What’s your pie preference?

Not too long ago I would have said some sort of pecan pie, but a couple of years ago I switched things up and made butterscotch pudding (served in pretty bowls) as well as a cranberry-apple crisp. I’ll make those again this year. Oh what the heck, I’ll make the pie too.

When will the first turkey sandwich get made?

Literally as postmeal dishes are being washed. There’s a curious window of time after pronouncing that he “couldn’t eat another bite” but before the dishes are all cleared when my husband will find the space in his belly to make that first sandwich.

Will anyone be watching football?

Yup. All day and more football through the weekend. It starts with our local high school’s big Thanksgiving-morning rivalry game and ends with my favorite football event of the year, The Ohio State/Michigan game on Saturday. Go Bucks!

Meals that impress

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How do you plan to celebrate Thanksgiving this year? Let us know in the comments. And for more of our editors' holiday plans, check out this article (and check back for more in the coming weeks!):

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