For the first time in my adult life, I will be in charge of an entire Thanksgiving dinner for my family of five thanks to COVID-19 restrictions on indoor gatherings. That means that instead of just making a few side dishes and showing up at my sister’s home to partake in her excellent cooking, it’s all up to me for aa change. And yes, that has me sweating just a little bit. I mean, I’m a decent cook, but Thanksgiving has always loomed large in my brain.
Thankfully, I live 20 minutes from a Trader Joe’s, and they always have the best time-saving foods, from prepped veggies, delicious side dishes, decadent desserts, and even time-saving turkey ideas for this turkey novice. They also have shelves full of of boozy and non-boozy drinking options that feel special for this holiday.
And oh boy, do we need special.
So can you get lots of stuff at your local grocer? Of course. But the fun part about Trader Joe’s is that they offer some really creative new twists on classic Thanksgiving favorites, and it’s often available for a short time only.
(Check out our favorite Trader Joe’s Thanksgiving picks from a few years ago, and see what’s back this year again.)
Whether you are a seasoned Thanksgiving chef or a newbie like me, here are a few of our favorite limited-edition Trader Joe’s foods to pick up now for this Thanksgiving to make things fun, easy, time-saving, and still as festive as can be.
The foods, hacks, cheats, and semi-homemade ideas from Trader Joe’s making Thanksgiving easier this year.
Trader Joe’s Thanksgiving Day Turkey
To take some of the pressure off having to prep and prepare an entire turkey, I love that Trader Joe’s has brought back their convenient pastry-wrapped Turkey and Stuffing en Croute.
Just remember to defrost this in the fridge the day before; then all you have to do is pop it into the oven, and you have a delicious new twist for this unique Thanksgiving.
For those who still want the traditional turkey on the table, Trader Joe’s has brined, kosher, and organic turkeys all scheduled to fly in around November 13. And their handy Turkey Roasting Guide is ready to take you from the supermarket to the table.
Bonus: Since I have two vegetarians in my family of five and we’re always searching for vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes, from mains to sides, I love that TJ offers a tasty Vegan Stuffed Roast with Gravy which I can whip up alongside the classic turkey entree and have dinner ready for all of us in a snap.
Trader Joe’s Thanksgiving Day Side Dishes
One complaint I hear from my mother every single Thanksgiving is that too many Thanksgiving side dishes are “mushy”… and she kind of has a point! It’s too bad we can’t have her over this year, because I think this Oniony Kale Slaw Salad Kit would earn her praise. Added to the crunchy kale, carrot, cabbage, and cauliflower are caramelized shallots, walnuts, and shaved Parmesan cheese that you can top with a tangy Dijon Vinaigrette. It helps offer a little more texture alongside your mashed potatoes or mac n cheese
My favorite part of shopping at Trader Joe’s is finding all the new and interesting side dishes they have that take a lot of the prep work our of making dinner. This colorful Holiday Vegetable Hash of diced butternut squash, sweet potatoes, red onions, celery along with parsley, sage, and rosemary sounds like yum, and I like the pop of color it will bring to the plate. You can even mix it into their Cornbread Stuffing or Gluten Free Stuffing to add some crunch.
I’m all for sneaking in some greens onto the plate in any way I can, so Trader Joe’s Creamed Greens will be making an appearance on the 2020 Thanksgiving table. I’ve read great reviews of this blend of Brussels sprout and kale with béchamel sauce and parmesan cheese. Thank goodness I’m already living in stretchy pants most of the time so I can go for seconds.
Trader Joe’s Thanksgiving Desserts and Cocktails
I’m tempted to just tell you to grab one of every dessert in the Trader Joe’s bakery and frozen food aisles because there are so many excellent options! But for a holiday as special as Thanksgiving, I’m going to grab a few boxes of their limited-edition Rustic Apple Cranberry Tarts. We have loved these little apple-stuffed pastries since 2017, and they get absolutely rave reviews so I’m thrilled they’re back.
If you have vegans in your home to feed, they will feel so loved when you hand them their very own Cheese-Less “Cheesecake.” Having eaten an entire box of my own (guilty), I can say that these little gems are creamy, truly taste authentic,” and are so good you can enjoy them with a dollop of fruit on top, or plain right out of the box.
When it’s time to say grace or cheers or just Happy Thanksgiving around the table, lift a glass of Sparkling Cranberry Juice which is bubbly, sweet-tart, and has no alcohol making it’s perfect for everyone at the table.
Though, if you’d like to make your cranberry drink 21+, I love this recipe for a Cranberry Wine Spritzer from Mom’s Dinner. It requires only a couple of ingredients (including the TJ’s sparkling cranberry I love), she offers some fun tips for variations, and it will yield the perfect Thanksgiving cocktail to take me through dinner…and clean up.
Oy, clean up. That’s one thing about 2020 Thanksgiving that will remain the same.