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Price: $39.99 for the smallest meal

Feeds: 5-7 people

This Thanksgiving my husband and I decided to forgo cooking and let someone else do the hard work for us. We chose to order a small Thanksgiving meal from Publix grocery store in our neighborhood. From what I understand, many chain grocery stores offer this service so if you don’t have a Publix near you, this option may still be available to you with another company.

The Publix meal came with these fully cooked items: A 10-12 pound turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry-orange relish, and a cranberry-apple cobbler.

The whole meal is enough to feed 5-7 people, or in our case 2 adult and 1 child with a lot of leftovers.

The food itself each had clear reheating instructions with both microwave and conventional oven options for most of the food items.

Taste:  It wasn’t as good as homemade but it was very filling and good enough to come back for seconds and thirds. I think most of the issue was our impatience to eat so we heated most of the items in the microwave instead of the oven. This could have been the reason the taste wasn’t as good as it could have been. *Almost every label with microwave instructions warned that the dish would taste better if reheated in a conventional oven*

Turkey: Surprisingly well seasoned and tender. I didn’t care for the drumsticks, though I usually love that part of the bird, but in this case there were a lot of tendons in the legs which was unexpected. I had never seen something like that before. It made it difficult to cut and eat the drumsticks and the taste was bland in that area. The white meat portions of the turkey were juicy and well seasoned.

Cornbread Stuffing (Dressing): This was a tad too watery for my taste. I prefer the stuffing to be fluffy but since everything is frozen after it’s cooked and before they hand it to you, the ice must have melted and left a pool of water in the stuffing which caused it to become mushy. It was very well seasoned and would have been superb if not for all the water.

Mashed Potatoes: They are obviously instant potatoes I could tell from the texture alone. It wasn’t bad but definitely not as good as fresh. This dish also had more water than is necessary or desirable in mashed potatoes, again, due to their freezing process. Some butter and cheddar cheese and/or gravy revives this dish and makes it better tasting.

Gravy: This too was obviously made from a canned or bottled mass-produced gravy, so not as good as homemade, but it wasn’t bad. Very smooth with just the right amount of salt. They give you a lot of gravy to ensure every bite you take can be smothered in it if you so desire. If I had to compare this gravy to something I would say it tastes just like the kind you would get in a restaurant buffet.

Cranberry/Orange Relish: I didn’t taste this at all. As a matter of fact, it’s in our refrigerator unopened. I think we’re both too weary to try this. I don’t care for cranberries and to imagine it with orange juice doesn’t appeal to me. I’m sure one of us will try it before too long.

Cranberry/Apple Cobbler: I did just admit to not liking cranberries, but I love apple and I love cobbler and I needed something sweet to eat for dessert after all that other high-sodium food so I tried this dish. It’s actually pretty decent for a store-bought dessert. I didn’t care too much for the rubbery taste but I didn’t notice it after the third bite. I actually had more today (the day after Thanksgiving) so it can’t be that bad.

Conclusion: From all accounts, we paid less money for this meal than most people this year did for their meals. One friend of ours claimed he paid about that amount just for his turkey alone! The fact that we got sides and dessert AND everything was already cooked made this an affordable meal that I would recommend to those trying to save a buck. I would not, though, recommend this to anyone with discerning tastes or those who actually love to cook. For the rest of us, this is well worth the money and reheating hassle. I think next year we’ll be more patient and will heat everything in the oven as is suggested.

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