A kid-friendly Thanksgiving dinner, you say? How about a parent-friendly Thanksgiving dinner, too?
After moving 2,000 miles away from our nearest set of grandparents, I found myself on the hook for cooking our family Thanksgiving dinner for the very first time. With an active toddler afoot in the house, I quickly “noped” the traditional, but stress-inducing idea of roasting a whole turkey. Stealing a page out of my mother-in-law’s playbook, I bought just turkey breasts to cook for our Thanksgiving dinner. I also found a slow cooker turkey breast recipe that incorporates ingredients that are beyond simple, yet bring on an explosion of rich, savory flavor.
On the morning of the big day, I placed the turkey breasts into the crock pot; seasoned the meat with salt and pepper; tossed in chopped onions, butter, and white wine; turned on my Crock-Pot; and, then, sat down with my husband and child to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in our jammies. Turkey preparation done in less than 10 minutes. Leisurely making of green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry relish, and pumpkin pie. Turkey and gravy done just in time for a mid-afternoon dinner. And, we all ate happily ever after. It was the most relaxing Thanksgiving Day we had ever had, bar none.
This year, our family has an additional little gobbler who makes cooking just a normal weekday dinner a challenge. Yet, ready to mix up our Thanksgiving dinner set list, I find myself on the hunt for other simple, but “nom”* worthy Thanksgiving recipes. *We very much taught our one-year old child to say “nom” while munching. This collection of kid-friendly and parent-friendly Thanksgiving Day recipe options will have the whole family saying “nom!”
Let your slow cooker do all the heavy lifting when it comes to the turkey this Thanksgiving. With the turkey breasts simmering away in a hot bath of butter, white wine (the alcohol cooks off), and onions, you will have more time and space to work on your other dishes. You can even squeeze in a little sit-down time with your loved ones! Get the recipe.
Because, sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your kids don’t want to eat turkey, but loaf-shaped ground beef topped with ketchup—sign them up! It’s an American classic-enough dish worthy of a place on the table at our house on Thanksgiving. Get the recipe.
Crispy, yet fluffy, butter soaked bread, baked in the oven—what’s not to like? Get the recipe.
This refreshing cranberry relish has been my go-to replacement for the standard gelatinous can of cranberry sauce for almost 10 years running. Its balance of sweet, tart, and fruity flavors is the perfect counterbalance to all the rich, savory Thanksgiving day food. And, all you need is a food processor to do all the chopping and mixing of the ingredients for you. Get the recipe.
“Cheese” is all I have to say to get my kids’ attention. Say, “Cheese Turkeys,” and they will come fast-walking and trotting over to the kitchen as quickly as their little legs can go. Get the recipe.
You’ve forgotten to buy a can of cream of mushroom soup for the green bean casserole or maybe you don’t want MSG or modified food starch in your food—not to worry. Creamier and more naturally savory than the canned version, this condensed homemade cream of mushroom soup recipe will not fail you. Get the recipe.
How to get your child to eat sweet potato—disguise it in the shape of a pasta-like gnocchi! How to potentially get your child to eat sweet potato and broccoli rabe—coat it all in Parmesan cream! Get the recipe.
“Is it ‘elbow’ macaroni and cheese?” asks my daughter when I tell her we’re having macaroni cheese. Yes, dear, it is ‘elbow’ macaroni and cheese, and so is this classic, easy to make, baked macaroni and cheese that is sure to please discerning toddlers and older children everywhere, who wouldn’t dare tolerate any mixing in of broccoli, peas, or any other speck of green. Get the recipe.
You can totally convince your kids that they are eating a giant acorn like a squirrel! And, this easy roasted acorn squash will at least make you feel like you are adding a responsible amount of fiber to your kids’ Thanksgiving diet, butter and brown sugar glaze aside. Get the recipe.
Rich, buttery, and cake-like, this corn casserole parades as a side dish, but will get gobbled up like a dessert. Get the recipe.
Plain mashed potatoes just not your tot’s jam? This bacon and cheddar cheese loaded mashed potato casserole will have your child singing a different tune. Get the recipe.
This recipe for cakey, chocolate chip cookies contains one cup of pumpkin puree, so that means the kids are fractionally fulfilling their daily serving of fruit for the day, right? Get the recipe.
There’s just something about pulling apart layers of a warm, ooey, gooey, but not raw, loaf of bread that is immensely satisfying. Mix in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice and drizzle the loaf with cinnamon icing—Thanksgiving dessert heaven. Get the recipe.
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles, yum! Pumpkin Snickerdoodles stuffed with cream cheese, “what?!,” as my oldest daughter would gleefully exclaim at the extraordinary idea. Get the recipe.
This pumpkin pie in smoothie form will even have your youngest gobbler in the house lapping it up! Get the recipe.
My kids like maple syrup, they like bacon, and they like caramel. Mix ’em all together, you say? Yes, they will be all over this Maple Caramel Bacon Crack like squirrels to a bird feeder. Get the recipe.
A stash of these adorable little acorns, made with Hershey’s Kisses, mini Nilla wafer cookies, and semi-sweet chocolate chips would take a smidgen of time to make and would easily cute up your dessert spread. You could even get your kids in on the simple assembly. Get the recipe.
Layers of smooth pumpkin cheesecake mousse and whipped cream, topped with crunchy gingersnap crumbles—oh my! I know we will all be guarding our layered pumpkin mousse dessert cups from wandering spoons. Get the recipe.
You don’t even have to bake these pumpkin balls. Your child could so help you make them. Did you know kids are more likely to eat what they’ve helped make? Something to do with them knowing no green vegetable got harmed in the making of the recipe. Get the recipe.
Bacon feathers, a candy corn beak, and candy eyes, perched upon a glazed cinnamon roll, these silly turkeys will get gobbled up. Get the recipe.
Related video: 7 Thanksgiving Dishes You Should Always Make Ahead
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