Thanksgiving should be a day when the whole family can enjoy being together while dining on a delicious meal. This should include the one responsible for cooking the fabulous feast. However, all too often the cook is exhausted before everyone arrives at the dining table. Preparing a large dinner for the family does not have to be so exhausting if we choose some simple to make recipes and decrease the amount of dishes we serve with the turkey. After all, in trying to please everyone attending our dinner we usually cook entirely too much food. Not only does this overwork the one preparing the food, it can lead to an enormous grocery bill. Days later half eaten dishes of left over food are finally tossed in the garbage.

A meal of turkey, dressing, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, two other vegetables, a salad, and rolls should more than sufficient. The turkey can be simple enough to prepare and once in the oven takes care of itself with only occasional checks to see how it is doing. The mashed potatoes and gravy are easy prepared, as are the other two vegetables. A gelatin salad can be a delicious addition to the meal and prepared a day or two ahead. Sweet potato casserole is very easy to make and usually a big hit with everyone.

Another problem the one preparing the meal faces on Thanksgiving Day is children, and some adults, who run through the kitchen frequently. This distracts the person cooking and is nerve wrecking when preparing a large meal. If entertaining for extended family the problem is multiplied. Our guests usually arrive in time to spend a few hours visiting while waiting on the big feast. Simple appetizers can help alleviate the problem with unwanted traffic in the kitchen.

The following recipe is a fast and easy dip for fruit. It is particularly good with apples.

FRUIT DIP

INGREDIENTS:

8 Ounces Cream Cheese, room temperature

7-10 Ounces Marshmallow Cream

DIRECTIONS:

* Mix together with an electric mixer until smooth. Serve with any fruit.

This recipe is so simple and quick to make. It is quite easy to slice three or four apples and supply grapes.

The following recipe is for a gelatin salad that children and adults both love.

HEAVENLY HASH

INGREDIENTS:

One 3.5 Ounce package strawberry gelatin

One 10 Ounce package frozen strawberries

3 bananas, mashed

One 5.5 Ounce can crushed pineapple

One 9 Ounce package Cool Whip, thawed

1 Cup chopped pecans

1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped

DIRECTIONS:

* In a large bowl with a lid, mix strawberry gelatin by the box directions. Refrigerate until it has thickened, but is not set.

* Add all other ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until time to serve.

This is such an easy recipe and it looks beautiful on the table in a clear glass trifle bowl! It can be made the day prior to your dinner.

The following recipe is for sweet potato casserole. This is an easy to prepare recipe given to me by a friend approximately 25 years ago and it quickly became a family tradition.

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

DIRECTIONS:

* Blend the following ingredients:

3 1/2 Cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 stick margarine

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 lightly beaten eggs

1/2 Cup milk

* Place this mixture into an 8 X 9 X 2 ” casserole dish.

* Combine the following ingredients:

1 Cup brown sugar

1/2 Cup self rising flour

1/2 stick melted butter or margarine

1/2 Cup chopped pecans

1/2 Cup fresh coconut flakes

* Spread over potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until topping is brown.

TURKEY:

Thaw the turkey for at least 3 days in the refrigerator prior to the day you intend to roast it. Never thaw on the countertop. The day of roasting, rinse the turkey and remove the packets inside both cavities. Peel an onion and place inside the large cavity with 1/2 a stick of margarine or butter. Place the turkey, breast side down, in a heavy roaster with a lid. Set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and roast until done, checking occasionally to make sure drippings are not going to overflow from roaster. If too much is gathering, drain off and put it back in the oven. Save the drippings to make your stuffing. Roasting on the breast will create a much jucier, tender turkey.

I hope these suggestions helps to simplify your Thanksgiving meal.

Reference:
1. Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Recipes – Allrecipes.com
2. Simple Thanksgiving Recipes – Real Simple