Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner with an Island Twist

This year I decided to host Thanksgiving for the very first time.  I think we will end up having 6 to 7 people including my husband and I.  I don’t know what came over me a few weeks ago that I felt the need to host this year. Now with Thanksgiving less than 2 weeks away I’m feeling a little overwhelmed.  I don’t even have a menu planned.  My biggest issue is that I don’t know how to cook a turkey and my guests have already requested one.

I did a little research online and I also noticed in my weekly circulars that my local supermarkets are selling Thanksgiving dinners.  So here are my options:

ShopRite:  Fully cooked holiday turkey dinner that serves 8 to 10 people for $49.99

Stop n Shop:  Fully cooked turkey dinner that serves 6 to 8 people for $49.99 and it includes either an Apple or Pumpkin Pie.

Famous Dave’s:  I love this place for their BBQ so when I saw they were offering turkey dinners I was intrigued.  They offer 2 options.  I can buy just the smoked turkey for $44.99 or I can buy the turkey feast for $109.99 that serves 8 to 10 people.

It’s very important to me that the food has flavor so based on my experience with these 3 establishments I have to say that Famous Dave’s food is definitely flavorful.  I’ve bought rotisserie chicken from ShopRite and it was pretty bland.  I’m not sure about Stop n Shop.  They have decent desserts but I don’t know about the food.  So right now, I’m leaning towards purchasing the smoked turkey from Famous Dave’s and making the side dishes myself.  My friend already offered to bring the stuffing.

My Cultural Traditions

ThanksgivingFor me there is also the cultural aspect to my dinner.  I was born in Puerto Rico, which is a U.S. Territory and Commonwealth, so our Thanksgiving dinners are mixed in with traditional dishes from the island and the United States.  For the most part, we cook the traditional turkey but the side dishes are different.   Arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas) is a staple of the Puerto Rican cuisine and is included in all special holiday menus or events. Sometimes for Thanksgiving we also make pasteles (which is similar to a tamale but we make it with green bananas).  I don’t plan on making those as it’s a lot of work and it’s eaten more for Christmas dinner.   I think I’ll make amarillos which is fried sweet plantains (my husband’s favorite), potato salad, and a green salad.  For dessert I do like to have pumpkin pie and the traditional dessert from Puerto Rico would be flan.

Another interesting tradition performed by those who reside in the island is making a roasted turkey referred to as Pavochon This is done by roasting the turkey in the same style as roasting a suckling pig. Pavo means Turkey and Chon is short for Lechon (pig).

I still have to consult with my sister, who is the usual Thanksgiving host, to get some tips and help me plan my island Thanksgiving menu.  Stay Tuned!





Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner with an Island Twist — 17 Comments

    • I have to confess I’m a little intimidated with cooking a turkey. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Thanks, I know what you mean I always go to one of my sister’s house and I just bring dessert or wine. I really need to get a start on finalizing the menu and figuring out what to do about the turkey. Hosting is a lot of work!

    • My niece is a vegetarian. I think she sticks to eating the side dishes which are mainly meatless.

    • Thanks, I think depending on the cultural background many people mix it up during Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks for stopping by.

    • I spoke to my friend yesterday and she told me she bought a turkey from whole foods one year too. She also told me her husband can cook a turkey so maybe I’ll ask him to make it.

    • That is usually me every year. We’ll see how I like hosting. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. With Thanksgiving practically just around the bend, I think you are left with no other choice but to order that Thanksgiving dinner. But then, this might be an opportunity for you to learn to cook for occasions like this because it will save you money not to mention the personal touch you can brag about to your guests. 🙂
    Jen @ Frugal Rules recently posted…When Being Frugal Embarrassed MeMy Profile

    • This is true Jen. The more I think about it the more I say to myself, “I can do this”. I’m really considering cooking that turkey myself. I know I can do the side dishes so why not the turkey? I will decide this weekend.

  2. Oh goodness! Can I come visit? Amarillos are TO DIE FOR!!!

    I know my family has taken to store-bought Thanksgiving the past few years, and it’s been a fantastic compromise for us all. (So much so that I am NOT looking forward to spending Wednesday and Thursday in the kitchen preparing… *sigh* )
    Jacque recently posted…How to Prepare for your Husbands HomecomingMy Profile

    • I pulled the trigger and bought a butterball to make myself. It should be interesting in my kitchen as I learn how to cook the turkey.

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