JJ Team Editor

The holidays are just around the corner and if you aren’t the Barefoot Contessa, you can play like it for a day or so.  Many of us have old family traditions to turn to for the best recipes for Thanksgiving. But if you don’t, or need an extra boost in the kitchen, this JJ Team Homes blog has something for everyone.  Many of the best recipes for Thanksgiving offer you the ability to make them ahead of time to save time. Even better, they can be used throughout the holidays to make you look like a pro.

Hot Tip: If you need a hostess gift, one of the Barefoot Contessa’s cookbooks is the perfect treat.  We love Ina’s Make It Ahead – the recipes in this cookbook save us a lot of time over the holidays.  It includes some of the best recipes for Thanksgiving (we love the Warm Fig and Arugula salad!).

Make Breakfast Ahead of Time

Over the holidays, we’ll all spend enough time in the kitchen!  To make life easier, collect a few recipes for breakfast casseroles. Make them ahead of time, put them in the fridge/freezer and then thaw them overnight before you pop them in the oven in the morning.  One of Julie’s favorites is the Country Cook Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole because it’s SO EASY

Another one of our favorites is the make-ahead breakfast casserole with sausage.  This type of casserole can be warmed up the morning of. Think about the possibilities on the weekends, right?

Sunset magazine has published a number of terrific breakfast recipes over the years.  The magazine features a culmination of these recipes in this piece, perfect for the holidays.  We love the Speedy Huevos Rancheros – they literally take minutes to put together and taste delish. 

Jaime is thankful for …  My family and our health and the fun times we have as a family! I am thankful for my real estate partner Julie.  Working in real estate truly doesn’t feel like a job – every single day is fun and challenging in a great way.  Do what you love in life because it doesn’t feel like work!

Barefoot Contessa Recipes

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Many people think that Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, but Jaime would beg to differ.  Her favorite side to make (and eat) at Thanksgiving is the Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes from the Barefoot Contessa.  It’s a myth that the potatoes need to be made the day of.  Make it ahead: Assemble the dish, including the parmesan, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bake before serving.

best recipes for thanksgiving includes  goat cheese mashed potatoes.  make it ahead like the barefoot contessa.

Orange-Braised Carrots and Parsnips

Staying with the Barefoot Contessa, If you are looking for a twist on vegetables, try Ina Garten’s Orange-Braised Carrots and Parsnips.  The kiddos can help with this recipe – it’s easy.  Let them peel both the carrots and parsnips.  Make it with rainbow carrots to add even more pretty color to the table. 

Orange-Braised Carrots and Parsnips from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook are one of the best recipes for thanksgiving.

Hot Tip: If you can plan ahead, purchase used Ina Garten’s cookbooks on Amazon.  The Barefoot Contessa’s cookbooks are relatively inexpensive and in great condition (you can purchase them as inexpensive as $3.99).  Buy a few of them and tie a pretty ribbon around them as a unique gift.  This works for other cookbooks as well, especially if you are looking for the best recipes for Thanksgiving.

Barefoot Contessa cookbooks

Julie is thankful for … My husband Jack and my kids.  My enormous extended family who also happen to be my best friends.  I’m also thankful for my real estate partner Jaime! I am thankful for our health, laughter and smiles everyday. And of course our wonderful clients – it’s really not about the homes – it’s about the people!


Whether you prefer pumpkin or pecan pie, hands down, the best pie crust recipe comes from Crisco.  You can make the pie crusts a few weeks in advance and freeze them.  Pull them out to the thaw the day you need them.   

These Santa Hat Cheesecake bites will be a real hit during the holidays.  They taste delish and are really easy to make.  Bring the kiddos in for extra pairs of hands.  Hot Tip if you are short on time: Buy a frozen cheesecake, cut them into bites and simply top them with the strawberries and sweetened whipped cream. 

If pecan pie is your jam and you want something small, but sweet over the holidays, try these pecan pie muffins. They take literally three minutes to put together and are really tasty.  They can be made ahead of time, frozen and brought to room temperature before the guests arrive. 

If baking isn’t your thing: order your pies from Heidi’s Pies in San Mateo.  In addition to Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie, they feature a number of fresh fruit, whipped cream and sugar-free pies.  Heidi’s Pies has been open since 1970.  Hot Tip: The San Francisco Chronicle named them one of the best pie shops in the Bay Area earlier this month.

piece of pumpkin pie

Favorite (moc)cocktails 

Because the holidays won’t be complete without a signature cocktail. Julie whipped these pomegranate mojitos up for a family gathering over the holidays and they’ve been a huge hit!  They can be made with rum or non-alcohol for all ages. Our second annual Gift Guide for the Home includes a duo of non-alcoholic mixers that are delish. The Aplos Duo is the way to go as a hostess gift.

From our inaugural J+J Team Homes Gift Guide: Celeya Tequila

Our favorite tequila is Celaya. Arrange it in a gift basket with nice glassware, some Topo Chico, and limes. Tie a bow around it and bring it to every Christmas party. The easiest gift for the adults in your life. For more gift ideas, check out our inaugural J+J Team Homes Gift Guide.

3 celaya-tequila bottles

Happy Holidays from J+J Team Homes

Thank you for reading J+J Team Homes Blog

Before you gets started making your lists, read this Barefoot Contessa article on how to plan a less stressful Thanksgiving. If you have any questions or a topic you’d be interested in learning more about – leave us a comment below, on our social media, or reach out to us directly. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and friends. We hope you enjoy your time in the kitchen too. And lastly, even if you aren’t in the market, we’d love it if you’d pass along our information to those who are on the lookout.