The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
Profile photo of Erika (TK)

Thanksgiving: The Supporting Cast

Posted by in Holidays, The Theme Is...

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Thanksgiving Supporting Cast!

While your holiday spread may already have its main star (who is probably already defrosting and maybe brining in your refrigerator right now), let’s take a moment to show some love to its supporting cast. We’ll do this quickly, too, before some big ol’ bird gets wise and starts crashing this post.

Turkeys. They can be such divas sometimes.

First up: gravy. Because let’s face it, sometimes that bird needs a little help. And even the moistest of turkeys never hurt from a bit of gravy slathered over it. Member and culinary expert sallypv says that the question she gets the most on turkey day has to do with making gravy, and she shares her Spare the Angst Classic Turkey Gravy to help those of us who share that gravy stress. Want a quick tip on how to kick up your gravy from the get-go? Check out Amanda’s neat trick below. Hint: the turkey gets wrapped in something that makes everything better.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Thanksgiving Supporting Cast! (Gravy)

The Best Turkey Gravy Ever by manda2177, i am baker, i am mommy How to Make Turkey Gravy: Recipe & Troubleshooting by cookincanuck Herb Gravy by elanaspantry Apple Cider Turkey Gravy by aspicyperspective

Next, let’s make some cranberry sauce or relish. It does double and triple duty, too. Aside from its usual turkey responsibilities, you can also slather it on your biscuits, eat it plain, or serve the extra sauce with dessert. Plus, it adds such a beautiful color to your spread. It’s a hard-working berry, that one.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Thanksgiving Supporting Cast! (Cranberry Sauce)

Spreadable Red Wine Cranberry Sauce by Beau of Crockpot Apple & Cranberry Sauce with Orange & Crystallized Ginger by cookincanuck Cranberry Sauce by The Fauxmartha Cranberry Sauce by tomatotomata Cranberry Relish by whatmegansmaking Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce by daxphillips

And of course, there’s stuffing. Which, in many cases, ought to get equal billing with the bird. I mean, seriously. I could make a meal of stuffing and gravy and be perfectly content. (Uh-oh. I heard an ominous gobble behind me. Wait … false alarm. That was me. Hmm. That should probably scare me more, right?)

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Thanksgiving Supporting Cast! (Stuffing)

Double Bread Stuffing with Brown Butter, Bacon and Sage by HowSweetEats Sage Sausage Stuffing by CouponClippingCook Southern-style Cornbread Dressing by Terri of that's some good cookin' Skillet Stuffing by georgiapellegrini Bacon, Feta and Pear Stuffing by Schnoodle Soup Stuffing by Heather Christo Turkey Sausage, Apple, and Cranberry Stuffing by kandktestkitchen

If you need to avoid gluten, you can certainly make the necessary substitutes for any of the recipes above. Or check out a few more options that are already gluten-free.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Thanksgiving Supporting Cast! (Gluten-Free Stuffing)

Cranberry Apple Stuffing by elanaspantry Gluten-free Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes and Dried Cranberry Stuffing by With Style and Grace Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing by Jennifer @ Mother Thyme

Now that I think about it, with sides like these, I almost think I won’t miss the bird. (Did you see that? I think the turkey just gave me the evil eye.)

So while that diva is bathing and prepping herself (or himself—guys can be divas, too) for the big day, have some fun browsing the great recipes we have here and fill your table with all kinds of holiday goodness. Who knows, you just might discover your newest holiday favorite!



Comments are closed for this recipe.

Anita Johnson on 12.13.2011

This looks so good! I’m glad that Christmas is around the corner so that I can have some more Turkey and Ham. I can never get tired of this, especially when I get a chance of enjoying a good meal and cooking for them during the holidays!

Tica Schad on 11.28.2011

Mmmmm…. Thanksgiving! That’s what it was! Now I know why I woke up a couple weeks ago with an intense craving for Pumpkin Pie… I thought it was the baby in my tum putting in his order for the day. Down here in New Zealand we are at the tail end of Spring heading straight for Summer, and Thanksgiving almost slipped past my radar…. full-blooded American that I am… and yet, I guess my blood still knows what time of year it is even if I do not. SO… although I skipped the turkey and dressing (too hot to think of such things!) I consented to my intuition (and to baby’s order) and made Paula Deen’s pumpkin pie recipe which uses cream cheese, and Butter (of course)… even roasted my own pumpkin (thanks to tutorial from Pioneer Woman)… but pumpkin pie was not enough, and the “Dreamy Apple Pie” from this here blog was a must try as well… I…. well… I honestly don’t have the right words to describe those pies and how perfectly they hit the spot and sent me straight back to my roots in the good old US of A, reminding me again of that all important season of Thanksgiving that we celebrate at home. So my husband, myself, our 7 (soon to be 8) kids and a group of Kiwi friends, sat around a bon fire in the warmth of a New Zealand Summer night, and shared a bit of American tradition. And why not share the ‘sweetest’ bit?? Score 1 for the American’s!

Julie on 11.27.2011

My Thanksgiving would be rated a 10. Why? My family was there; siblings, children, and grandchildren. The food was deeelissh; everyone contributed- 2 turkeys, stuffing, brussels sprouts, cornbread casserole, mashed potatoes, salad. And of course, dessert: pumpkin pie, cookies, and a brandy alexander cheese cake. Everyone was pleasantly plumper as we left the table!!

Trish on 11.27.2011

I would have to give it a10. Everything was perfect,turkey brined,dressing,sweet potatoes in a fabulous sauce,mashed taters with maybe the best gravy I’ve ever tasted(turkey drippings from the all clad roaster) green beans,cranberry relish,pumpkin pie,pecan pie. All of this prepared and served by my son. What a blessing!

Cyndi on 11.26.2011

I would rate my Tday at around a 5 for food, 10 for the company. Not a big fan of turkey and so if I hadn’t brought a ham I would not have eaten anything but sides. :(

Jan LaDuke on 11.26.2011

I would probably have to rate TG dinner with an 8. Always strive to do everything from scratch, but as we get older some things like yeast rolls raising on the woodstove has to go by the wayside. Always great family time.

Janice Gilman on 11.26.2011

I completely agree with being satisfied with stuffing and gravy! Maybe some good mashed on the side!

Nanette on 11.26.2011

I would rate our Thanksgiving a 10. We always go to my sister in laws and I make the stuffing. It’s what the family requests from me AND my husband’s favorite. My nephew and his wife cook the turkey and it’s always so moist and delicious. My sister-in-law makes a killer carrot souffle that could very well be dessert. Her daughter lays out a beautiful table and this year pulled herbs and greenery out of the garden and added skinny tapered candles with small gourds and pumpkins as centerpieces. I LOVED it! My other nieces husband’s carrot cake is always a big hit. Sparkling wine was so good, even spilled on the table! You’ve got to have a spill to make it Thanksgiving, right?

shirley on 11.26.2011

Wow! that’s awesome. How wonderfully beautiful and delicious this dish looks. I’m craving!

Laura on 11.25.2011

I’d rate mine a 1. I was sick & still haven’t been able to eat :-(

MJ Hepburn on 11.25.2011

The grub was good. Getting to spend time with family was better. I’d have eaten McDonald’s for my Dad to be with family and have one last Thanksgiving with them. Heck, I’d have eaten dirt. Sweet guy, I don’t think he’ll be with us much longer, and it was good to know he spent it with the people he loves.

Dianne Sanders on 11.25.2011

My father-in-law said on a scale of 1-10 he would rate the meal a 15!! Many had seconds so i think it was a big success!!!!!

Laurie Cashen on 11.25.2011

I’d rate my Thanksgiving as a big “10!” Dad’s turkey; mom’s oyster dressing; my savory scalloped tomatoes, green bean casserole, and cranberry dressing. The best thing is we were all together.

Gail P. on 11.25.2011

A big “10”!!!! Everyone brought a dish and it was a bunch of fun being with family!

Wanda Martin on 11.25.2011

Thanksgiving was a 7-8 Turkey cooked faster than planned but was still very good! Everyone was stuffed and happy…next year less choices..more mashed potatoes!

Jane on 11.25.2011

hummm – Rate T-day dinner? Lets say I’m glad there were only the 2 of us… we thought we’d be adventurous and have duck on the rotisserie. With traditional sides of bread stuffing and green beans. Hubby rigged up an aluminum pan with a grate on top suspended under the duck by a chain on each side. Where we placed sliced potatoes with thoughts of fat duck dripping on them ,then through them, cooking them perfectly as the duck roasted. Ahh it should have worked! Should have been sooo perfect! But it was windy here in Florida yesterday… I popped out every 10 mins and watched the temp… the grill couldn’t keep 300 so I had to light the burner on low directly under the suspended pan. Oh and the Macy’s parade was on and the Justin Bebier commercial had us rolling on the floor and the next thing you know, 10 min had turned into 20 before I got back out to the grill. Yup, Duck Flambé! Seems the potatoes and the aluminum pan caught fire! The duck was BLACK. VERY BLACK. Turn off the heat, pull the duck off the spit and drop into a big bowl. Sigh. Okay, black duck & no potatoes… but had great left over brown rice from supper last night. Heat the rice, taste the stuffing…okay that was GOOD. After pouring a glass of wine and looking at the sad little black lump, we laughed, dropped it on the cutting board and proceeded to scrap off the char. We were very surprised to find the meat perfect, done but not dry and except for a bit more smoke flavor than anticipated, really pretty good! Good enough to try again, just put the pan closer to the duck and maybe not try to use the rotisserie on a day with 20mph winds. Life’s little lessons and giggles.

Katie on 11.25.2011

I’d rate my thanksgiving at an 8…driving back home to my mom’s house, where my brother cooked the turkey..which was delicious! I was sad to forget to eat my gramma’s ‘green jello salad,’ though which made me sad. Before driving back to my boyfriend’s mother’s house. By 8:30 pm I was exhausted and went to bed!

Dixie Broyles on 11.25.2011

We used your brine, made dressing and all the trimmings, my kitchen is still showing the signs of pie making, but we had laughter, family and fun

Heather :) :) :) on 11.25.2011

Ohh my word, this food looks GOOD. I know it’s the day after Thanksgiving,but I’m thinking this will make might fine Christmas food, too :) :) We had an organic turkey this year. Thanks for mentioning about gluten free :) :) I’ve recently gone gluten free for health reasons :) I did have gluten free pumpkin pie this year :) :) Thanks for all the yummy food photos. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

Profile photo of Patsy Dodd

Patsy Dodd on 11.25.2011

My favorite food husband of 51 years…gave it a perfect 10. He said it was the best Thanksgiving dinner I’ve cooked in our 51 Thanksgivings together….even though all of them have been excellent. I love that guy!

Alvina Newell on 11.25.2011

I would rate our Thanksgiving dinner at a 10 – food contributed from four fantastic cooks and some recipes used from your website (Thank you!) – everyone just said, “Yum!!!”

Teri M. on 11.25.2011

Thanksgiving feast was bountiful and blessed! A 10 for sure!

Cara on 11.25.2011

I would rate it a 9 …tried to refrain from the good desserts – and so that was a little disappointing…but glad today!

Marc on 11.24.2011

Oh My!! The double bread butter and bacon stuffing was incredible. It received more compliments that the turkey itself.

Why can’t we have thanksgiving 2-3 times a year. If would give me the opportunity to try the other wonderful stuffing recipes.

Thank you!

Profile photo of Dax Phillips

Dax Phillips on 11.24.2011

Love all of the pictures. I don’t know about you, but I have been waiting for this day, or should I say, these days to come since last year! Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Dessie3D on 11.23.2011

I pawned the turkey off to my daughter to cook (fry). I will be making the cornbread dressing/stuffing with giblet gravey, cranberry jello salad, taters both mashed and candied sweet. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving day tomorrow. Remember to say a prayer for our troops around the world.

Profile photo of Dione

Dione on 11.23.2011

I love reading these – you are so great at capturing events with your words and photos. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’m so excited to get home from work and begin to cook! Love this Thanksgiving menu -

Profile photo of Laurie - Simply Scratch

Laurie - Simply Scratch on 11.23.2011

Oh look at all those recipes! I think I look forward to the sides more than the turkey!

Katrina on 11.23.2011

So many yummy recipes here! Yum!

Nancy on 11.22.2011

PW I need to ask you a very important question. I am not making a whole turkey for thanksgiving. I am only doing a breast of a turkey…and do I cook it breast up or down to keep it moist? Please let me know as I am miserable trying to decide what to do!!!

lauren in arkansas on 11.22.2011

I can’t wait to eat Cranberry Pomegranate sauce!

Profile photo of tinaehb3

tinaehb3 on 11.22.2011

These foods are what makes up Thanksgiving to me! Can’t wait!

Lindsey on 11.22.2011

Those photos alone give me inspiration to try something new! Honestly, turkey isn’t my favorite part of the meal….it’s all the sides so I’m perfectly at home with this post. Your cranberry sauce looks a whole lot better than the normal stuff I usually see people dump out of the can…..still with the can lines. eh.
Happy Gravy!…I mean, Thanksgiving!

All Good in Mommyhood on 11.22.2011

Ooohhhh, LOVE Thanksgiving food! I made your sweet potatoes last year, and they were amazing! I am now on sweet potato assignment from now on!!

I made some adorable turkey rice krispie pops – great for kids – this week:

Happy Thanksgiving everyone~!

Jenny on 11.22.2011

Can I just say I love how you write/think! I find it so entertaining to read your writing.

jenn10 on 11.22.2011