Great Thanksgiving Dinner Choices for Blue Ridge Foodies

Great Thanksgiving Dinner Choices for Blue Ridge Foodies

Thanksgiving Turkey at Magnolias at the MillIs a smaller Thanksgiving on your horizon this year? Or maybe you just don’t feel like cooking. Here are some great Thanksgiving dinner choices for Blue Ridge “foodies”. Whether it’s a full “grab and go” meal already prepared, some support with side dishes, or spoiling yourself with a feast at a local restaurant, we’ve got you covered. And if you still feel like cooking, learn how to give a traditional side dish a twist, discover protein alternatives to turkey, and find out what you can do with that leftover bird.

Great Thanksgiving Dinner Choices

While COVID-19 may be affecting the size of holiday gatherings and more traditional restaurant dining options, this year’s holiday is providing some great Thanksgiving dinner choices for Blue Ridge foodies. Maybe this is the year to take a break from the kitchen with a meal out or an order of something already prepared by a local chef.

“Grab and Go” Your Thanksgiving Dinner

Chef Erik Foxx-Nettnin talking with a guest at 2019 Root to Table VIP eventThis idea offers culinary convenience in an at-home setting. You can order a full meal completely cooked or something prepped and ready to go in the oven. Or maybe you have your bird but you’re looking for those special side dishes.

Chef Erik Foxx-Nettnin of The Polished Foxx is putting together a Thanksgiving meal of fresh, locally sourced ingredients that feeds six hungry adults. And Chef takes the guesswork out of reheating your feast with comprehensive instructions. This meal includes an organic free range turkey, mixed greens and roasted beet salad, several side dishes, yeast rolls, and your choice of dessert – a delicious Danish apple crumb pie or pumpkin cheesecake pie. There’s a gluten-free menu, too!

Diners have the option of having their meal delivered on Wednesday afternoon, November 25th or picking it up the day before the holiday or Thanksgiving day at ChefScape in Leesburg. Delivery is available within a 100-mile radius of ChefScape. Visit Loudoun Go to place your order.

More “Grab and Go” Thanksgiving Dinner Choices

Market Salamander in Middleburg is also taking the stress out of Thanksgiving meal planning. Order a fully prepared meal with a cooked turkey and all the sides and dessert, or supplement your own meal with a la carte options, says Salamander Resort’s Executive Chef Bill Welch. Or just order the Pennsylvania Amish-raised, all-natural turkey either oven roasted or brined and uncooked and put your own dishes together. Check out their online menu and pre-order your meal by November 15 for pickup November 25-26. Or reserve by calling (540) 687-9726.

Executive Chef Mike Ritenour and Massanutten Resort are also getting in on the “grab and go” train. Shenandoah Provisions has three Thanksgiving meal packages to choose from along with a la carte offerings. And if you have a guest who doesn’t like turkey, you can even get a roasted pit ham. Pickup is November 26 at the resort’s conference center. Last day to order is November 24, but place it sooner to ensure your meal.

Need something for just the two of you? If you live in the Winchester area, check out Chef Patrick Evans and Dine One-One. Enjoy a turkey breast, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sauteed green beans, and turkey gravy. Just add the dessert! Order your meal online by November 22 for pickup on November 25.

Bring a little German cuisine to your Thanksgiving celebration with a “grab and go” four course feast from Executive Chef Jeff Ault and the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, WV. Choose from six entree choices, including a vegetarian option. Call (304) 876-2551 by Tuesday, 11/24, to place your order.  Pickup is at the front desk, 11am – 5pm, on Thursday 11/26.

Get Me Out of the Kitchen!

While we won’t be seeing grand buffets as dining options this holiday, there are still some wonderful restaurants serving up classic Thanksgiving meals. Chef Bill is offering three different dining experiences Thanksgiving day at Salamander Resort.

“We want to make sure our diners can celebrate, feel safe, and have a fun experience,” says Chef. “We’re trading the Grand Ballroom buffet for family-style service and stations.” Diners will enjoy a first course served family-style, then visit stations for their entree proteins. Servers will then present side dishes family-style at the table.

The resort’s Harrimans Virginia Piedmont Grill has already sold out the 2 pm and 5 pm seatings Thanksgiving day, but there are still openings for 8 pm. Enjoy a prix frixe Thanksgiving meal in beautiful surroundings. Both the ballroom celebration and Harrimans require reservations. Make yours by calling (540) 326-4070. Looking for something more casual? Then Chef Bill suggests stopping by the Gold Cup Wine Bar for their take on Thanksgiving fare. Reservations are not necessary.

Thanksgiving Dinner in the Shenandoah Valley

Georges Food and Spirits BarIf you’re in the northern part of the Shenandoah Valley, make plans to enjoy Thanksgiving with the George Washington Hotel and George’s Food & Spirits. The restaurant, located in the heart of downtown Winchester, is serving Thanksgiving dinner 1-7pm and reservations are required. This meal packs a lot of good eating from new Executive Chef William Mason with a choice of soup or salad, two entrees, three sides, and dessert. And where else can you find Patsy Cline’s Green Bean Casserole? Make your reservations by calling (540) 771-2736.

Towards the southern end of the Valley, you’ll find Massanutten Resort’s Campfire Grill serving up Thanksgiving dinner from noon until 10pm. This restaurant is a great option if you have friends and family who aren’t turkey fans. In addition to that classic entree, Chef Mike and his team are serving up salmon, steak, lamb, ham and shrimp – something for everyone! Call (540) 289-5794 to make your reservations.

Great Thanksgiving Dinner Choices for the Home Cook

While turkey is the entree of choice, a smaller gathering this year means the chance to serve something different. Try a roasted chicken or Cornish hens. Or just go in a totally different direction.  “Seafood is always a great option,” says Chef Bill. “Chilean sea bass and halibut are available right now. They offer a good balance of hardiness but are still flaky. You can do a lot with them and texturally they work well for a lot of people.” Get adventurous with those side dishes, too, with these twists on traditional recipes. Or try this one from Chef Erik for candied yams.

Chef Erik Foxx-NettninA Tasty Side Dish from Chef Erik

One of the sides on Chef Erik’s menu is his candied yams. Feeling adventurous in the kitchen? Then try his tasty recipe:

Candied Bourbon Yams

3 lbs sweet potatoes peeled and diced into 1 – 1-½” pieces

5 Tbsp melted butter

⅔ cup packed light brown sugar

¼ apple cider

2-3 Tbsp bourbon

½ Tsp Kosher salt

1 Tsp ground cinnamon

¼ Tsp ground ginger

⅛ – ¼ Tsp ground nutmeg

Optional spices: pinch or ground cloves and/or yellow curry


Peel and dice potatoes, then add to baking dish. Combine melted butter, sugar, cider, spices and bourbon. Pour over potatoes and toss to cover them. Bake until tender and caramelized.

If you go with the big bird, you’ll probably have leftovers – another American tradition. Fix a great open-faced sandwich with turkey, stuffing, and gravy. Try your hand at making a turkey and pasta casserole or a spicy turkey baguette pizza. Or grind up that leftover meat for delicious chili to carry you through the weekend. You’ll find lots of great recipes here.

Or give this recipe from Salamander’s Chef Bill for turkey pot pie.

Turkey Pot Pie from Chef Bill Welch of Salamander Resort & Spa

Serves 4-6


1.5 lb – Leftover Turkey Thigh, Pulled

6 oz – Fresh English Peas

6 oz – Carrots, Diced

4 oz – Celery, Diced

4 oz – Sweet Onions, Diced

2 T – Whole Butter

1 T – Fresh Sage, Sliced Thin

1 T – Fresh Rosemary, Chopped

2 c – Turkey or Chicken Stock

3 T – Flour

TT – Salt and Pepper, to taste

Top – Pie Dough sheet or your own dough recipe

  • Lightly brown the carrots in the butter in a medium pot over medium-high heat, then add the celery until browned, then the onions and lightly caramelize.
  • Add the flour and stir in well to prevent lumps, cook for about 1 minute.
  • Add the stock and stir well to combine, bringing to a boil.
  • At the point of the boil, remove from heat, stir in turkey, peas, and herbs.
  • Season before transferring into a casserole dish or pie dish.
  • Top with the dough and trim to fit the dish, lightly brushing the top with butter.
  • Bake at 350* until the top is browned and edges are bubbly.

Whether you cook at home, grab and go, or treat yourself to a special meal at a local restaurant, remember to give thanks for a safe, healthy holiday.