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18 Simple Time-Saving Ideas To Help You Prepare For The Thanksgiving Meal

It's a marathon, not a sprint, and we are here to help.

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Getting ready for Thanksgiving can be a little ~stressful~. But! It doesn't have to be.

1. First, start by figuring out what you want to cook. This easy menu for first-time hosts is a great place to start.

Lauren Zaser / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

You can do this for under $100! Get the recipes here. PS: It helps to make a timeline while you're planning. There's a full one at the bottom of the menu post.


2. Once you've figured out your menu, make your shopping list. The absolute BEST way to save time is to avoid extra trips to the grocery store.

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Guess what?! This is a shopping list that Alison already made for you and it goes with the Thanksgiving menu ^^^up there^^^.

4. Once your turkey is defrosted, get a head start on flavoring by dry-brining it. It's best to do this 8 to 16 hours before roasting. (Read: You are forced to get ahead!)


7. Use a food processor to slice your Brussels sprouts up to two days before you need them. Because, let's be honest, ain't nobody got time to hand-slice 64 mini cabbages.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Get the recipe for these ~healthy~ roasted Brussels sprouts and 12 more healthy Thanksgiving tricks here.

8. If you're going to do a mashed sweet potato casserole, bake the potatoes one or two days before.

Most recipes can actually be prepared all the way through, just up to the baking step. Refrigerate until the day of, then bake according to directions. Get the recipe for Lighter Sweet Potato Casserole with Toasted Marshmallow here.

9. This three-ingredient cranberry relish is super easy and will keep for up to five days in the fridge. So make it now.

Lauren Zaser / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Get the recipe for Cranberry Relish With Fresh Orange here.


10. Now for the most important part: dessert! This Nutella cake can be baked up to two days in advance.

Lindsay Hunt / Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / Via

Just make sure it's wrapped tightly in plastic, and frost with even more Nutella just before serving. Get the recipe here.

11. If you are going to make your own pie dough, you can make it up to five days before baking (or freeze for up to one month ahead).

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Wrap it in plastic or store it in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator until you're ready to bake. Get the pie dough how-to and a killer cinnamon apple pie recipe here.

12. In fact, you can bake the entire apple pie the day before. Just reheat in a 350ºF oven for 30 minutes before serving.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Get the recipe for Cinnamon Apple Pie With Whipped Sour Cream here.

13. Not into pie? Harness the power of your fridge and the magic ingredient of ~time~ with an icebox cake.

Lindsay Hunt / Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / Via

Cookies magically become cake when they're layered with whipped cream. Make it up to a day before eating. Get the recipe here.


16. Don't forget booze! Make a quick liquor run to stock up on enough wine and beer. Plan on three to four servings per person (and adjust based on your family's preferences).

18. And, last, but definitely NOT least: If you have it in you, put some thought into how you're going to eat leftovers.

Lauren Zaser / Via

Adding some tortillas, pizza dough, and cheese to your grocery list will help you avoid post-Thanksgiving grocery store runs. Get 11 ideas for transforming your leftovers here.