Thanksgiving at our house is a little bit unconventional. I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian, and Alex is an omnivore. We have an informal agreement that I don't have to cook meat at home. Last year was my first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner, and we managed to work out a menu sans turkey that everyone loved. We made all of our favorites again this year.
Neither of us ever particularly enjoyed traditional Thanksgiving food, so when we found a recipe for southwestern-inspired stuffing in Real Simple, we decided to create a more eclectic menu.
- Cheddar and jalapeño stuffing
- Cheddar and chive biscuits (adapted from this brie and chive biscuit recipe)
- Garlic Hasselback potatoes with herbed sour cream
- Quorn turk'y roast (a meat substitute product)
- Spring mix salad with balsamic vinaigrette
This year, I decided to use French bread for the stuffing instead of boxed stuffing mix. It took almost no extra time to prepare, and it made a huge difference in the taste of the stuffing. I was really glad that I decided to do it.
Minx, our rescued Pomeranian, took care of cleaning up any doggie-friendly food spills. I have to wonder if she wills things to fall off of the counter.
The Hasselback potatoes look much more difficult to make than they actually are. Food Network suggests resting the potatoes in a wooden spoon to make the cuts so that you don't accidentally cut all the way through them. I tried it this year, and it sped up the preparation process considerably. I also put the potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet this year after learning the hard way last year that the excess butter and olive oil glaze would slide off of the baking sheet and onto the bottom of my oven!
The biscuits ended up being larger than last year, but I don't think anyone minded.
We made the stuffing on the night before Thanksgiving because it requires more preparation than anything else on our menu. We stored it in the refrigerator over night and then reheated it in the oven for a few minutes after our turk'y roast was finished cooking. I wish that I had done this last year instead of cooking everything but the biscuits on the day of the feast! It made the whole process so much less stressful.
We always cook the turk'y roast according to the directions on the package, but we opt to cook it in a glass dish with vegetable broth, rosemary, celery, carrots, and onions and cover it with tin foil. Alex says that he feels like he is in a turkey coma after he eats it even though he didn't eat any actual turkey, so it must be pretty comparable for meat eaters!
I think my omnivore guests would agree that this Thanksgiving menu is a crowd-pleaser. You could easily adapt it to include a real turkey, and almost all of the meal can be prepared in advance and reheated in the oven without compromising any of the flavor. I'll be sticking with this tried and true menu for years to come!