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green beans with almond brown butter

Ramona King

Green beans with almond brown butter is an elegant (and speedy) side dish

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11 speedy, easy and still feast-worthy recipes you can whip up quickly this Thanksgiving

What a nightmare. You weren’t planning on hosting Thanksgiving dinner or even really preparing any food at all this year, but things change. If you weren’t planning on cooking, it’s easy to find yourself in the predicament of trying to quickly throw together a last-minute Thanksgiving menu.

Luckily, we have 11 great menu ideas that can all be made in an hour or less. The best part? You don’t have to spend hours slaving over a traditional fare and you still get to serve a decadent Thanksgiving meal.

Appetizers
Grilled Oysters with Garlic Parmesan Butter
An easy appetizer when you have no time to spare is grilled oysters. Since oysters are best eaten during the colder months, why not add them to your last-minute Thanksgiving menu? In this decadent recipe, they take on smoky flavor from the grill while being gently poached in their own liquor and garlicky Parmesan butter.
Get the recipeApple Salad with Fennel and Walnuts
A perfect segue between your seafood appetizer and the main course is this colorful autumnal salad. There’s a variety of apples that will still be tasty late this month and will pair perfectly with the earthiness of the arugula. This healthy Thanksgiving choice can be made in a quick 15 minutes and will satisfy your guests who just can’t wait to eat.
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Main Dishes
Instant Pot Jambalaya
If you’re already short on time, you might as well let the Instant Pot do the hard work for you. While it’s not traditional Thanksgiving fare, this jambalaya is a hearty dish that'll be ready to serve in just about 40 minutes — perfect for when you’re in a time crunch. Tasso, or smoked ham, adds another layer of flavor and spice to the jambalaya that gives it a kick. You simply can’t go wrong.
Get the recipeFried Shrimp
Maybe it’s because my family is Italian or maybe it’s just because fried shrimp is delicious, but this dish always makes an appearance on my Thanksgiving table (and on Christmas, too). It’s not a traditional turkey, but it can be made in just 30 minutes. The crispy outside and fresh shrimp inside is sure to please everyone circled around your table.
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Deep-Fried Turkey
If you’re able to get your hands on a turkey (and defrost it) at the (relatively) last minute, deep-frying is the way to go. You will have to start the day before, but you’ll get tender meat and crisp, crackling skin, all in a matter of an hour or so. Your guests will be super impressed that you’re able to make such a flavorful bird in a short amount of time.
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Side Dishes
Anne Byrn’s Favorite Turkey Dressing
In 45 minutes, you can have an iconic Thanksgiving side that will truly delight your guests. You can easily make this dressing the day before and then pop it into the oven when the turkey (or main dish of your choice) is almost ready to be served. In this dressing recipe, cornbread provides flavor while the French bread brings a crispy crunch. If you can’t find French bread at your local grocery story feel free to substitute sandwich bread or hamburger buns to create a soft filling to round out this classic side.
Get the recipeTruffled Mashed Potatoes
While not absolutely necessary, the truffle oil in these mashed potatoes makes a world of a difference and still keeps your total cooking time at 35 minutes. The truffle oil and Yukon gold potatoes create a rich and decadent flavor combination. It’s a secret “wow” factor that spruces up this go-to holiday side.
Get the recipeGreen Beans with Almond Brown Butter
To get some green on your plate, make these vibrant green beans accompanied by toasted almonds and brown butter. This classic vegetable works in the best way possible against the nutty brown butter and, well, nutty, almonds to create a seriously memorable dish.
Get the recipeWho Needs the Canned Stuff? Cranberry Sauce
If you’re putting together your menu last-minute, then resorting to canned cranberry sauce is probably very tempting. But making it from scratch is easier than you think! Fresh cranberries and orange zest are an unbeatable combination. Skip that silky smooth canned sauce for the real stuff this year. You won’t regret it.
Get the recipeShaved Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts
Serve it as a side or salad, this Brussels sprouts Caesar is delicious. Some people might say they don’t like Brussels sprouts due to their bitterness, but when prepared correctly they’re crunchy and delicious — especially when you throw in cheese, walnuts and a creamy dressing.
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Dessert
Quick Apple Hand Pies
A last-resort dessert can still be delicious and quick. In true fall fashion, these apple hand pies are both sweet and buttery — basically, everything you want in a Thanksgiving dessert. As the apples cook, their natural liquid will form a mouth-watering caramel sauce. Each of your guests will feel like they have an entire apple pie to themselves.
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Photos (apple salad, turkey, green beans, cranberry sauce): Ramona King
Photo (jambalaya): Julie Koppman
Photos (shrimp, Brussels sprouts): Maura Friedman
Photo (turkey): Ramona King
Photo (dressing): Danielle Atkins
Photo (mashed potatoes): Cynthia Hoyt
Photo (hand pies): Ryan Hughley


Author image

Elisabeth Schrock is a contributing writer for Southern Kitchen. She's a graduate of Duquesne University and has traveled around the world chasing good food. Born and raised in Georgia, she vows that you can take the girl out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the girl. Oh, and she can never get enough of her dad’s homemade mashed potatoes.

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