5 Tricks for Actually Eating Dinner the Week of Thanksgiving

updated May 1, 2019
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If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, you’ve likely had nothing but turkey and stuffing on your brain for the past couple of weeks. Now you’re in the final stretch, busying yourself with tasks all week to prepare for Thursday’s big feast. You’re too focused on rolling out perfect pie crust to think of dinner Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, right? We hear you.

While the lead up to the holiday can be frantic, it doesn’t mean you can’t get dinner on the table. These five little tips and tricks ensure you do just that and do so without adding extra weight to your already stacked plate this week.

1. Lean on the pantry.

A well-stocked pantry is at its most valuable during times like this. When your turkey is taking up most of the room in the fridge and you can’t imagine stepping foot in the grocery store again this week to pick up things for dinner, poke your head into the pantry and cook from it. Now is the perfect time to use that half-empty box of pasta or dusty can of beans.

2. Don’t forget the freezer.

Your freezer is an extension of your dry pantry and is equally as useful this week. If you’re lucky, there’s a container of soup or a tray of lasagna in there that you froze weeks ago, when you weren’t consumed by Thanksgiving prep. Even if you didn’t have the foresight, however, I am sure you still have a bag of tortellini, meatballs, or potstickers in there from the last time you went a little crazy at

Trader Joe’s

3. Utilize the oven when it’s on.

If the oven is already cranked up to bake a couple of pies, you might as well let it cook you dinner at the same time. Grab whatever vegetables you have lingering in your crisper drawer and roast them for a quick, satisfying hummus bowl, or pull out some chicken breasts from the freezer to bake — you don’t even need to worry about defrosting them. Oh, and don’t forget the beauty of a sheet pan dinner.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

4. Embrace the snack board.

I love mismatched, eat-with-your-hands kinds of dinners — especially during this time of year, when the relaxed nature of it can be refreshing. Pull out any odds and ends in your kitchen (leftover roast chicken, a hunk of cheese, some nuts) and build a snack board. Not only is it a great way to clean out the fridge and make room for all your Thanksgiving groceries, but it’s also fun!

5. Treat yourself.

If there is ever a week to skip cooking one night and order takeout, this is it. Yes, raid the pantry and freezer and build an epic snack board, but it’s also OK to call your favorite neighborhood Thai place or pizza joint and let them relieve you from the kitchen for the night. While you’re at it, order a couple of extra items to make tomorrow’s lunch or dinner just as painless.

How do you get dinner on the table the week of Thanksgiving?