'Pioneer Woman' Ree Drummond's Thanksgiving tips and favorite holiday ingredient

Sitting down with family and friends to enjoy a big Thanksgiving feast is the highlight of the holiday, but preparing a meal for that many people can be a major source of stress for the host or hostess.

Lucky for anyone taking on the challenge, "Pioneer Woman" Ree Drummond is revealing her best advice to help make the day more enjoyable.

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According to Drummond, preparation is key. “Whenever I plan Thanksgiving or any big cooking event, I always in my mind start with the party and work backwards day by day,” Drummond recommends. “So on Sunday and Monday, I’m already chopping onions and carrots and celery for Thanksgiving. Every day I’m kind of working my way there.”

Drummond says by planning ahead, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble when the holiday rolls around. “It just makes the day so much more fun because no one wants to go to a holiday party where the host is stressed, or she’s not there because she’s in the kitchen. I’m a big proponent of prepping ahead and planning ahead and the day-of, making it as easy as pie.”

If you’re still in need of some inspiration for your holiday menu, Drummond also shared her go-to dish. “I would say one of my favorite things to make for entertaining — if we’re having guests over — is anything in the apple pie realm,” Drummond reveals.

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Drummond adds that apples are a versatile option that work as both an appetizer or dessert.

“You can make a traditional apple pie in a pan, or you can cut little rounds of pie crust and make individual tarts. Or, you can make appetizers with apple pie as a base — just press the dough into mini muffin pans and bake apple tarts that way.

"Apples are a year-round ingredient, but I think it’s real appropriate around the holidays too.”