Hash Over: Stress-free Thanksgiving Dinners

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At the grocery store this weekend, we were stuck in a checkout line five deep. Seems that everyone but us decided to shop for their Butterballs days ahead of Thanksgiving. We aren't cooking this year because, well, we aren't keen on the idea of spending the entire day in the kitchen. Plus, how could our cooking compete with the Thanksgiving offerings at these local restaurants? We've got the scoop on the best turkey day menus for those of you who aren't basting away this holiday.

Most prix fixe meals are going to run about $60 a person, so to save a little money for Black Friday shopping, consider dining at St. Martin's Wine Bistro. For $35, enjoy a three-course lunch or dinner featuring traditional Thanksgiving dishes and restaurant favorites. If you're not craving turkey, try the lemon sole, veal scaloppini or lamb. Dessert options include Godiva white chocolate cheesecake and a pumpkin tart. Since there's no cleanup after this meal, your only dilemma will be keeping your relatives' forks off your plate.

Also going on this week...

Another affordable dining option is the three-course dinner at the Palm Restaurant for $35 a person. Start with the signature lobster bisque before noshing on turkey and sides served family-style. At this price, you'll have money to spare for an afternoon movie.

Tired of the same old roasted turkey? If you're craving an inventive holiday meal, you could attempt new recipes, but if you screw up your food may fall flat, like the Griswolds' turkey in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Instead, head to Fearing's for a unique meal featuring tangerine-glazed turkey and tortilla dressing. The meal comes with jalapeno cranberry sauce, green beans, and whipped potatoes. You can also opt for the beef tenderloin served on a bed of creamy arugula with mushroom sauce. As a bonus, you'll save your kitchen from experimental cooking and possible fire damage.

Thursday is one of the few times it's socially acceptable to pig out at a restaurant, so why not enjoy three times as much turkey? Central 214 is serving fried, roasted and smoked turkey along with sage stuffing and sweet-potato casserole. Sounds like someone knows our penchant for all things fried.

If you don't have time to brine a turkey, Victory Tavern will gladly give you theirs, and it's only $32.50 for the three-course meal. Start with butternut squash and apple bisque or goat cheese polenta, then choose from four entrees including herb crusted halibut and maple brined turkey. Got a big group for dinner? This menu's got something for everyone in your family.

Vegans and vegetarians, you didn't think we'd forget about you, right? We know holidays can be difficult since you can't always be in the kitchen to prepare dinner. Spiral Dinner has the solution to your Thanksgiving dilemma, but you'll have to act fast to reserve your vegan dishes. You have until the end of tomorrow to place orders for pasta salad, mashed potatoes and everything else you'll need for a satisfying feast. Best of all, you can pick up a tofurky from the restaurant's cooler. Just make sure everyone at your dinner table knows the gravy's vegan.

Looking for more Thanksgiving dinner suggestions? Our weekly food newsletter is packed with ideas for where to eat on Thursday, so if you're not getting the latest news and event information, click here to sign up. Our newsletter's as tasty as pumpkin pie, but with fewer calories.

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