Alternative Meal Ideas for Thanksgiving! - Colliers Hill
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Alternative Meal Ideas for Thanksgiving!

Whether you will be hosting a much smaller holiday dinner or are willing to try some new ways to liven up Thanksgiving, it’s a good year to revisit Founding Father Alexander Hamilton’s proclamation: “No Citizen of the United States should refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day.” On the contrary, from wild pheasant to turducken to vegan, there’s an alternative bird for everyone!

Why Forgo the Turkey?

Yes, turkey is an American icon—in fact, Ben Franklin lobbied for it to become our national bird—but Thanksgiving 2020 will undoubtedly be untraditional for many families. Smaller gatherings are a perfect reason to forget about a big bird and go smaller instead. 

If you are preparing dinner for only one or two people, consider Cornish hens—small young chickens that will serve one person per hen. You can still hold onto the traditional Thanksgiving menu with this recipe for Stuffed Cornish Hen from Taste of Home

Chicken and Beyond!

Serious Eats gives a serious overview of recipes for alternative birds if you are forgoing turkey this year. Chicken, Cornish hens, duck, quail and goose are all likely candidates—and if chicken doesn’t sound special enough for Thanksgiving, you need to check out this recipe for Roast Chicken with Cranberry-Apple-Raisin Chutney from Food and Wine!

Most turkey substitutes are dark meat birds with more intense flavor, are quick-cooking  and not as hard to prepare as you might think. Whole Foods offers recipes and tips for preparing duck, goose, quail, and pheasant—just what you need to make this Thanksgiving an adventure!

A Juicier Version of Turkey

Bon Appetit identifies another reason to experiment with an alternative bird—to avoid the dry, overcooked results of some turkey dinners! Most of their suggestions can be ordered from specialty stores or by hunting the fowl yourself: duck, pheasant, squab, goose or capon.

Of course, you can’t really entertain the idea of an alternative to turkey without mentioning turducken, that exotic bird within a bird within a bird! Spruce Eats gives you the lowdown (it’s a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey), as well as everything you need to know in order to prepare one!

Vegetarian Thanksgiving

You can also try one of the many new plant-based protein meat substitutes out there. Check out Spruce Eats’ list of their Best Meatless Turkeys—many are prepared with all the trimmings!

Every family with teenagers will likely receive this request at one Thanksgiving or another—can you make it vegetarian? The answer: yes! 

One approach is to serve a “meaty” vegetable as the main course such as King Oyster Mushroom Steaks with Pesto and Almond Aillade or Sausage-Spiced Cauliflower Steaks—both recipes from Food and Wine. 

Alternative Sides

If you are re-thinking the turkey, you’ve got to take a second look at all of those tired old sides. Bon Appetit has 120 fresh side recipe ideas, most of which involve veggies, and none of which are overcooked and mushy!

Greatist has an inventive list of new ways to do stuffing, including a vegan version and cornbread stuffing muffins!

For real-life side recipe success stories, Taste of Home features family-favorites and crowd pleasers, like Curried Pumpkin Soup and Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables. There’s even a chance for you to submit your own recipe in their Thanksgiving Sides Reimagined Recipe Contest!

Cooking it up in Colliers Hill

The kitchens in Colliers Hill offer so many more options when it comes to making meals – for the holidays or for any other day! Check out the many amenities in the master-planned community of Colliers Hill, and the beautiful model homes from Richmond American Homes and Century Communities – and coming next week – KB Home — paired offerings. It’s a great time to buy with rates still so low – and lots of possibilities from the high $300s.