The Thanksgiving dinner shopping rush is on, but don’t let soaring prices, supply chain shortages, or picked-up store shelves get in the way of your perfect holiday table.
Some stores have reported low stocks of potted gravy, stuffing and frozen pies, the National Grocers Association said amid a nationwide supply chain shortage. Canned products may be harder to findD, too much.
Another reason to look for alternative ingredients: Food prices are rising, especially on meat, seasonings, dressings and produce, CNBC reported.
Whether your favorite items are out of stock or you want to save a few bucks, a little creativity can go a long way.
We asked two DC chefs to come up with their best ideas for alternatives and substitutes for your Thanksgiving dinner.
Consumer Reporter Susan Hogan has four cost-cutting tips for Thanksgiving shopping.
Whole Substitutes from Turkey: What is cheaper, tastier or more vegetarian?
While turkey is often what people gravitate towards for Thanksgiving dinner, there are plenty of options to substitute it as a main course.
“The reality is there are dozens of dozen things you could do. I think you just need to release the idea that ‘I must have turkey’,” Private Chef J. Jackson said. “Once you release that thought, you can do just about anything.”
If you are looking for a budget alternative, Jackson, also known as Mr. Foodtastic, recommends making a dish of turkey wings or a turkey breast instead of a whole bird.
As more families decide to celebrate Thanksgiving safely at home, many people are making Thanksgiving turkey for the first time. Megan McGrath breaks it down step by step.
For those looking to take the meat out, take a look at this appetizing Roasted cauliflower with green curry. This substantial root vegetable will give a mouthfeel similar to eating meat, which often plays a role in appreciating vegetarian dishes, Jackson said.
If you’re looking for a new flavor, roast tenderloin, poultry, and even fried duck are great alternatives to turkey, said Chef Mark Bucher, co-founder of Medium Rare Steak Frites. He particularly likes the chateaubriand, the piece of meat in which the filet mignon is cut.
“Chateaubriand is very sexy for Thanksgiving and often underused,” said Bucher. “It’s something you can cut at the table that will wow your guests.”
Canned Cranberry Sauce Substitutes
For some, there is no substitute for the choppy stuff that comes out of a can. But homemade cranberry sauce isn’t too difficult – and you can make it well ahead of time. All you need are cranberries, sugar, water, and a tangy, fruity component like orange juice.
If you’re not in the mood for cranberries or interested in trying something new, making sauces with other fruits is a great alternative.
Jackson likes fruits like currants, raspberries, apples, cherries or apricots.
Chef Bucher thinks apples and cinnamon are a great alternative for a holiday flavored sauce. He suggests trying this recipe:
Spices have become one of the most expensive items to get for Thanksgiving dinner – One of the most recognizable brands of spices, based in Maryland McCormick, says he has faced supply chain challenges.
Often people don’t realize that their favorite spices are easier to find ingredient blends.
That’s why Jackson recommends combining your own spices at home to create what you need.
Salted spice substitutes
The savory spice is a combination of spices that you can prepare at home. McCormick’s includes oregano, cinnamon, garlic powder, paprika, ground ginger, salt and black pepper.
Chef Bucher recommends looking into the trusted salt and pepper. Packaged soup mixes or salad dressings can also add oomph.
“My grandmother would cheat with a soup mix like Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix or even with dressing,” Bucher said. “There are old recipes going back 50 to 60 years with French dressing on poultry you roast. I know it sounds gross but it’s actually pretty good.”
Pumpkin pie spice substitutes
Pumpkin spice is simply made up of equal parts cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Here is an example of using your house blend: pumpkin and chocolate chip cookie from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
If you need allspice, which is a root spice, not a combination of your entire spice cabinet! – our chefs suggest replacing it with spices that are similar to it, such as cloves or nutmeg.
Homemade Thanksgiving Substitutes
If you are preparing meat, it is easy to make a homemade sauce. Here’s how.
Evaporated milk is one of those canned products that might be more expensive than usual or in short supply, but you can make your own at home.
For those with a sweet tooth, News4’s Megan McGrath has delicious, yummy desserts for Thanksgiving.
The pies can all be made at home – or turn things up with Megan McGrath’s Pumpkin Cheesecake.
“Thanksgiving is the day you should take your time,” Jackson said. “You would be surprised how easy a lot of things are to do. “