Cooler weather, earth-toned sweaters, and changing leaves are a taste of what autumn can bring each year. But even for those living and working in perennially warm climates, autumn months usher in thoughts of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is more than the sum of its flavors and colors. In addition to its roasted turkey and pumpkin pie feasts, fall is an opportunity to reflect on the year as it comes to a close; to be thankful for your successes and for the lessons learned from any challenges.
Take this time to reflect, celebrate and be thankful for your team by bringing a big taste of the season to the workplace. Here are some simple and delicious workplace Thanksgiving meal ideas to get you started.
Imagine all of the holiday’s flavors in one big dish, layered with contrasting textures. Start with a base of seasoned and roasted sweet potatoes. Add a layer of traditional stuffing with flavors of sage and celery. Next can be your favorite vegetable side-dish, such as green beans with crispy onions or an autumn succotash of corn, beans and sweet red pepper. Drizzle shredded cooked turkey with a rich gravy and layer along with whole berry cranberry sauce to add sweet with the savory. Top this with creamy, shepherd’s pie-style mashed potatoes. Make sure all the individual components are fully cooked before layering, then it can be heated up and served with its crisp potato topping.
Ask your co-workers to bring a side-dish from their family tradition. Joe in accounting always brags about his grandmother’s turnips, and everyone has a version of a perfect sweet potato casserole. Learn about other perspectives and flavors while connecting with your team. You can keep the separate dishes warm in a buffet food warmer – an office essential for potlucks.
Turkey night sandwiches
Late in the day on Thanksgiving, after we’ve cleaned up and probably napped after lots of family time, many of us raid the fridge to take another stab at those delicious Thanksgiving meal components – in sandwich form. Bring this experience to your office with a variety of breads, sliced turkey or other meats, stuffing, cranberry mayo, even slices of candied yams or scoops of creamed spinach. Use a panini press to elevate the experience, adding your favorite cheese as a melty addition.
When your workplace meeting takes place earlier in the day try an inspired brunch as an alternative to the same old bagel and donut routine. An easy brunch dish would be to start with our Thanksgiving casserole and add some breakfast sausage and crack some eggs on top before broiling. More adventurous? Whip up a turkey and sweet potato hash, or mash up pumpkin pie in waffle batter for a sweet spin on brunch.
Hit the bakery on the way into the office and grab a variety of autumn pies as treats to go with your workers’ bagged lunches. Fire up the office coffee pot, too, with seasonal blends for extra points.
You can easily add some Thanksgiving decorations, such as streamers or table centerpieces to your break room, too. Always make sure your office is fully stocked with cups, plates, bowls and cutlery.
When enjoying these meals, remember that you spend a lot of time with your co-workers and they are like a second family. Showing your thanks and celebrating the year brings workers together, creates a comfortable atmosphere and ultimately makes the team more cohesive and successful. Enjoy this fun time of the year with your team, and don’t forget extra gravy!