How to Feed a Crowd for Thanksgiving

Whether it's your first Thanksgiving or your fortieth, feeding a holiday meal to a crowd can be intimidating. Here's how to get a head start, minimize stress and even get your guests to help.
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World's Simplest Thanksgiving Turkey

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

World's Simplest Thanksgiving Turkey

The early arrival of guests makes Thanksgiving feel like it starts a few days early. Here are some easy ways to feed the holiday crowd, giving you more time to spend with family and friends. Keep meals and snacks straightforward in the days leading up to the holiday—save your cooking energy for Thanksgiving dinner.

Plan Ahead:

Making and freezing a large batch of your favorite recipe ahead of time to have on hand will save you a bunch of time—and cleanup. Keep it simple (you'll have ample opportunity to impress your guests on Thanksgiving) and go for one-pot wonders you can easily reheat, like a hearty stew. In a pinch, pick up a large roast chicken—you can reuse it in almost anything.

Simple Snacks:

If you're worried about feeding your guests in between meals, make it easy on yourself and go with ready-to-eat store-bought snacks. Choose foods that can be eaten as-is like fresh fruit, or assemble a large plate of cheeses, crackers and salami so your guests can pick and choose as they please.

The Day Of:

Crowd-pleasing favorites like muffins or oatmeal will keep all your guests satisfied until dinner. Bake and freeze muffins ahead of time or make a big pot of quick-cooking oatmeal, leaving you more time to tend to your turkey. After breakfast, invite your guests to stay in the kitchen and help out. Mention you need some taste testers and you'll find yourself with plenty of volunteers.

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