WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) -- Thanksgiving Day dinner doesn't have to be a time of frustration.

The WUSA*9 morning team has some ideas on how to set a hassle free holiday table.

They're also in the kitchen with some local chefs on some easy, time savingmeal options.

Appetizer: Spinach & Mushroom Crostini

Chef Huda, celebrity chef


1 multi-grain baguette-sliced about 1/4 inch thick

3/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil

**Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place baguette slices on a sheet pan. Brush slices with olive oil and place in oven until golden brown then remove from oven.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

3 pounds cherry tomatoes

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

**Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

First, line the sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place the tomatoes on a sheet pan evenly. Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes until they split. Once they are done remove from heat and set aside.

Sautéed Portabello Mushrooms

4 tablespoons olive oil~save 1 tablespoon until end

3 portobello mushroom caps, sliced

1/2 cup ofFreshly parmesan cheese-shaved~save until end

Kosher salt to taste

Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle in olive oil then add in sliced mushrooms season to preference. Cook mushrooms until tender and soft. Remove from heat when done a set aside.

Creamy Spinach

8 ounces plain greek yogurt

8 ounces fresh baby spinach

1/2 clove of garlic-minced

1/4 cup of water

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle in olive oil then add in minced garlic. Sauté the garlic until it starts to turn golden brown. Add the spinach, salt and water then stir.

Let spinach cook until it starts to wilt. Then remove from heat. Drain liquid from the spinach and set aside to cool. Once cooled, mix in greek yogurt then set aside.

Chef Huda Tip: Remove as much liquid as you can from the spinach before mixing in the greek yogurt. Once everything is ready, pick out your favorite serving platter and let's make something Pretty and Delicious.

Assemble crostinis any way you want. I suggest the order of assemble should be crostini, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, parmesan cheese and finish with a light drizzle of olive oil and fresh cracked black pepper and Enjoy!

Side Dishes:

Susan Lacz, Ridgewells Catering

Autumn Kale Salad

Serves 10

  • 10 oz. Baby Kale
  • 3 oz. peeled, julienne Butternut Squash Butternut Squash
  • 1.5 oz. sun dried cranberries
  • 1.25 oz. spiced pumpkin seeds
  • 6 oz. Humboldt Fog Cheese (crumbled)
  • 5 oz. maple mustard vinaigrette

Salt and pepper to taste

Add Kale and Julienne butternut squash butternut squash to mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Add sun dried cherries; reserving ½ oz. Add spiced pumpkin seeds, reserving ¼ oz. Add Humboldt Fog Cheese, reserving 2 oz. Add vinaigrette and mix well. Garnish with reserved pumpkin seeds, sun dried cranberries and crumbled Humboldt Fog cheese.

Salad Quinoa w/ Dried Fruit, Pistachio, Maple Ponzu

  • 2 lb. Red Quinoa (cooked)
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 3 oz. Pistachios
  • 3 oz. Dried Cherries
  • 3 oz. Dried Apricots (Julienne)
  • 3 oz. Golden Raisins
  • 3 oz. Dried Currants
  • 2.5 oz. Pomegranate Seeds
  • 4 oz. Ponzu Sauce
  • 2 oz. Vegetable Oil
  • ¼ cup Chopped Scallions
  • ¼ cup Chopped Cilantro
  • ¼ Basil Chiffonade

Season Quinoa with salt and pepper. Add Pistachios, apricots, raisins, currants and pomegranate seeds, toss. Add maple syrup, Ponzu sauce and vegetable oil and toss well. Mix in scallions, cilantro and basil. Serves 10 (6 oz. per serving)

Ponzu Sauce

  • 4 oz. Soy sauce (Kikkoman)
  • 3 oz. Mirin
  • 4 oz. Sake
  • 1 oz. Lemon Juice
  • ½ oz Lime Juice

Add all ingredients to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce o simmer. Simmer till reduced by half. Cool completely.

Main Dish: Smoked BBQTurkey

Chef Rob Sonderman, DCity Smokehouse

DCity Smokehouse Turkey Brine

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup dried rosemary
  • ¼ cup pickling spice
  • 1 12 oz can of chipotle in adobo (optional)
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 quart buttermilk


Start by toasting the pickling spices and rosemary in pot until aromatic (approximately 2 minutes)

Next add the 3 quarts of water, salt, sugar and can of chipotles

On hi heat, allow brine solution to come to a boil to allow flavors to marry.

After solution comes to a boil remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature

Add buttermilk last as it will curdle if the rest of the solution is too hot.

Pour your brine over your fresh turkey or turkey breast and allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least over night and as many as 3 days.

Dessert: Banana Pudding Pizzaz

LaKisa Taylor, Pretty Girl Cupcakery

Serving for 8

  • 1 quart if Kiwi Creamery Gourmet Banana Pudding Ice Cream
  • Chessmen Cookies for Garnish

Bourbon Chocolate Sauce

  • 6 oz Hershey's Dark Chocolate or any dark chocolate, sweetened
  • 2/3 Cups of whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons of bourbon

Melt the chocolate in a saucepan over the stove or microwave. Add cream and bourbon. Pour in Martini glass before you scoop in ice cream. Drizzle extra over the top.

Table Settings

Dana Tydings,Tydings Design

Dana Tydings says the table should be the least of your worries after spending so much time cooking.

For starters if you have multiple tables, don't worry about matching tablecloths, find patterns that compliment each other.

Mix traditional and modern dishes. Instead of splurging on vases, uses substitutes for flowers like a wine cooler.

Tydings also says go ahead and splurge on one nice piece.


Marcus Johnson and Robert Piziali, Flo Wines

There is a wine for every part ofyour meal.

Robert Piziali and Marcus Johnson saywhen it comes to appetizers, you want to start with a sparkling wine.

When you set out theturkey and ham, fill your glass with a Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.

For desserts, go with a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc.

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