By Village Dietitian, Jamie Miller
Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and corn… we all know the veteran dishes to a typical Thanksgiving dinner. But what if that seems too time consuming, a little boring or like too much food for a smaller crowd? Or what if there’s a guest attending your dinner with special dietary needs? It’s okay to get creative and switch up what you serve! This year, we’ve got some tips on how to shake up your routine for Thanksgiving dinner and create a delicious meal for everyone gathered around your table.
Simplify the Meal
While some avid cooks enjoy spending days in the kitchen to prepare for a big turkey dinner, that doesn’t need to be the case. There are countless shortcuts you can use to cut back on time in the kitchen — which equates to more quality time with your loved ones! Let your slow cooker do the work with these Slow Cooker Garlic Mashed Potatoes. You can even speed up the mashing process by using an electric mixer. Or skip any peeling or chopping with these easy Sauteed Baby Carrots with Dill. Scratch-made Cranberry Sauce is quite quick and simple and can add a homemade touch to your plate even if you go for some other pre-made dishes.
Add Some Unexpected Flavors
Surprise your guests with unique twists on some traditional recipes. This will make your dishes exciting and memorable while maintaining a familiar feel to what’s traditionally served. Try an unexpected Asian flare to the main event with a Miso Butter Turkey with Shiitake Mushroom Gravy or put a Southwestern spicy spin on your Cornbread Stuffing by adding green chiles. Add an Italian-inspired side dish to the spread with Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Pecorino.
A Feast for Few
If you find yourself with less people around your table this year but want to still enjoy a special Thanksgiving meal together, there are many ways you can scale down your dinner instead of making a large turkey. You can break from a traditional turkey by making each guest their own Cornish Hen with Apple Cranberry Rice Stuffing. Or keep turkey on the menu without all the work or leftovers with this Slow Cooker Turkey Breast. You can combine two dishes by making Cranberry Dressing Stuffed Turkey Breast.
Take Care of Your Guests
A great hostess is thoughtful of their guests and their specific preferences. Even if you have someone eating with you that is vegetarian, dairy- free or gluten-free, you can cater to their individual needs while ensuring your dishes are as tasty as ever. A vegetarian or vegan at your table can swap turkey for Stuffed Acorn Squash as their main event. Everyone can safely dish up vegan Creamed Corn and Wild Rice Stuffing. And you can make sure that all your gluten- and dairy-free guests can still enjoy dessert with this Pumpkin Pie.
Lighten it Up
While a typical Thanksgiving dinner can send you straight into a food coma, it is possible to make your meal just as crave-able while leaving you feeling great. There are numerous ways to lighten up your favorite dishes. For example, give lower carb Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash a try instead of the typical sugary sweet potato casserole. Or bypass the rich creamy mushroom sauce and friend toppings of traditional green bean casserole with this full of flavor Garlicky Green Beans with Slivered Almonds. An Autumn Harvest Salad is a be a showstopper while helping guests fill their plates with nourishing vegetables.
No matter what your holiday dinner looks like this year, the Village wishes you a memorable and delicious Thanksgiving shared with your loved ones.
For a personalized look into your individual health needs and nutrition goals, reach out to Village dietitian, Jamie Miller. P: 713-494-2030 E: firstname.lastname@example.org