Good for your mental health, overall well-being, and good for your bank account!
Not for nothing, Thanksgiving Day cooking CAN be a major stress to the system - THE DRAMA! Life is short, y'all! Why let a day of giving thanks and gratitude with friends and family be overrun by anxiety, fits of rage and despair - LOLZ. Make a budget friendly feast that's EZ on the wallet as well as your mental health by following one of my favorite phrases and one of life's GOLDEN RULES..."LESS IS ALWAYS MORE". And during a global pandemic (yes - we still in it folks...get your BOOSTER SHOT) -- keeping things simple ain't a bad idea!
This year, I have decided to create my menu around a WHOLE CHICKEN, instead of a big ol' Turkey. "WHY???", you ask... I have 5 undeniable reasons to feature this fine fowel...
Prep time is less than 12 minutes.
A LOT less basting and babysitting of the bird.
Stays super juicy with LESS of a chance of a smaller chicken drying out.
Easier to find online - and easier on the pocket book!
WAY LESS cook time and room for error.
🧈For some a whole chicken feels a little pedestrian -- I get it. But not when you dress it up! A compound butter is always a great way to go when cooking a whole chicken. It's just salted and room temp butter with lots of garlic, some rosemary, lemon juice, parsley, sea salt, black pepper. EZ PZ! Give that bird a good rubdown and massage that compound butter under the skin and on top of the skin generously.
(⭐Use more butter than normal bc the drippings from the bird will coat and flavor veggies underneath the bird that will act as a rack!) 🧈
Stuff the cavity of the bird with a whole garlic bulb that you cut in half, 1 lemon quartered, one yellow onion also quartered, and fresh rosemary sprigs. Make sure to salt and pepper the inside of the cavity before stuffing with herbs and veggies.
The vegetables are going to also be cheap and delish because you are basically using them as a rack for the bottom of the bird so all of that compound butter and chicken juice will bathe and imbue them with herby, savory goodness. The veggies can be anything you want, actually. I like using:
STUFFING, DRESSING or SIMPLY CROUTONS WILL SUFFICE!
Sourdough STUFFING is always a crowd pleaser. But you know what? Good ol' STOVE TOP STUFFING is just as fast and fantastic! If stuffing is not something you
have the time or patience for, a budget friendly version would just be home made buttered croutons with salt and pepper, garlic powder and some thyme crisped up in a skillet! You can serve that around your whole hen with wedges of lemon for guests if they'd like to squeeze that ontop of their bird instead of gravy (if you are watching your calories over the holiday season - that is a perfect way to go)! With the bird quartered the lemon wedges the star of the show on the Thanksgiving Day table will definitely be dressed to impress!
THANKSGIVING MASHED POTATOES or SCALLOPED POTATOES
These are so easy you will want them in your repertoire for either THANKSGIVING DINNER - OR - CHRISTMAS DAY BRUNCH or DINNER. I have not yet written out the recipe but it will come in another blog post before Christmas for sure. But really all you have is a bunch of russet potatoes (I don't even peel them) sliced thinly (if you have a mandoline use it but WATCH YOUR FINGERS or else you might be making a trip to the hospital instead of a trip to go see Santa at the mall before dinner!) I also thinly slice onion to put in between each layer of potato.
Instead of dairy (cream), I use a nut-milk cream (vegan - coconut / almond or cashew cream) mixed with an egg, a container of daiya plain cream cheese, and I season with fresh grated or minced garlic or garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, salt and pepper.
I layer cream mixture on bottom, potatoes, onion, daiya mozzarella cheese, and repeat about 3-4 times depending on how deep your casserole dish is. I top with a light sprinkling of REAL parmesan and bake on 375 for 40-45 minutes leaving the dish uncovered for the last 10 so the top gets nice and browned and bubbly.
Always nice to garnish with green onions, and parsley!
CROWD PLEASING APPETIZERS!
If you want to go a little above and beyond the core dishes for thanksgiving - by fruit, dried fruit, nuts, hard and soft cheeses, crackers, and some salty-delish deli meats and arrange them on a board in your living area where you think guests are likely to gather as they arrive.
This is where you can really have some fun and get creative with your kids or significant other and make a beautiful board that is a showstopper!
Large or small charcuterie platter, doesn't matter. Just choose seasonal fresh fruit (probably apples, pears, or some type of fall favorites) that will pair well with the wine you're serving and the dried fruits and nuts that never seem to go out of style over the holidays.
Flowers ALWAYS make a "tablescape" more inviting for ANY season, so pair up some of your favorite flowers or even branches from the backyard with a low cost bag of cranberries, and VOILA - you are all set for a seasonal appetizer sesh that will be a feast for the eyes as well as the belly.
FUN AND EASY DESSERTS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
I'll probably have to get more in-depth with these later, but honestly the pics are pretty self explanatory -- so the instructions for making these are not that hard to figure our in addition for these delectable desserts NOT being hard to make or even expensive. Like the cheese / charcuterie boards, this is where you can get FUN AND FESTIVE and really let your creativity take over! Take a look at the simple desserts I've thrown together on the fly👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻.
Speaking of getting CREATIVE - here are some pics of a Thanksgiving Tablescape I put together for a friend before I cooked for his Thanksgiving Night party in San Francisco! You might get a few cool ideas or inspo from this for YOUR Thanksgiving day table! xoxo
GIVING YOU THANKS
So these are just SOME ideas to help make your holidays a little bit brighter, and A LITTLE BIT EASIER! I hope you guys have THE MOST AMAZING THANKSGIVING EVER!
And as always, I am SO GRATEFUL FOR YOU following me and supporting me for all of these years. I've been really busy this year setting up a new reality project that I've just signed a deal for, and it will have life not only here in the U.S., but in Asia, and I will be making and releasing new music (possibly with some with new K-POP artists) that will have a whole new nostalgic sound. So I hope you will continue to go on yet ANOTHER crazy ride with me for 2022!
May God Bless You and Keep You in His Care,