You’ve decided to spend the Thanksgiving holiday on the Florida Gulf Coast. Lucky you! You’re planning on making the holiday meal for your family in your Indian Rocks Beach vacation rental but aren’t quite sure where to start. We can help! Here’s how you can easily and efficiently prepare your holiday meal for a Thanksgiving dinner that won’t soon be forgotten. Remember, everything’s better at the beach, holidays included.
1. Create your Thanksgiving menu.
It all starts with a plan! You’ll want to start creating your holiday meal plan by making a list of the appetizers, main course, side dishes, desserts and drinks you’d like to serve up at your Thanksgiving table. From there, you’ll want to break down those dishes into specific ingredients for your shopping list, plus any special kitchen tools you will need to make your meal. You may want to consider doing this step at home in case there are any specialty items you want to bring with you that you may not find while away.
2. Streamline where necessary.
Before you go full steam ahead with your holiday meal prep, take a moment to look at your Thanksgiving meal plan. Is it too much? Too complicated? Remember that it will be a more intimate holiday meal since you’re away from home. It’s just you and your immediate family this year most likely. With that in mind, pare down the menu if you need to and focus on the dishes and family favorites that they love most—then omit the rest. Consider how you will prepare your main dish, too. If you’re going to have turkey or ham on the menu, make sure you know where to buy it and how you will prepare it. Don’t feel bad if you choose a more convenient option than you usually do. No need to overcomplicate or overdo things. Keep it simple.
3. Take inventory of your vacation rental kitchen.
You’ll want to get to know what’s available to you in your Indian Rocks Beach vacation rental kitchen as soon as possible. Plumlee vacation rentals and condos come well-stocked with many of the kitchen utensils and things you need to make your meals, but it’s always good to familiarize yourself with exactly what is there since every rental is different. Refer to your Thanksgiving menu and the special kitchen tools that you made note of on that meal plan you made. Check that you have what you need beforehand to avoid stress the day of your meal. Items like a large roasting pan or sheet pan might be important, so if your rental doesn’t provide it consider buying a disposable one that you can use and toss when you’re done. Baster? Pie pan? Also be prepared to improvise if need be.
4. Know where to shop.
You want to know what’s nearby not only to find the ingredients you need, but also because you may not want to cook everything yourself! A quick Google Maps search will show you that there are several chain stores (Publix and Walmart) to buy groceries that are not far from your Indian Rocks Beach vacation rental. There are also local fresh seafood markets, bakeries, beach shops, and farmers markets. Perhaps you want to pick up a homemade pie? Or fresh seafood for a coastal addition to your holiday meal? Be sure to check the hours and availability ahead of time since it’s a holiday and hours may be limited. Also remember that several apps will do the grocery shopping for you and deliver right to your door, taking a lot off your plate when it comes to time.
5. Prepare side dishes and desserts ahead of time.
Do yourself a favor and don’t try to make all the things the day of your Thanksgiving meal. That’s a lot of work and remember that you’re on vacation, too! Yes you can delegate some of the prep work and cleanup amongst your family, but you can also work ahead of the big day and make some of the dishes that will keep a day or two in advance. You have a refrigerator for your convenience in your vacation rental, so you may as well put it to good use.
6. Set a festive table.
Your table setting is going to look different this year since you’re not at your home with your things, but that can be a welcome change. Get creative with your table setting by tying in some coastal elements to your decor. Or better yet, charge your kids with the task of setting the table and decorating it. They can collect sand, shells, and other beachy elements that can serve as a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving meal. Keep them busy by giving them some additional helpful tasks like creating decorative name tags, folding napkins, and other small ways that they can contribute to making the Thanksgiving dinner extra special, which will in turn help you get what you need done, too.
The Perfect Thanksgiving Meal Plan & Recipes That Make It Easy (and Tasty!)
If you don’t want to bother with creating a Thanksgiving menu of your own, you can use this one. Tasty always keeps things pretty simple—and, well, tasty. This 10-minute video breaks down the main elements of a traditional Thanksgiving meal—turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and pumpkin pie—and shows you how to make each with ease. They don’t roast a whole turkey, but rather in parts for less cook time. The maple hazelnut squash and sausage stuffing looks very yummy. And their gravy-stuffed mashed potatoes are pretty ingenious. Watch the video and decide if it will work for you this year. Happy Thanksgiving!
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