Store-Bought Thanksgiving Shortcuts

We disguised store-bought ingredients as homemade dishes, in case you need a serious shortcut.

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Photo By: Jeff Harris

Photo By: Jeff Harris

Photo By: Jeff Harris

Photo By: Jeff Harris

Photo By: Jeff Harris

Start With: Jarred Gravy

Gravy with Bacon and Mushrooms: Cook 4 slices chopped bacon in a large skillet until crisp, about 7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon; discard all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings. Add 1 diced shallot, 4 ounces stemmed and sliced cremini mushrooms and 1 teaspoon chopped thyme to the skillet; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms start browning, about 8 minutes. Add two 18-ounce jars homestyle gravy and 1 cup water. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, about 7 minutes. Stir in the bacon.

Photography by Jeff Harris

Start With: Stuffing Mix

Apple-Cranberry Stuffing: Combine 6 tablespoons unsalted butter and 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Mix one 14-ounce package herbed stuffing mix, 3/4 cup chunky applesauce, and 1/2 cup each dried cranberries and canned fried onions in a large bowl. Stir in the broth mixture. Transfer to a buttered 2-quart baking dish; top with 2 tablespoons cut-up butter and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden, 10 to 15 more minutes.

Start With: Canned Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry-Clementine Sauce: Grate the zest of 1 clementine and chop the segments; juice another clementine. Combine with one 14-ounce can whole-berry cranberry sauce and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar. Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.

Start With: Premade Mashed Potatoes

Cheesy Baked Mashed Potatoes: Combine one 24-ounce tub mashed potatoes with 1 cup shredded Italian-blend cheese in a bowl; season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Transfer to a buttered 1 1/2-quart baking dish and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan. Scatter 2 tablespoons cut-up butter on top. Bake at 400 degrees F until heated through, 25 minutes, then broil until browned, about 3 minutes.

Start With: Store-Bought Pie

Pumpkin Pie with Brown Sugar Cream: Whisk 16 ounces sour cream, 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and a pinch of nutmeg in a bowl until smooth. Fold in 1 cup whipped cream. Chill until ready to serve. Spread on pumpkin pie.