7 Thanksgiving shortcuts that make meal-prep a breeze

Thanksgiving is a great time to indulge in an extra slice of pie and catch up with family. But it’s also one of the busiest times of year — especially with the Christmas season right around the corner.

Save yourself some hassle and follow these few tips to get your Thanksgiving up and running in no time:.

Make some dishes ahead of time

If you already know you’ll be overwhelmed on the big day, go ahead and make some dishes ahead of time. Dinner rolls and some pies can be made a few days before Thanksgiving — several other sides can be prepared the day before, too — and stored in your freezer or refrigerator. Just don’t forget to take them out in time to thaw.


Buy some of your staples from the grocery store

It’s OK to buy some things from your local bakery or grocery store, such as dinner rolls, cornbread and desserts. But if you do buy Thanksgiving staples from the store, make sure to take them out of their original packaging and plate them on a festive dish — your guests may not even realize they're not homemade.

Microwave those veggies

If you went the store-bought route and purchased canned vegetables, heat them up or steam them in the microwave. Not only will it be quicker, but you’ll save some of the precious stove space you might need for other dishes.

Buy a turkey that’s already brined

Brining a turkey can be expensive, time consuming and just an all-around hassle. But most grocery stores will sell turkeys that are already brined, meaning it’s been pre-treated with water and salt to keep the meat moist and flavorful.


Or just buy a ready-made Thanksgiving dinner

If you really don’t trust yourself in the kitchen, you can order your entire Thanksgiving meal already made.

Several grocery stores and restaurants, such as Whole Foods, Boston Market and many others can prepare your Thanksgiving meal for you, complete with side dishes. Prices generally start at just under $100 (depending on how many people you're planning to feed), but can run well beyond that.

Keep your decorations to a minimum

Not one to decorate? With the meal as the main event, Thanksgiving is one of the only holidays where you can get away with minimal embellishments.

If you must decorate, take some fresh but dried fall leaves from your yard and place them around the table or under clear plates. Otherwise, your food, dishes and drinks will be decoration enough. Scatter some opened wine bottles around the table and nobody will miss a thing.


Keep Butterball on speed dial

So you’ve got some turkey-related questions and don’t want to ask family members for help? Butterball has “experts” available by phone or online to help with your needs.