10 easy meal options for Thanksgiving dinner
Cook up Thanksgiving without lifting a spatula.
You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to whip up a stunning Turkey Day spread. Take it from some hosts who throw down an annual festive feast and refuse to stress about potentially burning the bird.
“I’m a hairstylist and a mom and it’s our busiest week of the year and I️ just can’t do it all,” Alli Gorton, 26, of Fort Myers, Florida tells Moneyish.
“Something has to give and it’s not going to be my time enjoying my family,” she adds.
Gorton learned her lesson the hard way a few years ago when she bought a pre-cooked turkey that ended up still being raw when her guests arrived.
“We all had a good laugh when we couldn’t eat the turkey,” she recalls.
Now she orders a pre-cooked feast from The Fresh Market, her local grocery store, and gets all of her fixings like the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans and cranberry sauce for under $200. All she has to do is set the table and heat up the meal before dinner is served.
“I pick everything up the day before and still have the turkey in for a few hours so the house smells like Thanksgiving,” she says.
Gorton lets her guests think she made it all.
“My family doesn’t know and I️ don’t tell!”
It might cost you more to buy an already cooked meal as opposed to making it yourself, but Gorton assures it’s worth saving on the hassle. The average consumer will spend approximately $97.55 this Thanksgiving on non-travel related expenses, according to a recent survey by LendEDU, an online marketplace for loan refinancing. And on average it’ll take them around five and a half hours to cook it all.
If you want to own some of the cooking cred, meal kit delivery services like HelloFresh provide all the ingredients for great side dishes you can whip up in 40 minutes or less delivered to your door.
“Why burden yourself cooking a hot appetizer?” HelloFresh head chef Claudia Sidoti says, recommending easy to assemble hors d’oeuvres like cheese plates, soup shots and flatbreads pre-turkey.
Here are some of the best holiday spreads with no to low-cooking involved:
Stewart is making it easy for amatuer chefs to churn out a Pinterest worthy meal.
The queen of the kitchen partnered with meal-kit delivery service Marley Spoon to bring easy ingredients to novice cooks who can whip up the meal à la minute.
There’s ingredients to cook a whole, free-range turkey with gravy, four sides, like Stewart’s mother’s signature mashed potatoes, roasted root veggies, stuffing with whole-wheat bread and cranberries, a green bean dish with roasted shallots and an easy-to-assemble apple oat crisp for dessert. It comes with step-by-step recipes sure to prevent having a holiday meltdown.
Boston Market, $120 for 12
This spread is a lot of bang for your buck. For $120, you can get a whole roasted turkey, spinach artichoke dip with crackers, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry walnut relish and dinner rolls. The chain-bought feast serves 12 people, and comes with two pies: apple and pumpkin.
Have your turkey, and ham too. You get two meaty options with this package.
It features a classic, 16-pound roasted turkey, four-pound brown sugar, spiral-cut ham and traditional sides like potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and green beans. There’s also creamed spinach and kale. Dessert is pumpkin and apple pie. It’s available at all locations for pick-up and delivery.
Have a southern-style spread that’s oven to table in two hours or less.
The Tennessee-based chain makes side dishes the main event with cornbread dressing, hashbrown casserole, macaroni and cheese and sweet potato casserole. Of course there’s also roasted turkey, and healthier veggie options like carrots and green beans to go with it. Save room for the fried apple dessert.
If you don’t eat meat and dread this food holiday don’t fret — this all-vegan meal has you covered. The meal delivery service created the plant-based version of Thanksgiving turkey with a soy-protein based dish with a crunchy, herb crust drizzled in a porcini mushroom gravy. It comes with cornbread stuffing and cranberries. It’s all cooked, so all you have to do is reheat and serve.
If you really want to impress your dinner guests, order this hearty hybrid: it’s a semi-boneless turkey filled with boneless duck, boneless chicken and stuffing made from ground pork sausage and Cajun-style cornbread. It comes uncooked, but all you have to do is pop it in the oven. Pair it with the market’s mashed sweet potatoes ($25); roasted Brussels sprouts ($20); and chestnut and celery root stuffing ($25).
Forget the calories (around 200 for a deep fried turkey breast) and add on the flavor with this spicy, crispy-skinned fried turkey. It’s seasoned with cajun spices and already cooked and comes delivered to your door frozen.
To prep, simply thaw it in water on Thanksgiving eve and heat it up the next morning in the oven. It serves up to 24 people.
Ingredients for these easy to assemble side dishes from HelloFresh come delivered straight to your door and are rated Level 1 for easy prep. The holiday pasta appetizer, Little Ears, features orecchiette pasta tossed with bites of broccoli and sweet sausage, and coated with basil-packing pesto and Parmesan cheese. All you need to do is boil water for the pasta and saute the broccoli, sausage and spices in another pan and combine the two. It’s ready in 45 minutes.
Another is the yellow squash flatbread you can churn out in 30 minutes. Dice up the veggies (squash, scallions) and let them heat up in a large pan with pine nuts. Meanwhile, toss mixed greens, tomatoes, a squeeze of lemon, and a drizzle of olive oil in a medium bowl. Then add the hot ingredients to your already made flat bread, sprinkle in the cheese and your salad and it’s ready to serve. There’s also a simple one-pot apple cranberry stuffing recipe that takes 45 minutes to heat up on the stove top.
Prepared Thanksgiving Dinner from Eli Zabar’s, items from $20 to $195
If you’re spending Thanksgiving in New York, have it catered from this Upper East Side institution that’s delivering everything from its signature smoked salmon to seasonal soups and goat cheese brioche canapes.
Opt for the pumpkin butternut squash soup for a seasonal starter ($20 per quart); jalapeno loaf cornbread ($16.95); cranberry-orange relish ($14.95 per pint); and hearty, traditional entrees like a whole glazed, 12-pound ham ($220); and slice turkey breast ($35 per pound).
If you’re having an intimate Thanksgiving for two, why cook a whole turkey? This meal-kit service has a less intimidating, DIY approach to the big meal. Blue Apron provides ingredients like a turkey leg, turkey breast, spices, and veggies like green beans, mushrooms and gold potatoes.
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