Remember that year Thanksgiving dinner was a disaster, when the guests were ravenous but the bird was still a dangerous medium-rare? Or perhaps all your pies burned because you forgot to set the timer while doing a dozen other thankless pre-Thanksgiving tasks.
Take away the muss and fuss this year by ordering to-go meals from area restaurants and caterers. These Turkey Day specials can be full-meal packages or a la carte buys, allowing you to set a full table – from appetizer through dessert—without dirtying any cookware.
Like home-cooked Thanksgiving dinners, you must think ahead when ordering these extravaganzas. Ordering deadlines are generally a week ahead of the big meal.
Here are some places in the northern part of Alabama offering take-away holiday food for all the gobblers at your table. (A few of these also offer dine-in on November 23rd).
Options: Pork tenderloin with rosemary apricot glaze; sides include garlic mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon and mushrooms with shallots, creamy sweet potato soup, cranberry relish, and gravy. For dessert: pina colada cake, white chocolate bread pudding, or fresh sweet potato chiffon pie.
Prices: Set a la carte by full orders (feeds 8-10) or half order (feeds 4-6).
Order deadline: Friday, November 17; 256-505-4699.
Area locations: Athens, Cullman, Jasper, Pell City, Decatur, Fort Payne, Guntersville, Leeds, Tuscaloosa, Gadsden, Hartselle, Madison, Oxford, Florence, Huntsville.
Options: Sliced turkey and dressing, gravy, cranberry relish, green beans, mac and cheese, sweet potato casserole, rolls, pumpkin pie.
Prices: $99.59-$159.99 depending on portion size – Family (feeds 4-6), or Feast (8-10). Desserts and additional sides sold separately. Meal is heat-and-serve.
Order deadline: Available November 18-25; use within 72 hours of pickup. Cracker Barrel also is open for dine in on Thanksgiving.
Options: Meats: Turkey and gravy or spiral sliced ham; sides include corn pudding, maple-glazed carrots; traditional holiday veggie dishes; snacks include deviled pickled eggs, sausage balls.
Prices: A la carte ordering; serves 8+. Meats are $100, pies $40, side and snacks $6-$20. Wine is available.
Order deadline: Thursday, November 16, at 3 p.m. Pick up is November 22 3 p.m.-6 p.m. only. 256-881-0044.
Options: Herb-roasted turkey breast, truffle turkey gravy, smoked mac and cheese, fall salad with butternut squash and pumpkin seeds, cider-glazed Brussels sprouts with shallots and bacon, mashed sweet potatoes with maple cardamon granola, dinner rolls.
Prices: $205 for full meal (serves 6-8). Everything also is available a la carte $8-$95. Breakfasts, pies, cakes, and cheesecakes also are available, $12-$48.
Order deadline: Not stated; FMI: 256-213-7545.Pickup is November 18, 21, or 22.
Area locations: Cullman, Decatur, Guntersville, Hartselle, downtown Huntsville, Village of Providence in Huntsville, Madison, Priceville.
Options: Smoked meats include whole turkey (12-14 pounds), spiral sliced ham (9 pounds), pulled pork and ribs. Side options include cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole, and corn pudding.
Prices: Vary by item. Whole pan for side dishes serves 18-22; half pan serves 10-12.
Order deadline: Monday, November 20. To order, phone at the store where you want to pick it up.