Socially Distant Thanksgiving meal, ideas and strategies

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Janet H

Certifiable Executive Chef
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Jan 17, 2007
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Pacific NW
So - in my state we have new tighter regulations about congregating during Covid and since I am the traditional host of Thanksgiving for friends and family, I need a new plan. I thought I'd share the basics I've worked out so far and you may be able to offer tips. Please - leave political opinion and debate out of this discussion - I'm just trying to adapt as gracefully as possible.

My states new regs say: No travel other than for basic requirements, no indoor gatherings with anyone other than your household UNLESS guests have quarantined and gotten a negative Covid test within 48 hours.

For us, that means no sit down t-day meal with a table full of friends. But we still want to have a day of turkey with cheer and camaraderie and I enjoy the prep... so here's what's planned so far.

We are catering and delivering to three households and then coming back home to a zoom call as we all eat together. I have simplified the menu to the bare minimum and folks can cook additional sides (like potatoes or that special family casserole) in their own houses if they feel they need more.

New menu:

Turkey
Stuffing
Gravy
Green beans
Cranberry relish
Pie with whipped cream.

I am cooking 2 turkeys.

How would you pack this up and keep it all warm?

Have your holiday plans changed? Do you have a workaround?
 

WhateverYouWant

Sous Chef
Joined
Oct 29, 2019
Messages
609
My holiday plans are non-existent. My feeling is that it is the only responsible way to behave. For me that is canceling holiday events. We can all zoom or skype with those we love over dinner, but I will not be sending food to any of them. Everyone should do their own thing within their own household.
 

Just Cooking

Master Chef
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
Messages
5,114
Location
Springfield, MO
Our Holiday meal, this year, will be only us and D&SIL.

I am having it delivered by a local catering company, to avoid the hectic kitchen environment. There will be plenty for leftovers for all.

There will be pie, plenty of pie. :yum:

Ross
 
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bethzaring

Master Chef
Joined
Apr 18, 2005
Messages
5,663
Location
Northern New Mexico
I have various small coolers and have made items similar to this.

https://www.amazon.com/Rachael-Ray-...ords=casserole+carriers&qid=1605565496&sr=8-7

So I am able to assemble hot items in a casserole dish and wrap it in an insulated carrier.

I am preparing a Thanksgiving meal for two;

13 lb turkey
green beans, frozen from the garden
sweet potatoes, baked
1/2 recipe of stuffing
mashed potatoes, green chile, cheddar cheese casserole
dinner rolls
pumpkin pie with whipped cream

My sister who lives 4 doors over, is doing something similar to you. She has two ill friends she is cooking for. One friend will come to her house to pick up the meals, deliver one to the other mutual friend and then they will Zoom for dessert.
 

Kaneohegirlinaz

Wannabe TV Chef
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
7,755
Location
Central/Northern AZ, gateway to The Grand Canyon
I made the major faux pas when asked by the Neighbor if we would like to join them at the local Country Club for Thanksgiving dinner... had no idea there were going to be 12 other folks in a rather large dining hall ... NOPE!
Some how I backed out gracefully.

But as to your plans Janet, that sounds just lovely!
If it were me, I'd put the dishes to be delivered in disposable pans,
place then in inexpensive hot/cold bags and bob's your uncle!

https://www.dollartree.com/bulk/Hot-Cold-Bags

These hold an awful lot of food! I keep three in the back end of our car at all times.

And fun fact:
Did you know that those tin foil pans incinerate nicely?
A camping/hunting buddy taught me that trick, when you're
done with your meal, simply toss said container into the fire pit
and voila!
 

PrincessFiona60

Ogress Supreme
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Jul 14, 2009
Messages
38,957
Location
Wyoming
I just dropped off the turkey at Mom's (on the patio and I rang the doorbell and hurried onto the driveway), she will be cooking. I will go over the day of and light up the fire pit on the patio if the weather is decent, it not Dad will light up the propane heater in the shop and I will be dining either on the patio or in the shop with Jethro, the Dog. We can all holler through doors, etc.

I haven't set eyes on my Parents for two weeks, except through glass. Lots of pantomiming going on. Told Mom she can shove my food through a door with a broom handle.
 

Silversage

Head Chef
Joined
Aug 31, 2004
Messages
1,251
Location
Florida
We will be home - just the 2 of us.

I won't make turkey. As much as I love all the side dishes that go with it, neither of us likes turkey enough to eat it for a week after. And no matter how many times folks tell me 'it freezes well', I don't think it does. It dries out in the freezer.

I have a half dozen duck breasts in the freezer, and I think I'll make a couple of those, pureed parsnip, and whatever green veg looks freshest in the supermarket.
 

Alix

Everymom
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May 10, 2002
Messages
23,275
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
Our Thanksgiving was last month. We did the zoom thing too. 4 households all on the table. Weird, but I can't risk taking anything to my 91 year old MIL.

I did the cooking Janet, and I had a ton of old take out containers that I filled with the various bits and pieces of the meal. They hold generous servings so I packed them up and my daughter came and picked them up and hustled back home for zoom.

We were fortunate that the distance wasn't far, but I have a large insulated cooler bag that I had on standby if she needed it to keep things warm.

Best of luck to you all and stay safe.
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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Joined
Aug 26, 2004
Messages
12,454
Location
USA,Michigan
We will be home - just the 2 of us.

I won't make turkey. As much as I love all the side dishes that go with it, neither of us likes turkey enough to eat it for a week after. And no matter how many times folks tell me 'it freezes well', I don't think it does. It dries out in the freezer.

I have a half dozen duck breasts in the freezer, and I think I'll make a couple of those, pureed parsnip, and whatever green veg looks freshest in the supermarket.

Cornish game hens are a great replacement for to turkey, as is grain fed goose. They are both better tasting, IMHO, unless I'm smoking the turkey on the Webber. Also, there is no reason that another protien can't b e used for Thanksgiving. I would thing that a grain-fed goose, or pork dish would be great for the main course. A pork crown roast would also make a good presentation. Beef a roulade stuffed with savory bead dressing, and gravy would be an exceptional dish as well. You have many options that will all work with your favorite thanksgiving side dishes.

I hopde your Holliday goes great.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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USA,Michigan
Thanks Chief. Where are you spending the holidays? Are you still at your daughter's?[/QUO

Yes, I am permanently living with her now. We will be making roasted cornish game hens for our meal, still stuffed with savory bread dressing. I'll be making the nashed spuds as in the recipe I posted earlier as they are really good, light, and rich.And I want mashed rutabaga, with pepper, butter, and a little brown sugar. If you haven't tried mashed rutabaga, I strongly suggest you give them a try. They are a delicious side,the favorite of mine, and my pro-chef son, as well as all of my my extended family And they are so easy to make. Just quarter and peel them, cut into cubes and boil until sof, then mashe with salt, brown sugar, and pepper.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 

Chef Munky

Honey Badger
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Messages
2,676
So - in my state we have new tighter regulations about congregating during Covid and since I am the traditional host of Thanksgiving for friends and family, I need a new plan. I thought I'd share the basics I've worked out so far and you may be able to offer tips. Please - leave political opinion and debate out of this discussion - I'm just trying to adapt as gracefully as possible.

My states new regs say: No travel other than for basic requirements, no indoor gatherings with anyone other than your household UNLESS guests have quarantined and gotten a negative Covid test within 48 hours.

For us, that means no sit down t-day meal with a table full of friends. But we still want to have a day of turkey with cheer and camaraderie and I enjoy the prep... so here's what's planned so far.

We are catering and delivering to three households and then coming back home to a zoom call as we all eat together. I have simplified the menu to the bare minimum and folks can cook additional sides (like potatoes or that special family casserole) in their own houses if they feel they need more.

New menu:

Turkey
Stuffing
Gravy
Green beans
Cranberry relish
Pie with whipped cream.

I am cooking 2 turkeys.

How would you pack this up and keep it all warm?

Have your holiday plans changed? Do you have a workaround?


Janet,
Will you be stuffing the turkeys?
Your menu sounds fantastic btw :)
If your not planning on stuffing the birds you could always spatckcock them. That will save you some time. The rest can be cooked ahead for the gravy.
Another reason for that idea is half the bird is easier to package and send along. Wrap it in a few layers of foil. Or food saver large bags.
Keep the disposable butter sour cream bowls for the condiments.
If you have a trader joes insulated bag they work great. They can toss out the used containers.

Don't know if you have a grocery store around you that are selling pre made Turkey dinners. At a price. Steep price. See how they are packaging up the meals.Turkey dinner all boxed up. Ready for pickup.

Hope this helps.


Munky.
 

Kevin86

Senior Cook
Joined
Dec 2, 2014
Messages
399
Location
Ontario
Our grandparents are getting older and don’t eat as much anymore. So what they like is when we make a nice pot of soup and we jar it up and drop it off or send it with my folks ( they’re in there bubble).

Around the holidays a nice turkey soup or squash, etc. something nice and seasonal and cozy. It’s easy to pour out and reheat, no extra work and everyone is happy. Also in jars it’s very easy to deliver.
 

Dawgluver

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
Apr 12, 2011
Messages
25,032
"I want mashed rutabaga"

Haven't had this for many years. Growing up, my grandmother made this often.

I must do this again. :)

Ross

My grandma, great aunt and my mom always made mashed rutabaga too, love it with lots of butter. I need to make it again too!
 

Silversage

Head Chef
Joined
Aug 31, 2004
Messages
1,251
Location
Florida
I grew up on rutabaga, but I didn't know they were called that until I was an adult. We just called them turnips. I still don't want turkey without turnip - They just go together.

When I make my duck breast, I will still make my family's classic sides - mashed turnip, pureed parsnip, Brussels sprouts. To me those are the best part of thanksgiving dinner.
 

Janet H

Certifiable Executive Chef
Staff member
Joined
Jan 17, 2007
Messages
4,279
Location
Pacific NW
Janet,
Will you be stuffing the turkeys?


Munky.



Not stuffing the turkeys... They are getting cooked 2 ways because of space issues:

1. One bird goes in the Big Easy roaster - I love this thing for cooking turkey!

2. The second bird gets split in half and cooked in a propane Weber.

Not optimal but this leaves the oven free to cook sides. In the past I've cooked both birds in the BIG Easy - sequentially. When the first bird comes out the next one goes in and since they take about 2 hours. By the time the first bird has rested and we've begun dinner, the second one is about done and available for seconds and leftovers. This time - I need everything cooked at the same time so we're trying the grill...
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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Messages
12,454
Location
USA,Michigan
One of my best turkeys ever was made the day before. I Cooked the bird on the Webber Kettle, with apple woos and maple, with a drip pan underneath the turkey, filled with two cups of water. When the bird wos doe, I allowed it to rest, carved it, and put all of the meat in my electric roaster, along with all of the drippings from the drip pan. The juices completely covered the meat . As it is around 25' F; this time of rear, I put the roaster into my car until noon on the holiday. The juices were completely gelled. I set the roaster to 145' F., and let the turkey come up to temp before serving. This also gave me the oven and stove top to prepare all of the other sides.

To make a long story short, That turkey was so juicy, and well flavored from sitting in the drippings. It was also very tender. So, if you have an electric roaster, and can cook the birds the day before, this is a great way to go.

seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 
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