There are three days until Thanksgiving and you’ve done very little to nothing to prepare. Do you hit the panic button? Not just yet, experts say. There’s still time to salvage a last-minute Thanksgiving meal.
Fortunately for procrastinators there are some options to make your holiday meal quick, easy and less stressful.
Several grocery stores will be open on Thursday, including Save Mart stores in Fresno. The regional chain will be open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
If you can’t find fresh herbs or specialty produce like romanesco broccoli, try a farmers market. Two farmer’s markets will be open on Wednesday. The Vineyard Farmer’s Market at Blackstone and Shaw avenues will be open from 3 p.m to 6 p.m. and the farmers market at Kaiser Permanente, 7300 N Fresno St, Fresno, will also be open from 8 a.m to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Not great at baking. No worries. Several local bakeries will have ready to go pies and other delicious desserts available. But you are highly encouraged to pre-order to make sure you get what you want.
A longtime Fresno favorite, Eddie’s Bakery Cafe, 7089 N Cedar Ave., is baking several types of pies, including pumpkin, pecan, a Jack Daniel’s pecan pie and apple cranberry. A limited number of pies will be available the day before Thanksgiving, but it will be first come, first served. The bakery opens at 6 a.m.
Beverly Gable, owner of the Frosted Cakery, 1292 N Wishon Ave., also strongly suggests you pre-order. You can do that as late as noon on Tuesday. If not, you may miss out on Gable’s pumpkin mascarpone, caramel apple crumb, peach lattice and pecan pies. They also have gluten free pumpkin and pecan.
Gable also has pumpkin spice cannoli, Thanksgiving sugar cookies, turkey cake pops and fruit pie pockets. She will also have desserts available on Wednesday on a first come first serve basis. The bakery’s will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Here’s a tip in case you forgot flowers or want to buy a centerpiece. Go see Glory Warner of Whole Systems Agriculture at the Vineyard Farmers Market.
Warner uses locally grown flowers and herbs to make small flower arrangements for $6 and and large flower arrangements for $12. Her centerpieces that include a harvest basket with pumpkins, wheat, herbs and other fall items are $35. And she also makes a herbal wreath for $25.
“You can use the herbs in the wreath for cooking or just hang it as is,” Warner says.
Local chef and food blogger Linda Davis says even if you have procrastinated until Thanksgiving Day, you can still pull off a great meal.
First, forget roasting a turkey. You don’t have time to defrost it. Instead, buy fresh turkey breasts at the grocery store.
“They’re not frozen and won’t take as much time to cook,” Davis says. “You’ll simply be serving only the white meat, my favorite part anyway.”
Using your crock pot, place a generous amount of chopped vegetables like potatoes, celery and carrots, in the bottom of your slow cooker and sprinkle with a small bit of salt and pepper, Davis says.
Then, salt and pepper the turkey breast and place them on top of the vegetables. Add a cup of water, put the lid on and cook on high for 3-4 hours. Cook until the temperature of the turkey breast reaches at least 161 degrees.
“It will continue to cook a little out of the pan,” Davis says. “But, be sure to buy a meat thermometer so you can pull off the perfectly cooked turkey.”
Davis also has a recipe for carrots that she promises takes no more than 10 minutes and will make you a carrot lover.
Shayna Telesmanic, owner of Young Chefs Academy of Fresno, says if you like to cook but are pressed for time, she has a quick dessert recipe for pumpkin pie.
The recipe uses a no-bake filling that includes instant pudding, pumpkin, whipped topping and spice. The only thing you bake is the crust.
Young Chefs Academy mini pumpkin pie
By Shayna Telesmanic
1 pkg. (15 ounces) refrigerated pie crusts
1 can (15 ounces) solid pack pumpkin
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 pkg. (3.4 ounces) cheesecake instant pudding and pie filling
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 small orange, zested
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll the pie crust into a 12-inch circle. Using a 3 1/2 inch cookie cutter, round or scalloped, cut out 12 pastry pieces. Do this with the second crust.
Press one pastry piece into each cup of a mini-muffin pan. With a fork, pierce the bottom of each pastry. You should have 24 tart shells.
Bake the pastries for 14-18 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes. Remove tart shells from pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
To prepare the filling: Combine the pumpkin, whipped topping, and spice in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add the pudding mix; whisk until smooth and thickened. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Lightly sprinkle tart shells with powdered sugar. Pipe the pumpkin mixture into shells with the star tip of a pastry bag, or you can use a Ziploc® bag as a pastry bag. Sprinkle with pecans and top with a little bit of orange zest.
By Linda Davis
12 oz. bag fresh baby cut peeled carrots
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon melted unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon each, salt & pepper, to taste
pinch of ground cinnamon (1/8 teaspoon)
pinch of ground cumin (1/8 teaspoon)
Whisk together all ingredients except for the carrots in a medium bowl. Add carrots to the bowl, stir to cover carrots. Tightly cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the microwave. Cook on high for 4 minutes, carefully remove cover and stir. Recover and cook for an additional 2-4 minutes, or until tender. Keep warm until ready to serve.