Easy as Pie Thanksgiving Dinner: A Whole Foods Review

5 comments

Can you believe that Thanksgiving Day is next week?  If you are still pondering what to do for the big meal or are finding it stressful to plan the details of your holiday menu, I may have the answer that you have been searching for.

Did you know that Whole Foods Market offers chef-prepared, heat-and-serve holiday meals that come fully cooked?  I recently learned that the Whole Foods 2012 Holiday Menus have everything you will need to serve up a delicious meal for yourself or for a large family gathering.  From the bird to the pie, Whole Foods has you covered and the meals are reasonably priced.  In fact, you probably would not save much money (if any) by cooking the meal yourself!

In case you missed Stephanie’s recent post, CTWorkingMoms is now partnering with various CT-based Whole Foods Markets to bring you straightforward reviews of Whole Foods products.  This past weekend, my family and I were lucky enough to try out the Whole Foods Thanksgiving Traditional Dinner for 4, which featured a bone-in turkey breast, mashed potatoes, New England stuffing, green beans with almonds, cranberry-orange relish, turkey gravy, dinner rolls and of course, apple pie! If you have any questions about the products mentioned in this review, please feel free to email us at michelle@ctworkingmoms.com.

After a busy Saturday that included attending a birthday party with my daughter and several loads of laundry, I headed to the Whole Foods Market West Hartford Center to pick up our holiday feast.  We arrived at home around 5:15 p.m. with a BIG box of goodies.  By 6:30 p.m., we were seated at the dining room table with plates full of turkey and all the fixings. Did I mention that I also fed my 2 month old son while dinner was cooking?  Yes, you read that right.  No prep work, infant feeding session and a mouth-watering turkey dinner cooked and served in just over an hour.  

The food was conveniently packaged for quick and easy reheating.  I popped the turkey breast in the oven first since it would take a while to heat through even though the turkey was already fully cooked.  I added a little butter to the potatoes and stuffing before placing them in the oven.  I poured the gravy in a small saucepan and tended to my fussy baby.  After about 35 minutes in the oven, the turkey was pretty much ready to eat.  I quickly toasted the rolls for that freshly-baked goodness and voila!  Dinner was served.

The turkey breast was seasoned with an herbed rub and was very tasty but it was white breast meat only so if you are looking for a drumstick or if you prefer dark meat, you will need to order a full turkey meal.

The mashed potatoes were melt-in-your-mouth delicious or “fantastic” as my husband put it.  My daughters both enjoyed the crusty New England style stuffing which had a zesty, home-cooked flavor.  They also enjoyed the sweet cranberry-orange relish, which could have passed for a dessert.  I personally was a big fan of the green beans with almonds which was a welcome alternative to the common Thanksgiving meal staple side dish, green bean casserole.  The flavorful turkey gravy finished off the meal perfectly.  Did I mention that I hate making gravy? I find it to be a messy cooking task that is difficult to master so what a relief to have delicious gravy already made!   I will not say that preparing the meal was stress-free (hello, I have THREE kids under the age of FOUR!) but I will say that any stress was minimal and the meal was not only tasty, but quite pretty to look at.


 

What Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a slice of pie?  The Whole Foods apple pie will not disappoint with its cinnamon and sugar sweetness as it was one of the better store-bought pies that I have had.  We nuked each slice for about 20 seconds and I was kicking myself for not having vanilla ice cream on hand but still, the pie was delightful.  While there is no substitute for my husband’s aunt’s or my grandma’s homemade apple pie, our Whole Foods apple pie lasted approximately 24 hours in our house with each of us having 2 slices before tossing the empty tin in the trash.  In other words, this is good pie.

 

For a complete selection of items available for Thanksgiving, see the Whole Foods online menu which can be found here for the West Hartford Center store.  Orders for Thanksgiving must be placed by November 19, 2012.

To sum up my family’s experience in one word: fabulous!

  • Convenience ****
  • Affordability****
  • Taste****

Whole Foods has left no excuses for almost anyone to claim that they are unable to host and serve a delicious holiday meal and while I cannot say that this meal is better than a home cooked turkey dinner made with love by my grandma, it was delicious and provides a great option for busy families who do not have time to spend the day before Thanksgiving peeling potatoes and toasting bread crumbs.  Although you might not be able to pull it off as your own cooking, your guests will inevitably end their Thanksgiving day on the couch in a turkey induced coma and isn’t that where everyone wants to be on Thanksgiving night?

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Want to follow Whole Foods W. Hartford Center online? Check them out on facebook & twitter)

For full disclosure:

I was not paid to write this review. I received the products mentioned in my post and that’s it. CTWorkingMoms enjoys doing product reviews and we pledge to our readers that we’ll be open and honest with you about any pro’s or con’s we discover.

 

5 comments on “Easy as Pie Thanksgiving Dinner: A Whole Foods Review”

  1. ABOUT THE WHOLE FOODS HOLIDAY TURKEY MEAL

    PITFALLS TO PREVENT….

    1. IF you’re expecting a freshly ‘cooked at the store’ turkey, order it SEPARATELY from the ‘dinner pkg.’ and pick up the ‘Sides’ separately as well.

    Why? Because otherwise, if you order the full meal deal, you will get a very cold, Diestel plastic wrapped turkey, precooked at a factory….AND not necessarily fully cooked, like mine was. I was told when I picked it up that the turkeys baked ‘in store’ are on a first come first serve basis? HUH?
    I had ordered everything 2 weeks ago. It was like the Seinfeld episode about the car Jerry reserved at the car rental agency not being available, based on first come first serve. “But I had a reservation”. That whole thing was never clarified, because by that point nothing was as it appeared in the
    promos.

    2. IF you order the full meal deal, check to make sure you are getting the turkey you paid for.
    I ordered and paid for an organic, non-gmo turkey and was given a ‘thoughtfully processed’ one.
    It took a couple of ’rounds’ to clarify that and swap out the one they gave me for the one I paid for.

    3. When they say ‘heat and serve’, the instructions mean bake the turkey for 90 minutes or so. It does not mean
    that you can carve the turkey when you get it home to store for the next day.

    Make sure you read the part that says to have chicken broth on hand for reheating the bird, so as not to dry it out.

    4. The Stuffing comes in a ‘KIT’. You assemble and bake it, which is no big deal if you have the time, and certainly makes for a better product, but one needs to plan on that. Do not expect to open it like a ‘take out’ meal, ready to
    go on the plate.

    5. Make sure you get the 10.00 promo coupon, which requires another step as well, don’t assume you will automatically
    be given a coupon.

    The reason I opted to try this whole experience was because we are going elsewhere for dinner, where there will not be any
    turkey in sight. So, wanting to have the favorite left over sandwich, and bringing part of this whole meal with us to share,
    I was proud of myself for letting go of the ‘do or die’ commitment (first time ever) of cooking our own traditional family menu.

    The samples we had tasted at the in-store ‘buffet’ promoting the Holiday Menu is what convinced me to do it.
    Everything tasted fresh, like it had just come out of my own kitchen. I expected the gravy and stuffing to taste processed with
    imitation seasonings and lots of salt, but they did not. That was the big selling point for me. The cranberry sauce was fresh and
    home made tasting as well. The vegan cherry pie was the best ever and not filled with that thick red dyed canned filling that you often see in
    restaurants.

    Needless to say, this process wasn’t quite as seamless as I expected, but I learned what I needed to when and if I consider
    going this route again.

    IF you do this, plan some time in your schedule to prep and cook….especially if you’re planning to bring it as
    an addition to someone else’s home.

    Happy Thanksgiving
    Lots to be Grateful For…
    Sue

  2. everything looks amazing!! We started doing the pre-cooked turkey from Stew Leondard’s last thanksgiving and it was a HUGE HIT. delicious and healthy prepared foods = working mom’s best friend!

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