Holidays Recipes

Thanksgiving without the Turkey


Ready to try having a family Thanksgiving without a turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed or sweet potatoes, corn, or green beans?  Forget about the lovely apple, pecan, or pumpkin pies.  Every family’s version of a Thanksgiving meal is different. Here’s our take on a a turkeyless Thanksgiving dinner.

Every Thanksgiving, my whole church gathers into one of our pastor’s homes to celebrate. The group is relatively small and most of us have known each other for as long as we can remember. Since the majority of our relatives are back in the Philippines, (which, by the way, I haven’t been able to visit for 10 years) we make do by forming our own family away from home.

My most favorite dish, Chicken Adobo, is always on the menu, along with a variety of other meat dishes. We often have a stew of some sort and a side noodle dish. For dessert, my mom loves to make a fruit salad, cassava cake, and if I’m really lucky, halo-halo.

Though Thanksgiving is an American holiday,  we Fillipinos, do our best to uphold the tradition. We serve our meal buffet style and before we sit down, we go around in a circle and share one thing we’re thankful for. After four or five more plates, someone always manages to whip out a karaoke mic and we literally sing every song in the book, at least twice. I’m not entirely sure how or why this became a tradition, but I’m so glad it did because I love watching my parents sing karaoke.  Though we may not have a turkey every year, I am thankful for this day—every single person in attendance, every dish, and every off-key song we sing.

Chicken Adobo Recipe


3 pounds of chicken thighs, wings, or breasts
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup soy sauce
1 tsp. salt
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp. black black peppercorns
2 bay leaves


Place chicken in a large container with the white vinegar, soy sauce, salt, and crushed garlic. Marinate chicken for about 2-3 hours. Place into a large pot, while adding in the bay leaves and peppercorns. Bring the pot to a boil and lower the heat. Place the lid on top and let it cook for about 30 minutes. Watch the pot and occasionally stir. Cook until the chicken is tender, making sure the sauce has thickened (about another 20 minutes). Make sure to cook some steamed rice on the side because the dish is incomplete without it.

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