November 19, 2015

Simple Thanksgiving Shortcuts to Save your Sanity!

Thanksgiving is next week and while it's a special holiday, there's also a lot of pressure to create a meal that looks like something from a magazine. 

It's hard to enjoy the time spent with family when you put so much pressure on yourself to make it perfect. I feel like sort of a hypocrite writing about Thanksgiving shortcuts because I'm not responsible for my family's Thanksgiving meal. We're really lucky to have multiple generations and us younger folks haven't quite been passed the torch of cooking the main meal. Everyone brings at least something though, so our host (my great-aunt) doesn't have to do everything.

Even though I'm not the Queen of Thanksgiving, I know how to spot a shortcut. And I know that when you are having a huge bunch of hungry people at your house, shortcuts can be a godsend!

Here are some of my favorite shortcuts you might want to cash in on this year...

1) Pie in a Jar - So I'm not sure who to thank for this glorious invention, but I gotta give a little shout of praise to whomever came up with pie in a jar! All you need to do is add butter & eggs, pour into your crust and bake. So simple and it's Trader Joe's so you know it's delicious.

2) Cheese & Crackers Platter - You've been there. In the kitchen trying to make some magic happen and your husband (who keeps saying he's starving) keeps coming up behind you, reaching into the pot of whatever you're cooking to grab a bite. This is one of my biggest cooking pet peeves. My southern beau knows to stay out of the kitchen until everything's done...but that doesn't mean he isn't always trying to push the limits.

Now, what if you're cooking for ten or twenty people and they are all getting hungry. If everything isn't happening on schedule, they might try to sneak a bite.

There's a simple solution that will save the day....give them some nibbles to stave off the hunger pangs until the meal is ready.

Create an amazing cheese & crackers platter that guests can enjoy while they wait. I like to feature a variety of cheeses (some soft, some hard, some tangy) and crackers, but also nuts, olives and fruit.

It doesn't have to be perfect, just delicious.

3) Treats for Fido - 

After my beloved pup Leon passed away this year, I haven't been able to get another dog. But hopefully that will happen when the time is right. When Leon was with us, he loved holidays because that meant more people with potential treats and food scraps to slip him under the table.

Problem was, he had a sensitive stomach. I recommend having some designated dog treats on hand so your guests can offer Fido a treat (if they want to) without you having to worry about cleaning up dog barf during dessert.

When I found Thanksgiving-themed Turkey Cranberry dog treats at Trader Joe's, I couldn't resist snatching them up. My boy would have loved these. [Sidenote - If your pooch does eat a little too much, canned pumpkin is where it's at. I used to feed it to Leon when he had tummy troubles.]

4) Leftover Love - I'm not a big fan of leftovers, but Thanksgiving and leftovers go hand in hand. Make your leftover turkey really count by enjoying it on a sandwich paired with these chips.

If you thought Turkey flavored chips were a thing of the future, welcome to the future my friends.

Want more Thanksgiving fun? Check out this cool infographic with some stats about how turkey day is celebrated around the country!

**I was not compensated for this post. I just really LOVE Trader Joe's**