So you don’t have a lot of time to prepare for the Thanksgiving break. You just found out that you have dinner guests this vacation and you are about to panic. Without worries! You have this in the bag … the turkey bag so to speak! Follow these tips or improvise with your own ideas, but you can bet you’ll have a lot of success with some easy shortcuts when preparing your Thanksgiving meal.

Make your list and go shopping a few days before Thanksgiving. Don’t wait until the day before because you will encounter frantic shoppers and there may be a temporary shortage of the food you need. So do the shopping.

Ask your family to help clean the house before the guests arrive. Make a game with some extra rewards like going to the movies or renting a movie when everything is clean to get into the spirit of things.

We will plan the tablescape first.

Use a white sheet as a tablecloth. Buy 1-2 yards of burlap fabric and place it in the middle of your table. Take a photo frame (black or brown), remove the glass and place it in the middle of the table. If you have a glass vase or tall candy jar, fill it with tall sticks or pinecones from your garden or buy it at the craft store. Place the vase in the middle of the picture frame. Buy a brown ribbon. Make a large ribbon with long ends so that you can place it in the middle of both sides of the table.

You can sprinkle sweet corn or pineapples in various places around the table. For an added touch, cut the labels off the brown paper sacks. Make one for each guest and tie with string to a pineapple to place on a plate for each guest. Get your kids involved. They can do this for you. There you go. Instant Thanksgiving charm!

Thanksgiving Menu


Use a plastic turkey bag to bake your turkey. These are amazing and if you follow the instructions you will get a moist and tender turkey every time! It also reduces baking time.

Dressing room

Use the stove baby! Add some sausage for an extra delicious flavor! You can make this ahead of time and heat just before serving. However, you may want to experiment a bit to make sure it doesn’t get soggy.

Mashed potatoes

Instant, of course, will do the trick! Find the brand that you think tastes best. Get a package that has butter in the mix. They are not as thick as the real ones, but they taste great! Also choose a turkey gravy mix or brown gravy, unless you want to make gravy from turkey fat.

Seasoning tray

Pick one up at your local grocery store. Another option would be to buy vegetables already washed, trimmed and ready to serve to place in a source. Next, choose your favorite dill, spinach, or ranch sauce to serve alongside your seasoning tray. Add black olives.

Fruit salad or fresh fruit

You can buy a ready-made fruit platter or make a quick salad of instant pistachio pudding, whipped cream, mini marshmallows, and chopped walnuts. Mix it up and you have an instant salad. You can add canned pineapple or fruit cocktail if you like. It can be done a day in advance. (Add canned fruit just before serving.)

Fresh Rolls

Bake and serve the roll dough does the trick. The rolls may be lifting Thanksgiving morning as you prepare the other dishes. Keep jam, honey butter, etc. on hand. to serve alongside your muffins. You can even use store bought ready to bake crescent rolls.

Vegetarian plate

Mix the green beans and cream of mushroom soup and warm. Sprinkle crispy dried onions on top and serve.


Add some yam and some brown sugar to a glass baking dish. Heat in the microwave. Top with marshmallow and bake for 5-8 minutes to melt and brown the mallows. Delicious.


Order your cakes at a local bakery or pick them up at the grocery store. Try and find some that taste homemade without all the fuss! Don’t forget the ice cream for alamode pie lovers!


Pour in apple juice and a bottle of lemon-lime soda for a sparkling drink to serve to your guests.

Add some canned blueberries to your menu. This will help you get through a rush. If your guests offer to bring a plate, say yes. Now when Thanksgiving rolls around, you can still enjoy the day together with your guests and be so thankful that you have food to eat and family and friends to enjoy it!