Hosting for Thanksgiving

Milk: Your Little Thanksgiving Secret

Picture this: The whole family’s finally getting together for Thanksgiving this year. Like, the whole family—even your cousins who live 4 states away and your brother who hasn’t been to Thanksgiving since college. It's nothing you can’t handle—but you’re gonna need milk for that.

It promises to be a year to remember, with everyone gathering under one roof to laugh, tell stories, and of course, enjoy plenty of great food. There’s just one problem: When it comes to actually preparing the meal, it seems like you’re on your own this year. So what's the secret to planning and cooking a holiday meal for your entire extended family when there's barely enough time to clean the house? You guessed it: milk.

“I’m gonna need milk for…cooking for 15 family members.”

No matter how many dishes your menu involves, you can count on milk to deliver the results you’re looking for and the nutrition you need to keep up with a busy holiday season. It’s rich in protein, calcium, and Vitamin D, so even if you only have time for a quick bowl of cereal or a latte in between recipes, you’ll get a healthy dose of essential nutrients (and the energy to fend off a house full of people trying to sneak bites the second your back is turned).

“I’m gonna need milk for…the 4th side I completely forgot about until just now.”

Besides stocking up on milk (and butter—don’t forget the butter), there are plenty of other easy things you can do to make Thanksgiving prep easier and less time-consuming. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare:

  • Remember that you don’t have to cook everything. Supplementing your menu with ready-made appetizers, sides, and desserts saves a ton of time (and gets just as many compliments as homemade dishes)
  • Summon your inner type-A overachiever: Make a prep schedule and stick to it!
  • Always make desserts the day before so you’re not cramming 3 ovens’ worth of food into one on Thanksgiving morning
  • It sounds silly, but don’t forget to eat while you prepare the meal! You can’t focus if you’re hungry, so make sure to have ready-to-eat snacks and a glass of milk on hand at all times
“I’m gonna need milk for the 5 appetizers, 4 main dishes, 3 sides, and 2 desserts I decided to make for some reason.”

If this isn’t your first Thanksgiving host rodeo, there’s a good chance you already have family favorite recipes at the ready. Even so, maybe you’re looking to shake things up a little this year. That’s where these three recipes come in. All of them are simple to make, special enough to feel worthy of your Thanksgiving menu, and most importantly, delicious enough to silence a room. 

Rosemary and Garlic Mashed Potato Croquettes
Thanksgiving Appetizer: Rosemary and Garlic Mashed Potato Croquettes

Why save the mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner when you could also have a little mashed potato appetizer? Made with whole milk infused with garlic, rosemary, and sage, these potato croquettes are as creamy and savory as they are crispy and crunchy. 

Get the recipe

Roasted Butternut Squash Skillet Mac N' Cheese
Thanksgiving Side Dish: Roasted Butternut Squash Skillet Mac n' Cheese 

Thanksgiving is not the time to skimp on butter—or cheese. This luxurious, fall-inspired take on mac ‘n cheese features puréed roasted squash, cheddar and gruyère, and a buttery sage breadcrumb topping for good measure. It’s basically the ultimate Thanksgiving side dish.

Get the recipe

"I’m gonna need milk for…that last slice of pie before bed.”

Pecan Pie Bread Pudding
Thanksgiving Dessert: Pecan Pie Bread Pudding

This irresistible twist on a Thanksgiving classic combines everything you love about pecan pie with warm, creamy, comforting bread pudding. Bonus: Making bread pudding means you don’t have to mess around with pie crust.

Get the recipe