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How To Host Thanksgiving For The First Time Ever (For Under $100)

You ~can~ even.

Lauren Zaser / Alice Mongkongllite / Via BuzzFeed Life

Thanksgiving. It's the most wonderful holiday of the year! You're encouraged to eat two dinners and be drunk before 6 p.m.

But hosting? No way. Nope. And I hear you. It can be stressful to cook all day and expensive to buy all those groceries.

But what if... it *wasn't* stressful? What if it was easy and affordable and you were still able to get drunk before 6?

Lauren Zaser/ BuzzFeed Life/ Cast iron serveware by Staub/ Blue wire plate by Fishs Eddy

I am here for you. This is a classic, delicious, EASY Thanksgiving menu that *anyone* can make, even if it's your first time peeling potatoes.

All for under $100!

There's a grocery list, equipment list, and really (really) in-depth, step-by-step tutorials for exactly how to make everything from creamy mashed potatoes to YOUR OWN APPLE PIE.

What I am trying to say is: YOU GOT THIS! Promise.

Here's everything you need to make an entire Thanksgiving dinner for 8:

Lauren Zaser / Via BuzzFeed Life

Not so scary, right? For a full grocery list, jump to the bottom of this post.

This list assumes you have olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Buy some if you don't..


Lauren Zaser/Alice Mongkongllite / Via BuzzFeed Life

THE MAIN EVENT. This is the part that people freak out over the most, but roasting a turkey is really NBD.

If you've roasted a chicken, you can roast a turkey. Even if you HAVEN'T roasted a chicken, you can roast a turkey! This one, slathered in a delicious mixture of herbs, butter, and garlic is truly exceptional. You don't even need a roasting pan.

Recipe for Garlic and Herb Buttered Turkey here.


Lauren Zaser/Alice Mongkongllite / Via BuzzFeed Life

Gravy is the magical substance that makes it acceptable to eat everything together in one spoonful. It is the tie that binds.

And if you've made ^ that turkey, you're already halfway there to riding that sweet, sweet gravy train.

Recipe for Turkey Gravy here.


Lauren Zaser/ Alice Mongkongllite / Via BuzzFeed Life

Holy fuck. I don't want to freak anyone out, but I'm pretty sure these are the best mashed potatoes in the universe. Stirring sour cream into mashed potatoes gives creaminess, it gives tang, it gives LIFE, and I don't think I'll ever eat a potato without it ever again.

Not only are these 'taters superlatively delicious, but this recipe requires NO EQUIPMENT. No ricers, no mashers, no mills. Just an old fashioned pot and wooden spoon, like our forefathers intended.

Oh, and that extra butter on top is optional, but I mean... just look at it, whispering, "Not optional."

Recipe for Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes here.


Lauren Zaser/Alice Mongkongllite for BuzzFeed Life/ Cast iron serveware from Staub

It's been a long-standing personal dream of mine to make a green bean casserole that's actually mind-blowingly good. Like, from scratch*.

In my dream the beans are fresh, the mushrooms do not come from a can, and you can make it all in one skillet. And guess what, guys? DREAMS DO COME TRUE.

*Except those French's Onions, because their perfection can not be improved upon.

Recipe for Creamy Green Bean Casserole here.


Lauren Zaser / Alice Mongkongllite for BuzzFeed Life / Ceramic baking dish from Williams Sonoma

Thanksgiving is really about two things: napping and stuffing.

While lots of combinations exist in the world of stuffing, IMO nothing beats the classic variety — the kind that you remember from the Stove Top box, but better. With basic ingredients like celery, onion, and herbs, it's the Pumpkin Spice Latte of stuffings (in a good way). It tastes just like Thanksgiving feels.

Recipe for DIY Stove Top Stuffing here.


Lauren Zaser/Alice Mongkongllite for BuzzFeed Life/ Blue wire plate from Fishs Eddy

I don't know about you, but I don't really have time to mash more than one thing at Thanksgiving, nor do I want to. That's why you gotta have a roasted vegetable. YOU JUST GOTTA.

To be qualified to make these sweet potatoes you must be able to:

1. Toss stuff together.

2. Put stuff in oven.

3. Take stuff out of oven.

Recipe for Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Honey Butter here.


Lauren Zaser/Alice Mongkongllite / Via BuzzFeed Life

Consider cranberry sauce the squeeze of lemon on your Thanksgiving table. It gives a bit of tart and lot of fresh in a sea of butter (god bless). Making your own is the Thanksgiving equivalent of "It's not delivery — it's DiGiorno." Seriously, everyone will be crazy impressed with how much better this tastes than anything out of a can.

Plus, it only takes three ingredients and 15 minutes of your time, leaving you with zero reason not to make it.

Easy cranberry relish recipe here.


Lauren Zaser/Alice Mongkongllite / Via BuzzFeed Life

After you've had an entire Thanksgiving meal (or three), someone will offer dessert, and you'll be like "NO I COULDN'T POSSIBLY" but then there's apple pie and you COULD possibly.

This particular pie is lightly sweetened, perfectly spiced with our old friend cinnamon. Because there was some leftover sour cream from those mashed potatoes, I threw it into our whipped cream and it was so good I nearly passed out.

You may notice that this pie crust looks especially flaky and golden and wonderful, and that's because it's a from-scratch pie crust. Nothing compares.

Nervous? I will teach you how. Recipe and step-by-step for Cinnamon-Apple Pie here.

Lauren Zaser for BuzzFeed Life/ Polka dot plate and fork from Bungalo


Thanksgiving in one day? Yes, it's possible. This is a guideline to help you stay on track. I am assuming you have one oven, four burners, and a death wish. JK this will be fun.

This is for a 5:30 dinner time: If you're planning on eating earlier or later, adjust accordingly.

9 a.m.

1. Make the pie dough and stick it in the fridge.

2. Make the cranberry sauce, put it in the serving bowl, and refrigerate.

3. Make the mashed potatoes, and keep them in the pot you mashed them in for easy reheating later.

11:00 a.m.

1. Assemble and chill the apple pie.

12 p.m.

1. Put the pie in the oven.

2. Make the herb butter for the turkey.

3. Prepare the turkey.

1:30 p.m. (3 hours)

1. The pie comes out of the oven.

2. Increase the oven temperature to 425°F and put the turkey in.

3. Fully assemble the green bean casserole but don't bake it yet.

4. Prepare the sweet potatoes but don't bake them yet.

5. Prepare the stuffing but don't bake it yet.

4:30 p.m.

1. The turkey comes out of the oven and rests at room temperature.

2. Increase the oven temperature back to 425˚F. Bake the stuffing on the top rack and the sweet potatoes on the bottom rack.

3. Make the gravy.

5 p.m.

1. Remove the foil from the stuffing so it browns.

2. Put the green bean casserole in the oven next to the stuffing.

3. Take the sweet potatoes out of the oven.

4. Reheat the mashed potatoes.

5. Carve the turkey

5:30 p.m.

1. The stuffing and green bean casserole come out of the oven.

2. Everyone eats!

You can whip the cream for your pie whenever you're ready to serve it; it takes about 10 minutes.

Here's your shopping list and a super helpful *printable* PDF.

Alice Mongkongllite/BuzzFeed Life

And here's all the equipment you'll need (and yes! A PDF for your printing pleasure right here).

Alice Mongkongllite / Via BuzzFeed Life

Is this your first time hosting Thanksgiving? Did you make any of these dishes? Shout it from the rooftops and tag us #BuzzFeast

Blue polka dot plate and forks from Bungalo Home, black cast iron serveware from Staub, Zwilling pro carving knife from Zwilling, white baking dish from Williams Sonoma, plates (vintage) from Fishs Eddy, green butter dish from Fishs Eddy.