Thanksgiving Tips and Recipes

Lennar Tampa

Thanksgiving is coming up fast, and with it comes a great opportunity to host friends and family in your home! In this blog, you’ll find some tips on how to make your space reminiscent of a pumpkin pie—warm, welcoming, and inviting. Plus, ways to make sure that everybody has a dish on the table they can’t wait to devour, from the sweet potato casserole to the bird everybody spends the other 364 days of the year dreaming about.

A Seasonal Space

When your guests arrive on Thanksgiving, make sure to wow them with fall-themed decorations throughout the house. If you have any pumpkins that you didn’t carve for Halloween, they make great props for your front porch. If you have one on hand, a pint-sized pumpkin is the perfect decoration for the mantle.

For a decoration you can use year after year, pick up a few fall-colored candles and a long table runner that sets the seasonal mood for your family’s feast. These accent pieces may not seem like much, but keep the table décor minimal and you leave more room for food.

If you expect to watch a Thanksgiving Day parade afterwards, garnish your entertainment center with a seasonal ivy vine. These pops of color can be incorporated in all sorts of areas in your home, from shelves in the china cabinet to the tops of your cabinets.

Recipes to Revel In

On a day dedicated to feasting, we’ve prepared three recipes for you: sweet potato casserole as a side, pumpkin pie as a dessert, and most importantly: a perfectly roasted turkey that will have your guests’ mouths watering from the moment they arrive!

Sweet Potato Casserole

A dish that’s sure to please anybody around the table, this sweet casserole serves as a holiday staple in households across the country. Plus, it’s the perfect side to complement the turkey on everybody’s plate.

You will need:

            For the Filling:

  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter, melted, plus more for buttering the baking dish
  • 3 to 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs

For the Topping:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  1. Add 1¾ pounds of peeled and cubed sweet potatoes to a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until the potatoes are very tender (15-20 minutes). Drain, cool, then mash.
  2. For filling, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.
  3. Whisk together butter, mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, milk, vanilla, salt, and eggs in a large bowl. Transfer to prepared dish.
  4. For topping: Combine flour, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a medium bowl until the mixture combines and clumps together. Stir in pecans. Spread mixture over the top of filling in an even layer.
  5. Bake until golden on top (25-30 minutes). Enjoy!

Roasted Turkey

Here it is, the man (bird) of the hour! When the fate of your Thanksgiving hosting skills is riding on this one dish, you’ll want to make sure it’s done right. Follow these steps to make sure you get a bird as juicy as your guests are hoping it’ll be.

You will need:

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 fresh turkey (10 to 12 pounds)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 whole lemon, halved
  • 1 Spanish onion, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add lemon juice and zest and 1 TSP of thyme leaves. Set aside.
  3. Clean turkey, then place in large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey, then stuff with the bunch of thyme, halved lemon, quartered onion, and garlic. Brush the outside with the butter mixture, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast the turkey about 2½ hours, or until juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Remove turkey from heat and cover with foil, let rest for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Just because you’ve picked the turkey clean doesn’t mean the feast is finished! When the smell of this dish starts lofting it’s way through your home, every person there will line up to get a piece of the pie.

You will need:

  • 1 9” pie crust
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 15 oz pumpkin puree
  • 10 oz evaporated milk
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl combine sugars, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs then stir in pumpkin puree, followed by dry ingredients. Stir in evaporated milk, mix to combine.
  4. Pour into pie shell and bake (15 minutes)
  5. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 40-50 minutes.
  6. Cool on baking rack for at least 2 hours, then enjoy!

With plenty of ways to make your home feel seasonal and inviting, and recipes that reflect that feeling, this Thanksgiving is sure to be a breeze. Plus, with full bellies around the table, the post-meal Thanksgiving Day Parade watch party will be sluggish, sleepy, and exactly what everybody in the home is looking for. For more ways to give your family just what they need, be sure to like Lennar on Facebook.           

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