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Monday, November 15, 2010

Share Your Best “Do More with Less” Thanksgiving Tip

This giveaway is now closed. But be sure to read through the comments for lots of great “Do More with Less” tips – both Thanksgiving-related and not!

We’re starting off the Thanksgiving posts a little unconventionally this year. First off, it involves a phone giveaway (yes, I said phone). Second, I’m making you do the work. πŸ˜‰ But I promise it will be fun!

You may have noticed a few ads running on my site for the new Windows Phone 7. In conjunction with that ad campaign, today they’re offering a giveaway on my site (and a bunch of other sites, too!). Just comment on this post and you’re entered to win a brand spankin’ new Windows Phone 7. I was supposed to have one already so I could tell you how fun and cool it is…alas, there was a shipping issue. But it looks cool and I’ll be sure to fill you in when the phone arrives!

The campaign theme is “Do More with Less.” So I decided that we should share our best “do more with less” tips for throwing a Thanksgiving feast! And I’ll kick us off right now.

Jane’s Thanksgiving Tip: My favorite tip for doing more with less at Thanksgiving is post-it notes. Just a few post-it notes (that’s the less part) ensures I can put together the biggestΒ feast of the year (that’s the more part). The day before Thanksgiving, I’ll sit down with some post-its and schedule out the day. I assign a time for each thing I need to do that day, write the steps out in chronological order on as many post-it notes as it takes, then stick them to the wall above my stove. It’s a LIFESAVER. I don’t have to think about when something goes in or out of the oven, generally all the food ends up being done at the same time, and I can SEE the schedule easily by just looking up at the wall. I love it!

Your turn! Please post your best “more with less” tips for Thanksgiving! (Even if you don’t want the phone…I want your tips, I need your tips…besides, it’s a $500 phone, you want it!) If you do not have a tip, feel free to comment anyway to enter the contest! (See the official rules here, but basically say nice things and make sure the comment is at least 25 characters long.) You have until Midnight PT on November 29 to leave your comment and you can enter once per day…as long as it’s a new tip or comment! One winner will be selected randomly at the close of the contest. Winning address must be in the U.S.

Can’t wait to read your comments!

This giveaway is brought toΒ you by the new Windows Phone 7.Β Less tech tired. More tech trendy:Β Learn about Windows Phone online and see it in person at local T-Mobile stores today.


  1. Hey Jane, one thing I do with my post – it’s is when I’m finished pre paring some of the dishes the day before (like the sweet potatoes or whatever) I place a post-it on the dish it’s in with the temperature the oven needs to be set at and the time it needs to cook so I do not have to go back and look it up.

    Also, I always take the kids to the local “turkey skate” for an hour or two after I put the turkey in so they can have some fun! (we ice skate at a local rink)

    Also, I make the mashed potatoes the day ahead always, and I’ve learned they are easily warmed in the crock pot (as long as you frequently stir them). Saves space in the oven too.

    • Jane Maynard

      now I’m wondering how anyone ever cooked a thanksgiving dinner without post-its? πŸ˜‰ love that idea of putting them on the dish with the cooking info – so great!

  2. 2
    Lisa T

    I’m really concentrating on making plenty of food but then having plans for the leftovers. And I’m also stocking up on disposable containers to send home leftovers with my in-laws (they are NOT cooks).

    I’m still on the lookout for creative ideas for leftovers, besides the normal turkey sandwiches πŸ™‚

  3. What a good idea! My more with less suggestion? Do more dishes with less hassle by recruiting guests to help with the cleanup. You can assign each guest one chore or area to keep after all day long, and that way, no one has to do too much work!!

  4. 4

    My timesaving tip for thanksgiving is rather easy. Unless you have two stoves or a deep fryer, cooking the turkey always takes the longest. It also takes up a lot of space. So, Wednesday night, put your turkey in a roasting bag, set your oven to 200 degrees, and when you wake up in the morning, voilà, your turkey is done. Keep it in the roasting bag until ready to serve, and it falls off the bone. An extra tip? To keep the turkey breast moist, bake it breast-down. It will fall off the bone. Best-tasting turkey ever!!

    • Suzanne Robinson

      As a chef, I would caution people against this method. The cooking temperature is too low for safety- the internal temperature of the turkey needs to reach 140 within 4 hours and at 200 degrees that isn’t going to happen.

    • Jane Maynard

      suzanne – thanks for your input! everyone be sure to use your thermometers!!!!

    • I agree with Suzanne – I’d also add that keeping it in the roasting bag, but, I assume, not in the oven, will also probably hold it at an unsafe temperature. NOT a good idea, sorry Kristin.

  5. 5

    My #1 tip is outsource your help. A few years ago when I hosted my very first thanksgiving I asked for family members to make their favorite side dish so I wouldn’t have to worry about it and could focus on the turkey and stuffing. Everyone’s dishes turned out so great that we always make Thanksgiving a potluck affair and folks clamor over which dish they are going to make their favorite this year. I really love doing it this way and it takes a lot of pressure off the host (me!).

  6. my tip is to do as much ahead of time as possible – i bake a ton of freezable desserts in the weeks leading up to thanksgiving so that the final course is done before the big day! One less thing to worry about.

  7. 7
    Jennifer K

    My tip is not original, it keeps Thanksgiving simple for me. I always “assign” the people joining us for Thanksgiving something to bring … side dish, dessert, beverage, etc., while I focus on the main dish. It keeps me from being a frantic mess on Thanksgiving Day, as well as keeps my oven freed up.

  8. I completely agree with TheCalmCook about delegating tasks in the kitchen. I can be a bit of a control freak, so sometimes accepting help can be challenging. Before the big day I brainstorm ways guests can help and post a list of “helps” on the fridge: setting the table, filling up water glasses, keeping the kids occupied, making drinks, etc. (This year I may take a cue from you and use post-its!) I also make ahead roll dough, pie crusts, and other items that freeze well in the first week in November, and bake them Wednesday night.

  9. Hi Jane,

    I’ve learned over the years to make almost all of the side dishes the day before – especially the mashed potatoes! Then when I take the turkey out of the oven and let it sit, all of the side dishes go in for 30 minutes. Everything comes out perfect and ready at the same time! I’ll never go back to mashing potatoes on Thanksgivind day πŸ˜‰

    Another quick tip – set your table the night before. Thanksgiving day is much more enjoyable with friends and family when you’re not running around like crazy!

    Happy Turkey Day!

  10. 10
    Jenn E.

    This year I’m buying a fresh turkey. I don’t know why I’ve bought frozen in the past (must be one of those subconscious things ingrained in me over the years…). I can buy a bigger bird (more) and spend a lot less time (literally, days less) fussing with the defrost. I can cook more in less time, too. It’s healthier (more) and not that much more expensive (less, sort of).

  11. 11

    My favorite do more with less for Thanksgiving tip is: do less. Seriously, I just don’t think 8 side dishes for 6 people is really necessary. Choose the minimum required dishes and stick to that. If guests have special requests, suggest they bring that themselves (and then take an item off the menu).

  12. 12
    Barbara Ann Baker

    My tip is to plan some memorable event with the family, whether it is going for a walk before dinner or after dinner, playing some kind of game that brings everyone together — just do something together so that you all remember the day.

  13. My tip would be to plan ahead…make as many things ahead and then freeze them. Also, if you have a small family like me…we just do a turkey (butterball) in the crockpot and it is yummy. Now, about that phone…

  14. we just do a simple dinner with every one picking in so no one has to foot the whole bill and all the cooking πŸ™‚

  15. 15
    Elizabeth Firmage Paul

    Hey I cant believe its thanksgiving already! tip#1 don’t volunteer to cook for your childrens’ school teachers thanksgiving meal. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify, and then potluck!!! Sometimes I think we want so badly to recreate all of the warm fuzzy memories for our children, that we feel the need to recreate every traditional food associated with them. Maybe just choose one and really slow down and prepare it together. I am also excited to start new memories and traditions. My oldest son and I found an awesome ginger cookie recipe on that made us feel like real pros! Better yet the cookies freeze perfectly, so you can make them ahead!!!

  16. 16
    Auntie Barb

    I’m an Excel Nerd! I create a shopping list weeks before the big day. Then I watch for sales. On my spreadsheet I list the things that are on sale at that specific store. Since I frequent a few stores anyway, I usually have everything purchase “on sale” before the big crowds hit. Then all I have to do is pick up the fresh turkey (the only thing I use anymore) a day or so before Thanksgiving. I also put my menu on a spreadsheet. Then I know exactly what has to go in the oven when so never again will we sit down to dinner with potato’s sitting on the stove uncooked! After reading your posts, I think I’m cooking those ahead and using the crock pot! Thanks!

  17. One of my favorite “fun” Thanksgiving memories, when there were lots of young cousins in the area: We would get the kids busy peeling potatoes out on the back patio. Those are some fun photo ops. It kept them busy for awhile and out of the kitchen. It also helped them to understand the work that went into those mounds of whipped wonderfulness! Twenty pounds wasn’t enough, so we added another 5 lbs. the next year!

  18. 18

    I do it like you, schedule out every single dish write it all down. I start with the end in mind and work my way back. If I want the turkey done by 1pm what time do I have to start it…. what time does everything else need to be started to be done at the right time, etc… Also what stuff can be made ahead of time, along with scheduling stuff like setting the table! I’m a bit of a control freak so I don’t delegate anything, I love doing all the cooking. Plus it keeps me safe in the kitchen away from whatever my in-laws are arguing about! I’m more than happy to let people bring the dishes they like that aren’t a part of my traditional thanksgiving meal! My in-laws like all sorts of weird foods.

    And I always buy my turkey fresh. We’ve had issues with frozen turkey, thawing it and food poisoning!

  19. 19

    I have no tips seeing this is the first year I’ll be heading Thanksgiving dinner (Ah!) but I do have a question for you non-meat eaters out there….has anyone had a tofurkey before and what do you think?

    • Erika B.

      My vegetarian brother loves tofurkey. I think it is kind of gross. Make sure to make the special glaze from the recipe on the package (ingredients NOT included) so that it looks golden. Be careful to cook it just before you eat because it can dry out easily and doesn’t hold well. Good luck!

  20. 20

    I put the rolls in after thefood has been blessed and is being passed, then everyone gets a got roll passedto ten at the table (rolls are always best when hot) and I don’t have to budget precious oven time for them!

  21. 21

    I do the same thing, I schedule out my dishes as to when they need to go into the oven to make sure they come out as close together as possible so we can enjoy a hot meal. I also do as much before hand as possible so that I an enjoy things like homemade rolls without having to worry about it that morning.

  22. I used to spend the day making homemade rolls for 25+ people (butterhorns–delicious). Then I decided to make Rhodes rolls (you let them rise and bake them). Now I buy rolls even though I love homemade rolls. This year I’ll be on an airplane Thanksgiving day so I won’t enjoy a nice meal.

  23. 23
    Sarah C.

    I do more with less by driving hours to my mom’s or inlaws’ homes. I use the excuse of travel as to why I don’t bring a dish. We sometimes are assigned rolls. Last year it was box wine. It’s a little embarrassing, but I won’t complain!

  24. 24

    Something I make sure to do is to plan which actual plate/bowl/serving dish I am going to use with each dish I make. When I write out my menu, I make a note of the serving vessel next to each item, and then I know whether I need to buy anything beforehand — instead of being stuck on the actual day with nothing to put the food in! (For instance, I need to find bread baskets this year.)

  25. 25

    I think that sentimental gifts are the most memorable way to do more with less. My favorite gifts are photo calendars, filled with memories. These are easy and affordable, and can be tailored for families and friends.
    Lastly, don’t forget to spend a little something for those who can’t spend – whether it is adopting a family for a holiday or buying something small for a toy drive. When I was little, I was the recipient of a secret toys-for-tots gift (I had no idea where it came from, it was left at my doorstep), and it helped me continue believing in Santa although my family was not able to afford gifts that year!

  26. We will have a lot of kids in the house this thanksgiving, so keeping them happy is key.
    I’m going to make a simple soup for everyone to much on around 11 or so…
    that will keep people out of the kitchen begging for bites!

  27. Doing more with less … haha, well, I just TODAY started contemplating Thanksgiving dinner menu items. Yes, it’s been that kind of month for me. So, I’m doing much less planning.

    But in all seriousness, I’m planning on a much “less” Thanksgiving. That means, less calories, less leftovers, less preparation, less pressure. I love to have a ton of variety in my Thanksgiving dinner, but we habitually make way too much food. And, while I enjoy the leftovers, we all get over them typically before they’re all gone.

    We traditionally split Thanksgiving dinner preparations with my parents, and this year everything I’m doing will be on a smaller scale (except gravy with is the one thing we always run out of too soon) and lighter. I’m going to see if I can pull a fast one with cauliflower cream instead of mashed potatoes too this year.

    What I’m most excited about this year though is using our new wood fired cookstove!!! Oh, can you hear me squealing now? Hubby finished installing over the weekend and it’s working. But, I’m going to have an extra oven and cooktop, and things will either work out beautifully or horribly since I’m completely inexperienced at cooking with this stove.

  28. 28

    We do as much as possible before Thanksgiving Day. We bake our pies the day before (pie dough two days before), beans can be cooked a day ahead, as can the cranberry sauce, and we discovered that roll dough made a few days ahead and refrigerated (already rolled into crescents) actually improves the texture of the rolls AND saves a ton of time on feast day. Delegation of dishes, of course, is the biggest time saver. My biggest suggestion though is to make preparations together with loved ones so it will be part of the celebration rather than a period of extreme pre-celebration stress.

  29. 29
    Holly Baudler

    This year, we decided to start a new family tradition of going away for Thanksgiving. It will allow us to spend time together without anyone tethered to the domestic chores. It’s not an option for everyone, but we are excited about it.

  30. 30

    We keep the whole thing pretty simple. This year (as with 4 out of the past 5 years) we will be camping for Thanksgiving. We will have electricity but no running water so that means paper plates. We have Turkey (cooked in a counter-top roaster), dressing (in my parents’ trailer oven) and green bean casserole (in our trailer oven). This year we have decided to do boiled new potatoes as the potato dish. Desserts will be pumpkin pie and Kentucky Pecan pie that were made the day before.

  31. 31

    Skip the green bean casserole!

  32. 32

    I learned this one from my husband’s family – don’t make a side dish bigger just because it’s Thanksgiving. If a dish is supposed to serve eight, don’t double it. People won’t be taking full size servings of 12 sides – there’s just no room on the plate or in the stomach for that. Also, you won’t be contending with leftovers until you can’t stand it anymore.

  33. 33

    I do a TON of prep the night before….peeling, chopping, cleaning, list making!

    LOTS AND LOTS OF LISTS! I have a wipe off board on my fridge and I make a list of everything we’re eating and as it gets prepared and placed into its serving dish, I cross it off. I start compiling and editing the list the week of Thanksgiving so I know exactly what needs to get done and when!

    I almost NEVER miss a dish! πŸ˜‰

  34. 34

    My tip is the Cook’s Illustrated method for “Mastering Turkey Gravy.” It’s the best gravy I’ve ever had and you can make most of it one to two days in advance, saving tons of time on Thanksgiving day!

  35. 35

    Spend Thanksgiving with friends or family who LIKE to cook! (I know, what am I doing reading a cooking blog?? I like Jane and I like to look at pictures of food…) =)

  36. 36

    We go to my aunt’s house and so I am in charge this year of an appetizer, side dish, and dessert. I already picked up the ingredients (or most of them) during this past Saturday’s grocery trip…since I already knew what I was making and what I would need…it was easy to do. Then on Wednesday when I get home from work I will prepare the cheddar ranch cheeseball, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pecan butter bars so they are all ready for our morning of travel to our destination on Thursday.

  37. 37

    This year we’ve decided to cut back on the number of dishes on Thanksgiving day and then make those dishes to add to the leftovers on the following days. I’m planning to make yams and apples and a pecan pie a day or two after so we have some new stuff to add to the leftover turkey.

  38. 38

    My parents are hosting thanksgiving for the first time in a while, so I don’t have to do everything, woohoo! Once year I did discover turkey breasts – with a family of four, the breast only is easier to brine and faster to cook. For big dinners My dad smokes the turkey so that leaves room in the oven for everything else.

    Serve good booze, more, and nobody will notice if you run out of food = less
    Sign up for an early morning turkey trot – gets everyone up early out out for fresh air and exercise, so you don’t have to cram that in somewhere else during the day.
    Have kids make some decorations, it’s more fun and you don’t have to worry if they don’t look all fancy.

  39. 39

    I have yet to host a Thanksgiving on my own, but this year we are making the pies the night before (and pumpkin pies a couple nights before..they get better after sitting a day or two). Mmmm love the holidays.

  40. 40

    I like to try new desserts and I get really adventurous. My tip is to try those new desserts in advance! And not the day before Thanksgiving. I have been burned and forced to buy store bought! I actually just spent this past weekend trying out new recipes and I sent them to work with my husband for opinions.

  41. 41
    Ludwiga Covert

    One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions – my ANNUAL call on Thanksgiving morning to the BUTTERBALL TURKEY HOTLINE. Over the past 30 years, these girls have taught me and we’ve talked turkey in every imaginary way:

    How do you know WHICH WAY of the bird is up?
    Can wings be tucked in without all that bone breaking sound?
    Scrape ALL of that disgusting stuff out from between the rib cage?
    After all this – only one cup of gravy??!

    I always have more questions, and these girls know their stuff(ing)! Try it – 1800-Butterball.

  42. 42

    Potluck usually works very well where everyone brings a dish to share. This way there is less work on one person to cook for everyone. Usually, it turns out like a feast and more variety of food. Guests are guarantee to have something they like to eat cuz they usually bring their favorite dish. Also, People love to bring gifts over on holidays and I prefer food over things.

  43. 43

    We entertain both family & friends during the holidays. About a week in advance, I email everyone to find out how many will be coming. Since everyone has there own family traditions, I request everyone bring a part of the meal that reminds them of home. Once I have what everyone is planning on bringing, I then can plan out the entire menu and my grocery list.

  44. 44
    Jess Green

    I shop the week before so everything is ready to go. Then I try to cook as much as possible the night before to leave more time for enjoying the parades on tv.

  45. 45

    Luckily we live next to family so I have not had to do a whole thanksgiving dinner on my own. My MIL who does it every year is super meticulous and she has typed out her shopping list and her schedule for the week before and actual day…she uses that list/schedule every year since the menu generally stays the same.

  46. 46

    With everyone sharing the workload, it goes great and no one is stressed. Love it

  47. 47
    Amanda L.

    My tip: sometimes food tastes best with fewer ingredients. Less shopping time, less prep time. Take cranberry sauce, for instance. Sugar, cranberries, water. (Okay, maybe a couple other simple ingredients…) Yum!

  48. 48

    OK – this is a tip I have never been able to do and it certainly isn’t original BUT here it is: go somewhere else for dinner where you don’t have to cook!

    I think the main reason I have never done this is I can’t imagine not cooking Thanksgiving dinner and more importantly because I NEED the leftovers….

  49. 49

    Hey Jane,

    Here’s my tip for making lattice pie crusts. This came from a friend of mine. I haven’t tried it yet with my homemade pie dough, but if you’re trying to save time by using the store-bought pie dough, this technique works great.

    To create the lattice the traditional way, you usually cut strips and then lay them on the pie in one direction. Then for the cross direction, you have to keep folding half the first set of strips back and forth, etc. This is a bit confusing if you don’t have pictures, but I’m sure there are lots of videos and tutorials online.

    But with my tip, you do things a little differently. First you slice the pie dough before you unroll it into little 1/2 inch discs (like little cinnamon rolls). Then set half of those little rolls on the edge of your pie, ready to roll out across the pie. Unroll every other roll about 1 inch, then unroll one from the second half of your rolls across in the other direction and on top of the strips you just unrolled (so now they are underneath). Then unroll the rest of the rolls that you first laid out so they roll over the top of the cross-wise strip you just laid. Proceed unrolling every other one about 1 inch, laying a new strip cross wise, and then unrolling the others over the top until you have a complete lattice.

    The unrolling is a little easier than the traditional way of folding back and forth and you are less likely to break your strips. You might be able to roll up scratch made dough and use the same technique, but this technique works perfectly with the store bought dough already.

    Say hi to your other half for me.

  50. 50
    Jen Schulte

    My main tip is do as much in advance as possible. And, to plan out the timing of what will be ready when / how long each item takes to cook or heat up, then back time up from the time you want to serve it … so everything is hot and ready at the same time!

    ps love your post-it about taking a nap and hoping someone else takes over!

  51. 51

    yes, keep the sides to a minimum.

  52. I always make food ahead, even if it’s a day ahead, so I can relax the day of the big event.

    I also shop during the early morning when the grocery store is not full. Then I don’t have to deal with lines.

  53. 53

    I’m putting my crock pots on duty this year so I have fewer things to put in the oven. I’m doing cranberry sauce in the crock pot ahead of time and the day of I think we’re using it for stuffing and some kind of vegetable side dish.

  54. 54

    I never would have thought of using my crock pot to warm made-in-advance mashed potatoes! What a great idea. I am always looking for ways to avoid the last minute rush! Thanks for the tip!

  55. I like to make as many things as possible before-

    2 days before: cranberry relish and apple sauce and home made cheese ball appetizer

    1 day before: instead of mashed potatoes, I make souffled potatoes that can be baked in the oven day of, stuffing, jello mold, pie

    Day of- veggies and turkey and appetizers and drinks!

  56. 56

    I’m a list maker. Starting with 5 days out from Thanksgiving.

    5 days-find table linens. Iron or take to dry cleaner
    3 days-make pie crusts, chop veggies, preprep
    2 days-set table. Mostly so my MIL doesn’t bug me to death
    1 day-premake pies, cakes, side dishes.
    day of…bake turkey and ham. heat up side dishes.
    1 day after..drink large glass of wine and smile that it was a successful day! :))

  57. 57

    The first year I hosted Thanksgiving dinner was for my in-laws. No kids yet, so just four adults. But because it was my first time doing Thankgiving, I felt like I had to do everything. We had all the traditional sides that I remembered as a kid, when we got together with a whole bunch of extended family. Needless to say, there was way too much food.

    Since then my husband and I sit down ahead of time and decide what HAS to be on our Thanksgiving table, and what we can live without. We still enjoy our dinner, without feeling like a lot of food (or time) is wasted.

  58. Pillsbury roll-out pie crust. No one except Paula Deen knows the difference and it saves 30 minutes of not-fun crust making. Oh, and have your husband make the pies the night before. At least, have my husband make the pies the night before.

  59. 59

    1) I love your post-it idea. but I think its beacuse I love post-its. πŸ™‚
    2) We actually start cooking days in advance.. last year there were 19 trays of food. 19! So between everything thats going on there is a lot of precooking going on. and then re-heating. Some people judge but it still tastes great! Although I don’t recommend cooking the turkey, mashed potatoes or stuffing ahead of time… those are just better when they’re done day of.

  60. 60

    My do more with less tip is to assign tasks to others. So often we try to do it all and think we are the only person who knows how to get things done! It is so much easier to share the wealth (and tasks). Either assign someone to bring a dish or when guests arrive give them a job to do. Even make sure you save jobs for others to do. They will feel good about helping and you will get to enjoy their company!

  61. 61

    I don’t have a tip of my own, since I’ve not, as yet, done a thanksgiving dinner by myself. But I know Chris’ grandma always makes her rolls ahead of time (and freezes them)and rewarms them by putting them in a paper grocery bag in the barely warm oven for a bit. They’re still crusty-ish on the outside and warm on the inside. She’ll keep a bag in the oven when we all sit down to eat so our second helpings of rolls are just as yummy as the first.

  62. 62
    Em D.

    Now that the kids are all adults, we have some serious delegation of duties going on. Everyone does less but gets more πŸ™‚

  63. 63

    A couple of things I do to save time….have hubby steam clean the carpet a week before, this is one job he doesn’t mind doing. When the carpet is dry I start re-arranging the table & chairs, and move the portable buffet into position..this really gets me motivated, lay out the linens, etc….the countdown is on…lol

  64. 64

    My do more with less tip is to plan what you are serving everything in and with what a few days before Turkey Day…I always end up not having the right serving spoon or platter and just throwing it on a plate that doesn’t do the food justice or me justice for the time I put into it!

  65. 65

    My favorite way to do more with less is if I find some cake mix hidden away in the cupboard that hasn’t been used yet. Mix cake mix and sprite (yes, sprite) together and bake for a delicious, light, and airy cake. My favorite is strawberry, though yellow cake mix is also good!

  66. 66
    Sara Denoncourt

    …I am asking for a new phone for christmas

  67. 67

    I always, always, always come up with a list about a week before! But I’m sort of obsessed with lists and crossing things off! πŸ™‚ I love to have the pie made the day before,my ice cream done a day or two back, and then just the appetizers and main things to do on Turkey Day!!
    Always have to make sure I don’t forget things at the store though…that has been a problem! πŸ™‚

  68. 68

    Make rolls and pie crust dough a week ahead and freeze. Make cranberry sauce a couple of days ahead. Make yams a day or two ahead. I buy a dutch apple pie to put in the freezer, if I don’t make the apple pie, it’s not a big deal.

  69. For Thanksgiving every family member makes a different dish (that’s the LESS part for the host) and we always have a BIG feast with lots of different flavor combinations (that’s the MORE part). It’s all about spending time with family and friends and not having just one person sitting in the kitchen.

  70. 70

    Not sure if this is a more for less tip, but I must watch the Macy’s parade while prepping food. It makes the time go by so much more quickly and always puts a smile on my face.

  71. 71

    no tip from me.

  72. 72

    Well, I’ve never hosted Thanksgiving dinner, so I have only second hand tips. My parents have always hosted Thanksgiving dinner, but now there are in-laws in the picture, the schedule has changed. The official do more with less theme this year? We’re having steaks (picked up early) and homemade bread (made ahead of time) and various vegetables (grown in the garden over the summer), on the Sat after Thanksgiving. Less time and expense but way more family! πŸ™‚ Here’s to new traditions! Happy Holidays!

  73. 73
    Lora N.

    Do all you can the day before – gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce. Two days before you can do your pies. On Thanksgiving, just do the turkey. Spreading it out over 3 days makes for less stress.

  74. 74

    Neither my husband nor myself likes turkey. So, we’re planning on making something that we will eat and enjoy the leftovers as well. (I know it seems unnatural, but I really wish I could talk him into just going out for dinner…)
    But, I do remember my mother using leftover turkey to make turkey noodle soup… that was always yummy!

  75. My tip is to share the responsibility – you bring one thing while your sister brings another and your aunt brings another, etc… Then not only are you doing less work but you are also spending less money.

  76. 76

    I get by with making lists, preparing everything I can the day before, setting out serving dishes with post-it notes in them saying what they will be used for, and my favorite thing to do that greatly relieves stress for me is having the table set the night before. How’s that for a long sentence!

  77. 77
    Erika B.

    I love cooking Thanksgiving. We have 32 guests this year! I also make a million lists to keep on track and I need a time line to finish everything at the same time. I set up all of the serving pieces on the buffet and put post it notes on the edges with what is going in them. It seems silly, but it is no fun digging for dishes last minute. I also do not ask for anyone to bring things that need to be served hot because it is more trouble to coordinate random pot luck reheating than to make things myself the night before.

  78. 78
    Janna M

    My do more with less tip is to ask guests to bring a dish. I provide the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and green bean casserole. Everyone else brings bread, cranberry relish, salad and pies.

    One year I used disposable plates to cut back on dishes but there was such an uproar that I won’t do that again.

  79. 79

    My tip is for the little ones in your home . . . Buy a new board game and give it to the kids on Thanksgiving morning. This will keep them busy and out of the kitchen while you cook!

  80. 80
    Molly Cartwright

    I don’t have a “do more with less” tip, because usually my Mom and aunts do all the cooking! I guess I am lucky πŸ™‚

  81. 81

    I use our china for every big holiday. I love the way it makes the table look so formal, but I hate the extra clean up time it takes to handwash the dishes. I compromise by using regular glasses that can go in the dishwasher, vs our formal stemware that has to be handwashed as well.

  82. 82

    Go out to eat! (We actually only do this when we’re vacationing over Thanksgiving, but we’ll be at the beach in FL this year and decided that was easier than trying to cook in the condo.)

    For other years, we do a lot of prep the day before. DH does the pies, I do the rolls. We assign others to bring some of the sides. We brine the turkey because its harder to dry it out that way.

  83. 83
    Chris Alkire

    I cook 2 chickens at once and use the other chicken to freeze meat for other dishes..and of course I make chicken stock

  84. 84
    Amber L

    My tip is one I’m sure you already do…prep the entire week and make things ahead of time if you can.

  85. 85
    Nick P.

    Create context-based todo lists ”” that way when you are at your computer, your todo list only for things that you can do on your computer. Or in the kitchen – or while you’re running errands. See GTD.

  86. 86

    I recruit extra help – aka my Mom, to help make the veggies the night before. Then all you have to do is cook the turkey. I re-heat the veggies in the oven after the turkey comes out and rests. Also, having an electric hot plate is a plus to keep things warm. My best tip for doing more with less….go to my brother’s for Thanksgiving! Happy Turkey Day!

  87. 87

    This tip probably only applies to me, but we have a tradition of going camping over Thanksgiving. We have the traditional turkey and potatoes on the Sunday before, and then we turn the leftovers into “tin foil dinners” to reheat over the fire on Thursday. The gravy keeps everything from getting dry and we feel festive in the forest.

    • For years my husband I have talked about going camping over Thanksgiving. One of our favorite turkey preparations is to dig a pit, put coals into the pit and then the turkey wrapped in many layers of foil, put a few more coals on top and then cover with dirt. Several hours later you have a wonderfully moist perfectly done Turkey. I think if we don’t go to our hunting cabin next Thanksgiving we’ll go camping. Time to just go do it.

  88. 88

    our family does a potluck to help ease the cooking burden off one person.

  89. 89
    Kelly J

    Plan out and have recipes and ingredients ready. Plus having extra hands in the kitchen helps!

  90. 90

    I have a small kitchen, and an even tinier oven over here, so much like you I plan out my day and the times stuff needs to go in. I also use non-conventional cooking techniques, like sweet potatoes in the crockpot, turkey in a roaster(won’t fit in my oven any way). I also assign our American guests something to bring, and plan the menu a week in advance. Not much, but just planning.

  91. 91
    Marisa Schwartz

    I have been lucky enough to have married into a family where either my MIL or SIL are always happy to host the big feast. I’ve never actually cooked a turkey myself. So I don’t really have any tips, except to assign out the different side dishes to each family group. Makes it easier to not have one person worry about cooking everything! I would love to win the drawing for the phone…

  92. This is not a food comment per se, but a cool idea from my aunt and uncle. After we have eaten dinner, a small bowl containing kernels of Indian corn is passed around the table and each person takes a number of kernels. Then, we go around the table and for each kernel of corn a person took, they have to name something for which they are thankful. It’s a great tradition.

  93. The best tip of all – get someone else to make it! Rachelxxx

  94. 94

    I prep my vegetables beforehand especially if its a big holiday meal

  95. 95

    As oven space is always a problem, I have 2 tips for reducing the traffic jam in the oven. If you are making homemade rolls, bake them ahead of time, but not for the full baking time-only until they just barely begin to brown on top. Freeze rolls; then while you putting the rest of the meal on the table, pop the rolls back in until golden brown. For stuffing-I do not like stuffing in the bird, yuck! But there isn’t room in my oven for a roaster and a big pan of stuffing. So in the morning, I bake my stuffing before the turkey (a little less than the recipe calls for, but until some of the edges are nice and crispy), then transfer the stuffing to a crock pot set on low until the rest of the meal is done.

  96. 96

    After years of watching my my mom make these extravagant holiday/entertaining meals- I really felt that I had to do the same when I got married and bought a house. But after lots of stressful days, using every pot, pan, and casserole dish I owned, running the dishwasher 5 times in a day and TONS of leftovers, I really have decided the I can enjoy the party MORE with LESS things. A simple meal of protein, starch, vegie, a few appetizers (cheese/crackers, vegie tray) and a lovely dessert that someone else brings are perfect! Last year for Christmas, I served my hubby’s family prime rib, baked potatoes, and steamed green beans- They were in heaven and the hardest part for me was wrapping all those potatoes to bake in the oven with the roast!

  97. I cook the turkey at a high temperature (450 degrees) in my convection oven, therefore sealing in the juices and it allowing more time for al those delicious sides.
    It’s juicy and the skin is crispy… just the way it should be.

  98. 98

    My tips is to make a timeline calendar. Starting about two weeks before I write down everything that needs to be done and then fill in my calendar. I don’t do Thanksgiving, but this is my approach for Christmas. For Thanksgiving we go to my MIL her approach is to call the club and make dinner reservations, call the bakery and order a pie and stop at the liquor store and stock up.

  99. 99

    Cut the outrageously complicated menu down! Every year we end up frantically trying to find oven and stove top space, not to mention serving dishes and spoons, for the eleventy-eight things everyone says they MUST have. Baloney and foo-foo on that! We are doing a few simple and traditional dishes only for T-Day from now on and we can accommodate the annoying, I mean, special requests over the next few days as we use up leftovers. No more stressful holidays, folks. Let’s give ourselves and each other a break, for crying out loud, so we can enjoy holidays again.

    Well, my goodness. I feel better now. Thanks.

  100. I prep everything prior to the event. For example, onions, celery, carrots, cheese, pecans, etc can be chopped or grated days in advance. In some cases, like the onions and nuts they can be prepped then frozen. This saves me so much time and extra dirty knives and cutting boards the day of Thanksgiving. I also have others bring desserts. It’s my least favorite part of dinner and usually people are happy to do that part. I also fry my turkey or order a smoked turkey from a local bbq place. Saves me so much hassle.

  101. 101

    My tip is probably the same as many: I try to get as much done as I can ahead of time. I am a list-maker in everything I do so Thanksgiving is no exception. This year I made some appetizers and put them in the freezer. I’m also asking my Mom, who lives close, to bake the sweet potatoes after I assemble them. That way I have a bit of room in the oven. I also like the idea of setting out a serving dish and utensil for each dish made and putting it on the counter so I can see it. Post-Its are a cooking girl’s best friend πŸ™‚

  102. 102
    shanna boatler

    i’m usually the one to make a pie. i guess i get off pretty easy. i love to make pecan pie and that in itself is easy, esp when using a pre made crust!
    the phone looks really cool!!

  103. 103

    I don’t cook thanksgiving dinner, but I sure would love a new phone

  104. 104

    i Love Love Love to do all my prep before hand even down to separating egg whites from the yolk. it makes like so much easier!

  105. 105
    Kate Pet

    My tip is to make your cookies and pies ahead of time and on the day of Thanksgiving, wake up as early as possible (I get up at 4am) and get started on things. Nothing tastes better than a meal just out of the oven.

  106. 106
    Dele O

    This will be our little girl’s first of many thanksgivings. prep, prep, prep will be my tip

  107. 107

    I think the best way to do Thanksgiving is to do a pot luck type dinner. That way no one is stuck doing everything and everyone feels that they helped out. It works best if everyone is good at makeing something different.

  108. 108

    I don’t really have any cooking tips, but I would say for everyone to take a moment to really enjoy the time you have with friends and family.

  109. 109

    Mom bakes her pies ahead of time and freezes them, then takes them out of the freezer on Wednesday to thaw. That way the kitchen and oven are free for other things.

  110. 110

    Nothing original here- it looks like a lot of you do the same, but the less you have to do the day of, the more you can actually enjoy it! Planning the meal and shopping ahead of time, baking cookies or pies that can be frozen a week ahead, setting out all the serving dishes and utensils the day before (and having time to beg someone to bring what you don’t have!), and even making the mashed potatoes early in the morning and using a slow cooker to serve them warm all help to make Thanksgiving day more calm and, well, thankful πŸ™‚

  111. 111
    Shannon N

    Do what you can in advance, when having people over have them bring something (side dish, dessert), and try to take time to enjoy outside of the rush!!!

  112. 112
    cs white

    This year we’re hosting Thanksgiving at our house. Instead of going crazy (and broke) cooking tons of things, I’m asking each family to bring one dish. That way, we have tons of delish food and I’m not out an arm and a leg!

  113. 113

    I keep a list of ingredients that I will need for Thanksgiving dinner and take it with me to the store the few weeks before. I can then grab the items on sale and get them at the lowest price. I just return the list to the fridge until the next trip.

  114. 114

    This year I’m going to try making Hot Cranberry Cider (search for Paula Dean’s recipe on google) and let it cook in a crock pot all day. This way the house will smell amazing and we’ll have a delicious warm drink later that night after we’ve all woken up from our food coma. πŸ™‚

  115. 115

    Like several others have said, make what you can the day before. Also, I like to make sure my shopping is planned out and complete ahead of time.. The grocery store is a zoo the day before Thanksgiving & I’d rather be home baking pies by that point.

  116. I also make what I can the days before, even two days before. We cook the turkey overnight and the ham in the morning – we eat at lunch – and then bake what needs to be baked before the crowd arrives at noon. Plus we have our family members bring a dish so that we don’t cook everything, which is helpful.

  117. 117

    definitely do a potluck!
    you focus on making the best dang turkey you can & let your friends & family provide the sides!

  118. 118

    mama dukes takes care of the turkey while she asks that i make everything else from scratch each year. i like to try out new recipes, so i print out the recipe, and with my favorite tool– the sharpie! (good friends with the post-it) i label it each at the top “appetizer, side, salad”, etc. and post them on the wall so everyone knows the “menu”. then i type out my grocery list, and ta da!

  119. 119

    Back when I had a smartphone, I used to use the calendar feature to remind myself of, well, EVERYTHING! Now that it’s broken, I use my paper calendar, but I would love to win a new smartphone and start using it again!

  120. 120

    I am excited to be serving cranberry pepper jelly over cream cheese with crackers as an appetizer! Would love a new phone to call and tell you all about it!

  121. 121

    This is my first year to host Thanksgiving, so I’m loving all the tips! My strategy so far has been to start my shopping early to get the best deals and not be rushed at the last minute. I bought more than I needed of everything, just in case I mess up!

  122. 122

    My tip is find the best bakery you can and order your pie from them. Put it in a pretty serving dish, then lie and tell everyone you made it from scratch. When they ask for the recipe tell them you could give it to them, but then you’d have to kill them.

    Ahh, Thanksgiving. Good times.


  123. 123

    Certain relatives (ahem, myself included) have been assigned to bring wine ONLY. Otherwise, the cooking gets a little competitive and we’re all fighting over counter/oven/fridge space for our masterpieces. More family fun out of less cooking competition!

  124. 124

    I try to remember to shop early! Stores are super busy the closer you get to the holidays. And don’t forget your list

  125. I LOVE your post it idea!! I use them all the time for my regular “to do” lists. Why have I not thought to use them on Thanksgiving? Thanks!! My two tips are . . . #1 we run a local 5K in the morning. It helps me justify eating all that food. And #2 is that I make my rolls the day before. It’s just too time consuming the day of.

  126. 126

    Make ahead desserts. Anything you can do ahead saves you on the big day, so I look for great desserts that can be made a day or two before!

  127. 127

    I am just beginning my first Thanksgiving with my hubby… so no amazing advice yet! But I sure will be using these fabulous tips later. I just would really love the phone!! πŸ™‚

  128. 128

    I’m from British Columbia, so we’ve already celebrated Thanksgiving here. We try to do as much in advance as possible, without compromising the taste or quality of the finished product. And cleaning up along the way helps a lot too, so you’re not stuck with a huge mess at the end.

  129. 129

    Potluck it! Every year we have so much food because my family plans ahead of time who is bringing what. I think a lot of families go to someones house and might bring an appetizer, but we always split it up. Someone brings potatoes, another the turkey, there’s steak, there’s cheese plates, everyone contributes something.

  130. 130

    i make desserts that i can batch make and freeze. so i am not stuck making all the desserts right before the dinner πŸ™‚

  131. 131

    This will be my third Thanksgiving in England with zero [American] family near by, so Thanksgiving for me will sort of be like a traditional [English] “Sunday Roast.”

    My time saving tip isn’t really a tip, but more of a luxury: My partner likes to shuffle along behind me tidying up my mess as I go, which helps to keep countertops clear. He’s like a human Roomba! But tidying as you go is definitely a time-saver.

  132. 132

    Here’s a more for less tip in terms of TIME — which we all will be short of next Thursday morning! Here’s my mashed potato tip: get them peeled, chopped and boiled early in the morning. Once they’re ready to mash put them in the crock pot on low with milk over them to keep them all warm. When you’re ready to serve they get mashed and placed on the table… that way no crusty mashed potatoes and they are the perfect temp!

  133. 133

    I like having a spirled notebook that you leave out for november where everyone can write what they are thankful for throughout the month and then on Thanksgiving Day read the journal during dinner.

  134. 134

    I recommend setting up a beverage station for wine and cocktails the day before

    I make appetizers the morning of Thanksgiving – crudite with dip served in a hollowed out orange bell pepper, deviled eggs and macaroni and cheese bites – macaroni and cheese baked in puff pastry

    Every serving dish, place setting and drinking glass is set out the day before along with candles and flowers.
    My husband is responsible for putting together our music playslist, loading the dishwasher and pouring drinks.


  135. 135

    I love making lists. I make lists for just about everything and then I find them two months later with only one thing crossed off it. I need to do better at holding on to my lists and maybe I would be more productive!

  136. 136

    hey jane you know me, not much of a cook, but i want that phone,eh!

  137. 137
    Alison F.

    We go to Mom’s. She cooks for us πŸ™‚ Way simpler.

  138. 138
    Dele O

    My wife will be hosting her first thanksgiving next week, so my tip for myself would be help, help, help the wifey.

  139. 139

    At least half our dishes, and all the desserts, are made a couple days ahead of time. This cuts down on the stove-top mayhem.

  140. 140

    I’m making the main-turkey, stuffing, gravy, etc. and everyone brings a side- it makes it more interesting that way with lots of flavors:)

  141. 141

    1: We make centerpieces with mums in pumpkins. A fun and easy project for little kids and really pretty!

    2: With so many dishes to make and flavors to taste, is Thanksgiving really the time for homemade mashed potatoes? I cheat with Costco’s on this special day!

    3: I love this easy brussel sprouts dish: remove the petals from the sprouts, sautee in grape seed oil on high for a few minutes, until wilted. Add some fresh lemon juice and pistacios at the end. SO yummy – got my husband to love brussel sprouts, and super easy if you can delegate the peeling of the petals (fun for kids), and do that part the day before.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  142. 142

    doing more with less, chinese cooking may seem very difficult as preparation is key. but chinese cooking is accually pretty simple, most dishes require a basic sauce that can be paired with almost any combination. just a simple mixture of water, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, corn starch and sugar allows for a simple yet delish sauce that can be used to took many chinese dishes. -doing more with less.

  143. 143
    Jean YY

    this year i’m going to make stuffing in the slow cooker and start preparing some sides to freeze.

  144. 144
    JJ Murphy

    This might sound dumb, but I’m preparing by making sure I have all my non-food necessities in order. Proper cutlery, serving trays, etc. I hate searching for things on the day of Thanksgiving.

  145. 145

    I am the queen of post-its!! I write myself notes everywhere, and hang on to them until every item is marked off, or if something’s taking me extra long to finish, I just move it onto a new list. πŸ™‚ But everything gets done! Less stress, less bouncing around in my head.

  146. 146

    I defintely swear by lists πŸ™‚ You just can’t remember everything with so much going on and it would be a shame if you forgot anything!

  147. 147

    pumpkins are really good for the holidays, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, and roasted pumpkin πŸ™‚

  148. 148
    Tammy Blais

    We had Thanksgiving at a friend’s house a couple of years ago and experience a fun and yummy idea for stuffing. She baked it in single servings in a muffin tin! We loved this unique way of enjoying the stuffing and it looked so fun on our plates!

  149. 149

    My sister’s and I plan our menu and then divide the cooking between the 3 of us. We make everything from scratch, exhausting but so worth the effort. I love all the tips I’ve read so far and plan to try some this year!

  150. 150

    All dishes except the turkey are delegated out to various families. You show up with your designated item in its serving dish, it goes to the fridge/stove/table as appropriate, and then you CLEAR OUT so Grandma can focus on the turkey! More family happiness with less kitchen chaos πŸ™‚

  151. 151

    Assign the guys (or anyone who doesn’t want to be in the kitchen) to keep the kiddos entertained while the cooks are in the kitchen! Get them to set the table!

  152. 152

    I schedule dinner with multiple families and we assign parts of the meal out to everyone….that way we all do less, have more people to socialize with and it is easier to clean up with help.

  153. 153

    most thanksgivings are just my husband and I, or another couple, so my tip is to purchase just a turkey breast at the grocery. they are already cooked, there’s no dark meat (icky), and you don’t have a ton of leftovers. (plus, you don’t have to touch any giblets, etc).

    just make sure you’re picking one that hasn’t been under that lamp all day long.

  154. 154
    Dele O

    Doing more with less sometimes means working on the go. Which is where my laptop and a good smartphone comes in handy. Go windows phone

  155. 155
    Mary Winterbottom

    My tip is: go out to eat. lol. We typically don’t go out for thanksgiving, but this year we are! My timesaving tip is prep! I really liked the idea of listing what you are cooking in which dish- I am always running to kmart or walmart at the last minute for a new dish!

  156. 156

    Time begets less stress – so this year I am giving myself this gift. My plan is to prepare some dishes ahead of time and freeze. I’m sitting here patting myself on the back because I already have some goodies in the freezer. I want to enjoy my family this Thanksgiving!

  157. 157

    I stay organized with Microsoft OneNote, which helps me do more with less time.

  158. 158

    I am getting so excited for Thanksgiving. I think the big thing will to not let myself get stressed out with all the little munchkins running around like crazy.

  159. 159

    I hope this isn’t too obvious, but I always prepare and cook large amounts (~8 lbs) turkey/chicken breast, divide it into many batches, and throw them all in the freezer. That way I can make a stir fry or curry with minimal preparation even at the end of a long day.

  160. 160

    i love using wax paper for everything, lining dishes, easily move sifted flour, so useful

  161. 161

    I loathe doing the dishes, but loading the dishwasher isn’t too bad.. Dishwasher is a lifesaver for doing more with less! I don’t have to stand at the sink to clean up.

  162. 162

    A lot of family usually gathers areound Thanksgiving, and that can mean a lot of cooking. My mother-in-law shared a little secret with me last year. She said that she plans one big meal and the rest is something easy or leftovers, so that she can spemd MORE time with the family.

  163. 163

    Whenever I get mail, I am typically very disappointed. It is usually junk mail, with the occasional “suspicious package.” What I usually do is keep a sort of “incinerator” out back to burn all of my junk mail. It is nothing more than a simple brick fireplace that I use to get rid of all this unnecessary clutter. It helps me do more with less!

  164. 164

    I’m doing more with less by cutting down 50% of my locations of work at work. Bam, save me time!

  165. 165
    Dele O

    I’m all about ditching my stone-age phone for a revolutionary phone. and i’m sure i’ll be able to do more with less time on it.

  166. 166

    Anyone else brine their turkey? That’s the way to go.

  167. 167

    Family-wide listservs are a great way to figure out who’s bringing what dish, so you don’t wind up with 3 pecan pies and no vegetables.

  168. 168

    I make lists of what everyone is going to bring so we know if we’re missing someone’s favorites

  169. 169

    I like to premake everything I can so that on Thanksgiving I don’t have to make as much and the dishes are not so overwhelming.

  170. 170

    I love using chicken broth to take shortcuts during the holidays and food. Its inexpensive and adds tons of flavor to any dish

  171. 171

    I don’t really have any tips but I am sure excited for Thaksgiving and the rest of the holiday season! I’d be more excited if I won this giveaway! Thanks!

  172. 172

    This year I have found that there are a lot of coupons and specials for the food I usually cook on Thanksgiving.

  173. 173

    My mother in law makes the best stuffing with different kinds of breads (ie rye, sourdough, etc.). She cubes the breads a couple of days in advance and lets them dry rather than toasting them. Then Thanksgiving morning all she has to do is assemble the stuffing. Yum.

  174. 174
    Dele O

    Calendars are a huge help. And the Outlook Quickstep is a great shortcut tool that helps me quickly create some of my common tasks, appointments, and emails while on the go. The win phone 7 will be a great mobile tool to aid in this

  175. 175

    Set timers. Multiple ones. You’ll probably be distracted by a hundred different things on thanksgiving, it’s good to know exactly when something’s done from across the house.

  176. 176

    Timing is everything. Isn’t it amazing how time can just pass without you realizing it? On the other hand, I find that I can get a huge amount done in 5 minutes if I set a timer. For Thanksgiving, give yourself a set amount of time to prep a given item, set the timer, then make it happen.

  177. 177

    A small tip that has a big payoff–ask several guests to bring serving spoons! We always seem to run short. You can mark them with ribbon or colored tape if it gets confusing.

  178. I agree with planning ahead and prepping and freezing dishes before hand.

  179. 179

    I’ll be able to get more done with less by consolidating my devices when I get a Windows Phone.

  180. 180

    I use Photoshop Elements instead of the full PS suite–and I still am able to do just what I need to do!

  181. 181

    Make less food to be able to spend more time with family and friends! My mom has a tendency to cook each family member’s favorite item and we end up with SOOO much extra food and spend lots of time cleaning up. A simple turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and rolls would be lovely!

  182. 182

    Last year my mom made little place cards for where everyone sat and used OLD photos of each person from our childhood–it was hilarious to try to identify each family member based on the photo.

  183. 183

    Make a little MORE of each dish while you’re cooking so you’ll have plenty of leftovers, translating into LESS cooking you’ll have to do the rest of the weekend. My favorite leftovers: rolls, sweet potatoes, stuffing and, of course, turkey. All easy enough to bump up a tad in the initial prep!

  184. 184

    When I’m cooking for Thanksgiving I let everyone else worry about dessert. I used to try to do it all but not anymore.

  185. 185

    wait, did I read that right? I could comment/enter for this more than once?!?!

  186. 186

    My tip is that even though we go to my parents, I cook our own turkey so we can have plenty of leftovers. It’s depressing to go to Thanksgiving somewhere else and then not have any leftovers the next day! I always freeze a bag or two of about 2 C cooked turkey so a few weeks or so later we can have turkey tetrazzini with the cooked turkey. It’s so easy once you already have the cooked meat in the freezer. We really make our leftovers stretch because we cook our carcass and make turkey soup too. The key for good, non watery soup in my opinion is lots fresh herbs and adding chicken base- one of my favorite food products ever! It’s so much better than dry bouillion.

  187. 187

    I don’t have any original tips but I want to share our family tradition. I was born in Brazil but my parents are from Spain. My husband is from Hawaii with Chinese roots. On Thanksgiving we’re especially grateful for our diversity and we celebrate it with Brazilian, Spanish, Hawaiian, Chinese dishes and of course the traditional American turkey. Not the easiest meal to prepare but the most anticipated in our family! Happy Thanksgiving!

  188. 188

    I do more for much less by hitting the garage sales and thrift stores for much of the basics, and yep, using coupons and shopping online steals and deals.

  189. 189
    Molly Cartwright

    I remember when I was a kid watching my Mom make all of the food for Thanksgiving at our house. I hated having to wait all day for the rest of our extended family to show up because I got so hungry! Now I try to have some snacks or hors d’oeuvres ready at the very beginning so that the cooks don’t starve!

  190. 190
    Dele O

    I do more with less by spending my time wisely with family, friends, and loved ones.

  191. 191

    This doesn’t relate to Thanksgiving but I have a way of doing more with less, for me anyways haha. Since I go to college but don’t live on campus, I take the train to school everyday. I actually think it’s a blessing in disguise because instead of driving myself there, I ride the train and do my schoolwork like readings and typing essays!

  192. 192
    Jen McDonald

    I don’t have any great ideas since this is the first year I’m hosting Thanksgiving. I’m just crossing my fingers that I can make it through without going crazy and that the food all turns out right.

  193. 193

    We always try to use the crockpot for one dish…to free up space on the stove (usually a broccoli/cheese type dish) Also, we recently stared putting our stuffing in muffin tins, it cooks faster to free up oven space. Added bonus…more crispiness when you cook indvidual muffins of stuffin!

  194. 194

    I get more with less by doing comparison shopping using Bing.

  195. 195

    Ok so I just realized I can comment more than once! Keeping my fingers crossed for this awesome phone.

  196. 196

    Darn why did you have to post that reminder? πŸ™‚ My tip for today is to take a nap on Wednesday to store up enough rest for the busy day on Thursday. And calendar in another one on Friday πŸ™‚

  197. 197

    I sure would love a new phone….
    Happy Thanksgiving everyone. No cooking for me, we are going to moms. But we will be running a 5k in the morning beforehand.

  198. 198

    set timers for everything! someone always will walk in the door and make you forget about the dang casserole.

  199. 199

    My husband loves putting leftover meat with cheese and toasting it into a quesadilla. One more dinner I don’t have to worry about.

  200. 200
    Dele O

    I’m all about doing more with less by using free tools such as the Google calendar to organize my day, week, month, year…need I go on!!!

  201. 201

    My more for less: Bake family goodies instead of buying storebought. Make extra and freeze for later. Do the same for meals: cook more, freeze extras.

  202. 202
    Amanda L.

    More for less, when you have a small family like us and aren’t leaving town and have no family visiting: get together with one other family and split up the parts. I am so much less intimidated by making half the things I would have to do if we did it alone. There are so many Thanksgiving standards we have to have!

  203. 203

    We have Thanksgiving with my husband’s family. Instead of being tempted to pick up every Thanksgiving food magazine on the stands or buying the latest and greatest cookbook off the shelf to make a new recipe to wow my husband’s family at Thanksgiving, I call my grandmother or aunt (who live far away) to ask them what dish they might want to pass along to me. I always get the yummiest dish ideas from the family recipe vault and they love hearing how everyone enjoyed their dishes after the fact!

  204. 204

    I would like to premake some main stable holiday dishes and freeze them. So you have less cooking later or if you have unexpected guests you are prepared.

  205. 205

    My Thanksgiving tip today: eat out. πŸ™‚

  206. 206

    I do more with less around Thanksgiving by using a lot of basic ingredients in interesting combinations! I’ll use potatoes in everything and that saves me time and money =)

  207. 207

    This isn’t related to Thankgiving but this is one way I do more with less: Since I’m in college I definitely can do more with the money I save from buying used books instead of new ones by searching online sites like eBay or the used book stores in town. It really helps cut costs and sometimes the books have notes in them!

  208. 208
    Alison F.

    When it comes to Thanksgiving, more is always better. More food, more friends, more family, more to be thankful for. πŸ™‚

  209. 209
    Erica Best

    i trying to do much as i can ahead of time so much to do and so little time.

  210. 210

    If you have tons of leftovers, there is a recipe floating around out there for Thanksgiving enchiladas. It basically takes all the different turkey day foods and wraps them into a tortilla. If I remember correctly, they go in a crockpot and the “sauce” is the leftover gravy. A good use of the leftovers, and love using the slow cooker. However, I only made them once. I remember they were good, not great- a matter of personal taste. Maybe I’ll try them again sometime.

  211. 211

    Guys! Here’s how I’m going to do more on Thanksgiving and less dishwashing. I’m going to the Jets game Thursday night. I won’t be around for the dirty dishes.

  212. 212

    I read the grocery store weekly ads during my lunch break. That helps me plan out my grocery trip and gives me side-dish ideas.

  213. 213

    I just bought a turkey for $0.29/pound. That was about $4 for a 15-lb turkey. That’s what I call more for less πŸ™‚

  214. 214
    Shelby M.

    I like to cut up my onions, peppers and celery and freeze them. Then I just pull a bag out of the freezer as needed.

  215. 215
    Heather D

    We usually have the same menu each Thanksgiving, so it makes it easy and I don’t have to usually follow a recipe. We also divide up the menu and we all bring something. This way we aren’t all spending the day in the kitchen, which means more time with family.

  216. 216

    I cook french toast in the waffle iron! SO much faster than the traditional way.

  217. 217
    Dele O

    If my posts come in twice, it’s not on purpose. I’ve seen several times where i post once and it automatically show up twice on this blog. Please hold off your irrational judgements before lashing out.

    • Jane Maynard

      I don’t see any duplicates – you’re doing good – and love all your comments, especially the helping your wife tip! πŸ˜‰

  218. 218

    This week isn’t turning out how I thought it was going to. For some odd reason I thought there might be a few minutes for resting and doing crafts, what was I thinking?? haha So off I go to the first of two stores I have to visit today, and then back home to finish cleaning. Maybe a stop at Starbucks first for some shopping energy. πŸ˜‰

  219. 219

    Doing more with less means creating a tight budget and sticking to it, avoiding impulse buys, and saving for rainy days. Peace of mind generates productivity.

  220. 220
    Katie M.

    No real tip here, but I would love the phone! Thanks for the giveaway!

  221. 221
    Cheri M

    Love your site Jane, I was trying to decide what to make for dinner and found your site…so now the heck with dinner and on to turkey day. I will be watching the Alton Brown gravy episode….gravy is not my forte cannot wait to try…
    I have learned to make Thanksgiving easier on me by making my list and sticking to it….If I forget something(as long as it is not the turkey) No big deal, no one needs to know but me…..and oh yes it has happened…I have added you to me favorites look forward to dropping by…

  222. 222

    We generally have a small crowd on Thanksgiving. We also keep the meal really simple and divide the courses between us. Oh, and since I’m not a mashed potato person, and we generally make those just for the kids, I buy a box. πŸ™‚

  223. 223

    I get more done by using the Microsoft Outlook junk filters to see less spam.

  224. 224
    Turtle Mom

    I do more with less by baking from scratch and cooking meals instead of grabbing fast food or eating out. It not only saves money, but it’s also healthier.

  225. 225

    During thanksgiving, we do more with less time because we always have potluck for our Thanksgiving dinner. We;re lucy that everyone alway brings delicious food! It would be great to win this phone! I’ve seen commercials on the Window Phone 7 and it looks awesome!

  226. 226

    I get my screen more organized with less hassle using Windows 7’s Snaps feature.

  227. 227

    I used to stress out over whether everyone was happy and satisfied during the holiday. I finally realized that everyone is in charge of their own good time. I do my individual best to have great food and a cozy, welcoming home. The rest, my dear guests, is up to you.

  228. 228

    I bring snacks with me everywhere, especially while travelling. This helps avoid the low-blood-sugar rush to an awful fast-food meal.

  229. 229
    Dele O

    Doing more with less means keeping your cars as long as possible especially when they are paid off.

  230. 230

    Ok here we go, the countdown to Thanksgiving has officially begun! Lots to do today, but I’m excited, I think I will tackle the icky stuff(cleaning) first then start any cooking that can be done early. πŸ™‚

  231. 231

    Cornbread is a great item for thanksgiving. It goes great in stuffing, and some people enjoy it more than plain rolls.

  232. 232

    I just found your blog and subscribed. It looks awesome.
    My tip is to let others bring things if they want to, or even ask family or close friends. It not only lessens the work for the hostess, but spreads cost out a bit as well.

  233. 233

    One example of me doing more with less is carpooling with friends to school (when I don’t take the train). Being college students, we’ll save all the money we can and it’s so convenient that I have a group of friends that all live pretty close! It’s fun to see each other in the mornings, ha and eat breakfast on the go. It’d be so awesome to win!

  234. 234

    I just make pies, and maybe a little fudge. πŸ™‚

  235. 235
    Turtle Mom

    Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for people who pour their hearts and souls into blogging! I am especially thankful for the phone giveaway as I am in desperate need of a new one!

  236. 236

    Doing more for less means buying a gently used car that’s been cared for and maintaining it carefully for another ten years.

  237. 237

    i love giving out coupons as presents. Like ill watch your kids for an hour or help you clean your house. they are cheap and effective. so everyone is happy

  238. 238

    Happy Thanksgiving! During the holidays, when I’m camped out on so many deal sites, I make sure to keep an eye out for kid’s books and toys. This helps stretch my giving-to-charity budget so I can donate more to Toys for Tots, school libraries, etc. Amazon has a Flat Stanley boxed set for $7.50 now!

  239. 239

    I learned a great time saving tip from this really cool food blog the the other day: make your roux in advance and freeze it πŸ˜‰ Thanks Jane! Happy Thanksgiving!

  240. 240

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Finishing up last minute details, and expecting a great day.

  241. 241
    Michelle Machado

    This year we are just a small group of 4. So I won’t be running around like crazy….like every other year. I am glad to have the time to really slow down and look at what I am doing. Instead of running on auto pilot. I am loving the smells that keep wafting thorugh the house as new dishes are being cooked or warmed.

  242. 242

    This might be a little too simple, but I do more with less by always having my laptop with me. Nowadays, since I’m in college, it seems like everything is being moved online, from turning essays in to math homework. It definitely helps me do more when I have free time and I have less stuff to carry around! Happy thanksgiving everyone!!!

  243. 243

    This is the first year we have not had a big Thanksgiving meal someplace. My Mom is in a Nursing home so Dad ate with her. DH has had the flu and still isn’t eating much. So I ate a a local restaurant and enjoyed my meal. We always prepared ahead of time.

  244. 244

    I wish I had a good tip for everyone, but I just wanted to say have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  245. 245

    I tried a little sea salt on the fudge this year…yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuumm!

  246. 246
    Dele O

    Doing more for less is all about doing dishes before, during, and after thanksgiving dinner. Saves a lot of time the next day.

    P.S. happy thanksgiving

  247. 247

    More for less: Host a get together with your friends and have a clothes swap …exchange your don’t-likes and never-worns for things you can use. Everybody wins!

  248. 248

    I like making more than I need to so I can have lunch to take the next day.

  249. 249

    I do more with less by trying to eight million things at once! Batch cook for Thanksgiving to save time and energy but having more meals done at once.

  250. 250

    Just got home from shopping. The crowds of people were crazy, but I did find some great deals on toys for my daughter!

  251. 251

    I didn’t host Thanksgiving, but when entertaining I have learned from my neighbor in terms of doing more with less. She doesn’t feel the need to overdo it with huge amounts of food and tons of side dishes. The food is tasty and healthy and I don’t feel like a slug when I leave. So I have tried to reform my idea of hosting (spare no calories for taste, make sure everyone can have three helpings, etc.) and not overdo things.

  252. 252

    I do more with less redundancy by syncing my files using Windows Live Mesh.

  253. 253

    We didn’t necessarily plan this, but we were going to have dinner at a friend’s home, until we woke up Thurs. morning with rampant pink eye! So I just cooked a breast instead of a whole turkey and a few easy sides and it turned out fine for just the 5 of us. I guess the thing we had less of was stress, because we didn’t spend a minute thinking about the big dinner until the morning of…wait, that’s the exact opposite of what this site is supposed to be about…forgive me Jane!

  254. 254
    Dele O

    doing more with less could mean budgeting and adhering to it. It allows us to save properly and spend wisely

  255. 255

    Prep desserts the day before. Put your crockpot to work. Ask everyone to bring a side dish, use online tools to keep track of to do lists and who’s bringing what. Small birds cook faster. DON’T MAKE TOO MUCH FOOD.

  256. 256

    I make sure that my pantry is well-stocked before Thanksgiving (well…all the time really) so when I decide to try a new roll recipe at the last minute I have all of the ingredients I need on hand.

  257. 257

    Delegate! Ask for help! Let children help out. Set the table the day before. πŸ™‚

  258. 258

    Entry numero uno.

  259. 259

    Cranberry slush was a hit. Thanks for the recipe!

  260. 260

    Good turkey day!

  261. 261
    Renee Olson

    I think it would be fun to make a complete Thanksgiving dinner myself someday, but I am thankful to have family nearby.
    I do more with less on Thanksgiving by having lots of family to share in the food preparation responsibilities. I only made a green bean dish this year, and my talented husband made a fabulous apple pie. But we were NOT short on food because everyone made something.

  262. 262

    One example of me doing more with less is simply turning off and unplugging electronics and appliances. Sometimes people forget and it adds up to the costs. As time goes by, spending a few little seconds on turning appliances off can really make a difference and save more money, more money to spend on stuff I want! I only turn things on when I need to!

  263. 263
    Nikki CB

    The best more with less idea I have right now for Thanksgiving/other big meals or events is to get a group together and have everyone bring their specialties. We used a google doc spreadsheet this year to keep track. πŸ™‚

  264. 264

    worst more with less idea – hold two thanksgivings because your husband is working on the first one.

  265. 265

    We cooked our turkey a little differently this year. We laid pieces of salt pork on the outside then wrapped it in cheese cloth. The salt pork gave the turkey a delicious flavor but the real star was the gravy we made with the drippings. The rich bacon undertones in the gravy were heavenly.

  266. 266

    I am finally going to put up the Christmas tree today! I started putting away all of my Thanksgiving decor last night, and my living roon is full of plastic bins and christmas lights. Gonna throw on a Christmas CD for fun!

  267. 267

    To heat your turkey leftovers, steam them on the stove so it doesn’t dry out.

  268. 268

    We had everyone rinse their dish off once they were done and put it into the dishwasher. Much easier then having to rinse off 20 plates along with the other dishes.

  269. 269

    Still eating leftovers for today’s lunch. MMMMMMM.

  270. 270
    Michelle Smith

    I have sooo many cookbooks and often I make something and when my family requests it again I have no idea where to find it. To simpilfy my planning process, I have a binder with all my families favorite holiday recipes. This way I can remember which recipe I used. I use dividers for each holiday (easter, thanksgiving, christmas, etc) This is also where I keep the menu and recipes I want to try next year.

  271. 271
    Sara Denoncourt

    This looks awesome!! -SB

  272. 272

    My grandmother taught me to “save steps”. During chore time around the house, always have something with you to be returned or replaced as you move from area to area and room to room.

  273. 273

    One example of me doing more with less is simply turning off and unplugging electronics and appliances. Sometimes people forget and it adds up to the costs. As time goes by, spending a few little seconds on turning appliances off can really make a difference and save more money, more money to spend on stuff I want! I only turn things on when I need to! Hope I win the phone!

  274. 274

    I do as much ahead of time as i possibly can

  275. 275
    Turtle Mom

    I am trying to do more with less by entering to win wonderful giveaways!

  276. 276
    Jess Green

    Plastic, plastic, plastic. Then there are no dishes to do. Costco has a really awesome set of paper/plastic plates that looks good but not ghetto.

  277. 277

    m and ms are probably my favorite more with less candy. i use them to decorate cakes, i use them in counting games with kids, and they just taste good

  278. 278
    kathleen sneider


  279. 279

    As a super busy UPS driver….eating out for Thanksgiving is my best tip…LOL…

    Seriously, I try and make as much ahead as I can. I make my rolls and freeze them before I set them to raise. My pies are made ahead and frozen. Same for the noodles. I like my noodles cooked in chicken broth so I stew my chicken ahead and save the broth for the noodles. Plus, this gives me a meal to eat before the holiday. I have a single oven so space is a premium. If I can make it ahead, I do it.

  280. 280
    Dele O

    Doing more with less sometimes means reusing grocery bags, or buying the recyclable types and using those. Saves the environment and saves the grocery stores money, which in turn saves you money.

  281. 281

    I recently chopped off 8 inches of hair, all the way up to my jawline. It’s SO much quicker and easier to do my hair now, which leaves more time and patience for all the other million things every morning. Plus, it means I can’t just toss my hair up in a ponytail every single day.

  282. 282

    I love America’s Test Kitchen — we tried the ATK Salted Turkey recipe for one of our turkeys this year. It turned out beautiful!

  283. 283

    Well…I always go to my sister-in-law’s house for Thanksgiving. I never have all that work to do. As far as Post-It notes go…I do the same thing with index cards. I cannot live without index cards. I love them!

  284. 284

    One way we do more with less is with leftovers. Especially during Thanksgiving time. An example would be using ham for lunch sandwiches and using the leftover turkey for quesadillas or my favorite turkey and tortilla soup!

  285. 285
    Turtle Mom

    This phone would help keep me organized so that I can do more with less!

  286. 286

    It’s the last day of vacation for everyone in my house, back to reality tomorrow. I can’t believe how fast the week went by, now I’m looking forward to Christmas break! πŸ™‚

  287. 287
    Jose D

    I think the Thanksgiving dinner is one of those busy ones! This year we made everyone bring their own food lol Here’s why! I no longer have to be worried about everything and we all experience different kind of foods from different families! πŸ˜€

  288. 288

    i try to split up the duties in the kitchen so things can get done faster

  289. 289

    Doing more for less means delegating more responsibilities to the kids so my time can be used more productively.

  290. 290
    Teresa R

    When I have family over and we all share in the cooking I assign time slots (mostly because my kitchen is so small and wouldn’t fit everyone at the same time) so everyone gets to help and the dinner for the most part, is all hot at the same time.

  291. 291

    I really like spices and herbs. If you buy them in the ethnic food section, especially the hispanic themed aisle they can be only 99 cents a bag! They add flavor to everything including cheap cuts of meat and inexpensive dishes

  292. 292
    Auntie Barb

    Hey…it might as well be me!

  293. 293
    Barbara Ann Baker

    pick me!

  294. 294

    The last day to comment and I can’t think of anything to say other than “I really want this phone!”

  295. 295

    Happy Monday everyone! I already have homemade croissants fresh out of the oven and beans and ham in the slow cooker, I used a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen for the croissants, they took hours of rolling and chilling yesterday and the final result is…okay, not the greatest but not bad for my first attempt. The beans and ham should be good tonight.

  296. 296
    Lindsay R

    hire a caterer. haha.

  297. 297

    Doing more with less: I’m on a pantry clean-out kick. No grocery store for me until all those aging boxes of couscous and off-brand pinto beans are cooked and eaten! More pantry space and more room in the grocery budget.

  298. I had more sanity this year by simply DOING less. It was just our family of 8 (we’ll be back with extended fam by next year hooray!) for Thanksgiving. I almost did what I usually do, go fancy and overboard. But, instead, I kept it simple and quick with turkey, mashed potatoes, sauted green beans (with pork salt/onions), baked cheese grits, homemade yeast rolls and homemade cranberry sauce (my fav!). My husband’s grandma had given me sweet potato pie filling with I poured into shells and baked, crossing my desserts off the list. Everything was prepped and cooked in just a couple of hours (except the turkey) on the big day, giving us plenty of time to enjoy each other and the feast!

  299. 299

    crock pot cooking is on way that i am able to do more with less time

  300. 300

    I do more with less by combining my errands into one drive and trip so I save gas. An example would be going to the store, post office and barbershop in one trip, rather than going at different times of the week. This way, I can do more with the money I have because of the less money I have to spend on gas! Hope I win!

  301. 301

    My more with less Thanksgiving tip is not to have a dinner on Thanksgiving – have a turkey dinner some other day so that it’s easier for everyone to get there and less hassle grocery shopping for it.

  302. 302

    Lately I have been doing more with less money by scavenging for food instead of buying it! Well, specifically, hunting for mushrooms instead of buying them. Oregon chanterelles are delicious.

  303. 303
    Turtle Mom

    I need organization in my life! I need to do more with less! I really need this phone!

  304. 304
    Lisa Ault

    I am trying to be better organized and the clean the cluter out of my house.

  305. 305
    Erica Best

    i go to dollar store and buy things i need for party and everyday stuff . plus i need new phone pick me

  306. 306

    Carcass Pick. It is a weird family tradition, but after carving the turkey, we save the carcass. It makes a great meal for two or three. Make sure to go in with your hands and scrape out as much meat with your nails as you can.

  307. 307

    More for less mean having an emergency kit in my car when I travel, and also carrying our own snacks and drinks so that we don’t have to make expensive stops.

  308. 308
    Dele O

    Doing more with less could be decorating the christmas tree as a family. More work done in less time, and lots of family time together.

  309. 309
    Teresa R

    Another tip is that I do the same family favorites and try not to do any new elaborate dishes and if I do I will try them in advance to see if it really is a crowd pleaser so my dinner seems to flow, for the most part, very well.

  310. 310
    Wendy C

    I try not to bite off more than I can chew (no pun intended) so as of yet I have officially not made a complete turkey dinner my self but I have participated in making the side dishes and helping to make sure the dinner is perfect!

  311. 311

    I did more helping my mom by making a super easy cheesecake! Yeaaah for lightening the load. πŸ™‚

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