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Well here we are with Thanksgiving only a few short days away. I used to get so stressed and get myself so worked up for this holiday because I always host a large group so it was a lot of work. I am a very good home cook so I made everything from scratch.

This is so much work! For obvious reasons this year will be a much smaller crowd. But even with a large crowd, I have learned a few things to make this feast of gratitude a little easier to enjoy stress free.

Weeks before the holiday, I cook and freeze dishes for our dinner and the surrounding meals that come along with out of town house guests. I bake coffee cake and quick breads along with home made cookies for snacks. Did you know that soup bases, stuffing, and home made cranberry sauce is all freezable? It is! I have a neighbor who is a single man that does not cook much so he loans me his extra freezer space. If you borrow freezer space, make sure you notate what is stored where. This helps to prevent you forgetting something. I keep an annual Thanksgiving folder with my recipes, shopping lists, and a list of where I have stored everything.

Also, using a “semi home made” approach is a HUGE help. Taking some shortcuts is okay and I promise no one will notice. For instance, William Sonoma makes amazing gravy bases that taste like you stirred for hours to have the perfect gravy. You can make it in the morning and reheat with ease. I am lucky because my kitchen is equipped with warming drawers so as I cook I can keep things warm until I am ready to serve.

Lastly, If there is a product out there that you enjoy when you eat out and it would fit nicely into your menu, order it! Supporting local restaurants is crucial right now. My gang does not like the dark meat of a turkey but we LOVE the smoked turkey from Lil Miss BBQ. We pre-order it and pick it up Thanksgiving day and keep it warm. It stays juicy and delicious. Other favorites are pies from Karl’s Bakery and Dinner rolls from Noble Bread. 

I am pretty picky when it comes to great food and I have a family who looks forward to amazing food. I guarantee these ideas will save you time, stress, and still live up to a delectable feast!

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