Now, when I say “lazy” I mean easy as hell, and I also mean pretty hands-off. It might be called cheating, but for those of you for whom time (or rest) is of the utmost importance, here’s your guide, and the last in this series, to a great Thanksgiving meal with as little effort as possible.
Turkey: Sure, you can cook a turkey and most frozen birds come with the cuts already prepped, removed, stuffed in a plastic sack, and ready to go. If you want to cook your own, thaw it the day before, and start cooking it first, according to the instructions. To prep it, just rub it all over with a mix of Kitchen Bouquet and oil (olive, canola, whatever you like), pop it in a roasting pan, and tent some tin foil over the top. After the first hour, start bathing it in its own juices every 45 minutes or so, until it’s done cooking.
But, if you want an even easier option, Whole Foods, Honey Baked Ham, and Boston Market (among other retailers) all sell turkeys pre-cooked.
Mashed Potatoes: I can’t recommend instant; I really can’t. If you can roll with that, okay, but I can’t in good conscience recommend instant mashed potatoes. But I think most grocery store delis sell mashed potatoes that are perfectly edible. Go for it!
Gravy: Deli this stuff up, too, which is a totally acceptable option. If you want to get a little more hands on, whip some up from the turkey drippings if you’re making one, or compromise and make some from a mix. (The cheap powdered stuff in the spice aisle isn’t terrible. It’s not wonderful, but it will do in a pinch.)
Stuffing: There is no reason not to do this from a box or from a deli case. Ditto to rolls; the Pillsbury break-and-bake types are pretty tasty, actually.
Pies, cranberry sauce, salads, and almost anything else you can think of are exceedingly easy to buy pre-made and often taste just a little better than what the culinary-challenged whip up at home. If you go with the pre-cooked turkey, and store-bought everything else, you can sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner without lifting a finger. More time to enjoy the parade and scream at a football game or two, right?