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Five Thanksgiving Menu Solutions for Unexpected Surprises

Being thrown for a loop during a meal or party preparation is never awesome, but it happens. If there are people involved, and cooking food for those people is also involved, unexpected surprises are almost guaranteed.

Twists or turns for a meal on Thanksgiving are especially tricky because the grocery stores are closed, and you find out about these surprises many times right before meal time.

If a few extra people show up, the solution could be as easy as opening an extra can of corn.

Sidebar: Every time I hear, “Can o’ corn” I think about this scene in The Longest Yard:

However, most Thanksgiving meals are so large a few extra people isn’t usually the problem. But other possibilities DO exist. So, I’ve developed a “crisis management” list for you to handle many of the possible, random or even probable surprises lurking in the wings for the upcoming holiday. Here we go…

1. A few days, or even hours prior to your meal, you get this message: “Okay, truth, no one in our family likes dressing. Can we PLEASE forego the dressing?” Great. It’s your turn to cook. You even called for your aunt’s dressing recipe because that’s what has always been served, and no one likes it? Here’s a great substitute that’s easy, it uses your cornbread mix, the big foil pan you had prepped for the dressing, and (in my opinion) tastes better:

Jalapeno Cornbread

In a large bowl combine four packets of cornbread mix (not corn muffin mix). Quickly clean/core 20 jalapeno peppers and shred them in a food processor. Add the peppers, a small bag of frozen corn [thawed], one extra egg over what the mixes call for, two bags of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (16 total oz.), and use buttermilk for the mix rather than regular milk. Please use about 10% extra buttermilk over what the mix calls for as it’s a little thicker. Mix thoroughly (don’t overmix; just until all the ingredients are wet and well blended), transfer to your large foil pan you had prepped for dressing (make sure and coat with non-stick spray prior to filling), and bake in a 390F oven for about 35-40 minutes. Check at 30 minutes. The edges should be nicely brown and pulling from the pan, and a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. This recipe feeds 25 people easily, takes less than an hour from beginning to end, costs about $8.25, and is about .34 cents or less per serving. One other thing – it’s delicious.

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