Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, family, and, of course, delicious food. However, for travel nurses who can’t be at home during the holidays, celebrating Thanksgiving can be challenging. They often face unique obstacles like limited kitchen resources, time constraints, and the need for a festive yet easy-to-prepare meal.
One-Pan Turkey Breast with Vegetables
Instead of cooking a whole turkey, which can be time-consuming and requires a large oven, opt for a turkey breast. It’s quicker and just as satisfying. Season a turkey breast with herbs and place it in a roasting pan. Surround it with vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and Brussels sprouts. This way, you’ll have a complete meal in one pan, making both cooking and cleanup easier.
Microwaveable Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple, and they can easily be cooked in a microwave. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork, then microwave them for about 5-10 minutes, depending on their size. Once done, top them with a bit of butter, cinnamon, and a drizzle of honey for a simple yet delicious side dish.
Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
If you have access to an Instant Pot, mashed potatoes can be made quickly and with minimal effort. Simply peel and chop your potatoes, add them to the Instant Pot with some water, and cook for about 8 minutes. Once done, mash them with butter, milk, salt, and pepper.
Pre-Made Stuffing Enhancements
While homemade stuffing is great, it can be time-consuming. A good compromise is to buy pre-made stuffing and enhance it with your own ingredients. Sauté onions, celery, and garlic, then mix them into the stuffing along with some chicken broth to add moisture and flavor.
Cranberry Sauce with a Twist
Cranberry sauce can easily be made in a saucepan or even in the microwave. Add a unique twist by mixing in orange zest or a splash of orange juice. This will give the sauce an extra zing and make it more special.
No-Bake Pumpkin Pie
For dessert, a no-bake pumpkin pie can be a lifesaver. Mix canned pumpkin with pumpkin pie spice, condensed milk, and whipped topping. Pour the mixture into a pre-made graham cracker crust and let it chill in the refrigerator. It’s simple, yet thoroughly festive.
Packaged Gravy with a Homemade Touch
Gravy is essential for a Thanksgiving meal, but making it from scratch can be a hassle. Use packaged gravy as a base and enhance it by simmering it with pan drippings from the turkey breast, or add a touch of herbs for a homemade flavor.
Green Bean Almondine
This dish can be easily sautéed in a pan. Cook green beans until tender, then toss with toasted almonds, a bit of butter, and lemon zest for a refreshing and simple side dish.
For travel nurses, these meal ideas offer a way to enjoy a festive Thanksgiving feast without the need for extensive kitchen resources or time. Each recipe is designed to be simple yet delicious, ensuring that even away from home, the spirit of Thanksgiving can be heartily celebrated.