Tag Archives | Thanksgiving Menu planning

Homemade Cranberry Sauce- Day 6: Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce is probably the easiest recipe to make on your Thanksgiving menu, so don’t be tempted to purchase the canned version!  It’s Day 6 of Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving and the perfect time to make Toni’s Perfect Cranberry Sauce- watch the video below for a cooking demonstration of this simple recipe.

Homemade cranberry sauce can be made and stored well in advance without having to freeze because you’re essentially making a sugared jelly out of the fresh cranberries.  This recipe for cranberry sauce has never let me down which is why I call it “perfect”.

Cranberry sauce recipe

Toni’s Perfect Cranberry Sauce


Toni’s Perfect Cranberry Sauce


This sauce recipe will serve between 6-8 people, so double or triple the recipe if you’re cooking for more people.

  1.  3 cups cranberries (1 12oz. bag)
  2.  1 cup orange juice
  3.  1 cup agave nectar or 1 cup sugar
  4.  Cinnamon sticks- 2


  1.  Combine all ingredients in saucepan; cook over medium heat stirring constantly
  2.  Be amazed at how beautiful the cranberries look when they soften and begin to pop
  3.  Once cranberries are completely softened and have popped (about 10-12 minutes), remove from heat, cool
  4. Remove cinnamon sticks before serving or stick them up in the sauce for decoration


cranberrysauce 650x433 Tonis Perfect Cranberry Sauce

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Make-Ahead Mushroom Shallot Sauce: Day 5 Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving

Making Delicious Memories This Thanksgiving

It’s Day 5 of Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving and the perfect time to make a mushroom sauce to pour over steamed green beans on Thanksgiving Day.  This Thanksgiving green bean recipe can be made well in advance and stored in the freezer.

Thanksgiving green bean recipe

Mushroom White-Wine Shallot Sauce Recipe (wine is optional)

 Ingredients for Mushroom White Wine Sauce: (double this recipe for a large group)

  • Butter-1/2 cup (1 stick or 8 tbspns)
  • Sliced mushrooms- 1 bag
  • Shallots- 2, peeled and minced
  • Flour- 3 tbspns
  • White wine, like cooking wine or a Chardonnay like Mirassou Chardonnay
  • Chicken broth- 1 cup
  • Heavy cream- 1 cup


  1. Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat
  2. Add shallots and mushrooms; saute until tender, approximately 3 minutes
  3. Add flour and saute for 1 more minute
  4. Add wine and stir until flour is dissolved (or skip if not using wine)
  5. Add broth and cream; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes

Store in airtight container until Thanksgiving Day to pour over steamed fresh green beans.

Thanksgiving Day

For fresh steamed green beans, they’re making it really easy for us these days.  I use fresh ready-to-steam green beans that are found in the produce section that are washed and ready to steam in the bag in the microwave.  Also, Bird’s Eye Steamfresh frozen green beans are easy to pull out of the freezer and cook in the microwave.

Or you can buy fresh green beans in bulk from the produce section to wash and trim yourself.

Warm the Mushroom White-Wine Shallot Sauce in the microwave or a slow-cooker to keep warm for serving.

Thanksgiving Green Bean Casserole: Classic or Contemporary?

Many people prefer the classic Green Bean Casserole.  Here is a post I wrote last year about classic versus contemporary green bean recipes for Thanksgiving.

greenbean1 650x433 Steamed Green Beans with Mushroom White Wine Shallot Sauce (wine optional)Classic Green Bean Casserole for Thanksgiving
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Have Your Side Dish Make An Entrance- Escalloped Carrots

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dish

My Thanksgiving planning guide “Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving” centers around cooking Thanksgiving Dinner for a large group.  But what if you just need to make a side dish?  Do you take the traditional green bean casserole, or sweet potato pie?  Here’s a side dish that’s easy, affordable and delicious.

Escalloped Carrots


  1. 5-6 large carrots, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
  2. 4 cups seasoned breadcrumbs

    carrots, breadcrumbs, onion, cheese, milk, butter & salt

  3. onion- 1, minced
  4. shredded cheddar cheese- 2 cups
  5. milk- 2 cups
  6. Butter


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Place carrots, breadcrumbs and onion in alternate layers in a buttered casserole dish.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover with cheese.
  5. Pour milk over the top.
  6. Bake until bubbly and brown, and carrots are tender approximately 1 hour.
easy thanksgiving side dish

melt butter in bottom of casserole baking dish

easy thanksgiving side dish

dice carrots

easy thanksgiving side dish

layer carrots

easy thanksgiving side dish

and breadcrumbs

easy thanksgiving side dish

after layering onion, pour cheese over the top

easy thanksgiving side dish

and repeat

easy thanksgiving side dish

pour hot milk over the top


easy thanksgiving side dish

bake at 375 degrees for about an hour, until bubbly hot, tender and brown


easy thanksgiving side dish

in case you were wondering where I got the super groovy measuring cups- Anthropology!


Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving menu planning



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Dishing about Dishes- Day 3: Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving

Cooking Thanksgiving For A Large Group

Create a stress-less Thanksgiving Day this year with Toni’s 12 Days of Thankgiving.

Thanksgiving Planning by Toni Spilsbury The Organized Cook

win customized Thanksgiving party printables by Bella Grey Designs

It’s Day 3 and we’re dishing about…. well, dishes.

Today is the day I decide which dishes are best to use for my “make-ahead” recipes like Toni’s Perfect Cranberry Sauce and Mushroom Shallot Sauce for our steamed green beans, and which serving dishes I will be using for each recipe.

So which food storage containers are best to use?  Personally, I like the glass storage that can go from the freezer/refrigerator straight into the oven like Pyrex Food Storage Containers or Versaglass by Ziploc.

Pyrex Bake, Serve And Store Sets on sale $29.86 regular $34.99

By storing food in these airtight containers, reheating is a cinch.


What’s In A Dish

I’ve been caught too many times on Thanksgiving Day rummaging through my cupboards at the last minute looking for a serving dish.

It took me a few years to realize that if I pull my serving dishes out ahead of time and label them so I know which recipes go where, Thanksgiving Dinner is a lot stressful.  It also gives me the opportunity to do a quick wash on the Fall serving bowls and platters that may have collected some dust over the past year.

So, if you can find the space- whether it’s a hardly-used formal dining room table, folding table or anywhere your dishes can be safely out of the way, it’s worth the time to get them ready.

Typically I use a sticky note or piece of paper, and one year I used my label maker.  But this year I’m lucky enough to have had Bella Grey Designs create recipe tent cards for my entire Thanksgiving menu.

If you can spare the space and set up serving dishes in exactly the same order you would like them to go on Thanksgiving Day, that’s even better.

Thanksgiving Grocery Shopping

If you haven’t done the grocery shopping yet for your Thanksgiving Dinner, don’t forget to check out our last minute grocery shopping tips!

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