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Easy Thanksgiving Meal Ideas

November 3, 2014

Sometimes there are reasons a large Thanksgiving meal isn’t an option. Perhaps it’s finances, perhaps the family is in another location and there just isn’t enough people to eat a large meal. There are easy Thanksgiving dinner recipes that give an alternative for these situations.

An easy alternative is Cornish hens, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables and dessert. Smaller amounts mean leftovers – the recipe that is for 4-6 people means more for two or three, but these leftovers are easily used in casseroles through the weekend.

Cornish hens give an individual serving sized bird that is plenty for the heartiest appetite It can be made very much like the turkey – stuffed or unstuffed and for these smaller birds it’s often easier to use a stove top stuffing. Still, there’s something about stuffing a bird that is just traditional.

To make stuffed Cornish game hens crumble three strips of cooked bacon and cook ½ cup shredded carrot in the grease from the bacon until tender. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons parsley, ¼ crushed dried savory, a dash of pepper and 1 ½ cups dried bread crumbs. Dissolve ¼ teaspoon instant chicken bouillon in 2 tablespoons hot water, drizzling over the bread crumb mixture and stirring to moisten. Place two hens breast side up in a shallow pen and stuff. Bake at 375 for about a half hour or until done.

Serve with garlic mashed potatoes, southern green beans or green beans and lime and dinner rolls. For dessert have honey pumpkin dessert squares, exquisite chocolate of a harvest pumpkin torte or just ice cream with a caramel nut topping. These are easy to make and tasty without going overboard too much. Alternatives might be scalloped potatoes, broccoli and wild mushroom casserole or butternut squash gratin.

These are just a few alternatives to the big meal for those who want a home cooked meal but not the stress and mess. Remember leftover mashed potatoes make yummy potato pancakes along with ham or bacon or sausage and eggs the next morning. Leftover stuffing that isn’t used the next day can be used as a base for a casserole dish for Saturday dinner. You can use diced chicken or other meat for the turkey.

Thanksgiving is a time for memories and being with those we love. If you’re alone this year consider asking someone to join you for dinner, be it a veteran who might also be alone or someone from church facing their first year alone. The meal is easy but the memories will last.

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