Are You Tired Of The Same Thanksgiving Dinner Menu?

Are you tired of the same Thanksgiving dinner menu? October is upon us and time to start thinking about Thanksgiving Dinner.  It will be here in a blink of an eye. Should I follow the traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu of Roasted Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, corn, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie? That menu has extended over the years to include homemade noodles, ham, and sweet potatoes. Or do I try something new and break away from the traditional? That question became my dilemma several years ago.

My husband thinks that Thanksgiving dinner has to include homemade noodles, mashed potatoes, and homemade yeast rolls. To me, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the stuffing and sweet potatoes. But to the grandkids, they wouldn’t care too much.  They don’t like half the food on the menu anyway. Several of my grandchildren, I am sad to say are pretty picky eaters. And after all the planning and cooking I was just simply tired of them not eating or even being involved with the holiday. So I came up with a plan.

The Idea

With kids, it is so hard to come up with food that everyone likes or will even eat. Some of my grandkids are really picky eaters. I became really frustrated with all the planning and cooking to have them not eat a thing. So after a Sunday dinner get-together, I asked the adults to leave so I could have a meeting with the kids. I have 10 grandchildren and at that time the ages ranged from 3 to 13.

Of course, it was difficult to get all their attention The 2 youngest ones kept running around chasing each other so It was difficult really to include them in on the “plan” anyway. But I finally had the attention of the other 8.

The plan was that they were to pick their favorite food.  They had to do chores at home to earn money to buy that food item. They would pay half and I would pay the other half. They had to cook that food item themselves (with my help of course). And we all would go grocery shopping for those items.

They also had to write down and read what they were thankful for at the meal. At first, they were not so sure about this plan but we continued to talk about it. The more we talked about it the more excited they became. After agreeing I had the adults return and informed them of this grand plan. I have to tell you the parents were skeptical, to say the least, but they got on board.


The day before the “big event” my daughter and I took 8 kids to Walmart to shop. We had lunch at McDonald’s first. Then with our lists in hand, we began.  It was chaos at first. They all wanted to get their items first but we decided we would start at the back of the store and work our way to the front.

We lost a couple of the boys’ attention because they wanted to go to the toy department. We derailed that idea in a hurry. I have to say that they were very well behaved for a group of 8 kids from age 5 to 13. Of course, there were a few mishaps but all in all, it went pretty well.

Can you imagine the looks we got from the other shoppers? Two female adults with eight kids shopping in the grocery department of Walmart. Priceless!

The Night Before

That night they stayed at my house. I had kids everywhere. On the floor, in recliners, and the couch. A couple of the girls giggled most of the night. I became frustrated because I needed my sleep for the big day. But they finally settled down about 3 am. Needless to say that not much sleep was had that night.  But girls will be girls.

The Next Morning

Once I was able to get all the kids awake and motivated we began cooking.  My kitchen is not very big but we got things organized. The baked potatoes were wrapped and put in the roasting pan so that was one item done and one child out of the way.

It did get confusing at times because I was everywhere trying to help them with their menu item. We kept bumping into each other. A madhouse at times! But in the end, it was so worth it! Laughter filled the house.  Music to my ears.

We got everything done and it was time to eat. The kids each read their thankful notes with much laughter as well as tears.

The menu you ask? It was not your traditional Thanksgiving Dinner!

Baked potatoes with butter and sour cream, corn, oven-fried chicken legs, green bean casserole, chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, to name just a few.

Oh, and the adults had to provide the dessert.

The kids got to participate and actually enjoyed it. And I have to tell you that the fighting and bickering that usually goes on with so many kids in the house was actually non-existent. (they were too busy cooking) and actually helping the other kids as well.

Not Just For Thanksgiving

Now I have thought about this since then. Wouldn’t this be a wonderful idea for Christmas dinner as well?  I know that there are times when you just want a fancy-schmancy meal for the holiday.  But Christmas is about family and being together. What better way to be together than cook together.

Let the children plan and help cook the meal.  That way you know they are gonna eat. Make it a truly family affair. You may have a few bumps in the road but really isn’t that what life is all about? The kids will feel included.  And instead of having them write what they are thankful for you could have them write a paper of the true meaning of Christmas. Out of the mouth of babes!

What memories you will be making.  And the stories to tell to future generations!

Final Thoughts

Are you tired of the same Thanksgiving Dinner Menu? There is absolutely nothing wrong with tradition. But you can make new traditions to go with the old.  Why Not?

The meal was a true family affair.  The kids were involved from beginning to end. And with them making the menu, they actually ate what was put on the table. Sure there were some frustrating moments on my part as well as the kids but we got through it without much mishap.

The bickering among the kids was nonexistent, a miracle on its own as they were busy concentrating on their cooking skills.

And everyone agreed this was the best Thanksgiving dinner ever!

And for dessert try my blackberry cobbler for something different.

So why not try something new?  You may find that you have started a new tradition!

What do you think?  Ready to try something new? It may be a bust but then you never know…..

Please leave me a comment below with your thoughts

And As Always Have A Wonderful Day!

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