Bakery, Barbells and Bargains I own a bakery, and I like to lift weights and shop

November 17, 2017

An Almost Homemade Thanksgiving

Filed under: Uncategorized — shuss @ 8:23 am

One of my favorite holidays is almost here, Thanksgiving. I actually really like all the holidays but I like how Thanksgiving is just about being together, and it can be as formal or laid back as you wish. My mother hosts my family each year for dinner, so we enjoy lunch with my husband’s family. Two years ago, we started hosting this meal at our home, Since we still have another gathering at dinner time, we have a few tricks to make lunch easy yet festive.

The biggest favor we do for ourselves is buy a cooked turkey, huge time saver and it frees up the oven. We have been getting the fried turkey from Bojangles and it is delicious, everyone enjoys it. To save even more time, we also get our mashed potatoes and gravy from there as well.

Splitting up the work is also a huge help on Thanksgiving day. We discuss the menu ahead of time and split up what we want to contribute. We also try to not make too much food, as we had way too many leftovers in the past.  I also try not to fret about everything being homemade from scratch, but focus more on making sure everyone there has something they enjoy.  I like to make homemade dressing with bread from the bakery, but I will often “doctor up” a boxed mac and cheese to save time.  I buy a bag of mixed veggies and steam with butter and top with seasonings for a simple veggie dish, and I usually just buy the rolls because my little girl loves King’s Hawaiian Rolls.  Dessert is generally where most of my cooking energy goes, this year I will be making a peanut butter pie.

Lastly, I use foil baking trays and pans, paper plates, and plastic cups.  This keeps cleanup very quick, less time doing dishes and more time chatting with guests.  This year we are super excited to have our first Thanksgiving with Mimi and Papa who just moved here from FL!  Below are my recipes for Doctored Mac and Cheese and Peanut Butter Pie, both simple and very tasty.  Please share how you save time on your holiday cooking!

Doctored Up Mac and Cheese  (I double this for Thanksgiving)

1 box of mac and cheese, I like Velveeta Shells

1/3 cup milk

Splash of chicken broth

3 tbsp butter

1/2 cup cheddar cheese OR 6 slices of deli american cheese, we like Boars Head

Additional 1/2 cup cheddar cheese

1/2 cup crumbled bacon (optional)

Cook boxed meal according to package directions and turn heat down to low.  Add the other ingredients and stir until the cheese and butter melt, if the sauce is too thick, thin with milk or broth.  Stir in bacon if using and transfer to 8″ square dish.  Top with additional cheese and broil on low until cheese is melted.


Peanut Butter Pie

1 chocolate or graham cracker pie shell

3/4 cup smooth peanut butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 block of cream cheese, soft

1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/4 cup powdered sugar, whipped

Mix peanut butter, sugar and cream cheese until smooth.  Gently stir in whipped cream and pour into pie shell.  Top with additional whipped cream and chill until ready to serve.

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