Thanksgiving-smoked-meats-MFP The ultimate foodie holiday, Thanksgiving, is right around the corner so of course I have to write a blog post about it. But I’m not just any foodie, I’m a WISCONSIN foodie, so I’m here to tell you how to make a Thanksgiving dinner that celebrates everything Wisconsin.

1. Start with a cheese plate. When festive smells fill your kitchen but dinner’s not ready, you’ll want to give your guests something to munch on, so put together a nice cheese plate. Include some of your Wisconsin cheese favorites like cheddar, Havarti or gouda plus fall inspired pairings like apple slices and pumpkin butter. You can even prepare the cheese plate a day ahead, just remember to take it out of the fridge an hour or so ahead so the cheese can get to room temperature for maximum flavor impact.

2. Have a side of macaroni and cheese. Growing up my mom never included macaroni and cheese in the Thanksgiving side dish line up but now that I’m in charge of my own Thanksgiving dinner, mac and cheese is a must! My favorite recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving because it’s completely stove top so it doesn’t need to compete for valuable oven space.

3. Get fancy with the cranberries. You probably have cranberries every year, and even if all you do is open a can, those cranberries are most likely from the Badger State since Wisconsin is the number 1 cranberry producing state in the USA. To really pay homage to the cranberry, skip the can and try some Wisconsin Wilderness Cranberry chutney.

4. Add a Wisconsin Kringle to your dessert spread. Keep the usual desserts like pumpkin and apple pie to avoid griping from the turkey day traditionalists, but add in something unexpected like a Wisconsin kringle. Kringles come in a variety of fall flavors like apple, pumpkin and cranberry.

5. Serve a Wisconsin-made turkey. You might have heard of Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon, but have you heard of Nueske Applewood Smoked Turkey? Yep, it exists! And you can have one on your dinner table by Thanksgiving if you shop at Wiscnosinmade.com. Or if you’re feeling lucky, head over to our Facebook page before 11/11/14 to try and win a turkey.

Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!