Alternative:One-Hour Thanksgiving Dinner
This recipe is for an entire Thanksgiving Dinner that takes one hour to cook. The recipe uses various pre-cooked ingredients and instant foods, and is designed for those cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, such as college students.
- 1 5–6 lb fully pre-cooked smoked turkey breast. Certain brands are readily available in almost every U.S. supermarket, however they must be fully-cooked frozen turkey breast, as they only require 1 hour of heating. Avoid processed turkey breast loaf.
- 2 cans of desired vegetables.
- 1–2 box package(s) of instant potatoes or stuffing.
- 1 package of 12 instant frozen biscuits. The frozen home-baked butter variety works best. It is important that the biscuits in a can are not used.
- 1 package of turkey gravy mix.
- 1 small disposable aluminum turkey pan with built-in rack.
- 1 can of spray oil (can be substituted with regular vegetable oil).
- Make sure you have thawed the turkey breast. A frozen 5–6 pound breast thaws within one day in the refrigerator. It is also very important that you have purchased a frozen fully pre-cooked breast. The words "heat and serve" may be on the package.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Remove turkey from bag and place in aluminum roasting pan.
- Spray the turkey with cooking oil. If using regular vegetable oil, rub the breast with it.
- Place turkey breast in the oven on the middle rack.
- Cook for 15 minutes.
- Begin the gravy mix according to package directions.
- Place the vegetables on the range set to low heat.
- Prepare the instant potatoes or stuffing according to the package directions.
- On a small pan lay out your frozen biscuits allowing them to touch one another. At this point the turkey breast should have been cooking for 30 minutes.
- Place your biscuits on the lower rack. The biscuits will cook just fine with the turkey in the oven and will be ready in 25–30 minutes. Check them at 20 minutes to be sure they do not burn.
- Finish preparing your instant potatoes or stuffing, instant gravy, and vegetables. Place them in serving dishes if desired. Place the cranberry sauce in a serving dish. If you are serving pie along with the dinner you will also need to place the pie on a serving dish. If a frozen pie has been purchased, follow the microwave directions.
- At the end of the hour, remove the turkey. It is recommended that you use a food thermometer to make sure it has achieved a temperature of 160°F — the minimum temperature necessary to kill any bacteria which have survived the freezing process. Remove the turkey and serve.
This dinner serves 6–8 people comfortably.
There are many uses for the leftover turkey. Sliced turkey leftovers can be used to make sandwiches or turkey biscuits.
The portion along the bone can be used to prepare turkey soup by placing it in a soup pot along with 4 cups of water, 1 chopped onion, 2 tablespoons salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and allow to simmer for 2 hours. Add another cup of water, spices to taste, desired vegetables such as carrots or potatoes, and noodles. Simmer for an additional hour and a half.