Thanksgiving Meal Prep Inspiration

Posted by Alexa Ketterling

We all find at times that coming up with the menu for a holiday can be difficult -- especially with how busy life can be between work, family, and so much more. Sometimes we find ourself going to Pinterest or trying to think of something quick and easy that won’t take a lot of prep.

This is were we can have some fun. I have compiled some recipes that are from all sorts of different sources some come from Pinterest and some are just from surfing the web that looked good.

Lets dive in to some tasty recipes that might help inspire you.



I know what you are thinking who has time to make an appetizer and then a full on meal. Here is a tip find appetizers you can make ahead that way you can make them the day before while you visit with family you might have in town. Or if you have kids gives you something to do with them that is easy and won’t mess up how it tastes.


Rosemary Pecan Goat Cheese Truffles


  • 6 ounces plain goat cheese softened for an hour at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened for an hour at room temperature
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon Sriracha
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons currants*
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries*
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins*
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley


1. Combine softened goat cheese and cream cheese in a medium size bowl. Whisk together until smooth and creamy, then refrigerate for at least one hour or place mixture in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.

2. While cheese is chilling, preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper.

3. Combine pecans, oil, honey and Sriracha on the prepared pan. Bake for 3 minutes then remove pan from oven and stir well. Return to oven and bake another 3-5 minutes or until pecans are golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with kosher salt. Toss and set aside to cool.

4. Combine cooled pecans, dried fruit, chopped rosemary and chopped parsley on a dinner plate. Set aside.

5. Scoop up 1 tablespoon size portions of the chilled cheese mixture** and roll into balls (the balls will be a bit sticky, but chilling helps make it less sticky). Drop the ball onto the plate with the pecan coating and gently roll the cheese ball around in the mixture, patting it into the cheese, until it is fully coated. At this point you can reshape your balls into nicer circles, if they have become misshapen. Place on a clean dinner plate and place in the refrigerator until 30 minutes prior to serving. Serve with crackers, crostini or pita wedges or on their own for a low carb appetizer.



Antipasto Skewers 


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 8-oz. container fresh Mozzarella pearls
  • Two 4.5-oz. jars whole mushrooms, drained
  • 14-oz. can quartered artichokes, drained
  • 9-oz. tube summer sausage, casing removed and cut into large chunks
  • 8-oz. package colby jack cheese, cut into large chunks
  • 4 oz. sliced genoa salami
  • 8-oz. container cherry tomatoes
  • 4.75-oz. jar Spanish olives (pitted)
  • 4.75-oz. jar kalamata olives (pitted)


  1. In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, parsley, Mozzarella, mushrooms and artichokes. Mix well.
  2. Skewer all ingredients until gone, making sure to put 1-2 of each on each skewer. Wrap in foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Side Dishes 

There are so many good sides to choose from for the holidays. Really these sides work for Thanksgiving and Christmas. One of my favorite sides to make is macaroni and cheese. I have put the recipe I use down below but there a so many to choose from. I typically go between two different ones to be completely honest. 


Crock Pot macaroni and cheese 


  • 8 ounces medium shell macaroni
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups 8 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese or a Cheddar blend
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted


  1. 1. Cook the macaroni following package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse with hot water. Drain well.
  2. 2. Generously butter the sides and bottom of a 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker (I use about 2 tablespoons of butter).
  3. 3. Combine the macaroni with the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker and blend well. Cover the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours, stirring a few times.
  4. 4. If desired, spoon the cooked macaroni and cheese mixture into a baking dish, sprinkle with a little more cheese, and put under the broiler for a minute or 2, just until cheese is melted.
  5. 5. When the macaroni and cheese is done, feel free to spoon into a baking dish, top with a little more cheese, and put under the broiler for a minute or two for that "fresh from the oven" look.


Garlic and Bacon Green Beans 

Easy sautéed beans in olive oil and butter.


  • 1 pound green beans (fresh, rinsed, ends trimmed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 bacon strips (cooked, drained of fat, chopped)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add green beens (water should be just above the beans) and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, drain the beans.
  2. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add minced garlic and coot it.
  3. Constantly stirring for about 30 seconds. Add chopped cooked bacon (drained of fat) and green beans. Sauté on medium heat for about 1 minute to combine all ingredients. Remove from heat.
  4. Taste and add more salt if needed.



Main Course 

This is always my favorite time of the dinner. All the other items are great but the main yummy food for me is the main courses Turkey, Ham, Salmon. Now remember these are all just suggestions.


Rosemary Lemon Roasted Turkey 


  • 1 10- pound turkey , completely thawed
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cups ready-made stuffing , divided (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons butter cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves , chopped
  • lemon peel and juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • salt and fresh ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Set a rack at the lowest position in the oven.
  3. Prepare turkey by adding salt and pepper inside large cavity.
  4. Add 1-1/2 cups of stuffing inside large cavity.
  5. Add the rest of the stuffing inside smaller cavity.
  6. Separate the skin from the breast meat with your fingers, starting at the top of the breast and sliding to the right and left, then working down.
  7. Arrange the pieces of the cut-up butter onto the meat under the skin.
  8. Tie the legs together and tuck the wing tips under.
  9. Place the turkey in a roasting pan; set aside.
  10. In a small saucepan combine olive oil, garlic, lemon peel and rosemary; heat over medium-low heat and cook until hot.
  11. Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes.
  12. Squeeze lemon juice all over turkey.
  13. Season entire turkey with salt and pepper.
  14. Brush turkey all over with 1/2 of the infused olive oil.
  15. Place in oven and roast turkey for 1 hour.
  16. Reduce heat to 375.
  17. Add water to pan, tent foil over turkey and continue to roast for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees.
  18. Brush turkey with remaining infused olive oil every 30 minutes.
  19. Transfer turkey to a platter, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before cutting.
  20. Serve.



Garlic Rosemary Chicken With Cranberries 



  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp white wine vinegar, more for later
  • 6 pieces bone-in, skin on chicken (I used 2 chicken breasts and 4 thighs)
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/3 cup Private Reserve extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juice of (do not discard used lemon halves)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
  • More fresh rosemary for garnish


  1. In a small bowl, combine the cranberries, brown sugar, and white wine vinegar. Set aside for now.
  2. Pat the chicken pieces dry. Rub the chicken with the minced garlic on both sides (make sure to apply some of the garlic underneath the chicken skins). Season well with salt and pepper. Combine the rosemary and paprika then apply to the chicken pieces on both sides and again underneath the skin.
  3. In a large bowl or deep enough dish, mix the olive oil, lemon juice and 2 tbsp white wine vinegar. Now add the chicken, celery, onions, and used lemon halves. Work everything together with clean hands. Set aside to marinate just for 15 minutes or so.
    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet. Place the chicken skin side down to brown on medium-high for 5 minutes. Turn over and brown on the other side.
    Place the chicken, onions, celery, lemon halves and any liquid from the marinade in a lightly oiled baking pan like this one. Add 1/2 cup water or chicken broth, then add the sugared cranberries.
  5. Bake in the 425 degrees F heated-oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked through. Serve hot with Lebanese rice and your favorite salad.




As if we aren’t going to eat a ton of yummy food we can’t leave out the dessert.

Lemon Bar 


For the Crust:

  • 1 ¼ cups/155 grams all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup/50 grams granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons/25 grams confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 10 tablespoons/142 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes


For the Curd:

  • 4 to 6 lemons
  • 1 ½ cups/300 grams sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 3 yolks
  • 1 ½ teaspoons/5 grams cornstarch
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons/57 grams butter
  • ¼ cup/60 milliliters fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling


  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees and line a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with enough parchment to hang over two of the sides (to be used as handles later to lift the bars out of the pan).
  2. To make the shortbread base, pulse together the flour, granulated sugar, confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest and salt in a food processor, or whisk together in a large bowl. Add butter and pulse (or use two knives or your fingers) to cut the butter into the flour until a crumbly dough forms. Press dough into prepared pan and bake until shortbread is pale golden all over, 30 to 35 minutes.
  3. While the shortbread is baking, prepare the lemon curd: Grate 1/2 tablespoon zest from lemons and set aside. Squeeze lemons to yield 3/4 cup juice.
  4. In a small saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, sugar, eggs and yolks, cornstarch and fine sea salt over medium heat until boiling and thickened, 2 to 5 minutes. Make sure mixture comes to a boil and stays there for 30 seconds or so; you should see it thicken up before you take it off the heat. But once it boils do not cook for longer than 1 minute or you risk the curd thinning out again. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl. Whisk in butter, olive oil and lemon zest.
  5. When the shortbread is ready, take it out of the oven and carefully pour the lemon curd onto the shortbread base; return the pan to the oven. Bake until topping is just set, 10 to 15 minutes more. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold before cutting into bars.Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and flaky sea salt right before serving.



Pumpkin Bars 



For The Bars 

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c. vegetable oil
  • 3/4 c. lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin puree

For The Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 (8-oz.) block cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350° and spray a 9”-x-13” baking pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
  2. 2. In a separate large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, sugars, and pumpkin. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour batter into prepared baking sheet and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool.
  3. 3. Meanwhile make frosting: In a large bowl using a hand mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat together cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat until combined then add cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.
  4. 4.Frost bars with an offset spatula then cut into squares to serve.

Topics: Industry Trends



Related Articles

Download The eBook - All About Olive Oil

Enter your email below to get commodity market updates & cost-saving tips for procurement professionals.






Buy & Ship Direct From Our Online Store

Select an item below to see live pricing (LTL quotes included at checkout).



Now you can order direct from our website, without ever talking to a salesperson.  We've created this new industry-leading online storefront which makes the bulk oil buying process so much easier!

  • See live price quotes for oils online
  • Shipping costs are auto-calculated at checkout
  • Buy single drums, partial pallets or full pallets
  • Pay with a credit card
  • Ships from Centra Foods within 1-3 business days