I appreciate opportunities to write about Thanksgiving in the weeks leading up to the food-filled holiday for a few reasons. For one, I love food and adore anytime we can gather with friends and family to celebrate delicious dishes. Another reason I love writing about Thanksgiving is that it’s celebrated by so many of us and, except for small shifts in the menu, we essentially all do it the same way. Naturally, a fantastic feast doesn’t just appear on the table without thought, menu planning, and strategically timed visits to the supermarket. To help you prepare I’ve put together five planning tips and of course a few recipes too.
Do you have Friendsgiving plans this year? This holiday, where you share a meal with friends in lieu of family, is increasingly popular among millennials. The concept might have started with college students or coworkers who didn’t have a place to go or the ability to travel home for Thanksgiving, but now it has taken on a life of its own. Groups of close friends (often in their 20s and 30s) gather the weekend before Thanksgiving for a feast in addition to the main holiday event. I’m sure you can understand the appeal of an evening with best friends and more of those classic holiday dishes. But this trend can double an already indulgent holiday. Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered with our better-for-you Friendsgiving menu.
If you can get fresh green beans, they really don’t need more than a light treatment of garlic and herbs to be worthy of playing handmaiden to the sacrificial bird, so to speak. Color and crunch are also often lacking on a Thanksgiving table. While you could provide those with a salad, you could also save yourself time, money, and oven space by swapping in a fresh green bean recipe like this one instead.
We recently attended the 2019 annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Known as FNCE, this year’s conference was held in Philly and once again included an extensive expo floor, complete with many food industry companies. There continues to be a trend toward plant-based products, lower-sugar foods, and products made with fewer ingredients to provide consumers with the simplicity their looking for in their foods. As always, we enjoyed trying new foods and having fun on the expo floor.
Between a busy fall season and upcoming holidays, big batch cooking holds appeal for lots of us at this time of year. After all, having plenty of prepped food ingredients around can make it easier to put together a variety of healthful meals quickly and easily. Maybe you’ll be cooking for a crowd in the next month or two and doubling (or tripling) recipes to accommodate your guests. And don’t forget those comforting slow cooker meals that result in multiple portions of food. Whatever your reason, it’s important to realize that recipes that have large yields require special food handling in order for the food to remain safe to eat.
Snacking during the parade in the lead up to dinner is a tradition in my family. The array of nibbles, however, isn’t really all that different than the same kind of snacks we have access to all year. Cheese, nuts, shrimp cocktail, cream cheese and olives on celery. The dominant flavors are salt and fat, and the truth is, the apps tray can lean towards the side of more calorific than flavorful.
If you host a large Thanksgiving, as I do, then the beginning of November marks the beginning of planning and locating recipes ready to make your menu shine. I annually host a Thanksgiving for about 35 people. (Yes, you read that correctly.) With plenty of planning (and furniture moving) we seem to pull off a delightful day. There are some smart shopping strategies that are the key to making it work. I’m happy to share the process with you.
When I say “smart,” I mean…follow me off the beaten path, here. Let’s play with the traditional ingredients of Thanksgiving, but put them to work in different and delicious ways. This month, I’ll be showcasing some recipes that our team especially enjoys using fall flavors to their best in recipes you don’t see every year.