Whole Foods Holiday Menu 2011

If you've stopped by your local Whole Foods in the past week or so, no doubt you've noticed their Holiday Table set up at the front of the store, where customers can pick up a menu brochure to plan their Thanksgiving feast. You can place your order online at wholefoods.com/shop (by November 22 to get it in time for Thanksgiving, and December 22 to get it in time for Christmas), or at in-store Holiday Tables (48 hours notice).

The items on that list are guaranteed to get your mouth watering -- they have everything from traditional favorites like turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, to gourmet specialties like roast goose and lamb crown roast. They even have vegan entrees, gluten free and Health Starts Here options. You can order some meats raw, so you can work your own magic on them and prepare them according to family tradition; other items pre-cooked, so all you have to do is heat and serve.

You can see the full Whole Foods Holiday Menu here (or pick up a menu at your local Whole Foods). Here are some of the highlights:

* Intimate Goose Holiday Dinner, serves four, $139.99
Slightly richer than turkey, Pitman Farms raises these free-range California geese for the holidays.

* Vegan Holiday Dinner, serves four, $79.99

The star of this delicious dinner is a field roast stuffed en croûte – rich grain meat seasoned with toasted hazelnuts and rosemary stuffed with a sausage style mixture of field roast, cranberries, apples and crystallized ginger wrapped en croûte with a vegan puff pastry.

* Health Starts Here™ Holiday Dinner, serves four, $79.99

Yes, you can eat very healthy during the Holidays! This entire spread fits the parameters of our Health Starts Here program and is so good it’ll keep you from feeling like you’re missing out.

* Build Your Own Hanukkah Dinner, serves four, $119.99

A wonderful choice this time of year, your choice of entrée plus delicious side dishes including Matzoh ball soup, potato latkes, Tzimmes and chopped chicken liver.

* An assortment of Organic Diestel Turkeys – including Heirloom Turkeys!

Choose from large or small turkeys, plain or brined, regular or Heirloom, or turkey breasts to delight your family and friends.

* Foodie Favorite side dishes

When you want to focus on your friends and family and not the oven – these favorites are a great solution! Back again this year are Dungeness Crab and Brie Mac and Cheese, Wild Rice and Cranberry Medley, Apricot Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Butternut Squash Salad and Broccoli Cheddar Potato Gratin, to name a few.

Last week Whole Foods sent us an assortment of items from their Holiday Menu, so we got to try out some of their dishes and have an early Thanksgiving dinner courtesy of Whole Foods. My parents are visiting, and they leave before Thanksgiving, so it was a holiday meal in every sense of the word (minus the company china and fancy clothes).

The star of the evening, of course, was the large sized, fully cooked all natural oven roasted Diestel turkey. Everyone agreed that it was one of the most flavorful turkeys we've ever tried! I don't know whether that's because of the brining solution or the superior quality of the Diestel turkey; maybe it's a little bit of both.

The turkey was accompanied by a Broccoli Cheddar Potato Gratin, which everyone loved, even my dad, who hates any kind of cheese. We finished every last bite of that dish, and I just know I am going to be returning to Whole Foods one of these days to order more. Another side dish, the Stuffed Acorn Squash, was not so well received -- mainly because the rice stuffing was dry and stringy, almost undercooked -- but I put it to good use the next day to add some healthy veggies to my leftover turkey noodle casserole (and in that form, everyone loved it -- go figure). And I'm not a fan of sweet potato anything, but I have to admit that the Apricot Glazed Sweet Potatoes was buttery, sweet, and delicious! Unfortunately my mom nabbed most of it for herself, so I had to be content with just one serving.

For dessert, we had Whole Foods pumpkin pie accompanied by Pacific Rim Riesling, and it was a sweet ending to a great meal. All seven of us ate till we were stuffed, and we're still only halfway through that turkey!

There are still a few items that we haven't gotten around to trying yet -- their vegan Wild Rice Cranberry Fig Roast En Croute and Health Starts Here Butternut Posole soup -- so once we finish up the turkey leftovers, we're going to have another holiday test-run dinner (the healthy version this time!). Stay tuned for future posts on the Whole Foods holiday yumminess....

Win a turkey dinner from Whole Foods
Northern California residents, follow @WFMNorCal on Twitter and tag #WholeForTheHolidays for a chance to win a turkey dinner! For more information, along with recipes, tips and guidelines, visit holidayworthsharing.com.

Disclosure: I received assprted samples from the Whole Foods Holiday Menu to facilitate my review. Menu descriptions, in italics, were provided by Whole Foods. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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