With ever-growing to-do lists that pull us in a million different directions, just the thought of hosting an elaborate Thanksgiving holiday feast is enough to cause stress levels to rise. But here’s some good news: Gone are the days when you have to slave away in the kitchen all day to plan the perfect meal. I’m going to show you how uncomplicated hosting a Thanksgiving feast can be.
By planning ahead, preparing some dishes in advance, working in some of my top time-saving tactics, and applying a dose of flexibility to your cooking methods, you’ll easily serve up an unforgettable spread that will have your guests raving. Plus, it can even be gluten and grain-free without anyone knowing. Healthy, delicious, and easy? It doesn’t get much better than that!
Buy it. Yup, you heard me. Order a pre-cooked bird. But don’t just serve your bought turkey naked! When you’re at the grocery store, also pick up a chicken and brine it with this recipe. Then, use the drippings of your brined chicken to make an amazing homemade gravy for your turkey. And what about the leftover chicken? Well, you can either serve it the next day on top of leftover greens or make a chicken salad. Chicken is far less complicated and takes less time to prepare.
Side Dish Hacks
Semi-Homemade Cranberry Sauce – No time to make a cranberry sauce from scratch? No problem! Pick up a can of cranberry sauce and jazz it up with freshly diced apples and cinnamon. This takes about a minute and will look way more impressive than just a jellied cranberry sauce log that’s been cut up and served on a dish.
Double Things Up – This tip is going to save you energy, cleanup time, and money! One example—make a salad dressing for your feast’s salad that also doubles as a marinade for your roasted greens.
Ditch The Sugar And Carbs – Indulging in a Thanksgiving feast is fun, but no one likes waking up bloated and fatigued the next day. So stay flexible with your holiday meal by swapping out gluten and carb-heavy foods for a lighter alternative:
- Caramelize sweet potatoes instead of making a casserole.
- Try a crustless sweet potato pie as a side dish.
- Throw some peeled carrots into the dehydrator to make a batch of crunchy carrot fries.
- Substitute traditional mashed potatoes for roasted then mashed, buttered, and seasoned cauliflower. Trust me, when done just right, you almost can’t even tell the difference!
Dessert Time-Saving Tips
Plan your desserts way in advance to save you time and pressure come Thanksgiving day! Try these flexible ideas:
- If you’re making a pie, assemble your crust ahead of time. Then double seal and freeze so it’s ready to fill, assemble, and bake on Thanksgiving morning!
- Bake an all-time American favorite chocolate chip cookie or try my gluten-free pumpkin spice cookies. Bake them a week or so in advance and freeze.
Don’t Be Afraid To Break The Rules
There are no rules that you have to follow when hosting a Thanksgiving feast. You don’t have to serve apple pie that must be assembled on the day of. Instead, why not make an apple torte that can be made in advance and frozen? Also, don’t shop around at five different supermarkets to find what you’re liking for a specific dish. No Brussels sprouts? Use broccoli! Use what’s fresh and available and don’t hesitate to break the traditional rules.