Simplify the Thanksgiving Meal

Food is at the center of our thoughts and memories surrounding Thanksgiving…probably because the focal point of the entire day rests around a huge meal!

We associate memories and feelings with certain foods and smells. Whether you enjoy cooking and look forward to preparing a big meal for your loved ones or if the thought makes you break into a cold sweat, finding a way to simplify the food prep of Thanksgiving will give you more time and energy to enjoy the day with family and friends.


I love my capsule menu because I don’t have to make a new meal plan each week.  But Thanksgiving is something special; my regular meal plans just won’t do!

Are you hosting this year?  Or are you going somewhere else to celebrate?  You need to know what you are planning FOR.

If you are hosting, make a list of all the dishes (or types of dishes) you want to serve.  Such as turkey (of course!), mashed potatoes (or a potato dish), dinner rolls, pie/dessert, veggies/salad, etc.

If you are the guest, ask your host(ess) NOW what you can bring.  If you have a couple signature dishes, offer one of those.  Or if you “can’t cook” offer to bring a beverage or a relish tray or flowers to decorate the table.  Offering something specific will help your host(ess) easily give you something to do to help.


Consult your guest list.  Is someone known for making amazing breads? Ask them to bring the dinner rolls.  Have a sister that loves to bake? Ask her to bring a dessert.  Have a college student cousin or bachelor brother on the guest list? Ask him to bring something inexpensive he can pick up from the supermarket, like a jar of pickles, some  olives or a can of whipped cream.

Don’t feel bad asking  your guests to bring something.  Most people will love to help and will offer anyway!  Even the young adults who feel they “can’t cook” will be happy to help out in an easy way.

However, when your guests arrive gratefully accept whatever they bring and serve it  with pride, being thankful for for their willingness to help and for their presence (even if what they brought doesn’t quite live up to your dreams).  #joythroughthankfulness #embracethankfulness


Now that you have delegated (because you can’t do it all), what dishes you can make ahead of time.  Many things from pies to sweet potatoes and even the turkey can be prepared or prepped for the oven a day or two ahead.  This will greatly reduce your stress on the day of the big festivities.

Decide WHAT you will make ahead and WHEN you will do it.  Then make your shopping list.  Buy all non-perishables as soon as possible when the stores aren’t so busy.  Then plan a time pick up the “last minute” items…and don’t plan for Wednesday afternoon/evening!


Remember, Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for all the good things the LORD has given us, especially our relationships.  We can be just as thankful over a meal of takeout pizza and grocery store cookies as we can over a lovely three course turkey dinner.

What is your favorite part of Thanksgiving?

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