What the Root Crew Is Cooking (and Not Cooking) for the Craziest Thanksgiving Ever

What the Root Crew Is Cooking (and Not Cooking) for the Craziest Thanksgiving Ever

Illustration for article titled What the Root Crew Is Cooking (and Not Cooking) for the Craziest Thanksgiving Ever
Photo: Alexander Raths (Shutterstock)

Last year I spent Thanksgiving with—wait for it—17 people crammed into a two-bedroom, one-bathroom Jersey City apartment where the festivities spanned over the course of two days with enough food for each person to take home a to-go plate and still leave the host enough to last through the next week.

This year, my Thanksgiving celebrations will take place in my studio apartment with my partner and our cat.

With most of us still in lockdown as the COVID-19 rates spike, we have come to the unfortunate realization that the 2020 holidays will be on-brand with the rest of the year.

Then again, if you’re into the idea of not dealing with your family asking you questions about God knows what, maybe they won’t.

If you’re like me and cooking and eating have been therapeutic since the beginning of lockdown, you’re probably wondering how to pull off making a comforting Thanksgiving meal for one or two without it being downright depressing.

We’ll all most likely be eating trays of mac and cheese and a pot of collards until Christmas when we have to do this solo-celebrating all over again. For those of us out here trying to figure it out, here are a few small group meals, drinks and sides The Root crew will be making this holiday weekend.

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Shaken (Not Stirred) Bloody Mary - Bella Morais

Shaken (Not Stirred) Bloody Mary - Bella Morais

Illustration for article titled What the Root Crew Is Cooking (and Not Cooking) for the Craziest Thanksgiving Ever
Photo: Mathea Morais

If you’re going to be spending the holidays alone, you might as well have a drink for breakfast. Every Thanksgiving, my family starts the day with a Ketel One Bloody Mary and adds enough to it to keep us full until dinner.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 oz. Ketel One Vodka (or preferred vodka) but I usually measure with the heart
  • 3 oz. Ketel One Bloody Mary Base*

*Bloody Mary Base

  • 1L Tomato juice
  • 4 oz. Lemon juice
  • 4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Smoked paprika
  • 5 tbsp. Horseradish
  • 3 Dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 7-10 Dashes hot sauce

DIRECTIONS:

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Ice the rim and garnish with a celery stalk, olives, lemon wedges, pickles, jalapeños and a straw for maximum consumption.

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Roasted Lemon Chicken - Danielle Belton

Roasted Lemon Chicken - Danielle Belton

Illustration for article titled What the Root Crew Is Cooking (and Not Cooking) for the Craziest Thanksgiving Ever
Photo: Danielle Belton

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 chicken leg quarters (or any dark meat chicken)
  • 1 to 2 lemons (for lemon juice and lemon zest from lemon)
  • 1 stick of melted butter
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • Half a bag of small red potatoes
  • Half a bag of peeled carrots or chopped and peeled carrots
  • Season to taste levels: coarse ground black pepper, garlic puree or chopped garlic, sea salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

For chicken:

Clean chicken and separate the skin partially from the chicken, just enough to get easily to the meat underneath. Season salt and pepper on chicken underneath the skin directly on the meat. Place chicken skin back over the meat. Mix garlic puree, lemon juice and 1/2 a cup of butter.

Spread butter garlic lemon juice mixture over the skin of the chicken. Sprinkle salt and pepper to preferred seasoning levels over skin of the chicken. Take a grater and shave off some of the lemon’s skin to create lemon zest and sprinkle zest on chicken

Vegetables:

Clean and peel carrots. Chop up onion to desired thickness. Clean potatoes. Add all vegetables to the bowl with sea salt, pepper, garlic puree (or garlic powder) and the remaining 1/2 cup of melted butter. Toss veggies in butter seasoning mixture until all veggies are coated in butter, garlic and seasoning. Place coated veggies in a baking dish

Place chicken on top of veggies. Cover dish with an oven-safe lid or aluminum foil. Place in center rack of oven. Bake covered for an hour

After the hour, take chicken and veggies out and uncover itTurn oven up to 400 degrees. Place uncovered chicken and veggies on the top rack and let cook for another 15-20 minutes to brown the chicken. After chicken skin is golden brown, remove from oven, add more lemon juice over the cooked chicken and veggies, then let the chicken sit for at least 10 minutes

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Creamy Vegan Mashed Potatoes - Bella Morais

Creamy Vegan Mashed Potatoes - Bella Morais

Illustration for article titled What the Root Crew Is Cooking (and Not Cooking) for the Craziest Thanksgiving Ever
Photo: Matthew Mead (AP)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6-8 medium-sized russet potatoes
  • 3-4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dairy-free milk of choice (I use oat milk) divided
  • 1 tsp cornstarch (or flour)
  • 4-6 cups of water (or enough to submerge potatoes)
  • 5 tbsp vegan butter (I prefer Earth Balance®) divided
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • chives to garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Peel* and halve potatoes and place them in a medium-size pot. Add water and bring it to a boil. Once the water has come to a rolling boil, add half of the salt and reduce the heat to medium. Allow potatoes to simmer for 30 minutes or until a fork can easily pierce them

While the potatoes are boiling, add 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp vegan butter and minced garlic to a pain. Cook slowly until the butter and oil are infused with the garlic. Set aside for later use

Drain the potatoes and put them back in the pot. Add the olive oil, dairy-free milk, 3 tbsp vegan butter to the pot. Use a potato masher and mash until desired consistency. Use a spatula to combine any ingredients that have pushed up the side of the bowl

If you want creamier potatoes, put the mixture in a blender or food processor for 2-3 minutes

Place potatoes in the bowl and make a well at the top. Add the garlic butter and chives and serve

This makes enough for 3-4 people so perfect for leftovers too. The golden rule is two potatoes per person

* If you don’t want to peel your potatoes, chop them into quarters instead of halves before boiling

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Crown Royal Smoked Cornish Hen - Michael Harriot

Crown Royal Smoked Cornish Hen - Michael Harriot

Illustration for article titled What the Root Crew Is Cooking (and Not Cooking) for the Craziest Thanksgiving Ever
Photo: Matthew Mead (AP)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Cornish game hens
  • 1 bottle Crown Royal
  • 3oz. Orange Pineapple Juice (or Apple Juice)
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 tablespoons Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 3 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 Package Lipton Onion Soup
  • 3 Tablespoons Garlic POWDER (Not Garlic Salt!)
  • 1/2 bag of Wood Chips (if smoking)

DIRECTIONS:

Combine 3 oz Crown, juice, 1/2 tablespoon seasoned salt, 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder and 1/2 tablespoon pepper in a pourable bowl. Carefully pour mixture into injector. Inject mixture into each breast, back, leg and thigh. Rub hens with olive oil

Mix remaining seasoned salt, pepper, garlic powder and Lipton’s onion soup and massage onto oiled hens. If baking, preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat baking dish with non-stick spray. Place the hens in the dish and cover with foil. Cook covered for 1 hour

For the final 30 minutes of cooking, remove cover for crispier, browner skin. If grilling, heat the grill between medium to medium-high temperature of about 300 to 400°F. Use indirect heat to grill the hens. Grilling will take about 45 minutes

If smoking, prepare smoker and heat cooking area to 220°F. Smoke with pecan or apple chips. Smoke for 4 to 6 hours. Be sure your chicken has an internal temperature of 175-185°F before serving

Drink remaining Crown Royal

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Tasty’s Three-Ingredient Cookie Butter Cakes - Tonja Stidhum

Tasty’s Three-Ingredient Cookie Butter Cakes - Tonja Stidhum

Illustration for article titled What the Root Crew Is Cooking (and Not Cooking) for the Craziest Thanksgiving Ever
Photo: Tonja Stidhum

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 jars of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter (I like to use the crunchy cookie butter for the base and regular for the icing. I switch it up sometimes, too!
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 5 large eggs

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat that oven to 350˚F.

Microwave half of one Cookie Butter jar into a microwave-safe bowl and heat up that thing for 50 seconds, stirring halfway.

While the microwaved butter is cooling, mix the sugar and 5 eggs and beat the mixture using an electric mixer on high until tripled in size (this should take like 6-8 min of arm work

Fold the cooled cookie butter into the egg mixture right after so eggs won’t deflate. Stir until it’s all mixed up. It should be the color of cookie butter, but like... whipped.

Pour all of that into a cupcake/muffin tin. Bake for 15 min.

When done, flip them over onto a wire rack to cool. Melt some additional cookie butter to use as icing and pour over the cakes.

Eat that shit!

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Turkey Cobb Salad for Two - Maiysha Kai

Turkey Cobb Salad for Two - Maiysha Kai

Illustration for article titled What the Root Crew Is Cooking (and Not Cooking) for the Craziest Thanksgiving Ever
Photo: Maiysha Kai

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 head of butter lettuce
  • 2 cups mixed greens (for color)
  • 2 cups roasted turkey breast. Shredded (leftovers work well here)
  • 3 eggs, boiled and sliced
  • 1 avocado, halved and sliced
  • I cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 slices of bacon, crumbled (optional—or use turkey bacon, if preferred)
  • 1/4 large red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of crumbled blue cheese or feta (or shredded parmesan, if desired)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Balsamic vinegar or vinaigrette, olive oil (optional) or Balsamic-Honey vinaigrette*

Thoroughly wash, gently pat dry and toss the butter lettuce and mixed greens together, line a salad bowl. Add shredded turkey, layer on eggs, avocado and tomatoes, crumbling bacon on top and adding slivers of red onion. If adding dressing, drizzle on before sprinkling the cheese and grinding salt and pepper on top.

*Balsamic-Honey vinaigrette

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