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The Quickest and Easiest Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

Not everyone spends weeks preparing for a big Thanksgiving dinner - here are tips for a fast and easy setup

Busy families often find it difficult to put together a full-fledged meal from scratch. Even a big eating day such as Thanksgiving can create challenges for parents who work and kids who are too young to help.

You want this meal to taste special, but need some fast and easy tips for turning out a tasty meal that is beyond the ordinary. You can still use canned goods and a few handy condiments. A quick trip to the store will complete your list. Spend just a little time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day and you'll be set with a great meal that doesn't taste as quick and easy as it really is.

Choose a turkey breast - it cooks quickly and can even be thawed quickly in the sink. If you purchase the day before, refrigerate and then begin thawing in cold water first thing in the morning. It won't take long.

Use a canned broth to create gravy - with a good dousing of pepper.

Mustard and honey are two great combinations that will add pizzazz to many dishes. This combo can even glaze a turkey breast. Mix with green beans and throw in some canned water chestnuts.

Fresh green beans don't take much time for blanching and will taste so much better than canned. Even canned varieties can be jazzed up with the mustard/honey coating.

Keep mandarin oranges on hand. They'll blend with any number of dishes. So will pears.

Purchase whole squash and bake them or stuff with rice.

Rice is a wonderful substitute for potatoes. If you don't want to take the time to peel and mash, cook up a batch of rice, add a broth along with sautéed onions, bell pepper, and seasonings for a flavorful and filling dish. Try a quick cooking wild or brown rice for even richer flavoring.

Sweet potato lovers can enjoy the taste without the muss and fuss. Bake a single potato in aluminum foil (and throw in those marshmallows at the end if desired).

Of course, you can purchase the whipped cream, pumpkin pie, and canned cranberries (whole or jellied) for simpler fare. Add mandarin oranges to the whole cranberries. Create a mousse from canned pumpkin and vanilla pudding.



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