7 Store-Bought Swaps To Simplify Thanksgiving

roasted turkey on white ceramic plate

If you are in charge of hosting Thanksgiving, fear not! Here are 7 store-bought swaps to simplify your day.


by Laura Onstot | Laura Onstot, registered nurse and mom of 2 young kids, rarely pees alone, only frequents restaurants with Kraft Mac N Cheese, and blogs at Nomad’s Land. In her spare time, she can be found sleeping on the couch while she lets her kids watch endless episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Her parenting advice is questionable, but at least she’s honest. Follow her on Twitter @LauraOnstot.

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Thanksgiving was the best holiday ever until you had to cook the whole meal, right? If you are in charge of hosting Thanksgiving, fear not! There are a lot of store-bought swaps to simplify your day. Here are seven!

#1 Disposable Dinnerware

The worst part of Thanksgiving is washing dishes after. Yet at the same time, paper plates can be so tacky. But did you know that they actually make classy disposable dinnerware that won’t totally ruin the look of your table? 

Check out this cute set of gold-rimmed plates & utensils!

#2 Canned Cranberries

Last year I made homemade cranberry sauce, and it was a pain in the butt. This is why I would highly recommend buying a can of whole-berry cranberries instead. Dump them into a cute bowl and mix them up so they aren’t in the form of a can. If you want it to look like you made them, zest an orange, mix some of the orange zest into the cranberries and sprinkle some on top. Classy. 

#3 Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

My grandma used to make rolls every year for Thanksgiving. One year, the rolls were particularly delicious, and my sister said, “Grandma, these are the best rolls you’ve ever made!” Our Grandma laughed, saying, “They’re Pillsbury!” 

So if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of yeast this year, pop open a can of Pillsbury rolls. And if you want to take it up a notch, brush the rolls with butter prior to putting them in the oven. 

#4 Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes

My mother-in-law makes the best mashed potatoes. When I asked for a recipe, she pointed to an empty Bob Evans mashed potato container on the counter. “There’s no way!” I said, “I’ve made them before and they didn’t taste nearly as good!”

And then she let me in on the secret of how she makes everything taste better: add a stick of butter. Please consult your cardiologist before you try this. Chives, sour cream, salt & pepper are other great mix-ins to dress up store-bought mashed potatoes. 

#5 Pre-Baked Turkey

Turkey is notorious for being the troublemaker of the Thanksgiving menu. It takes a lot of time and can be hard to time properly so that it is ready when you want it to be. I once had to delay a dinner party by two hours thanks to an undercooked turkey. If you aren’t wanting to deal with the stress of cooking a turkey, consider buying a precooked turkey! CountryLiving compiled a comprehensive list of where you can buy a precooked turkey, and you can access it by clicking here

If you are still wanting to cook a turkey, some stores sell turkey breasts. These don’t take as much time or oven space. Double win!

#6 Costco Pumpkin Pie

Of all the pies, I think pumpkin is the safest kind of pie you can buy premade– they are hard to mess up. And Costco makes a delicious one that weighs over 3 pounds, for the low price of $5.99 (sometimes $6.99 depending on your location). Rumor has it, the pie freezes well. So if I were you, I’d stock up on 30 pies, and just live off of pumpkin pie for a while. Don’t forget the cool whip!

#7 Pillsbury Pie Crust

If you still feel like you must make your own pie, why not buy the pie crust premade? A friend once brought me a pie with an amazing crust and I begged for the recipe. She laughed and told me it was a Pillsbury pie crust. 

If your pie has a crust on top, like apple pie, she told me to coat the top of the pie with a thin layer of beaten egg prior to baking, which gives the pie a beautiful golden finish. Want to take it one step further? Sprinkle the top of the pie with sugar or a mix of sugar and cinnamon.  No one will ever guess that it is a store-bought crust. 

Best wishes on your Thanksgiving meal! Remember that everything always looks better if is plated nicely & not directly out of the package. Garnishes also help increase the believability that you made your meal from scratch. But when it comes down to it, Thanksgiving is not about the perfection of the meal you serve, the cleanliness of your house, or the Pinterest-perfect decorations. So chill out & enjoy those rolls. 


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