For my last post on Thanksgiving food this year, I thought I would share how I prepared a quick Thanksgiving lunch for four last week when my dear aunt came for a quick visit. She does not come to see us very often, as she is getting on in years, so I decided to make an early Thanksgiving lunch in honor of her special visit.
I didn’t know that she was coming until 5 pm the day before, so there was not much time for advance food preparation. I really wanted to serve some homemade goodness, so after a little thought, here is what I came up with.
Boar’s Head Maple Glazed Honey Coat Cured Turkey Breast
I simply went to the deli counter at the grocery store and got four slices of this delicious turkey in dinner slices. Just before we were ready to eat and after removing the dressing from the oven, I warmed the slices in the 350 degree oven on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for about five minutes. After the turkey slices were warm, I then put the rolls in to warm. (see below)
Mashed Potatoes with “Extras”
I bought a tub of plain prepared mashed potatoes in the refrigerated section, then added some extras on the stove over low heat, adding a little milk, butter and cream cheese to make them creamier and tastier. I was astounded at how good they were, too. This was my quick version of my favorite mashed potatoes recipe by The Pioneer Woman, which can be found here, although I made a much smaller batch. I was careful to only add the additional ingredients a little bit at a time, and I didn’t need to really add any additional seasonings to my batch, since they were already seasoned.
Homemade Cornbread Dressing
The only thing that I cooked the night before was a double recipe of cornbread. (I also washed a head of romaine lettuce – see salad below.) I used two packages of Jiffy Cornbread Mix and just followed the instructions on the box. After it cooked, I crumbled it up finely and put it back in the oven at 225 degrees to allow the crumbs to try out for about 45 minutes and left the pan of crumbs on the kitchen counter overnight, covered by a clean towel. An hour before lunch the next morning, I chopped a small sweet onion and four celery stalks in the food processor, then sautéed them in a small skillet with some butter until they were soft. Next, I combined the cornbread and veggies in a large mixing bowl, added some chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture was a smooth consistency but not runny. Finally, I added roughly a teaspoon each of thyme, sage, garlic powder, salt and 1/4 tsp of black pepper. I poured it into a glass baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray and baked it at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes until it was slightly brown on top and completely done in the middle. Easy peasy! I have a friend that just seasons hers with poultry seasoning, if you don’t already have the other spices on hand.
Easy Garlic Green Beans
Instead of opting for a typical green bean casserole, I opted to just prepare some good green beans instead. I used this ten-minute recipe that uses frozen green beans, and they were delicious! For a little splash of color, I also added a few diced pimentos from a jar to them just before serving.
Romaine Tossed Salad
My “go to” tossed salad anytime is simply a head of romaine lettuce that is thoroughly washed and dried leaf by leaf and torn by hand, diced Roma tomatoes and carrot that has been peeled with a vegetable peeler. I serve it with either bottled ranch dressing or olive oil/balsamic vinegar right on the table, along with some freshly ground black pepper for anyone that might like it. For my salad, I also toss in a few pine nuts, too. In fact, I’m happy to toss a few pine nuts in just about anything now.
Sister Shubert Dinner Yeast Rolls
If you have not already discovered these excellent yeast rolls, hang on to your hat. They are already cooked and found in the freezer section. They only need about ten minutes to warm in a 350 degree oven and even less time if you let them sit out to thaw just a bit before warming. I keep one or two packages in the freezer at all times and just pull out what I need for dinner. They are one of my favorite dinner rolls ever, even though they are frozen, and we always take some in the freezer of the RV when we go camping, too.
Dessert – Blue Bell Pralines and Cream Ice Cream
Since I really didn’t have time to bake a pie, I just bought a pint of this delicious ice cream and served it in single scoops in my small glass dessert cups. A single scoop of ice cream was just the ticket for our group after this lunch and required no prep time.
In actual prep time on my part, not counting the oven cooking times where I was free to do other things, I spent less than 30 minutes the night before and about 30 minutes the next day before lunch. My lunch guests were so pleased to have an early Thanksgiving lunch, and it was very easy to pull together.
I’ve had quite a number of hits on my site over the past few days from people looking for Thanksgiving meals ideas and prep information, so I hope this gives another option to those folks that want to prepare a good, quick meal for a small group and not spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
I’m off to finish some final preparations for our camping trip tomorrow. I’m a little “iffy” about this trip, as the forecast is not looking too promising, but we are prepared for the cold. I just hope the roads stay clear of ice and snow, as the first big arctic front is going to pass through while we are gone.