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What to serve while Thanksgiving is cooking?

I've been so focused on preparing the Thanksgiving meal itself, it as only just now occurred to me that I will have a houseful of people wanting to eat earlier in the day. We will eat turkey around 5, but my houseguests (and family) will be wanting breakfast and, I imagine, a light lunch. Breakfast is easy, but I'm looking for ideas for things to serve for lunch that people can mostly get for themselves and that won't occupy a lot of kitchen prep space or refrigerator space. Also, one of the people is diabetic and one has celiac so sandwiches, pizza and the like are out. Hmmm....maybe hummus, crudite, cheese and the like? Thoughts?

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  1. Put together an antipasto platter, and/or fruit and cheese. People can take little plates and refill them as they please. Added advantage: it's nice not to have people sitting around the table for lunch so you can set it early for dinner.

    1. I would serve a big, late breakfast/brunch and then skip lunch entirely. A vegetable tray and/or a little antipasti in the afternoon should keep people happy until 5 if they had a filling brunch at 10:30 or 11!

      1. Hopefully someone else will have seen the Ina Garten program shown over the weekend and comment on the apps. She stressed to keep the apps as finger food, tiny and light - a sort of lagniappe, setting out small, single bowls of plain cashews, ? and ? (maybe one was olives). The idea is to serve something, but not so much to offset the desire for the upcoming feast.

        I tried to find reference to the program on food network, but was unsuccessful. However, I did find an Ina recipe to Rosemary Cashews, though the ones she served were plain.
        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

        4 Replies
        1. re: CocoaNut

          There were cashews, caperberries (I think, but olives would certainly work) and "good" potato chips in silver bowls.

          1. re: BubblyOne

            HAHA! Yes, I'm pretty sure the cashews were "good" also!

            1. re: CocoaNut

              I truly love Ina and watch all her shows, but when would you ever want "bad" ingredients?
              Maybe if you didn't like your guests?:)

              1. re: BubblyOne

                Bubbly! The show just re-aired and you are correct about the caperberries. I'm only familiar with the ones equal to the size or a little larger than peppercorns. I'll have to look for and try those with a stem, resembling small salad peppers.

                For the record ;), the cashews were not only roasted and salted, but "very" good!

        2. since we moved a few hours away, my wife's family will come up to us every so often. one thing you want to avoid for breakfast is having to make a lot of different things. you're busy enough. bagels with all the fixings is easy. maybe a big batch of scrambled eggs. my wife does a baked french toast thing but it has to be prepared the night before. i don't have the recipe since it comes from a friend. for a light lunch, maybe a pasta course. you could even start dinner early and incorporate it as part of dinner instead of actually having lunch. antipasto is always a good idea. we do two as there's a couple of vegetarians. one will have various meats and cheeses. the other will have endive, roasted peppers, olives, cheeses, artichokes. marinated mushrooms always go over well. depending on how crazy you want to get, shrimp cocktail and baked clams can be done with the antipastos.

          1 Reply
          1. re: davmar77

            For sure I haven't got your friend's recipe either, but one great breakfast entree that's similar is to soak English Muffins in egg-batter, and bake them on greased cookie sheets. Kind of a quasi-bastard French Toast. Easy and delicious.

          2. Depending on where you live, and your tastes, I would second the late morning brunch approach. You can have yogurt and fruit on hand for those who absolutely must eat breakfast. For the brunch, you could put together a platter of fish (smoked whitefish, salmon (nova or lox), and tuna), sliced veggies like red onion, tomatoes and lettuce, a cheese assortment, different types of breads (bagels, flatbreads, crackers), and a fruit tray. People could pick and choose what they want. Get a good coffee cake from the bakery (you have enough to do!) or cinnamon rolls and you're all set. This is the menu for Thursday morning at the DIB house.