Thanksgiving Turkey Alternative: Baked Chicken

With Thanksgiving around the corner, it is time to begin game-planning your holiday meal. The delicious course usually involves turkey paired with tasty side dishes. But this year, if you are looking for an easier main course, try baked chicken breast. It is often a crowd-pleaser and is easy to cook for first-time hosts.

Ingredients for Baked Chicken Breast: 

  • Four chicken breasts – 150 – 180g, four to six ounces each 
  • Two teaspoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • One and one half tablespoon brown sugar 
  • One teaspoon paprika 
  • One teaspoon dried thyme or oregano or choose another herb that you prefer 
  • One fourth teaspoon garlic powder 
  • One half teaspoon sea salt 
  • One half teaspoon black pepper 
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley for garnish 

Directions for Baked Chicken Breast:

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cooking Time: 18 minutes | Total Time: 23 minutes

Serving Size: Four servings | Calories: 285 calories per chicken breast 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F on a standard oven or 390 F on a convection oven. 
  2. Pound the chicken to 0.6” at the thickest part of the chicken by using a rolling pin or meat mallet. This is a key tip for ensuring that the chicken is cooked evenly throughout. 
  3. Mix all of the seasonings. 
  4. Now line the tray with aluminum foil and baking paper (this will help in clean up). Place the chicken upside down on a tray. Drizzle the chicken with one teaspoon olive oil and rub over with your fingers. Sprinkle with seasonings. 
  5. Flip the chicken. Drizzle with one teaspoon olive oil, rub with your fingers, sprinkle the seasoning, and be careful to cover as much of the surface as you can. 
  6. Bake for eighteen minutes or until the surface is a golden color, or if the internal temperature is 165 F, using a meat thermometer. 
  7. Now remove from the oven and transfer the chicken to serving plates. 
  8. Wait about three to five minutes before you put the final garnish of parsley on top. 
  9. Serve with your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes and bread.

Notes Baked Chicken Breast:

For a juicy chicken breast, use a touch of brown sugar in the seasoning. This makes the chicken sweat while it bakes, making a semi-sauce and cooking fast at a high-temperature.

We hope you enjoy our baked chicken breast recipe and would love to hear any feedback!

Setting Your Table for Thanksgiving

Your table setup matters because it can help create an organized way of dining. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it is time to start preparing for the annual feast. The time where friends and family all come together and give thanks for everything that they are grateful to have. Setting the table the night before the event can help save you time. However, setting the table has a proper and improper way of being executed. Everything has an assigned spot to ensure a uniformed setup. To help you set the table right this year, here is what you should consider:

Casual

One size may not fit all. Perhaps your Thanksgiving dinner is more casual. If you are going for a casual approach, start by setting out placemats if desired. On the center of each placemat, place the main plate, then salad plates go directly on top of your main plate. If you are not eating salad, eliminate this plate altogether. Next, put your fork to the left of the plate, and your knife and spoon will go to the right of your main plate, respectively. Finish off the setup by placing the water glass at the top right corner of the knife and spoon.

Formal

For a more formal setup, start by putting out each placemat. Then place your main plate with your salad plate on top, directly center of the placemat like the casual setup. Place your bread plate to the top left corner. A butter knife is traditionally laid horizontally across your bread plate. Place both your salad and dining forks to the left of the main dining plate. Your knife, followed by your spoon, will go to the right of your plate. You should also place your dessert fork and spoon above the dinner plate horizontally.

With the formal setup, you will be adding three glasses: a water, a red wine glass, and a white wine glass. These three glasses should be placed in a triangle with the water glass closest to your guest. A saucer with a coffee cup will be placed below these three glasses. Place a folded napkin on top of the salad plate and consider adding place cards with each guest’s name at their assigned seats. This name-card goes directly above the dessert spoon.

You can even add a personal touch with your centerpiece, how you fold the napkins, and your placemats. Both these setups will have your guest impressed with your preparation in setting each spot. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, and for more household tricks and tips, make sure to subscribe.

Delicious Side Dishes for Thanksgiving

We all love the time with our loved ones on Thanksgiving and the time off work. Yet, no one will deny the absolute thrill it is to gorge on many delicious foods and desserts. When going to a Thanksgiving meal, it is always helpful to bring some side dishes to help contribute to the feast. Check with your host to see what foods are available and what they may need. If you get some freedom to choose, here are four absolute great Thanksgiving favorites:

Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese can be a holiday favorite. It works great with all different types of people, ranging in all ages! From the young attenders to the older people at the party, everyone loves to indulge in some cheesy goodness. Plus, Mac & Cheese can be easy to make, and if you are looking for a healthier version, be sure to visit our past blog post here.

Mashed Potatoes

For people looking for a dairy-free, carbohydrate option, consider bringing mashed potatoes! This timeless remedy is perfect for complimenting the turkey dinner. Remember to bring gravy as well. You can be even more prepared by bringing two gravy options so people can choose their favorite topping. Just be sure to use almond milk and dairy-free butter when prepping the mashed potatoes, so that everyone can enjoy them at Thanksgiving.

Buffalo Wings

Most Thanksgiving dinners will have the traditional turkey and ham. You can add another meat as a side dish, as well. Try bringing your own buffalo wings. Buffalo wings are great appetizers before the actual dinner since they are packed in protein and are delicious! Some people cannot tolerate spicy wings, so consider a milder sauce and blue cheese or ranch as a dipping sauce.

Pie

What is a feast without dessert! Pies are a phenomenal option to bring to a Thanksgiving dinner. There are several fantastic and traditional options like apple, pecan, and pumpkin pie. See if any pies may be provided, as well. If so, you can bring many different varieties, including berry, chocolate, or even lemon meringue.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and appreciate the small things in life. Help contribute to the feast this year by bringing some tasty side dishes! What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes? We would love to hear from you in the comment section.

Lovely Thanksgiving Plans

morgue thanksgiving tableEveryone wants to have a lovely Thanksgiving, but too often the reality doesn’t measure up to our dreams. Here are a few simple tips to help you make the day special without making your life miserable in the process.

Let go of perfection: The Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving paintings are just that – paintings. Probably even his Thanksgiving celebrations had their share of spilled gravy and mashed potato food fights. Focus on the things that are important to you – having your family there, good food, laughter, friends dropping in, and let the rest go.

Pick one special touch for you: Maybe you love having fresh flowers on the table using your mother’s china. Or you dream of making napkin rings using real fall leaves. Let yourself have one indulgent touch, even if the rest of your family doesn’t understand it. And if you don’t have time for that special element this year, let it go. There’s always next year.

Let others help: It’s easy to get caught up in taking charge of everything so that you end up exhausted at the end of the day. Instead, ask others to help out. This can range from having guests bring a favorite side dish to assigning table setting, clearing and clean-up duties ahead of time. That way you can enjoy the holiday too.

Take the time to give thanks: With all the planning, cooking and cleaning, it’s easy to forget the reason for the holiday. But take a minute and think about all the things you have to be thankful for. We tend to take our lives for granted. But this is one day that encourages us not to do that. So be thankful.

Fostering Gratitude

place-setting-1058984_640Thanksgiving is a time of coming together with family, enjoying a traditional meal, and giving thanks together. But how can you encourage your children to think beyond the food to the meaning behind the celebration? Here are some suggestions to help encourage an “attitude of gratitude.”

Don’t wait until Thanksgiving dinner: Start talking about Thanksgiving’s meaning earlier in the week. Ask your children what they’re thankful for at breakfast before school or at the dinner table.

Remind them of the first Thanksgiving: Tell them the story of the pilgrims barely making it through those first tough years, or, better yet, let them tell you what they know about the story. Talk about a time when people couldn’t drive down the street and pick up the food you needed at your neighborhood grocery store and how hard it was to survive in the New World.

Create a thank-you tree: Put a branch in a pot or hang one on the wall. Have your children help you cut out leaves from paper in fall colors and have everyone in the family write down things they’re thankful for on each leaf. Tie the leaves to the branch for a festive reminder of why we celebrate Thanksgiving each year.

Set a good example: Be sure to tell your children all the things you’re thankful for, including them! Give them examples of the good things in their lives and yours. Explain that there are things to appreciate every day and it’s up to us to notice and be grateful for them.

Thanksgiving is a good opportunity to step back and take a look at all of the good things we have, but an attitude of gratitude serves us well all year round.

Children and Thanksgiving

23849264_SThanksgiving is a family holiday and you can make sure everyone enjoys themselves by getting people involved.

Even small children can play a part when preparing for Thanksgiving. Start with simple tasks and build to more complex roles as your children get older and more able to contribute. Here are a few ideas.

Youngest children: Even a toddler can draw a Thanksgiving picture to put on the front door to welcome guests. Any crafts created in preschool or grade school can grace a table or buffet. Assign simple duties such as helping to set the table to make them feel a part of the day.

Grade-school children: How about assigning each child a side dish to help create? Go over the menu and ask which dish sounds like the most fun to make. You may want to pull in an adult who is not the primary chef in the house to help make the dish – giving them a chance to bond and contribute to the holiday. Children at this age could also be responsible for setting the table and creating a Thanksgiving centerpiece.

High school children: By this age, a teen can take over one or more dishes for the Thanksgiving table. You might want to have them help plan the menu – adding appetizers or a special dessert to go along with the pumpkin pie. If there will be younger children attending, ask your teenager to come up with activities to keep the small fry entertained and out of trouble before, during and after the meal.

Take the time when at the table to ask everyone what they are thankful for from the past year. You might want to discuss the topic in advance with younger children so that they have a chance to think about their answers.

Finally, involve the children in the clean-up. The more hands to help, the faster your whole family can relax and digest that incredible dinner!

Making Thanksgiving Memories

Would you like your Thanksgiving celebration to be more memorable this year? Here are just a few ideas to spark up the day.

Talk across the generations: For many people, as many as three or four generations of family members gather together. Take special advantage of this by planning some conversation starters that will get everyone involved.

Questions could include “What was your favorite Thanksgiving and why?” “What were the holidays like when you were a child?” or “What’s your favorite holiday food?” Add any other questions you think of and write them on pieces of paper or make a list. No matter the age range of your guests, the opportunity to share memories will contribute to a nice event.

Get everyone involved: If you have children, include them in the Thanksgiving preparations. Have every child take responsibility for one dish. Or if they’re too young for this, have them decorate the table with Thanksgiving-themed drawings or make name-plates or menus. Teach them the right way to set a table. Also ask Aunt Harriet to bring her famous potatoes, Uncle Bob to bring a nice bottle of wine or any other combination that works for you and your guests.

Remember the first Thanksgiving: Have your children research the first Thanksgiving feast and then tell about it at your own table. This gives them a chance to contribute to the discussion and reminds everyone of why we celebrate every year.

Say why you’re thankful: Before, during or after the meal, ask everyone to express what they are most thankful for this year. This is another reminder that the holiday is about more than food. And whether you have two or twenty at your Thanksgiving table, have a lovely memory-filled day.

Setting a Lovely Thanksgiving Table

For most people, Thanksgiving is about food and family – generally in that order! But with a few extra minutes of time, you can also make it about the beauty of the season.

There’s a saying that people eat first with their eyes, and building a Thanksgiving table that captures attention and represents the best of autumn can make even a rather dry turkey taste better.

The photo to the left shows a fully-planned table. With fresh sunflowers, votives, tablecloth, plates, napkins and napkin rings all coordinated to create a Thanksgiving feeling, it looks like a decorator was hired to fix it.

If you have the skills, budget and time to put something like this together, that’s wonderful. But many of us don’t have the Martha Stewart gene, and are rushed just trying to get the dinner on the table let alone make it look this fancy.

Instead, consider something like the photo on the right. A simple gold tablecloth, one or two interesting candles, a pumpkin or two and some apples and pine cones and you’re finished.

White or neutral plates allow you to decorate for any season without needing closets full of dishes. Add the good silverware and some nice glasses and you have a beautiful table with minimal time and effort.

If you’re going to present Thanksgiving buffet-style, how about a simple display among the dishes? A few fall leaves, a couple of candles, one of those mini-pumpkins and some nuts and dried plants and you quickly add charm to your buffet table. Walk through your yard or visit a hobby shop and pick up just a few special items that you can use and rearrange every year to make your Thanksgiving table as special as the holiday itself.