Best Thanksgiving Recipes and Tips for Planning the Perfect Dinner
Twinkling lights and Red Starbucks Cups are clear signs that the holidays are upon us. And this year, many are cautiously navigating a new normal – planning in-person gatherings, booking restaurants, and booking flights to see loved ones. But the new normal isn’t quite the same as the normal around 2019.
Persistent concerns over COVID-19 aren’t the only reason the holidays might be different this year. Many are having their holiday season, due to concerns about food waste at a time when so many are still struggling. For others, experiencing a pandemic has inspired a more creative cuisine that begs to be shared.
Whatever lessons are learned from the pandemic, the key to having an amazing Thanksgiving in 2021 is to do exactly what you want without apologizing.
Here are 10 very different ways to have your best Thanksgiving ever.
1. Pre-game your holiday cheer
Get into the holiday spirit the day before Thanksgiving by heading to one of the Phoenix Metro’s most party bars. While some bars and restaurants keep their Christmas lights on all year round, others bring out the trees and adornments just before Turkey Day. Whether you’re looking for an old-fashioned dive with a little Christmas cheer or a chic cocktail bar with a tree at the top, there’s a Holiday Bar to suit any mood.
Instead of spending the evening before Thanksgiving stressing about your slowly thawing turkey, take the night off. On D-Day, your guests will appreciate your festive atmosphere.
2. Too much turkey? Roast a breast
If your traditional holiday meal consists of a 20-pound stuffed turkey, freshly made gravy, accompanying “casseroles” designed for 12 people, and a few varieties of sweet desserts, chances are good that the big bird is completely useless. Yes, leftover turkey is fantastic, but food waste not. You can create an elegant, ultra-satisfying, and remarkably easy dinner feast with a perfectly roasted turkey breast. It can be cooked frozen, without thawing, which makes it even easier.
3. Do you feel greedy? Try a turkey trot
Any feast is better when you are hungry. After being mostly virtual last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Turkey Trots are back. Many of these occasional, non-competitive races benefit local charities. They range from short distances for small children up to 10km for older children and adults, so there is an option for every family and fitness level.
Make room for the pie:Here are 5 Thanksgiving errands on the Phoenix subway
4. Do you feel the pressure to organize a dinner? Serve snacks (hear us out)
Of course, the turkey is the main event, but having a few nibbles to help everyone out can take the pressure off and make the day more enjoyable for everyone. The trick is to serve appetizers that don’t add too much to your kitchen workload.
Robin Miller has developed emergency appetizers that require minimal ingredients and no preparation. From tender pieces of glistening pork in a sweet and savory frosting to juicy steak bites covered with honey, soy and spicy garlic, meatballs flavored with cumin and sprinkled with onion, garlic, parsley and garlic. Mint with creamy cucumber and dill yogurt and crispy buttery phyllo shells filled with creamy hummus and roasted peppers, all of these snacks provide a burst of flavor with every bite and can be whipped up in minutes.
5. Prepare a side dish that reflects the culture of Phoenix
The Phoenix Subway Home Cooks shared recipes for everything from blackened peas and fried cabbage to crispy fried Indian murukku and creamy olla coffee. Thanksgiving is a great time to try out a new recipe to share with friends and family, and to celebrate the delicious diversity of the Valley.
Homemade tastes better:Phoenix Metro Family Recipes
6. Do you feel that something is missing from a dish? There is an easy solution
According to chef Robin Miller, the solution to disappointing dishes can be as simple as a drizzle of tangy vinegar or a sprinkle of walnut cheese. Here are its best flavor-enhancing ingredients to enhance any side dish.
Balsamic glaze: A thick, tangy syrup that is excellent on vegetables, salads, cheese, meats, seafood and poultry. Sold alongside regular balsamic vinegar.
Pink or gray salt: Much tastier than regular salt and adds a nice crunch.
Chilli pepper powder with smoked paprika and chipotle: A little pinch goes a long way.
Grated parmesan : I am talking about good quality Parmesan (which can be domestic and inexpensive). A fresh grater just before serving adds nutty to a wide variety of dishes, including dressing.
Citrus juice and zest: The acidic juices and zest of lemons, limes and oranges not only add heat, they help to spice up and balance the flavor.
Fresh herbs: Parsley, cilantro, basil, oregano and thyme leaves – sprinkled over dishes just before serving – add color and unparalleled freshness.
Hot condiments: Horseradish, spicy mustard, chutney, wasabi paste, salsa, pesto, and tapenade can turn any dish from bland to grand.
Robin to the rescue:How to fix Thanksgiving disasters, from scorched buns to watery gravy
7. Instead of opening a bottle, make wine cocktails in batches
Wine columnist Amelia Goe thinks it’s vital to have a great range of wines on hand, but there’s something especially festive about cocktails. That said, high-alcohol or high-strain cocktails can be a bit high, which is why she serves wine cocktails, many of which can be made ahead.
The key to creating beautiful wine cocktails is choosing the right wine. Ideally, the white wine used for sangria should be lighter, maybe a bit tart, with medium acidity and bonus points if it has a lot of crunchy apple or pear on the palette. It’s all about balance, and those features work well with the addition of fresh baking spices and ginger ale. Choose a drier style of prosecco (read: less sweet) for any recipe that calls for adding a touch of sweetness. For mulled wine? You can choose one of two ways: full of strength with a wine that already tastes like a winter wonderland or opt for a dry red to balance the citrus and brown sugar.
8. Enjoy the process, good and bad.
As our media columnist Bill Goodykoontz found out, you don’t have to be a great cook to enjoy cooking.
He writes: If I can make a main course, a few sides, and make them something that looks like the same time, then I have accomplished something. And accomplishing something – anything – has never felt more important. It’s the little things right now. There are a lot of great things there, just outside the kitchen. Cooking dinner doesn’t make them go away. But to me, it pushes them back, at least for a while.
9. You really don’t feel like cooking? To pretend
If you hate to cook, don’t torture yourself or your unsuspecting guests. Holidays are about spending time with loved ones, remembering everything we need to be thankful for, and sharing a delicious meal. There is no requirement for a tasty meal to be homemade. There are plenty of restaurants around the valley offering turkey, side dishes, desserts, and full meals to take out or take out and reheat so you can pick it up and take all the credit.
Order Thanksgiving:18 restaurants offering Thanksgiving dishes, sides, and desserts
Or leave it all to the experts
Alternatively, you can skip cooking and cleaning and just go outside. The restaurants around the Phoenix Metro offer everything from casual platters of classic turkey and stuffing to lavish organized buffets. You can spend your energy dressing for a fancy dinner or opt for Thanksgiving brunch and spend the afternoon in a turkey and mimosa sleep.
Everyone is enjoying themselves, no fuss:21 restaurants serving Thanksgiving brunch and dinner
10. Are you organizing a large gathering? Consider ways to stay safe
Sadly, we are not out of the woods yet and COVID-19 remains a safety concern. If you are planning to have a large gathering, consider everyone’s immunization status when planning and think about how to protect your home and guests. Gatherings outdoors are safer than indoors, but experts agree that the best defense against transmission is vaccination. If you are having a gathering where some guests will not be vaccinated or are at high risk, it is a good idea to have everyone take a COVID test in advance.
Real conversation:Experts Take a Look at the Best Way to Stay COVID Free for Thanksgiving