Thanksgiving Meals in a Pinch

When you work a full time job, it’s hard to prepare a huge gourmet Thanksgiving meal. There is a lot of prep work that goes into creating that Martha Stewart-esque dinner, but that kind of time doesn’t always come easy to busy people. So here are some tips in creating a fabulous and fun Thanksgiving dinner without slaving over cranberry cinnamon chive unicorn stuffing.

1. Consider Ordering A Thanksgiving Meal

Some cities and towns offer Thanksgiving Meal orders. You can order a turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, really anything you can think of to be prepared in a kitchen from scratch for you to pick up. This option allows you to have a freshly prepared Thanksgiving meal without hours in the kitchen.

2. Pre-Make Your Thanksgiving Feast

The freezer can be your friend. Over the weekend prepare a few dishes to be reheated on Thanksgiving. Save the turkey for day of, but things like mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, soup (try this southwestern squash recipe), and biscuits can all be frozen and reheated to enjoy on Thanksgiving without being old or gross.

3. Crock Pot Thanksgiving

You don’t always have to do a turkey on Thanksgiving. If you have a hectic day, do a Thanksgiving roast. Throw a pot roast or a chicken breast in the crock pot with a sauce or veggies and let it slow cook all day. Serve it up with the veggies that cooked along side the meat or whip up some mashed potatoes quick. After all, Thanksgiving is about family and giving, not about a turkey.

4. Semi-Homemade Thanksgiving

Fool your friends with nice dishes and store bought sides. You can buy pre-made stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry, and veggies at your local grocery store. Just pop it in the microwave and then put it on your grandma’s china and fool the family with a semi-homemade meal.

5.  Go Out to Eat

Save the time of prepping a meal and use the money you would have spent on the fixings and go out for a nice dinner. There are lots of restaurants that choose to stay open on Thanksgiving. BONUS: you can almost guarantee there won’t be a long wait or a crowd. So if there’s a place you’ve been struggling to get reservations at, now’s your chance.

6. Force It On Your In-Laws

Does your brother owe you a favor? Are you keeping a secret for your sister? Use that leverage to force them to host Thanksgiving. Sure it may be your year, but you have a busy schedule. After all, Thanksgiving is about family and what screams family more than asking for a quick favor?

While it may be easy to get caught up in the formalities of the holiday, the most important thing is to be thankful that you have the people around you to celebrate with. So if time isn’t on your side, don’t fret  over dinner, because you’ll at least have the love of your family and friends to fill you up.

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