Thanksgiving: How-to host the perfect holiday dinner!

“Thanksgiving just gets me all warm and tingly and all kinds of wonderful inside.
~Willard Scott

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year right along with Christmas. Autumn is so beautiful with the splendid colors, the rustic smell of fallen leaves, and of course the cackling of the blue jays. But even better than all that, I love to decorate for the the holidays.

I wanted to share a few of my holiday decorating tips with all of my wonderful Dragonfly friends. I thought I’d start with Thanksgiving as I don’t really do a lot of Halloween décor. I generally keep to a fall theme. I hope you enjoy this post, and please be sure to leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

My delicious recipes will be coming the week before Thanksgiving, so if you aren’t already following me on Facebook, click this link & hit the LIKE & Follow buttons so you don’t miss any of my wonderful posts!  https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049613212778

I always prep the day before I host a holiday meal or party. I love to entertain and make my guests feel incredibly special. As most of you know I am a mother of six with two grandsons, so we often gather at my home as it has the most space.

Pro tip: If you are bringing in additional tables & chairs, bring them in the day before and get them set with whatever linens, dinnerware, flatware, glasses, etc. This will alleviate so much day-of event stress! As you can see from these pictures, each guest has a linen napkin tied with a piece of raffia and then a special name tag at their place.

Layering makes a showy table! As you can see, I have a table cloth, table runner, dinner & salad plate along with a linen napkin. Each place setting is different which adds to the elegance of the table.

Name tags make people feel special! When your guests arrive and see the extra effort you made to the point of making handmade name tags, they will feel all the love you put into this task!

Use real greenery & gourds!
I have a smorgasbord of living vines including bittersweet in my woods and the ditches around me. I love to incorporate beautiful fall leaves as well. A table centerpiece is so inviting!

Pro Tip: To make name tags I simply cut 4″ x 4″ squares of card stock, fold in half to make a tent style card, and then place a black name label on it. I used chalkboard paint markers to write my guests names. Be careful to let them dry adequately or they will smudge!

Pro Tip: Be eclectic!!! I do love things to match, but I also love showing off several different styles of linens & plates.

My grandson’s love to see their special plates and personalized name tags!

Pro Tip: Shop the dollar stores & thrift shops! I love to find interesting, one-of-a-kind pieces of glassware, linens, and glasses.

Our Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

All these wonderfully yummy recipes will post on November 16th right before Thanksgiving, so keep posted on my Facebook page for that reminder!

What is a holiday with a Mimosa!

Pro Tip: DON’T use Brut Champaign, it is too bitter!

Herb Roasted Turkey

Our Favorite Pecan & Apple Pie Recipes!

Pro Tip: If you are not a baker like my daughter Taylor is, don’t feel bad to purchase pies from a bakery new you. Supporting local is awesome!

So-Yum Mashed Potatoes & Dad’s Delicious Stuffing

Grandma’s Cabbage Rolls!

Mimosa’s are so easy to make! All you need is a Spumante Champaign, some orange, pineapple & cranberry juice.
Mix 1 part Champaign with 1 part juice. I like to mix the orange & pineapple, but my favorite is a cranberry mimosa!

Pro Tip: If you don’t want all the work of making cabbage rolls, you can make a cabbage roll casserole! You can find this recipe in my popular cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats. Purchase at this link: www.fordragonfliesandme.com

Of course we will have my famous Real Pumpkin Pie as well. For those of you who have my cookbook, this recipe can be found on page 304 of my cookbook.

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Happy Day,
Jean

Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta

“A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe.”
– Thomas Keller

This recipe has become an all time favorite for my family, so I thought I’d share it with my Dragonfly family to enjoy as well!

A few years back I was invited to prepare this recipe on Fox TV2 while promoting my cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. It was so fun to share my pesto recipe on air. You can find my original recipe at the link provide below.

Our Favorite Recipes

Ingredients:

2 boneless, skinless chicken Breasts- about 2 pounds
1 TBSP Garlic Salt, divided
1 cup Shredded Parmesan cheese for topping
1- 16 ounce or 1 pound box of Cellentani Pasta or similar
1 cup Pesto- see recipe link for Pesto recipe
2 cup Alfredo Sauce:
Ingredients for sauce:
1 stick salted butter or 1/4 cup
1 cup whole milk
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1- 8 ounce container of whipped cream cheese
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black Pepper

Pro tip: I recommend making the pesto sauce first, as this can be refrigerated allowing the flavor to intensify!

Pro tip: For the best results with the alfredo sauce, use as quickly as you can so it doesn’t begin to firm up. However if it does, simply warm on low heat until desired consistency, stirring constantly.

Click here for my Pesto Recipe. https://wordpress.com/post/fordragonfliesandme.com/3166

As a side dish, my yummy Bruschetta recipe makes a great accompaniment! You can find that recipe here: fordragonfliesandme.com/2022/09/14/bruschetta-with-feta-cheese-balsamic-glaze/

1. Sprinkle half the garlic salt on one side of chicken, flip and season second side.
Grill chicken breasts until fully cooked and juices run clear;

2. Once chicken is cooled, using kitchen shears cut chicken into bite size chunks; set aside

3. Prepare both your pesto and alfredo sauces; see recipe link for instructions for pesto above.

4. Put a large pot of water on high heat while you are making your alfredo sauce. Add pasta once the water comes to a full rolling boil; cook until Al Dente. Follow box instructions for cooking time.

5. While water is heating, prepare the alfredo sauce:

i. In a medium sized pot melt the stick of butter.

ii. Once the butter is melted, add cream cheese and half the milk; whisk until well blended.

iii. Once cream cheese is melted and blended evenly, add remaining milk and parmesan cheese; mix until completely melted and is a smooth consistency.

iv. Add salt & pepper; blend thoroughly. Set aside while pasta is cooking.

6. Once pasta is done, drain and then place in a large serving bowl.

7. To drained pasta, add chicken and both sauces; blend until both noodles and chicken are evenly coated with sauce. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and serve with bruschetta or any other garlic bread.

Pro tip: Once you’ve drained your pasta, add a tablespoon of olive oil, blend thoroughly. This will prevent the noodles from sticking. Butter works too!

If you enjoyed this blog & bonus recipes, please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

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Happy Day,
Jean