It's Thanksgiving! We see the perfect dinner on magazine covers, holiday movies, and daytime talk shows. We want it on our table but who has the time? You do! (With our help!)

Nov. w3 blog

Step 1: Ask For and Take Help

Hosting a Thanksgiving function can be stressful. The host is barely seen, pushing to make sure every detail is executed to perfection. Some of the best memories can made when families pull together to make the gathering a success. So make a to-do list, prep as much in advance as possible, then ask for help and take it!

Step 2: Focus on the Table and Drawing from Nature when Decorating

Much of Thanksgiving is spent around the table so concentrate your decorating efforts here for maximum impact. Save shopping trips by using harvest foods - pumpkins, cranberries, or apples - for your centerpiece. And keep it simple. Try placing apples in a variety of clear vases and dishes gathering them together for a tablescape.

Step 3: Simplify the Menu

Minimize the planning, executing and stress by selecting simple, but tasty, recipes. Start with this appropriately titled "Worlds Simplest Thanksgiving Turkey" recipe from the Food Network website.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Pull the neck and giblets out of the cavity; ditch the liver and save the rest of the giblets for gravy.
  3. Dry the turkey with paper towels, then season inside and out with salt and pepper.
  4. Fill the turkey with aromatics like chopped onions, carrots, apples and herbs, then place breast-side up in a roasting pan and brush with melted butter.
  5. Tent with foil and roast for 2 hours (for a 10 to 12 pound turkey; add an extra 15 minutes per pound for larger birds).
  6. Remove the foil; baste with more melted butter and crank the oven to 425 degrees F.
  7. Roast for another hour or until the meat at the thigh registers 165 degrees F. Let rest while you make the gravy.
  8. Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/worlds-simplest-thanksgiving-turkey-recipe

Now complement your star attraction with these time-saving side dish tips:

  1. A nice pasta salad is great because you can make it the night before and keep stored in your fridge until it's time to serve.
  2. A hearty green salad will brighten the plate and if you cut up your veggies and buy prewashed salad mix you will save a lot of time.
  3. Mashed potatoes are time-consuming so try cutting potato pieces in smaller portions to reduce cooking time and instead of mashing by hand use a hand mixer; it leaves them creamier and smoother with less manual labor.
  4. Buy packaged stuffing and cranberry sauce, stuffing is simply bread with spices and attempting your own cranberry sauce is difficult even for the most seasoned of home cooks.
  5. Skip the canapés from the frozen aisle, it's easier to have party platters with fresh fruit and cheeses for your guests to snack on before dinner and you can buys these premade at many grocery stores.
  6. Always have fresh sliced bread, set up dip containers with olive oil and balsamic vinegar no matter how long they sit out they never change in appearance.

Step 4: Make a cocktail statement

We can't forget the cocktails! It can bring the unique personality to the gathering. When choosing your feature drinks consider staying within the seasonal apple theme. My favorite is a candy apple martini.

Recipe

  1. Grab a cocktail shaker and fill with ice
  2. Add ½ oz of butterscotch schnapps
  3. Add 1 oz of sour apple liqueur
  4. Add 1 ½ oz of vodka
  5. Add 2 oz of cranberry juice (adjust to preference)
  6. Shake for 30 seconds and pour out into martini cocktail glasses
  7. Garnish with a red apple slice

*To modify for an autumn inspired cocktail add a dash of cinnamon to the shaker and it becomes a spiced apple martini!

And finally...

Step 5: Recoup

You did it! Once the Thanksgiving feast is over reward yourself the next day by enjoying an apple martini and your favorite Look Beauty mask!