Thanksgiving Meal Ideas
Try some of these Thanksgiving meal ideas for a stress free holiday.
many people, the biggest part of their Thanksgiving Day is spent in
the kitchen preparing many dishes, basting the turkey and preparing the
With all the many tasks to be completed on this special holiday, it can
leave you feeling stressed and left out of the fun.
If this sounds like your Thanksgiving Day, then you
want to check out these meal ideas so you can get out of the
kitchen and get in on the holiday fun.
Thanksgiving meal ideas for are all about planning ahead so
you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time actually enjoying
Start early by making a food list at least a week in advance. This
year, create a list of the food items that will be on the
Stick to the list and if an item isn’t on
the list then it won’t be part of the Thanksgiving dinner.
Cook what you can ahead of time and freeze it for the big
Items like casseroles, macaroni and cheese, and rice
dishes are easily cooked ahead of time and can be easily
Don’t forget to let these dishes completely cool
before freezing them or it will cause condensation to form.
dish is evenly cooled, place it in a freezer bag or cover it with an
Then on Thanksgiving morning, just pull them
out of the freezer to thaw in time for dinner.
celebrate Thanksgiving earlier in the day, just take these items out of
the freezer the night before and place them in your refrigerator
Buy a fresh turkey instead of a frozen one. A fresh turkey has a much
better flavor (at least in my opinion) and it’s often awkward finding
enough space to thaw a larger turkey.
When you have a frozen
turkey it takes up much of the room in your refrigerator.
This makes it
difficult to prepare and store other items.
It can take
days for a frozen turkey to thaw.
A fresh turkey
can be bought later without the space worries..
There’s nothing like the taste and smell of a freshly baked pie
all like to have our pies fresh and hot from the
oven, but that is a lot of “perfect” timing for the baker.
fact, if you are hosting a huge Thanksgiving feast this timing is near
Bake your pies before hand and let your friends
and family heat their single pieces up after dinner.
This way it's nice and warm when they are ready to eat
You gotta love the microwave for just these
Plan for appetizers by purchasing or making something for
munchies. If you are like many people, the turkey never seems
to be done exactly as planned.
So plan ahead and have
appetizers ready for the anxious and hungry crowd.
These are just some meal planning ideas that will hopefully make your
Thanksgiving dinner a smooth process and save you some time.
In fact, with this extra time you can even do some Thanksgiving crafts
with your kids.
Alternate Cooking Methods
This next set of Thanksgiving ideas is all about cooking the
There is more than one way to do almost everything. This includes
preparing the Thanksgiving turkey.
We all know just how good a slow
roasted turkey from the oven tastes and smells.
But if you’re
looking for something a little different this year, here are some other
choices for your Thanksgiving meal.
Be sure to adjust your
meal planning ideas to accommodate the way you plan to cook your turkey.
Thanksgiving Meal Ideas - Barbequed
Grilling isn’t just for summer time. We put everything else
on the grill so why not a turkey?
Grilling a turkey gives it
a unique flavor and texture much like chicken parts grilled to
perfection for a family outing.
The difference is that here we are
grilling an entire turkey at once.
Instead of putting the turkey on the
grill slats, place it in a baking pan over the flames.
This way the
turkey can be basted and seasoned during the grilling process. As your
turkey is close to being done, add your favorite BBQ sauce to it for an
Meal Ideas - Fried
Although I love the smell of a turkey baking in the oven, the taste of
a deep fried turkey is wonderful.
Many people think there is not a pan big enough to fry an entire turkey
and up until several years ago, they were right.
long ago we started to see turkey fryers everywhere.
Using peanut oil
in a large frying pot, once the oil reaches a certain temperature, a
clean and dry turkey is slowly lowered into it.
The turkey can be
seasoned beforehand or injected with a marinade to seal in flavor. It
takes at least an hour to cook a turkey thoroughly.
Depending on your
marinade on the outside, the skin will be crispy and dark, but don’t
worry. That crunchy and tasty skin hides the most tender, perfectly
cooked meat underneath.
Deep frying a turkey requires attention and care. Be sure to
understand and read all directions for proper heat, amount of oil,
Your meal planning ideas for this type of turkey will
require a spot outdoors.
Meal Ideas - Smoked
If you want a turkey fresh off the coals, try a smoker to cook your
turkey this year.
smoked meat and smoked turkey is absolutely
delicious. The bird is cleaned and seasoned.
It can then be
injected with a marinade if you want.
Once the coals have burned hot
and come to a temperature that is not so hot it will burn the outside
skin, place the turkey on the smoker.
It will take several hours for
this turkey to cook, but placing a pan of water on the smoker will help
hold in moisture and create a juicy yet well smoked turkey for everyone
Review your grocery list and adjust your meal
planning ideas to compliment a smoked turkey taste
Meal Ideas - Turducken
What the heck is a turducken? It sounds like something that rises out
of the graveyard on Halloween night.
Actually it is a combination of
various de-boned fowl: turkey, duck, and chicken. They are all put
together and layered with stuffing to create this newest addition to
the Thanksgiving table.
The turducken looks like a turkey on the
outside, but all you have to do is cut into it to see that it is
anything but. Those who have tried them, say that turduckens taste
of which method you select to prepare your turkey, you and
your guests will be pleased with the results.
This next set of Thanksgiving ideas is all about skipping the
traditional turkey and trying something new.
has been a tradition for many households for many years for
At one time Benjamin Franklin suggested that the
turkey be the national bird instead of the bald eagle.
Honestly, Tom the Turkey doesn’t always want to be the center of
attention - especially at dinner.
Tom the Turkey is happy to see many people substituting other dishes as
the main dish.
some alternatives to Turkey to use for your Thanksgiving meal ideas.
Meal Ideas - Fish
One alternative to turkey is fish. Fish like salmon are high in omega-3
fatty acids. Fish like salmon and tuna are good for lowering “bad”
cholesterol in your body.
A main dish of salmon with wild rice and
green beans not only tastes great but is a well balanced and healthy
meal for you to celebrate the holiday.
To jazz up that salmon, add a
pecan or parmesan crust.
Meal Ideas - Chicken
What about chicken? A roasted chicken is smaller than a turkey for a
more intimate gathering.
A small whole chicken can be
fried, or both, depending on your taste buds.
There is less cooking
time as well which is always a plus if you ask the cook.
You can even
prepare the chicken earlier in the day and then warm it up for the full
Meal Ideas - White
For some, Thanksgiving just would not be the same without turkey. For
one reason or another they don’t need or want a big 20 pound turkey.
Instead, select a roasted turkey breast or turkey cutlets. They bake up
quickly and leave less of a mess to clean up after dinner.
Meal Ideas - Vegetarian
doesn’t have to be meat on the table at all as vegetarians will
tell you. Set the table with a variety of casserole dishes.
broccoli casserole, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, and
other vegetable dishes can fill you up and keep you from missing the
Some vegetarians create a tofu turkey as their centerpiece as
well to help set the “mood” for the occasion.
The menu for Thanksgiving is not set in stone so go over your meal
planning ideas and try something new this Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks with friends and family
regardless of what you set on the table.
Reduce Stress for the Cook
For all of you who generally prepare the meals, this set of
Thanksgiving meal ideas are for you. They are all about ways to reduce
the stress of preparing the holiday.
Here are some ideas to help you feel less
stress and give you more time to get it in on the fun.
Clean your home before Thanksgiving Day.
We all want the place to look
great for our guests but the same day as the meal is not the best time
to do it.
If everyone chips in and takes a different section of the
house, it’ll get straightened out in no time.
duties. There is no written rule that says mom has to cook it
The kitchen is everyone’s place on Thanksgiving Day.
Even the kids
can do their share by peeling potatoes or slicing up fruit and
vegetables for a salad.
For younger ones, stirring and adding
ingredients prior to cooking is a fun task they are sure to delight in.
Just be careful that they aren’t tossing in army men or dolly shoes
while you’re basting the turkey.
Set Before Turkey's Done
Set the table. We always leave that until last but there really is no
reason to. If dinner will be buffet style, arrange the buffet servers,
utensils, sterno jars, and the dinnerware a day or two ahead of time.
Make a list and check it twice. Don’t end up with more turkey than you
need. Write the names of everyone who is coming so that there is enough
turkey for a full serving for each person. This cuts down on leftovers
which seem to take over the refrigerator for at least a week.
disposable pans. When roasting the turkey, ham, chicken, and/or
other meats, do so in disposable roasting pans.
The last thing anyone
wants to do is wash dishes after eating a big meal.
These pans come in
various sizes including ones perfect for side dishes and even breads.
When it’s all over, throw them in the trash can instead of spending the
evening washing every pot, pan and casserole dish in the house.
Ahead for Leftovers
Buy containers for leftovers. No one ever has enough to store food in
so they use the pans that they cooked in. Choose
smaller rather than larger containers so there is no space inside the
container that is not occupied by food.
The cheaper ones are disposable
as well so once the food is gone, get rid of the container without
worrying about anything being wasted.
With these tips your Thanksgiving day will be enjoyable for everyone.
In fact, you may find yourself with a bit of extra time to
enjoy some family activities.
For more Thanksgiving
meal ideas, try searching for some new recipes
with this recipe
Try these soups to compliment your turkey dinner. Save
some of the left overs and make the soups the next day. It's a great
way to get in your turkey scraps over a hot bowl of soup.
Eating Healthy at Christmas
With this holiday right around the corner, find out ways you can eat
healthier and still enjoy some holiday treats.
Healthy Turkey Recipes
Find more ways to enjoy turkey everyday of the year with these recipes. From breakfast to dinner, snacks and appetizers, you are sure to find
something that pleases your taste buds.