10 Completely Acceptable Convenience Products to Make This Thanksgiving Easier
Shhh... We're going to share a big secret with you. Many cooks feel the need to cook every single speck on their Thanksgiving table from scratch, from the rolls to the puff pastry. But guess what? You absolutely do not have to do that. We've rounded up our collection of Thanksgiving grocery store hacks that will keep you sane and save you time while you focus on the dishes that really need your attention. Your guests will be none the wiser.
1. Alexia’s Multigrain Rolls: Homemade rolls take a bit of extra planning and time so they can rest, rise, bake, and cool before the meal. Instead, pretty up a great frozen roll, such as Alexia’s Artisan Whole Grain Rolls. Brush with butter while still warm and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and torn fresh sage leaves.
2. Steam-in-Bag Green Beans: No extra pans or oven space needed (both are at a premium on Thanksgiving). Microwave green beans according to package directions. Microwave butter in a large microwave-safe bowl just until melted. Add cooked green beans, dried cranberries, and toasted sliced almonds to butter; toss.
3. Frozen Butternut Squash Puree: Skip peeling, seeding, dicing, steaming, and blending butternut squash; this puree just needs to be heated through. Stir in butter, maple syrup, and warm spices like cinnamon for a quick alternative to mashed sweet potatoes or roasted root vegetables.
4. Simply Potatoes Refrigerated Red Potato Wedges: Sliced into uniform wedges and gently par cooked, these spuds will roast until crisp and tender in less time (and without any burnt-to-a-crisp edges). Add minced garlic and minced fresh rosemary to olive oil before tossing with the potato wedges and roasting.
5. Marie Callender’s Deep Dish Frozen Pie Shells: You can dig through your cabinets for a pie plate, make the dough, chill, roll, line, and flute, or you can simply add the filling and bake. These pie shells are a fine swap for homemade and a huge time saver. If you want a double crust, top the filled shell with a refrigerated pie crust, such as Pillsbury.
6. Goat Cheese Log: We know and love a holiday cheese ball, but you don’t need to make one from scratch for an app that’s still pretty enough to impress. Roll a chilled goat cheese log in a mixture of finely chopped toasted walnuts and chopped fresh thyme. Place on a serving platter and let come to room temperature. Drizzle with honey and serve with multigrain crackers, sliced apples, and sliced pears.
7. Kettle Cooked Black Pepper Potato Chips: Instead of dumping chips in a bowl (where’s the holiday spirit in that?) use them to assemble an easy, gorgeous, no-cook appetizer. Top the chips with a small dollop of light sour cream, a small piece of cold smoked salmon, and a small dill sprig or minced chives. They take seconds to make and taste phenomenal.
8. Baby Kale Salad Mix: The Thanksgiving plate calls out for green, but you don’t necessarily need to roast, steam, or even sauté. Baby kale is hearty yet tender, perfect for a fresh, last minute salad that packs a ton of fall flavor. Roast prechopped butternut squash ahead and add to the kale with dried cranberries, toasted chopped pecans, crumbled feta, and a maple vinaigrette.
9. Betty Crocker Cornbread and Muffin Mix: If cornbread or cornbread dressing is a must at your table, skip the hassle of baking, cooling, and crumbling a scratch made version and simply make muffins from a mix. Jazz them up with a chipotle-spiced honey butter. Keep some plain honey butter to the side to spread on toasted leftover muffins tomorrow morning (with cranberry sauce, of course).
10. Frozen Mini Fillo Shells: These crispy cups aren’t just for appetizers. Transform apple pie into quick, adorable bites: sauté diced apples in butter with a touch of brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, then spoon into prebaked cups and top with a little whole-milk yogurt. The shells come in plastic trays that keep them from breaking; bake the shells in advance, return to the trays once cooled, then fill and top before serving.