Semi-Homemade Thanksgiving Side Dishes & Desserts Ideas #HolidayExperts

Disclosure 1

As you know, we have been hosting Thanksgiving at our house for several years now. We have a huge family! We typically have 20-30 family members join us for Thanksgiving dinner. That’s a lot of cooking! In the beginning, I used to insist on making everything from scratch. Now many years and turkeys later, I am singing a different tune lol. I now fully embrace outside help in many forms such as buying a few pre-made items that I either serve as-is (think dips for appetizers or easy cheese course) or I doctor to make my own or to incorporate into a more complex dish.


A great place to start if you need a little help this holiday season is at Boston Market – they have a variety of home-style menus all prepared using fresh, high-quality ingredients.


Semi-Homemade Thanksgiving Ideas from Boston Market

  • Skip peeling, boiling, and mashing potatoes! Add minced garlic, sour cream, and chives to pre-made Boston Market mashed potatoes.
  • Skip making corn bread from scratch! Use Boston Market corn bread to make cornbread stuffing, bread pudding, or serve as-is as your Thanksgiving dinner rolls.
  • Save time from trimming and steaming green beans and pick up pre-made green beans from Boston Market and turn them into the classic green bean casserole.
  • Turn Boston Market creamed spinach into a quick spinach pie made with pre-made pastry dough.
  • Turn Boston Market cinnamon apples into an apple crisp by putting into a baking dish and adding the “crisp” toppings.

We love bread pudding so we decided to try Boston Market’s Head Chef and Director of Culinary Innovation, Rik Kiessling’s, Corn Bread Pudding recipe. Of course we used Boston Market cornbread!


It is delicious and would be a welcome addition to your family’s holiday table!

Corn Bread Pudding Recipe

Corn Bread Pudding Recipe



  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Whisk together all ingredients.

Caramel Sauce

  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup Bourbon
  • 1 cup heavy cream

1. Mix sugar, water and corn syrup together.
2. Place in a pot and bring to a boil, and slow down to a slow simmer.
3. Cook the sugar until it reaches an almond color.
4. Remove from heat and add heavy cream and Bourbon.
5. Return to stove top for a quick boil and then remove from heat.
6. Set aside and let cool.

Bread Pudding

  • 8 Boston Market® Cornbread, cubed
  • 2 ½ cups bread pudding custard mix, see recipe above
  • ½ stick butter, melted
  • Caramel sauce, see recipe above


1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. With cooking spray, coat the inside of four 8 oz. soufflé dishes.
3. Place cubed cornbread evenly in soufflé dishes.
4. Pour custard mix evenly over cornbread, being careful not to overfill soufflé dishes.
5. Place on cookie sheet and place in oven.
6. Cook for 18 minutes.
7. Drizzle butter over the top of bread pudding.
8. To serve, drizzle with caramel sauce.


Did you know?

Boston Market has been open on Thanksgiving for more than 15 years! They served more than 1 million people last Thanksgiving, and expect to serve more than 1 million again this year. Boston Market’s home style menu items are all prepared using fresh, high-quality ingredients, and offer consumers a tremendous value.

In addition to full meals, Boston Market encourages customers to visit our restaurants to pick up any last-minute sides or pies they may need. If you’ve waited until the last minute or something happens Thanksgiving Day and you need sides, they’re open. If ordered in advance, Boston Market also offers a whole roasted turkey holiday meal for 12 for $99.99.

Visit for more information and make sure to check out Boston Market’s Celebration Hub at to find recipes, tips and other ideas for a stress-free, delicious Thanksgiving.


One lucky Jolly Mom reader will win a $250 Boston Market Gift Card! Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

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Five Dishes On Our Thanksgiving Table

Disclosure 1

We have been hosting Thanksgiving for our family for almost a decade now. While it is definitely a lot of work, it is also one of our favorite holidays to host. We have family from both mine and Mike’s side of the family join us. There’s typically 30+ people, including kids. Mike and I spend days before cleaning and cooking and cooking some more lol. Even Lucas joins in to help and there’s usually holiday music playing in the background. It’s a lot of fun! Over the years, we have had some food hits and misses so today I thought it would be helpful to share five dishes (besides the turkey, of course) that always make it onto our Thanksgiving table.

Thanksgiving Dishes

1. Cheese Board: We used to make fancy appetizers for Thanksgiving, but we quickly learned that with all of the cooking you have to do for the main meal – the appetizers are a great opportunity to lessen your load and buy something pre-made. We always set out a cheese board complete with a variety of cheeses, hard salami and thin water crackers.


I usually pair this spread with some nuts and we’re all set! The other thing I like is that this doesn’t fill you up like a bunch of carbs and allows you to save room for the main event – turkey and all the fixings!

2. Sangria: Along with the appetizer, I like to prepare one large cocktail drink that everyone can enjoy during the evening. Our favorite? Sangria. It’s super simple to make. It’s festive. Everyone loves it!


I set it out on a table with appetizers, other drinks for the kids, and wine glasses and allow guests to help themselves.


3. Mashed Potatoes: I’ve tried to make all sorts of fancy variations of potatoes, but we always come back to the classic mashed potatoes. I like to infuse the milk with chopped garlic before mixing with the potatoes and I always add in sour cream and chives.


One more tip – don’t over whip your potatoes or they will get a glue-like consistency. I actually prefer mine with a lot of texture so I don’t whip them at all and instead use an old school potato masher.

4. Homemade Rolls: If there is ever a time to make your own bread, it’s Thanksgiving. The aroma of homemade bread baking in the oven is instant comfort and your guests will love it!


The key is to find the right recipe that allows you to make the rolls the day before (see my favorite recipe HERE). I use my bread maker to mix and knead the dough, then roll them by hand, pop them into a dish, and refrigerate until I’m ready to bake. Before baking, you’ll want to pull them out about 1-2 hours before to allow them to rise and come to room temperature before baking.

5. Pecan Pie: I used to not like pecan pie because it was overly sweet. Since it was a classic, I would still typically make one every Thanksgiving. A few years ago though, I started tinkering around with the recipe and created my own WITHOUT corn syrup.


My pecan pie is made with maple syrup and let me tell you…I now have to make TWO pecan pies every year and there is still never a crumb left over!

Get the Thanksgiving Look Pictured Above!

The personalized serving pieces, glasses, and pitcher pictured above are all from Personal Creations. The stoneware casserole dishes (round and rectangular) and the pie plate were all personalized with Thanksgiving messages rather than names. I think that is such a special touch that really speaks to the season! Plus, wouldn’t you be the best guest ever if the dish or pie you take to your Thanksgiving dinner was presented in one of these? The casserole dish or pie plate would be the hostess gift!




The cheese board was personalized with our last name and year we were married. I love how the cheeseboard neatly stores all of the cheese knives within itself (see picture above).

cheese board

And, my absolute favorite are the personalized glass pitcher and the Chalk It Up wine glasses! These wine glasses have a chalkboard base so that you can write each guests name on the bottom.



They are also etched with whatever message you’d like. I decided to have them etched with “Cheers” in different languages (i.e. cin cin, salud, salut, kippis, kampai, and more). I got twelve glasses each etched in a different language. These are now one of my favorite things EVER.







Tried and True: Thanksgiving Recipes Round-Up

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is only a few days away! We put our final menu together over the weekend so that made me think that I should share some of our favorite recipes. Most of the dishes that you’ll find below make it onto our Thanksgiving table every year or almost every year. These are tried and true recipes that we love!

Thanksgiving Recipes

The Best Pecan Pie EVER: Maple Pecan Pie

Easy Thanksgiving Dessert: French Apple Tart

My Favorite Thanksgiving Dessert: Pumpkin Cheesecake {Recipe and Chocolate Leaves Tutorial}

Pumpkin-Chocolate Tart

One of Our Favorite Pies! Fudge Pie

Taste of Autumn: Divine Pumpkin Buttermilk Biscuits

Easy Homemade Creamed Corn

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Apple Crumb Pie – A twist on the classic pie

Easy Creamed Spinach