Oh, it’s that wonderful time of the year again! When families get together and create heaps of dishes, bring the entire beach onboard, constantly want to eat, and someone is usually left doing all the cooking for the entire clan. And I guess that if you are reading this, you are usually that person. Didn’t you leave everything behind to sail off into the sunset to avoid all of this?
Cooking Holiday meals are stressful under the best of circumstances in a normal kitchen, not to mention cooking in what is basically an easy bake oven and about half a countertop. And with the entire family wanting to escape the snowy north and rather spend Thanksgiving in a sunny tropical paradise on a boat, the last thing you need to stress about is trying to stuff a giant turkey into the world’s smallest oven.
So, in the interest of saving time, space and sanity this Thanksgiving, here is a no turkey-in-sight, non-traditional, Caribbean-inspired menu. This menu is made up of easily available ingredients no matter where you might be cruising, and possibly the best part of all is that all of these recipes take no more than 15 minutes of hands-on time each!
These recipes are the perfect Thanksgiving alternative to a giant sit-down meal, as it is all delicious fall-inspired finger foods that can be left out and snacked on throughout the day of swimming, fishing, snorkeling and lazing around.
This tasty recipe comes together in just 10 minutes, and it’s basically mess-free, requiring just a blender, food processor or immersion blender! You can use any type of pumpkin that you like or that’s available. I went for the lazy option and used frozen steam-in-bag pumpkin for an even quicker mess-free option.
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (either from a can or homemade roasted or steamed and mashed pumpkin of your choice)
- 1tsp salt
- ½ tsp chili powder (optional)
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 Tbsp. EVOO
- 2 Tbsp. tahini (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- Water as needed to reach desired consistency
- Pumpkin and pomegranate seeds for garnish
Add all ingredients to either a blender, food processor, or immersion blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Add water to reach desired consistency and adjust the seasoning to your preference.
And voila! Pumpkin hummus will be ready in 10 minutes or less! Now spread your hummus in a bowl and top with some pumpkin and pomegranate seeds, and serve with your favorite flatbread, crackers and veggies.
Bacon Wrapped Apple Cider Vinegar Chicken Wings
All the cozy fall-inspired flavors in easy to find, no matter where you are ingredients. Now, I must admit the first time I tried this apple cider glaze before I put it on the chicken wings, I was highly skeptical, but oh my goodness!!! The salty, crispy goodness of bacon mixed with the classic fall flavors of apple and sage wrapped around a classic chicken wing might just be my new Thanksgiving go-to! And even better than the flavors, this recipe only requires about 15 minutes of hands-on time!
- 3lbs chicken wings
- Thick-cut bacon strips, enough to wrap all the chicken wings
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 2 cups apple cider
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp honey
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1Tbsp sage
- Apple slices, for garnish
- Chopped chives or scallions for garnish
Pre-heat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with foil, and place a wire rack on top. Lightly spray with cooking spray.
Pat chicken wings dry with a paper towel and place them in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine baking powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Toss the chicken wings in the baking powder mixture. This mixture and patting the chicken wings dry help to create an ultra-crispy yet moist chicken wing. Wrap each wing in a strip of thick-cut bacon, making sure the seam ends in the bottom.
Place on the prepared baking rack and pop in the oven. After about 30 min, flip each wing and pop it back in the oven for another 15 to 20 min or until golden and crispy.
While the wings are in the oven, start the apple cider glaze. In a small pot, pour apple cider, honey, sage, cinnamon and apple cider vinegar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for about 25 min until the sauce is reduced and thickened. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Remove the chicken wings from the oven and dunk the apple cider sauce all over them. Place on a platter garnished with apple slices and top with scallions or chives if desired, and dig in!
Cranberry – Brie Pastry Pops
Makes 9 pops
This is the ultimate fun Thanksgiving finger food! I love these so much, not just because they are so fun, but because every bite of melty oozing cranberry cheese exudes fall yet also mixes up the summer feeling of eating a popsicle. What more could you ask for on a boat? Oh, and of course, it’s only about 10 minutes of hands-on prep time! And yes, these really stay on the popsicle sticks!
- 2 sheets of frozen puff pastry
- 1 heaping cup of cranberry jam or sauce
- 8oz wheel of brie cut into 9 equal chunks
- 9 cake pop or ice cream sticks
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp flakey salt
Preheat oven to 400F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Put some parchment paper on a counter and lightly dust it with flour. (This makes clean-up easier than just flouring a countertop.) Lightly roll out your puff pastry and cut each sheet into 9 equal squares.
Plop some cranberry sauce in 9 of the squares and top with a chunk of brie and stick a popsicle stick firmly into the brie. Make an egg wash by lightly beating the egg with some water in a small bowl and brush the edges of the filled 9 squares. Top with another square and seal each popsicle with the edge of a fork.
Brush the tops of each Thanksgiving pop with egg wash, sprinkle with some salt and place in the oven for 15 to 20 min or until the pastry is flakey and golden.
The melted cheese will be blistering hot, so let it cool for a few minutes before digging in.
Mini No-bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups
6 Half pint jars
Few desserts are this delicious and require a few ingredients or effort. If you are like me and want to make this recipe even easier, you can use leftover muffins or cake for the cookie base or even use your favorite box cake mix for an easy cheat, but if you have some leftover cookies lying around, those are just as easy to use in this classic fall recipe.
- 1 cup cookie crumbs
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ stick butter, melted
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- ½ cup sugar (you can add more sugar if you like it sweeter)
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 12 oz cream cheese, softened
- 8 oz Cool Whip
Combine crust ingredients if using cookies, and press into 6 half-pint jars. If using leftover cake or muffins, layer them into the bottom of the jars.
To make the filling, you can either place the ingredients in a blender or a mixer. First, add the pumpkin puree, sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Then, add the cream cheese a little bit at a time until well incorporated. Lastly, add in the whipped topping and mix until well combined.
If you want to be a little bit fancy, you can put the filling in a wide nozzle piping bag and eloquently pipe the filling into each jar, or simply spoon dollops of the filling into each jar. Top with some whipped cream and extra pumpkin pie spice, and refrigerate until needed.
This classic Puerto Rican-inspired Thanksgiving cocktail combines the smooth flavors of coconut, pumpkin, cinnamon and rum into the perfect liquid Caribbean Thanksgiving fusion. A traditional Puerto Rican drink, adding some pumpkin puree turns this classic into a fall favorite cocktail! And you can easily make two batches to have a kid-friendly option.
- 1 ½ cups dark rum, or more to taste
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (15 oz) can of Coco Lopez
- 1 (13.5 oz) can of coconut milk
- 1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree
- 1 (12 oz) can of evaporated milk
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- Pinch of cloves
- Shredded coconut, optional to rim glasses
This recipe will make about 70 oz. In either one or 2 large pitchers with lids, add rum and cinnamon sticks. Let sit to infuse for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
Once your rum is properly infused, add all the other ingredients to a blender. Pour the mixture into your containers and shake well to combine with the rum mixture. Chill for at least 4 hours.
Apparently, this mixture will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, but it’s usually gobbled up as soon as it's ready in my house!
The ingredients will settle in the fridge, so just give it a vigorous shake before serving and enjoy!
And there you have five unique yet simple and easy Thanksgiving recipes that won’t have you slaving away in the kitchen all day, and if you throw in some charcuterie boards, you will have an entire all-day snacking feast with no fuss.
Let us know how your Thanksgiving feasts onboard turned out by leaving a comment!