Thanksgiving means food, family and fun—and lots of prep. Our top five tips will help you pull it off like a pro, even if your planning is last-minute.
It’s your turn to host Thanksgiving dinner, and you can’t wait to welcome the family to your table. But uh-oh: You’ve got a turkey to roast, sides to prep, a table to set and pies to bake, and time is running out.
Don’t sweat it. You’ve got this—even if you’re down to the wire. We’ve gathered up our best shortcuts, tips and hacks for pulling off the big feast with plenty of style and way less stress.
Tip #1: Focus on a Few Homemade Favourites
Yes, Thanksgiving is about tradition, but it doesn’t need to be all or nothing. You don’t have to make everything from scratch the way your grandma did. Streamlining your meal prep gets you out of the kitchen and allows you to spend time with your guests instead.
To make sure Thanksgiving feels satisfying, include the homemade dishes everyone in your family looks forward to all year long. Lighten your workload by asking your mom to prepare her famous stuffing or getting your aunt to bring her yummy pumpkin pie—most people will happily contribute to the big family feast.
As the host, focus on the large menu items. Our handy roasting guide makes it easy to tackle a big turkey yourself. Peppered Bacon–Wrapped Turkey creates a dramatic presentation, while Ultimate Roast Turkey keeps things simple.
Tip #2: Mix in Ready-Made Options
It’s an honour and a pleasure to cook for the people you love. But wouldn’t you rather spend your time visiting with them instead? Ready-made items can free up more of your time and help you stay out of the kitchen.
For a starter, serve a simple heat-and-eat soup, such as Sensations by Compliments Autumn Harvest Butternut Squash Soup , or our ready-to-go Mediterranean-Inspired Chopped Salad Kit. Adding your own personal touches will make these dishes look like you spent hours on them. Swirl some tangy yogourt into the soup or top it with croutons. Or sprinkle a little chopped fresh basil over the salad just before serving.
You can dress up ready-made options in other ways, too. Bake up Cheddar Chive Tea Biscuit Dough , tuck the biscuits into a basket and cover them with a pretty cloth napkin to keep them warm.
Tip #3: Think Scratch-ish
With a few store-bought ingredients and a simple recipe, you can create homemade treats with much less work. Our Creamy Red Pepper Spread , made with just a jar of roasted red peppers, a brick of cream cheese and a few spoonfuls of red pepper jelly, is ready in 10 minutes and serves 16. It’s a delicious option for last-minute entertaining.
Thanksgiving calls for a really good dessert, but what if you don’t have any bakers in the family? Or—what?!—no one likes pumpkin pie? Our Cranberry-Chocolate-Nut Ice Cream Cake is a tasty, quick alternative. Store-bought vanilla ice cream, cranberry sauce, hazelnuts and chocolate chip cookies add up to a luscious fall-themed cake that is a cinch to make. Check out our video to see just how easy it is .
Tip #4: Grab a Tray
If you’re tackling both the turkey and your uncle Bob’s bad jokes, you’ve got enough on your plate. So why not leave the snacks to someone else?
Everyone loves to graze, and entertaining trays are the best way to satisfy a crowd without any prep or fuss. Just call or visit your local Sobeys store to order exactly what you want: choose from hot and cold appetizers, deli meats, cheeses, veggies, fruits and desserts.
Tip #5: Make One Stop
Part of the fun of holiday entertaining is adding special touches, from the flowers to the garnishes to the savoury starters. But when you’re pulling together a last-minute feast, running from store to store to find it all takes up precious time you just don’t have.
So think one-stop shopping. You can pick up just about everything you need at your local Sobeys store. Head to our floral department to grab some beautiful flowers for the table, and check out our amazing Olive Boutique selection for easy antipasti. Grab your groceries and stop by the bakery for a delicious pumpkin pie. And, just like that, your holiday entertaining work is done and dusted.