our thanksgiving menu (+ a recipe for tomato-pancetta butter)

by Amy on 22 November 2011

thanksgiving is an incredibly special time of the year for me. last year, the day before thanksgiving, my then-boyfriend (+ now husband!) proposed to me at sunset on the gorgeous beach at seaside, florida. see? here we are, just minutes after he proposed.

for the past few thanksgivings, we’ve traveled down to florida with family to celebrate the holiday at the beach. however, since we’ve done a lot of traveling lately with our trip to italy, we decided to pass on the beach this year + spend thanksgiving in nashville instead. and you know what that means? it’s time for me to make my first turkey EVER! (wish me luck + send good vibes, please).

here’s a sneak peek of what i’ll be serving for our very first thanksgiving as a married couple!

to start:
tomato-pancetta butter with crostini (see recipe below), assorted cheeses, olives, + bread

the meal:
herb + butter roasted turkey
farmhouse herbed stuffing
herbed yukon gold + sweet potato gratin with gruyere
green beans with caramelized shallots
cauliflower with mustard-lemon butter
dinner rolls in mason jars

to drink:
cranberry champagne cocktails + wine

for dessert:
pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese filling
something chocolatey – still trying to figure this one out!
*update: i wound up making a delicious chocolate, toffee + apple galette.

without further ado, here’s the recipe for the delicious tomato-pancetta butter that i make for lots of holidays + parties. it’s seriously amazing, always a huge hit, + even better, it’s very easy to make. =)

so, what are your plans for thanksgiving this year? are you staying home? or traveling? what’s on your dinner menu? + most importantly, do you have any ideas of what i should make for my chocolate dessert? y’all always come up with seriously great suggestions!

tomato-pancetta butter

makes 4-6 servings, adapted from bon appetit


6 ounces thinly sliced pancetta or bacon, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
8 large plum tomatoes, quartered, seeds + membranes discarded, tomatoes diced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme


cook chopped pancetta/bacon in large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp + brown.

using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towel; drain. set aside. pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from skillet. add butter to drippings in skillet; melt over medium-high heat. add tomatoes + thyme; sauté until tomatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. add cooked pancetta/bacon back to to tomato mixture + cook an additional minute or two, until pancetta/bacon is heated through. season to taste with salt + pepper. (can be made 2 hours ahead. let stand at room temperature.)

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jess November 22, 2011 at 8:46 am

Sounds like a fabulous Thanksgiving! I hope you and your sweet hubby enjoy your first Thanksgiving together! How sweet that he proposed a year ago!

2 amy November 22, 2011 at 8:54 am

thanks so much, jess! it definitely gives us even something more to celebrate – not only our first thanksgiving as a married couple, but also the one year anniversary of getting engaged. hope you have a fabulous thanksgiving!

3 sofia November 22, 2011 at 9:05 am

that tomato pancetta butter sounds so simple yet so. darn. good. i might have to bring that to my thanksgiving as just a little somethin’ :)

4 amy November 22, 2011 at 9:09 am

it is sooo good + the picture totally doesn’t do it justice! i took that one afternoon while we had friends over to watch football + i was much more interested in socializing than getting a perfect picture. =) i will say, it was devoured super quickly + everyone was asking for the recipe! you’ll have to try it. =) happy thanksgiving!

5 LeAndra November 22, 2011 at 9:10 am

I saw a Facebook update a few days ago where you mentioned roasting your first turkey, and I exclaimed out loud, me too! Not sure what got into me, but I’m going to give it a go. I’ve seen a lot of chocolate + pumpkin recipes lately that all sound delicious, but I’m not sure about just something chocolatey. Looking forward to seeing what others have to say.

6 amy November 22, 2011 at 9:14 am

yes! i’m so happy to hear there’s someone else out there tackling their first turkey this year, too. we’ll be in it together! i did just stumble across a pie that involves chocolate, toffee + apple that might just be our chocolately dessert this year. have a great Thanksgiving, + let’s compare turkey notes afterward!

7 Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl November 22, 2011 at 9:15 am

What an adorable picture of you and your sweetie (the tomato-pancetta butter doesn’t look too shabby, either!). Those first holidays as a married couple are always extra-special, and fortunately get even better as the years pass. I know you’ll make some great memories this year preparing your first Thanksgiving meal, which sounds awesome, by the way. Happy, happy Thanksgiving!

8 amy November 22, 2011 at 9:31 am

thank you so much, ashley! we’re both super excited to tackle our first Thanksgiving meal (+ turkey!) together, + celebrate the awesome year we’ve had since getting engaged last november. =) hope you + your family have an absolutely wonderful thanksgiving!

9 amanda November 22, 2011 at 10:10 am

sounds like a lovely menu. have a wonderful thanksgiving with your hubs!

if you’re still looking for a chocolate dessert, here’s a link to one of my all-time favorites. i immediately thought of it for you because of our shared love for nutella.

10 amy November 22, 2011 at 10:58 am

holy moly, that mousse cake looks incredibly delicious. thank you so much for passing it along – you were right to guess that i’d love it. if i don’t get around to making it for thanksgiving, i will absolutely be making it for christmas. thanks again! + hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving!

11 Steph@TheChickpeaChickadee November 22, 2011 at 11:05 am

Your menu sounds fabulous. I’m sending you good vibes, but I’m sure everything will be wonderful!! Hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving.

12 amy November 22, 2011 at 11:42 am

thanks so much, steph. your good vibes are much appreciated, + i’m feeling mostly confident that everything will turn out yummy. =) hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving full of amazing food + fun!

13 Mia November 22, 2011 at 12:56 pm

this tomato-pancetta butter will be the perfect addition to our usual veggies / cheese / charcuterie before dinner on thursday! thanks, Amy!

14 amy November 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm

awesome! make sure you report back on how it turns out. it’s fantastic with just a baguette or crostini – alongside the cheese/veggies/meats it should be fantastic!

15 Rachel @ The Avid Appetite November 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm

um, this all looks incredible! What a sophisticated and fun Thanksgiving :) I’m definitely going to need to hear a little bit more about these dinner rolls in mason jars…

16 amy November 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm

you are so sweet, rachel — thank you! i’ve never tried the dinner rolls in mason jars before but i’ve seen ’em on tons of blogs, + they seem both easy-to-make and super cute. i’ll definitely blog about them within a few weeks (assuming they aren’t a disaster.) =) hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving!

17 Jessica @ Cajunlicious November 22, 2011 at 2:24 pm

i love your proposal story, makes for such a special time of the year! I love your Thanksgiving spread as well. You should try a cajun theme one year and i can give you some incredible recipes!

18 amy November 22, 2011 at 2:45 pm

thank you so much – i think it makes this time of year extra meaningful, too, + gives us a little something extra to celebrate. you’ve totally inspired me to try a cajun-themed thanksgiving one year – i just looked at your post about it a few minutes ago + it was seriously drool worthy. have a wonderful thanksgiving, jessica!

19 Renee November 22, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Good luck on your first turkey! I’m sure it will be fantastic.
It is just the two of us on Thanksgiving day. My husband’s family celebrated last Sunday and my family went to Florida. We will either find somewhere to go out to eat or I have a backup plan of turkey cutlets.

20 amy November 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm

i bet you’ll still have a blast, + how nice that you were able to celebrate with your husband’s family on sunday. i’m sure it was an amazing meal! i’ll report back on how the turkey turns out. =)

21 kristen @ notsodomesticated November 22, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Yummmmm!! I’ve been reading a lot about turkey brining recently, so I may try that approach the first time I make a Thanksgiving turkey. Fortunately, this year my mom is handling that responsibility! 😉

22 amy November 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm

my mom or mother-in-law have always handled the turkey in the past, so i’m slightly jealous of you. =) i’ll report back on how both the brining + the turkey roasting go! hope you, your husband + your family have a wonderful holiday together!

23 Ally Garner November 22, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Your hubby is such a sweetheart, Amy. What better time to propose than on a day to celebrate how thankful we are for our loved ones & many blessings? That’s so lovely.

I can’t believe this is your first turkey. But I have absolute confidence that it will be culinary perfection. I am still dying to make that gratin. That dish looks like a showstopper. And I’m crossing my fingers you’ll post that recipe for mason jar rolls in the future, pretty please.

As for chocolate suggestions: you can’t go wrong with chocolate bourbon pecan pie at Thanksgiving. Another rec: Chocolate Souffle Pie from the Chocolate Bar http://is.gd/OGVf76. Happy Thanksgiving to you & your sweet family Amy!

24 amy November 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm

you are such a doll, ally. thank you so much for your sweet words! i’ll definitely report back on how the turkey goes, + will absolutely blog about the mason jar rolls (+ everything else) over the next few weeks, as a lot of them would be good for a christmas dinner, too. off to check out the recipe for the chocolate souffle pie – i already sense that i’m going to love it. have a wonderful, amazing thanksgiving! can’t wait to read all about it on your blog. =)

25 Wendy (The Weekend Gourmet) November 22, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Happiest of Thanksgivings, sweet friend! After hosting my in-laws in SA the past two years, I’m letting someone else do the work this year. Work’s been nuts with lots of long hours, so we’re driving to Houston to see our parents for a couple of days. Your menu looks FAB…and I think I need to make your tomato spread during the holidays!

26 amy November 23, 2011 at 6:56 am

happy thanksgiving right back at you, darlin’! i’m so glad you’re getting a break from hosting this year — i’m sure you + your husband will have a fantastic time with your families + i’m thrilled you’ll get a few days off from work. =) you should definitely let me know how the tomato-pancetta butter turns out when you make it! =)

27 Vivek @ Vivek's Epicurean Adventures November 23, 2011 at 9:14 am

I do love me some of that tomato pancetta butter! It’s delicious!!

And good luck on your turkey (and I know it’ll be amazing!)

28 amy November 23, 2011 at 9:14 am

isn’t it delicious? so glad you could come over + sample it one football sunday. thanks for the good turkey wishes – we’ll have to compare brining/roasting notes after thanksgiving!

29 EA-The Spicy RD November 23, 2011 at 9:15 am

Love your entire menu! And, I had already bookmarked the delicious looking potato gratin :-). I’m in charge of salad (I’m making one with avocado and grapefruit :-) and stuffing this year. You’ve probably already figured out your chocolately dessert, but if not, I have a delicious chocolate cake (made with almond flour) recipe on my blog. Hope you and your husband have a fabulous 1st Thanksgiving as a married couple together :-)

30 amy November 23, 2011 at 9:46 am

thank you so much, EA. your salad sounds absolutely delish – i love avocado with citrus, yum! + i can’t wait to see what kind of stuffing you come up with. i’m off to check out the chocolate cake recipe on your blog — thank you! and hope that you + your family have a wonderful holiday. =)

31 Leah | So, How's It Taste? November 23, 2011 at 10:12 am

Yum! Your menu sounds awesome. I love how you include a tasty beverage. I do that too! My mom doesn’t eat turkey so our main course changes every year. This year I’m doing a whiskey glazed ham to coordinate with cranberry whiskey slushes for sipping on while I cook. Good luck with your first turkey! I’m sure it’ll be fantastic!

32 amy November 23, 2011 at 11:26 am

i love including some sort of signature cocktail for every holiday or party – it just makes everything feel even a bit more festive, you know? my husband would loooove your cranberry whiskey slushes so i hope you’ll do a blog post on ’em! have a fantastic thanksgiving with your mom – i bet your meal will be absolutely delicious (honestly, I’d take a whiskey-glazed ham over turkey most days anyway!)

33 natalie (the sweets life) November 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm

my husband proposed to me on Thanksgiving 4 years ago, so it’s always a special day for us :)

Your menu sounds amazing–enjoy cooking your first turkey! (and good luck!)

34 amy November 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm

aww, it’s nice to know another couple with an engagement-iversary (that’s definitely not a word) around Thanksgiving, too. thanks for your good turkey wishes + i hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving! i’m sure it’ll be full of amazing food + a lot of fun. =)

35 Christi's Chirps November 23, 2011 at 2:25 pm

What a beautiful photo. I know that must have such an EXCITING day! That is so neat to be reminded of such a wonderful day during the holidays!

Best to you on your first Thanksgiving together! :) Blessings to you and your family.

36 amy November 23, 2011 at 3:52 pm

it was an unbelievably exciting + wonderful day, especially because i had no idea it was coming, so it was a complete surprise. thanks for your kind words, christi, + i hope you + your family have a truly wonderful thanksgiving!

37 Marina November 26, 2011 at 11:03 am

I am definitely stealing this recipe! It’s so simple and looks tasteful!

38 amy November 26, 2011 at 11:16 am

steal away! =) hope it turns out amazing for you!

39 Mommyof2Girlz/StephD November 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm

So how did your first Thanksgiving go? By the looks of the menu I would say simply amazing!!

40 amy November 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm

it turned out awesome, steph! the bird was much easier to cook than i thought it would be + the sides all turned out great. hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving with your family!

41 Michele November 28, 2011 at 1:17 pm

That is a yummy looking appetizer! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and everything went well. Your menu sounds fantastic!

42 amy November 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm

it is super yummy! we had a marvelous thanksgiving + the dinner menu turned out great – hope your was wonderful, too!

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