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Nov 20, 2014

21 Easy Thanksgiving Recipes For Lazy Cooks

Be thankful for slow cookers and crescent roll dough.

1. Coat your turkey with butter before you cook it instead of brining or marinating.

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No brining means no need to clear out your entire fridge for two days before Thanksgiving in order to fit a five-gallon cooler in there. The butter will keep your meat moist and add flavor. Just remember to thaw your turkey a few days in advance.

Recipe: Easiest Thanksgiving Turkey and Gravy

2. Use crescent roll dough to make tiny apple pies.

3. Cook mashed potatoes in a slow cooker...

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Just throw everything in, let it do its thing, then mash. You don't even have to peel the potatoes!

Recipe: Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

4. ...then use an electric mixer to mash them!

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Because mashing takes a lot of time and a lot of forearm strength.

Recipe: Easy Whipped Potatoes

5. If you make a root vegetable mash instead of mashed potatoes, you can puree it in a blender.

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Easy doesn't have to be simple or boring.

Recipe: Apple and Parsnip Mash

6. Or, if you're willing to break from tradition, roasted potatoes are way easier than mashed.

7. Cook baby carrots instead of whole carrots so that you don't have to peel or cut them.

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These carrots take 15 minutes to make and don't require an oven.

Recipe: Honey-Glazed Baby Carrots

8. Bake a soft cheese in its wooden box for an easy appetizer that looks fancy.

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Serve with bread or crackers.

Recipe: Gooey Baked Camembert

9. Make a no-bake pie.

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Because of the no-bake nature of this pie, the apples are crunchy, not soft. Still delicious, though.

Recipe: Caramel Apple Pie

10. Use frozen hash browns to make your potato casserole.

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No peeling. Enough said.

Recipe: 5-Minute Potato Casserole

11. Cook sweet potatoes in the microwave, then peel and mash them.

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SO much faster than using the oven.

Recipe: Mashed Maple Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

12. Swap the green bean casserole for easy stovetop green beans.

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Green bean casserole has many parts (bechamel, fried shallots, etc.) and it isn't even very good. This one-skillet green bean dish is easier, faster, fresher, and more delicious.

Recipe: Pancetta and Hazelnut Green Beans

13. Bake a semi-homemade pie with premade pie dough and homemade filling.

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Using store-bought crust means all you have to do is unroll it into a pie dish, then mix your filling ingredients together and pour them in. No waiting for the dough to "come together," no flour-coated countertops!

Recipe: Easy Pumpkin Pie

14. Add cheese and nuts to a simple green salad for lots of added flavor and minimal added prep.

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"Easy salad" doesn't have to by synonymous with "lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers in a bowl with bottles of store-bought dressing on the side." Easy salad can actually taste like something (preferably nuts and cheese).

Recipe: Irresistably Easy Salad

15. Make a quick, sweet appetizer with cream cheese, caramel sauce, and toffee pieces.

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A sweet appetizer might be the best way to gear up for a mountain of savory food. Plus, having something for guests to snack on will keep them from asking when dinner is going to be ready.

Recipe: Easy Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Spread

16. Cook squash with the skin on so that you don't have to waste time peeling it.

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The skin will add color, and lots of people like to eat it. Leave the squash in big pieces too. This will save you time, but it'll also make it easier for skin-averse guests to peel it off.

Recipe: Maple Roasted Acorn Squash

17. If you're cooking for fewer than 5 people, don't bother with a whole bird.

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Just the breast will be enough. Cooking it in a slow cooker will keep it moist and save you valuable oven space. Recipe here.

18. Dress up frozen dinner rolls with garlic and cheese to make them more special.

19. Use prepackaged bread cubes for stuffing instead of slicing your own.

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It'll still be more delicious than boxed stuffing mix, since all of the seasoning and vegetables will be from scratch.

Recipe: Mom's Thanksgiving Stuffing

20. Make a 3-ingredient green bean casserole with canned soup, canned green beans, and boxed fried onions.

If you ~insist~ on a green bean casserole, this one is about as easy as food gets.

Recipe: 3-Ingredient Green Bean Casserole

21. Ditch pie and make a pumpkin icebox cake instead.

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Give yourself a break and let your freezer do the work.

Recipe: Pumpkin Icebox Cake