The Thanksgiving Guide | Tuckernuck

The Thanksgiving Guide

By Tuckernuck on

Meet Serena Wolf, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, private chef, culinary instructor, recipe developer, and cookbook author, to name a few of her roles. Through her straightforward and (mostly) nutritious recipes, Serena makes a healthy lifestyle easy, realistic, and always fun.

Apart from her culinary expertise, Serena is a go-to lifestyle guru. Just read her blog or follow her on Instagram, and you’ll discover a thing or two on fashion styling, glow-boosting skincare routines, and “medium-trashy,” can’t-put-down reads.

This Thanksgiving, we join Serena in her NYC loft to prepare her holiday dinner, complete with a warm and inviting table setting.

Admittedly one of her favorite traditions each year is a pre-dinner bath, glass of champagne, and Thanksgiving episode of Friends. However, sharing what she and her guests are grateful for in the given year is high on her list as well. Read on for Serena’s full Thanksgiving guide, her favorite recipes (read: don’t forget your greens), prepping advice, entertaining tips, and outfits that will keep you chic while still letting you eat.

Party Prep

“Organization is key! Set your menu and make your grocery list about a week in advance, so that you can do as much of your shopping as possible. Then make a prep schedule with time stamps to help keep you on track. Figure out what dishes can be prepped in advance and try to tackle those 1-2 days before. Think: make cranberry sauce, stale bread for stuffing, chop vegetables, peel and slice potatoes, make sauces and dressings. I also like to set the table, pick out my outfit, and determine the playlist the night before.”

A Layered Narrative

“I love mixing and matching colors, prints, and textures, so this was the layered tablescape of my dreams. The florals, linens, and eclectic mix of dishware and glassware played so beautifully together. It felt special without being fussy, which is always my goal. As a wise woman once said, ‘A naked table is more offensive than a naked host…’”

Laid-Back Chic

“Comfort is mandatory for my favorite food holiday of the year, and I love a timeless midi dress—preferably something that’s soft and not too tight like the Lennox Dress—a great heel or boot (I’m in love with these Staud velvet mules), and a statement earring.”

On the Menu

I always dry brine and spatchock my turkey for the juiciest, most tender meat (it also cooks in a fraction of the time!), and my family shamelessly doctors Stovetop Turkey Stuffing mix with sausage, apples, and onion, and it’s hands down my favorite holiday side. On the vegetable front, I love my Kale, Brussels Sprout and Apple Salad, and Chipotle Glazed Delicata Squash with Pomegranate and Goat Cheese. They’re outrageously delicious and welcome light additions to a decadent spread.”

A Night to Remember

“Before dinner, I dim the lights and light candles. My husband and I collect records, so we pick something high-energy during cocktail hour and jazzier for dinner. I set aside a bottle of champagne and pick special wines to pair with the meal. Given that oven real estate is scarce, I skip hot appetizers in favor of a giant charcuterie board for cocktail hour, before the feasting begins!”

Kale, Brussels Sprout, and Apple Salad

serves 8 as a side


1/3 cup pepitas 1 large bunch curly kale (Lacinato kale is also great), center ribs removed and very finely chopped (about 6 cups finely chopped kale)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups shaved Brussels sprouts (about ¾ pound whole sprouts)

1 large apple, cut into matchsticks

1/3 cup golden raisins

For the dressing:

1 medium shallot, minced

1 large garlic clove, grated or finely minced

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. (Do not add any fat to the pan!) When hot, add the pepitas and toast, shaking the pan occasionally, for about 3 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a plate or bowl to cool.

2. Add the kale to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with a good pinch of salt. Massage the kale in handfuls—literally rub the leaves between your fingers—for a minute or two, until the leaves soften and darken in color. (Yes, I know giving your salad a rubdown is a little weird, but it’s worth it. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.)

3. In a medium bowl, whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing. Add the apple to the dressing and toss to coat. (The lemon juice in the dressing will help prevent the apples from browning in the salad.)

4. Add the apple, dressing, Brussels sprouts, raisins, and cooled pepitas to the bowl with the kale and toss to combine. Taste and season with a little extra salt, pepper, or lemon if needed. Serve at room temperature.


*You can absolutely use store-bought shaved/shredded Brussels sprouts to save time. You can also use a shredding attachment on a food processor to shave the sprouts if you’d like.

*If you don’t like raisins, dried cranberries, currants, or chopped pitted dates are also delicious!

*Sliced or slivered Almonds, or chopped walnuts or pecans are fantastic in place of pepitas. If you’re feeling extra fancy, candied walnuts or pecans are delightful.

*Don’t hesitate to add some cheese to this salad! I’m particularly fond of Pecorino Romano, Parmesan, ricotta salata, or goat cheese. (If using goat cheese, sprinkle it on top so that it doesn’t create a creamy film on the salad.)

*Want to bulk things up with a grain? 1-2 cups of cooked farro, quinoa, or barley is a great addition to this mix.*If preparing this salad ahead, remove it from the fridge 20 minutes before serving to allow it to cool to room temperature. Leftovers can be freshened with a squeeze of lemon and/or an extra drizzle of olive oil if needed.

Chipotle Delicata Squash with Pomegranate, Goat Cheese, and Herbs

serves 4 generous sides


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1½ tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 chipotle pepper canned in adobo, very finely chopped (If you’re sensitive to heat, seed the chipotle pepper first.)

1 tablespoon adobo sauce from the chipotle can

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¾ teaspoon salt, divided

2 delicata squash (at least 1 pound each)

2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (Feta or ricotta salata is also delicious!)

2 whole scallions, very thinly sliced

1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

¼ cup pomegranate arils


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment for easy cleanup.

2. Slice the ends off of the delicata squash, then slice each squash in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, remove the seeds from each squash half, then slice the squash into ½-inch thick half moons. Transfer the squash to the prepared baking sheet.

3. Make the dressing! In a medium bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, garlic powder and ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt.

4. Drizzle 1/2 of the dressing over the squash. Season the squash with the remaining ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and toss to combine. Arrange the squash in an even layer, making sure none of the pieces overlap. (If necessary, you can divide the squash between two baking sheets.)

5. Roast the squash on the middle oven rack for 15-20 minutes until tender and browned on the undersides. (Lift one piece up to check.) Transfer the pan to the broiler for 2-4 minutes (broilers are fickle!) until lightly browned on top.

6. Transfer the squash to a serving plate and drizzle with half of the remaining dressing. Top with goat cheese, scallions, cilantro, and pomegranate arils and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Serve immediately.


*This recipe is also delicious with butternut squash or sweet potatoes if you can’t find delicata. Peel the squash or potatoes and cut them into 1-inch chunks. They will likely take 30-35 minutes in the oven to become tender—stir them once at the 20-minute mark.

*Not into cilantro? You can sub parsley or use an addition 1-2 scallions.

*Cranberries, currants, raisins, or dates are also delicious in place of pomegranate. You could also skip fruit and add toasted or candied nuts! (Love a candied walnut here.)