Excited for Thanksgiving but not looking forward to all of the meal prep and cleanup?
Whether you're looking for dinner out, a fully catered meal or yummy side dishes to add pizzazz, there are plenty of local farms, small and chain restaurants that offer all of the turkey and fixings you desire, with little to no effort on your part.
Just don't wait until it's too late to place your order or reservation -- the closer it gets to turkey day, the less likely you'll be eating some.
Dine in, carry out, or cater, Lenzi's offers it all.
The Thanksgiving Day meal is so popular that it sells out each year, according to owner Mike Lenzi.
"Every year it sells out faster and faster," he said, encouraging people to make their reservations as soon as possible.
With seatings every half hour beginning at 10 a.m. and a last seating at 2 p.m., the Tavern at Lenzi's will feed about 1,100 people on the holiday -- and another 300 to 400 with pickup orders, he said.
With all the choices at the buffet-style meal, it's no wonder: jalapeno cornbread, zucchini bread, herb-roasted turkey, roasted pork loin, baked stuff haddock with lobster sauce, mac and cheese and green bean casserole are a mere fraction of the flavors offered.
And that's before you even get to dessert, which includes a number of pies, cakes and a chocolate fountain that "flows all day long," Lenzi said.
The meal is $34.95 for adults, and $18.95 for children 12 and under.
If you still want to dine at home, Lenzi's offers a number of a-la-carte items, including a whole roasted turkey for 10-12 people for $110, half a Fleur de Lis ham for 15-18 people for $105, or boneless turkey breast for six to eight people for $60, as well as four different sizes of turkey or chicken pot pies, ranging from $12 for a "couples pie" to $80 for a full pan. There's also a number of sides, including stuffing, whipped potatoes, green beans, glazed carrots and roasted butternut squash at $2.25 to $2.50 per person, turkey noodle soup and gravy for $8.95 per quart, and whole pumpkin, apple or blueberry pies for $16.
Too much to think about? You can get a complete Thanksgiving meal for 10-12 people, pickup or delivered hot, for $275.
Raymond's Turkey Farm, Methuen
The farm's biggest sellers by far are the fresh whole turkeys -- about 9,000 each year, according to owner Jim Rischer.
But for those looking for an easier Thanksgiving meal, Raymond's also offers fresh turkey breasts and boned and rolled turkeys, which cook in a fraction of the time.
Turkey pot pies are available in four different sizes, ranging in price from $5 to $65. The largest is a banquet size that serves 10-12 people.
"The big ones are getting more popular for people who don't want to cook a whole turkey," Rischer said.
Whether you like white meat, dark meat, or a mix of both -- and vegetables, or not -- it's entirely up to the customer. Prices vary based on the options selected.
Turkey soups, with rice, noodles or vegetables, are available for $8.50 to $9 per quart.
Don't forget the fixings -- gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, turnip and cranberry-orange relish are all available in different sizes.
Rischer recommends placing holiday orders as soon as possible, to guarantee you get exactly what you want for your dinner.
"We never run out of birds or breasts, but we do run out of certain sizes," Rischer said, noting the 17- to 22-pound turkeys tend to sell out first.
They also stop taking orders for the turkey pot pies about a week before Thanksgiving, he said.
Raymond's doesn't offer any hot meals to go for Thanksgiving -- it saves that for Christmas Eve.
Elm Turkey Farm, Dracut
Freshness is the name of the game at this farm, where the turkeys aren't slaughtered and processed until the weekend right before Thanksgiving, according to owner Charlie Daigle.
"So good and fresh," he said.
For those looking to do a bit less work for their meal, Elm offers $17 turkey pot pies, with turkey, gravy and crust. They feed about five people, and take only about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes to bake, Daigle said.
The farm also offers $10 quart containers of gravy, stuffing and squash that just need to be warmed up.
It's best to call in orders within the first couple weeks of November, to ensure you get what you need, Daigle said.
"We sell out of everything we make," he said.
Country Tavern, Nashua
The Thanksgiving Day meal at Country Tavern is so popular the restaurant begins taking reservations as early as August, according to Manager Karen Young.
"It's just a fun place to be," she said.
The traditional turkey dinner for $25.95 is by far the most popular option, Young said. It includes everything you would expect in a Thanksgiving meal and more: roast turkey, turkey soup, butternut squash, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry pineapple relish and a choice of pumpkin or pecan pie.
Besides the turkey, the prime rib and the seafood sampler, featuring fresh scallops, lobster, haddock and shrimp, are top sellers. Other $28.95 entrees include baked salmon, baked stuffed haddock, filet mignon, New York Sirloin strip steak, butternut squash ravioli, roasted wild mushroom ravioli and meat loaf.
Over the course of the day, Country Tavern will feed about 400 people, Young said. The first seating is at 11:30 a.m. and the last is at 5 p.m., though the busiest hours are usually 12-2 p.m., she said.
"You can eat here and still go home to catch the football games," Young said.
Boston Market, Chelmsford and other locations
This chain offers a number of options to help get your holiday nosh on without a hitch.
You can order a whole spread or choose items a la carte, hot or heat and serve, pick it up, have it delivered or catered. Or, go to the restaurant for an "Open Thanksgiving" meal.
A heat-and-serve complete turkey meal for 12, with a whole roasted turkey, spinach artichoke dip, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetable stuffing, cranberry walnut relish, dinner roles, apple and pumpkin pies goes for $119.99.
The options are numerous and prices vary by location, so go to bostonmarket.com to see exactly what you can get through your nearest restaurant.
Cracker Barrell, Tewksbury and other locations
This is another well-known chain with many options.
The Heat 'n' Serve Holiday Family Meal To-Go for $109.99 serves up to 10 people and takes less than two hours to prepare. It includes two oven-roasted turkey breasts, cornbread dressing, gravy, cranberry relish, choice of three sides, sweet yeast rolls and pumpkin and pecan pies -- as well as recipes for the leftovers, if you have any.
Or, pick up a similar hot and ready to eat Homestyle Turkey 'n' Dressing Family Meal To-Go for six for $67.99. It doesn't include the pies, but does have a sampling of sugar cured ham.
It is recommended to order at least 24 hours in advance from desired pickup time.
If you'd rather dine at the restaurant, Cracker Barrel is open regular business hours and begins serving a traditional Thanksgiving meal at 11 a.m. For $12.99 for an adult or $7.99 for a child, you get turkey and dressing, gravy, sugar cured ham (adult only), sweet potato casserole with pecans (adult only), cranberry relish, choice of side, buttermilk biscuits or corn muffins, a refillable beverage and slice of pumpkin pie.
Whole Foods Market, Westford, Nashua and other locations
Whatever your dietary needs and interests, Whole Foods offers a number of holiday meals for different group sizes.
The Classic Roast Turkey Dinner for eight, for instance, is $119.99 and includes a fully cooked whole turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans with crispy garlic and parsley, herb stuffing, gravy and cranberry orange sauce. There are also dinner options for organic turkey, hickory-smoked turkey, spiral sliced ham and prime rib, as well as a vegan meal for two and a-la-carte items.
Visit holiday.wholefoodsmarket.com to view options for your preferred location.
Tuscan Market, Burlington and Salem, NH
Looking for a Thanksgiving meal with some European flair?
Tuscan Market offers a whole turkey dinner for six to eight people for $150. It includes a carved roasted turkey, insalata mista, maple whipped sweet potato, brussels sprouts with smoked pancetta and aged balsamic, mascarpone whipped potatoes, porcini mushroom ciabatta stuffing, heirloom cranberry and marsala wine compote, fresh herb gravy, focaccia and a loaf of ciabatta.
There's also a number of other options for sides, main courses and desserts.
Orders must be placed by Nov. 19 and picked up Nov. 21. Visit tuscanbrands.com for more information.
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