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Thanksgiving is really only about two things: food and family. (Or, maybe family and food). But however you slice and dice it, some of us wait all year to carve into a roasted turkey, tuck into a plate of stuffing and mashed potatoes, and slather a slice of pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream.
Of course, we all know that the holidays are going to look a little different this year when it comes to the family side of things. Maybe you’re downsizing the number of people at your gathering. You might be staying home and cooking for just one or two this year. One thing is for sure: Your Thanksgiving table won’t look the same in 2020.
There is one thing that doesn’t have to change this Thanksgiving: All the damn-good food that Thanksgiving is all about. After all, the Thanksgiving holiday is about giving thanks. While this has been one hell of year, we can still all be thankful for mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and the fact that your Thanksgiving-pants are your always-pants these days.
Because many of us might be tackling a Thanksgiving meal on our own for the first time this year, we decided to dig into the world of Thanksgiving meal kits to see if they really can make the holidays easier when you’re cooking for a small group.
One of the meal kit brands that has been popular with HuffPost readers is Home Chef, which we reviewed earlier this year. We were sent a Home Chef Thanksgiving meal kit to try out, so we decided to chow down and see how it compares to mom’s home cooking.
Here’s what we thought.
All of the Thanksgiving items are selected a la carte, meaning they don’t actually come bundled together in one box. This way, you can choose exactly which recipes you want for your Thanksgiving feast, and which ones you can live without.
According to the brand, all of the recipes can feed up to six people. (Based on our review, we’d say they’re more likely to feed four hungry people, or six people who have no interest in second helpings).
The Thanksgiving recipes you can choose from include:
- Turkey Breast Roast (for $44.98)
- White Cheddar and Sage Biscuits with Honey Butter (for $15.98)
- Pecan, Sage and Cranberry Stuffing (for $15.98)
- Caramelized Onion Green Bean Casserole (for $15.98)
- Loaded Mashed Potatoes with Cheddar, Bacon and Green Onions (for $15.98)
- Apple Cranberry Crumble (for $15.98)
If you were to order all six Thanksgiving recipes, it would ring you up about $125.
If you don’t know, Home Chef is a weekly meal kit subscription service — which means you pick out the recipes you want to try from a list and then you get sent all the ingredients and instructions on how to cook each recipe.
When you sign up for Home Chef, you fill out a questionnaire that asks you how many people you’re cooking for (there are three options: two, four or six) and how many meals a week you want to cook (you can pick from two to six). Keep in mind that you have to receive three meals or more a week in order to receive free shipping.
We’ve had the chance to review Home Chef in the past, and found it to be the most practical meal kit out there. With its easy-to-follow recipes and streamlined us of pots and pans, it’s the ideal meal kit for someone who’s looking to sharpen their skills in the kitchen.
Our review of Home Chef’s 2020 Thanksgiving meal kit:
I was sent a few of Home Chef’s Thanksgiving sides to chow down on (and, let’s be honest, the sides are the best part of the Thanksgiving any meal). I was sent ingredients for the loaded mashed potatoes with cheddar, bacon and green onions, caramelized onion green bean casserole, and white cheddar and sage biscuits with honey butter.
I found the recipes just as easy to follow as the first time I road tested Home Chef, even though they were a bit more involved than my average weeknight dish. The recipes were also more indulgent than other Home Chef meals I’ve tried. (After all, it wouldn’t be the holidays without a little extra heavy cream and butter!).
A Thanksgiving staple, the loaded mashed potatoes with cheddar, bacon and green onions were, by far, my favorite side dish to prepare (and eat). I’ve made mashed potatoes in the past, but I always struggle to achieved the right consistency — they’re either too lumpy or too mushy. The pre-measured ingredients eliminated all of that guesswork and resulted in thick, fluffy mashed potatoes with just right amount of texture from the bacon. Being able to prepare all of it in one pot was also a huge plus, too.
Baking is not my strong suit, so when I saw the recipe for biscuits I was a little hesitant. But I quickly realized how fast and easy they were to prepare. I just tossed all of the ingredients into a bowl, mixed it up, popped them into the oven, and in 15 minutes I had warm, buttery biscuits that could give the one’s at Red Lobster a run for their money.
Home Chef’s Thanksgiving recipes give you the perks of a meal kit — pre-measured ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes that optimize pot and pan use — with a sentimental spin, encouraging you to make those cozy and indulgent comfort foods that make the holidays so special.
Whether you’re cooking for one or six this year, a la carting just a few of Home Chef’s Thanksgiving recipes can make the holidays at home easier on yourself. Perhaps you’re afraid to roast a turkey for the first time and want an easy-to-roast turkey breast instead. Or maybe you prefer your own homemade pumpkin pie and prefer a vegetarian roast, but could use a few easy-to-whip-up sides to go along with your menu. Home Chef’s al a carte offering makes it easy to customize exactly what you need.
During a year where you might not get to enjoy your grandma’s famous stuffing or uncle’s signature mac n’ cheese, it’s nice to know you can serve up a little holiday magic at home and still enjoy the foods that make Thanksgiving special.