Southwest Style Thanksgiving Menu and Planner

Bring a little spice to the table this year with a menu that has a decidedly southwestern flavor.

By EatingWell Editors

Southwest Style Thanksgiving Menu and Planner
A large part of this dinner can be made ahead so that the holiday is spent with your family and friends, not bent over a stove.

Make-Ahead Planner

Up to 10 days before:

Shop for a plantain to be sure it has time to ripen fully for the mole.

Up to 4 days before:

Mix the spices for the turkey rub without adding the water. Store the spice mixture in a sealed container at room temperature. Make the mole. Store the mole, tightly sealed, in the refrigerator. As it sits, the ground nuts and dried fruit absorb moisture; you may need to add up to 1 cup water to thin it to a desired consistency before reheating.

1 day before:

Rub the turkey with the spice mixture, cover the bird loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Make dressing. Let cool, cover and refrigerate. Make sweet potatoes. Let cool, cover and refrigerate. Roast shallots for Brussels Sprouts & Shallots. Store in their foil packet in the refrigerator. Trim and slice Brussels sprouts and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Make chocolate cake. Once cooled and assembled, cover and hold at room temperature.

Thanksgiving Day—The Single-Oven Game Plan

4 hours before serving:

Get the turkey in the oven.

1 hour before serving:

Remove the dressing from the refrigerator to allow it to come to room temperature.

30-40 minutes before serving:

Once the turkey is done, remove it from the oven and tent with foil. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F. Cover the dressing and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and heat until steaming hot and slightly crisp, 10 minutes more. Transfer the sweet potatoes to an ovenproof casserole, cover with foil and reheat in the oven along with the stuffing, about 35 minutes. (Or cover and reheat in the microwave just before serving.) Roast the Brussels sprouts and shallots on a rack in the bottom third of the oven while reheating the dressing and sweet potatoes. Prepare gravy.

15 minutes before serving:

Transfer the mole to a large saucepan and add up to 1 cup of water to thin to desired consistency. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until it is steaming and bubbling, about 8 minutes. Carve the turkey.