Compact and clever 'Thanksgiving bucket' offers solution for on-the-go holiday meal

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Cookbook author and food stylist Denise Vivaldo is doing a creative take on the big November meal. It's Thanksgiving in a bucket.

"As a chef you don't like the word 'bucket' near your food, but after I looked at the article, I thought the portable part of it was brilliant," said Vivaldo. "The idea of someone who doesn't have a lot of dishes or china, doesn't know how to entertain."

Because the bucket is so portable, you can take it to friends, take it to work, maybe to the park, or put it together if you have a tiny little apartment.

Besides all that, cleaning up is a snap. Another bonus: you can do all the cooking the day before, or even buy all the prepared things you want to layer from markets or restaurants.

Keep in mind these things are cooked, here's the pecking order:

  1. Stuffing to start as it is nice and sturdy.

  2. Add sliced turkey topped with gravy as the liquid seeps down through turkey to stuffing.

  3. Top with barely cooked blanched green beans or veggie of choice.

  4. Spread on the mashed yams.

  5. Top the bucket off with cranberries or cranberry jelly.

Remember to press down each layer to make it nice and compact.

Reheating can be a challenge, so it's important your container is oven or microwave safe.

And then you're going to have to get past the fact that all your items will be touching.

"And then, getting it out -- It didn't look pretty one little bit," said Vivaldo after she tried cutting a slice.

So Vivaldo does a take on the bucket, a Thanksgiving torte or lasagna in a casserole dish that you can cut and serve evenly.

If the bucket is a bit too bizarre for the big meal, make it after. It is a fabulous way to tidy up your leftovers.

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