Thanksgiving Dinner 2020 (Menu plan)
I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving time with your local loved ones. I am so grateful for all of you for your incredible love, support, encouragement and motivation. May your homes be filled with good food, plenty of warmth and peace. Even in these challenging times, we can find reasons to be thankful. Count your blessings for everything you have as you enjoy this Holiday of Gratitude with your family.
These delicious dishes perfectly suited for any celebration be it intimate or a larger gathering, just multiply according to the count you are expecting. This menu would be ideal and safest choice to cozy up and cook for your friends and family for any upcoming occasion.
Changes from traditional menu started off with Green bean casserole which was swapped with shrimp pasta casserole. Mashed potatoes with gravy was a big no as well, but I wanted to keep it presentable to tempt the boys and they loved my version. We stopping buying turkey for the past few years as the quantity seems to be a lot. We occasionally do buy the turkey leg quarters if available. Ninja came in handy for a perfectly cooked whole chicken with no hassle.
Baked the rest in my conventional oven or on stove top for remaining items on the menu. Using different modes of cooking saves a lot of time with ease. You can plan to make ahead or just prepare them in full swing in the last minute. I thoroughly enjoyed preparing these dishes, in fact spent more time presenting than cooking 😆
- Kombucha - non alcohol (ginger lemon flavored)
- Red wine - alcohol
- Charcuterie Board (cheese, crackers, fruits and picked veggies)
- Clam chowder soup (with crackers)
- Chicken (Korean BBQ+Hot Sauce)
- Shrimp Pasta Casserole (Organic Fusilli- brown rice)
- Mashed potato with liver pepper sauce
- Green bean and mixed nuts stir fry(spicy)
- Sweet potato wedges
Make ahead the dessert, marinate the chicken and prep your veggies would be a great idea. I gladly skipped the veggies being a small feast which required just couple of veggies to be chopped. I whipped some fresh cream (optional) before the cheesecake mixture in order to reuse the same mixing bowl. I chose to use eggs to bake the cheesecake for a firmer texture unlike my previous no bake version. Baked and rested to cool in the refrigerator to set well overnight. Decorated peeled persimmon thin slices which worked well to place in between the piped whipped cream.
Marinate the chicken in the ninja containere itself with Korean BBQ sauce and hot sauce to kick it up with spice. Don't forget to refrigerate the chicken covered overnight to prevent any contamination.
In the morning (1 hour):
Pressure cooked the potatoes (laid on a stand) for the moistness. Cool peel and grate for a softer texture than to mash with a potato masher. Sprinkle a dash of white pepper, garlic salt and a tsp of milk. Using a small cake ring I shaped the potatoes and sprinkled some red chilli flakes and dried herbs as well. Our family is not into the bland traditional gravy, skipped the roux but using the chicken liver I prepared the instant pepper gravy with a heaped tablespoon of freshly ground pepper and garlic salt and it was heavenly spiced up gravy. If you are not into liver swap it with mushrooms(Bella orshiitakei) as it enhances the flavor with not much of a compromise.
Cook your pasta (fusilli brown rice pasta) as per instructions mentioned on the box. But remove from heat when its 3/4 cooked. as the rest of the cooking will be done in the oven. Make the alfredo sauce starting off with the roux, chopped mushroom (optional for flavor), milk, garlic, salt, pepper, italian seasoning and finally add the shrimp. Once the sauce is done, beat couple of eggs and mix with the sauce. To this add the cooked pasta, cheese and fresh parsley. Grease your casserole with butter or oil and bake for 350F for 30 mins. Spread a layer of cheese on the top and broil for 2-3 mins only. Cover and set aside.
In the afternoon (1.5 hours):
Turn on your oven to cook the chicken at least an hour before serving. Remove the excess marinated sauce to avoid any burns while baking. Reserve this marinate to bring it to a boil on stove top for additional sauce if you prefer. I pressure cooked the chicken for 5 mins Using Ninja and then changed the setting to bake and roast for 20 mins. Check using a thermometer by poking into a fleshy area avoiding the bone to see if it reaches 160F. Remove when done and let it rest for 10 mins to finish cooking.
Stir fry the mixed nuts and beans with fresh garlic, salt, chilly flakes. Bake the sweet potatoes in conventional oven for 30 mins and sprinkle with garlic salt (my favorite condiment).
Final step was the clam chowder to retain the heat recipe is very similar to the Crab Potato Chowder I shared earlier.
Set up your dinner table with your Charcuterie Board. The little presentation, and decor I managed with what was around. Threw in some shelled nuts, fruits and candles for a quick and easy table set up. Remember to reheat before serving during this cooler days. Easiest would be to pop all the cooked dishes in their appropriate oven safe serving bowl/ platter to keep warm in the oven with the warmer setting on.