Not everyone has the luxury of planning and preparing their Thanksgiving dinner in advance. Some are too busy to even remember such occasions. Others are probably feeling restless since they don’t have enough to spend on a whole turkey. And with the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of Americans are probably too mentally and emotionally drained to plan a grand feast. These reasons are totally acceptable but if you still want to celebrate the holiday, there’s still a bit of time before dinner. Choose recipes that are more affordable and easier to make. Here are some easy last-minute Thanksgiving feast ideas you can still do.
Thanksgiving Main Dish
No turkey, no problem. Who says you should stick to tradition? Heck, even the president pardoned Corn the Turkey and his alternate Cob. You can do without a turkey this year. So now the question begging to be answered is, “What’s the alternative?”
Turkey may be hard to come by right now but if you still want something that will be the highlight of your Thanksgiving feast, roast chicken should be fine. Whole chicken is readily available and easier to prepare. Make your poultry a little more special with Julia Child’s Favorite Roast Chicken recipe.
The recipe from the late kitchen icon and World War II spy requires carrots, onion, celery, thyme, parsley, lemon, chicken stock, unsalted butter, salt and ground pepper. You just need to cook the diced carrots, onion and celery a bit in butter before adding the herbs.
After thoroughly washing and prepare the chicken, pack the cooked vegetables, parsley stems, celery leaves, and lemon slices along with salt and pepper into the cavity. Rub butter all over the chicken then sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
A Thanksgiving dinner staple, shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with lamb. However, beef has become more popular in this side of the world. If you’re making this meat pie for your Thanksgiving feast, you can use either meat. Since beef is more readily available and generally less expensive, you can use it for this easy Shepherd’s pie recipe from Simply Recipes.
Aside from ground beef, other main ingredients include large potatoes, onion, butter, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper for seasoning. This recipe also calls for vegetables such as corn, peas and diced carrots.
You will also need an oven, medium-sized pot, cast iron or non-stick skillet, large bowl, and a baking dish. A potato masher will also come in handy. For the instructions, check out the link above or watch the video below.
Starters and Side Dishes
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
A list of Thanksgiving feast ideas is not complete without starters and side dishes. It’s okay to spend a little more time preparing and making your roast chicken or shepherd’s pie since they will be the start of the show. As for starters, you can choose something relatively easy such as roasted butternut squash soup.
The best thing about this recipe, aside from its taste, is that the ingredients are easy to procure. A quick trip to grocery store and you’ll be making your last-minute Thanksgiving feast in no time. All you need are butternut squash, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and fresh or dry herbs like sage, thyme, rosemary, olive oil, vegetable stock, salt and pepper. Optional ingredients include cayenne red pepper powder.
Start off by preparing the ingredients. Slice the vegetables into 1-inch pieces and peel the garlic. Dump the vegetables, peeled garlic, and herbs onto the baking pan. Season with salt and pepper then toss and coat with olive oil. Roast them in the oven for an hour.
Once done, throw the ingredients into a food processor or blender (the heavy duty kind) then puree. You want a smooth and creamy consistency. Afterwards, combine the resulting mixture and vegetable stock into a pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into serving bowls, garnish with fresh herbs and chopped nuts, then serve.
Slaw goes well with Thanksgiving turkey. It should go well with your roasted chicken, too. The Thanksgiving slaw by The Kitchn is pretty simple and affordable. Plus it’s quick to make so it’s a good choice for your last-minute Thanksgiving feast.
All you have to do is to make the dressing and prepare the salad. For the dressing, simply combine 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl. Whisk then add the finely chopped 1/2 medium red onion. Set aside and proceed to the salad.
Cut and shred one small head green cabbage and throw in your salad bowl. Add 3/4 cup sliced toasted almonds, 3/4 cup dried cranberries, 3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with your main dish.
Have Your Last-Minute Thanksgiving Feast Delivered
Restaurants are quite busy right now but if you prefer not to slave in the kitchen for your Thanksgiving dinner this year, now’s the time to place an order. Check local restaurants if they will still accept order for Thanksgiving Day. You can also check out the many food businesses that offer their services online.
How about a meal prepared by an Iron Chef? Celebrity chef Cat Cora, the first female winner of the popular cooking reality show, has partnered with Home Bistro to help you enjoy fancy meals right at home. No need to go out and eat at an elegant restaurant. Just have the fancy dish delivered to your home where it’s a lot safer.
It may be too late for this year’s Thanksgiving feast but there’s no hurt in putting this out there. Chef Cat Cora has made ten of her amazing dishes available to the ordering public. Each plate ranges from $19 to $30, which is not bad considering it’s an Iron Chef here we’re talking about here.
Chef Cat’s Harissa Roasted Lamb, Asiago Orzo, Sautéed Spinach and Braised Maitake Mushrooms seems like a good choice for your Thanksgiving dinner. The slow cooked oven roasted lamb fits well with the tradition while the orzo pasta with Asiago cheese and truffle oil will certainly fill you up. Of course, you can’t enjoy Thanksgiving dinner without vegetables. The fancy dish comes with sautéed spinach and braised Maitake mushrooms for good measure.
Another Chef Cat Cora masterpiece is her Grilled Chicken, Tomato Chutney, Couscous and Roasted Parsnips with Parsley. This is a good choice if you’re celebrating special occasions in quarantine. The dish calls for fire-grilled chicken breast marinated with lemon and oregano.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. With how crazy things have been, it’s pretty much okay if you can’t do something you’ve always done. Perhaps you skipped treat-or-treating last Halloween but managed to celebrate it in a simpler but safer way. Thanksgiving Day is no different. You can still celebrate it even if you lack the time, money, and energy. Hopefully the last-minute Thanksgiving feast ideas we mentioned here will help. Remember, anything you make for your Thanksgiving dinner is enough. The important thing is that you and your loved ones are still here and enjoying Thanksgiving dinner no matter how simple it is. That’s definitely something to be grateful for.
Check us out at Gentleman Pirate Club. You can find more recipes and tips on how to safely celebrate Thanksgiving and other holidays during this pandemic.