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What to bring for Thanksgiving as a guest when hostess is making all the main things?

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Bringing something IS optional; it's my dad and stepmom hosting.  But I always try to bring something.  I'm just at a complete loss.  My sister is bringing a few pies, so another dessert might be overkill since my stepmom makes pumpkin roll, too.

 

Help!  Something that reheats easily or I can make right there without hogging the ovens.

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I would bring a special favorite from either my side or DH's. When we have TG with my ILs, I always bring scalloped oysters from my grandmother's recipe. It doesn't compete with turkey, and DH and I both like it. When we have TG with my family, I bring corn pudding from DH's grandmother's recipe. We both like that too, and it doesn't compete with anything else on the table, even if there's cornbread (unless there's creamed corn). My MIL would likely bring her cranberry chutney, which is a spicier version of a homemade cranberry sauce, but not everyone's preference.

 

If you know what pies there will be, you could bring a different one. Or some fabulous cookies, like my white chocolate cranberry ones. Is there really such a thing as too much dessert?

 

Or what about a snack/appetizer if you'll be eating late? Cider, cheese and crackers, artichoke dip, whatever?

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Something light for people who would prefer an alternative to all the heavy food?

 

Or alcohol. Something special in a nice bottle.

 

Or flowers. In a vase.

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We host and my dh's brother, his wife, and their two kids come (2 hour drive for them). I seriously have all of the food we need. I like it best when they bring a beautiful flower arrangement for the table (I never already have one). Drinks are fine (they'll bring a few bottles of Martinelli's in different flavors). I don't like it when they bring dessert--we already have 3. I don't want the extra leftovers.

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I used to host every year - everyone brought something.  adult children usually something easy.

 

hors d'oeuvers

smoked salmon

something festive to drink

we've had a chocolate turkey a few times that proved popular  (the chocolate cheese my sil brought one year was not.)

chocolates are always welcome

brie and crackers

sugared nuts

a side dish. (something that doesn't require heating.  cold dishes can be kept in a cooler until time to eat.)

assortment of cookies - or a special homemade cookie

 

 

 

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I would bring a special favorite from either my side or DH's. When we have TG with my ILs, I always bring scalloped oysters from my grandmother's recipe. It doesn't compete with turkey, and DH and I both like it. When we have TG with my family, I bring corn pudding from DH's grandmother's recipe. We both like that too, and it doesn't compete with anything else on the table, even if there's cornbread (unless there's creamed corn). My MIL would likely bring her cranberry chutney, which is a spicier version of a homemade cranberry sauce, but not everyone's preference.

 

If you know what pies there will be, you could bring a different one. Or some fabulous cookies, like my white chocolate cranberry ones

 

. Is there really such a thing as too much dessert?

 

Or what about a snack/appetizer if you'll be eating late? Cider, cheese and crackers, artichoke dip, whatever?

don't forget the macadamia nuts in the cookies.

 

yes - there is such a thing.   there was one year with dh's family there were 19 pies.  pies/desserts last a few days.  pumpkin pie is traditional for breakfast the next day.  that's in addition to dh's chocolate cheesecake, my fruitcake and sil's mil's chess tart recipe (her mil didn't allow anyone one of her recipes in her life-time.  now everyone who wants it can have it.) and everything else.

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Bring something that either stores really well or freezes well, if you're worried about too much. 

 

Most cookies freeze well and there are bound to be kids eating them. I'm taking cranberry orange oatmeal cookies to one shortly because I know they freeze and they've got cranberries in them which imo qualifies as Thanksgiving food. 

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A gift card so they can order carry out pizza (or whatever) the next day.

 

Love that idea!

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I am taking a fruit salad to my parent's house.  I asked my mom today what she would like me to bring and that was what she suggested.  My brother is donating the turkey this year and will likely bring salmon dip and crackers which is popular.  My sister is bringing a pumpkin cheesecake.  My mom always splits up leftovers to send home with us so they don't end up with too much.

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If you're spending the night, bagels and cream cheese or a couple of quiches would be nice. Come to think of it,even if you aren't spending the night that might be nice :)

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I'm bringing sopapilla cheesecake and deviled eggs, upon request. But I like it when someone brings something we can munch on while waiting for the main meal, like cheese or cheese ball and crackers, chips and salsa, sausage balls, etc.

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Something to munch on before the main meal or even to bring out later if you eat early.  Veggie platter, cheese & crackers, fruit & dip.  Or bring some beverages.  The relatives we visit don't eat dinner until 3 or 4 so there is a lot of time between breakfast and dinner for those of us around to get hungry.  :)

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I saw where someone made a breakfast basket with muffins and things!  It looked really nice for a Black Friday morning.  I wanted to invite them over.  :laugh:

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I like to blanch whole, trimmed green beans and then cold marinade them in a vinegar/shallot/herb/dijon mustard mixture.

It's nice to have a cold dish that cuts the heavy, fatty flavors at a Thanksgiving table, and this one is always popular.

 

I think it's also nice to bring a hostess gift as a thank you, not to add to the meal but more so for them to use in the future.

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Green Salad you can quickly toss together or carry already tossed together along with a bottle of dressing.

 

Or Fresh Fruit Salad.

 

Or special loaf of bread.

 

But can't you also just ask?

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Flowers.

 

Coffee & tea, along w/ honey, creamer, sugar. Bring your coffee maker &/or teapot if they don't have one.

 

Or, takeout boxes or plates w/ lids so all the leftovers can be divvied up as everyone leaves.

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Bring something for breakfast the next day for them.... breakfast casserole, cinnamon rolls, etc. :)

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Bottles of wine, or a nice room temp appetizer, or a vase of fall flowers/foliage.  A tin of fancy assorted nuts (they can open it then or save for later) or pound of good chocolates (again, share then or save). Although the breakfast next day idea is a good one - I vote cinnamon rolls, since their 'fridge may be full of leftovers.  I always HATED it when my MIL would show up with either a large dish that needed to still be cooked or put in the "fridge.  In either case, there was NO ROOM.  One year all she had to bring was a dish of scalloped taters, precious.  She had brought cooked items before, they stayed hot wrapped in newspaper and put in a cooler.  So I assumed she would do the same.  No. MIL showed up with a 9x12 dish of UNCOOKED taters and told me to put them in the oven for 45 minutes (they came early enough at least).  Since I already had a game plan to shove my own stuff in and out of the oven (hubby smoke grills the bird outback so I can use the oven) I had to put her taters in a different dish that would fit my microwave and cook them that way.  Which held up stuff I meant to nuke myself, but the oven was just not available. Sigh.

Edited by JFSinIL
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I would call and ask if you want to bring food.  When I am the hostess preparing the entire meal I usually have a well planned out menu with each item complimenting each other.  If someone calls and asks what they can bring I will usually tell them something already on the menu, making one less dish for me to make. 

 

Flowers are a great idea.  I have also attended holidays toting a basket filled with dried pasta, a gourmet marinara sauce, crusty bread, bottle of olive oil . . . . .      a complete meal for another day.

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Flowers

Fruit basket

Breakfast for the hostess to eat the next morning

Exotic fruit juices and seltzer

Gourmet coffee or tea

A nicely framed old photo or other conversation starter to point the conversation toward something wonderful about your hostess

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Some families are very particular about how many carbs they have at the table, so this may not work. Rolls?? We brought rolls one year. Dh's family has a beloved recipe and just about every year they try it and fuss about how it didn't come out exactly right lol.

 

Agree with deviled eggs (I'd make at my own place but ask if there's room in the fridge. There may not be).

 

Also a fan of some other ideas like veggie or fruit tray. We actually ordered cheese recently and it will arrive before Thanksgiving. I told dh we should bring some over to his mom's as something to munch on before the big meal. Okay so it might not even make it that far but haha.

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These are such great ideas ! I love breakfast.

 

My mom hosts, and she always has all the food, plus flowers, and no alcohol. And doesnt love leftovers, so doesnt want too much food. But I want to contribute. Taking bagels will be a treat for my step dad.

Edited by Zinnia

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I'm thinking of maybe bringing something to nibble on while we wait for the meal and then making them some pecan cinnamon rolls ready for them to heat up in the morning.  This was a great thread, thanks!

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I was going to suggest a bottle of wine too, and maybe a nice imported cheese with fancy crackers?  Or, an autumn floral arrangement?  

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I was going to suggest a bottle of wine too, and maybe a nice imported cheese with fancy crackers?  Or, an autumn floral arrangement?  

 

 

 

Ditto. I was going to suggest wine and flowers.

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Flowers.

 

Coffee & tea, along w/ honey, creamer, sugar. Bring your coffee maker &/or teapot if they don't have one.

 

Or, takeout boxes or plates w/ lids so all the leftovers can be divvied up as everyone leaves.

To go containers are a brilliant idea! I wish someone would bring them here one year. I'm always going crazy with Saran Wrap and paper plates trying to wrap things up for everyone to go.

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To go containers are a brilliant idea! I wish someone would bring them here one year. I'm always going crazy with Saran Wrap and paper plates trying to wrap things up for everyone to go.

 

My MIL has a cupboard full of different types of plastic ware. She sends it back and forth with some of us. It's not in good shape. I tried to buy her a glass storage set as a gift one year and FIL said don't bother, BTDT and she didn't use it LOL. I still wonder sometimes if I should. We praised her for finally throwing out the lids that didn't have bottoms and vice versa. She used to insist on keeping the lids with lids and bottoms with bottoms, but then we'd just fumble around playing, "which one matches? How many tries will it take?" Hahaha I'm not sure who finally convinced her, but now they are actually paired up and the rest of the adults are no longer intimidated by the cupboard.

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Ditto. I was going to suggest wine and flowers.

 

Wine is a perfect suggestion...except that my dad is a sommelier and wine bar/restaurant owner and I'm pretty sure I'd NOT know what to get!!  LOL

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I'd ask. There's such thing as too much food, and sometimes folks don't have enough fridge space and/or don't care for that much leftovers.

 

We usually do paper plates, plastic utensils and napkins (try to find Thanksgiving themed). Do they have plates etc already?

 

Loved the flowers idea or pizza gift card for some other time.

 

Some of our guests love eggnog. It really helps when someone brings it.

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My MIL has a cupboard full of different types of plastic ware. She sends it back and forth with some of us. It's not in good shape. I tried to buy her a glass storage set as a gift one year and FIL said don't bother, BTDT and she didn't use it LOL. I still wonder sometimes if I should. We praised her for finally throwing out the lids that didn't have bottoms and vice versa. She used to insist on keeping the lids with lids and bottoms with bottoms, but then we'd just fumble around playing, "which one matches? How many tries will it take?" Hahaha I'm not sure who finally convinced her, but now they are actually paired up and the rest of the adults are no longer intimidated by the cupboard.

I try to keep the disposable ones on hand, but I still have to wash and store them in advance and my storage in this kitchen is at a premium.

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Didn't read the other responses but when we host Thanksgiving we usually make the turkey, gravy, and pies, and others bring rolls, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, stuffing. I like to make a cranberry/apple crumble thing (it's a side dish).

 

ETA: I usually have people bring a crudite tray or cheese/crackers and soda or hot cider.

Edited by cintinative

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The same thing you take to anyone's house when you go for dinner: flowers (I would send them in advance if possible), wine, or good boxed chocolates.

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A  thought on flowers.  I had a guest bring a centerpiece one year.  I already had my table set, complete with center piece.  I didn't know what to do with her's. 

 

I love all the rest of the ideas !

 

 

 

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I'm waiting for someone to show up with a dish made from 3 parts energy, 2 parts stress reducer, 1 magic wand (for making anything that I forgot magically appear) and as much good humor as it can hold lol.

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