Last-Minute Thanksgiving Tips and Tricks
Whip up a fabulous holiday feast in a hurry.
Dressing Up Store-Bought Products continued...
Some people like cranberry sauce canned and jellied; others like the fancier
types with whole cranberries and maybe flecks of orange zest or raspberry. If
you're in the latter camp, cheat a little by warming up a can of whole
cranberry sauce in the microwave (to soften it) then whisking in:
- Some orange zest and finely chopped orange, or
- A few tablespoons of less-sugar raspberry preserves, or
- Your own favorite ingredients
There are ways of making gravy quickly, by using products like bottled gravy
or gravy packets. My guess is that the gravy packets taste best, because at
least you are mixing it up the same day you serve it. The bottled gravy has one
advantage, though -- you just heat and serve. It doesn't get much easier than
Jazz these up by sautéing some garlic, onion, and finely diced mushrooms or
finely chopped cooked turkey (or turkey gizzards if you desire) in a nonstick
frying pan with a little canola oil or cooking spray and adding this to the
If this is not an area where you want to cut corners, make a tasty light
gravy using the brown crusty particles at the bottom of the roasting pan
(that's where the flavor is, anyway) with a minimum of the fat part of the
turkey drippings, but most of the broth part. Cream up your gravy using a
little fat-free half-and-half or low-fat milk.
Dress up heat-and-serve rolls with some flavored butters such as:
- A garlic-herb spread (blend softened whipped butter or lower-fat margarine
with finely chopped herbs and bottled minced garlic or garlic powder)
- Cranberry-walnut-cinnamon spread (blend softened butter or margarine with
finely chopped dried cranberry, chopped toasted walnuts and a few pinches of
- Zesty lemon spread (blend softened butter or margarine with finely chopped
You can also buy the rolls in dough form and bake them at home. Reduced-fat
crescent-roll dough can be spread with any of the butters described above,
rolled up, and baked in the oven.
See the recipe below for Quickie Garlic & Herb Crescent Rolls.
Lighten Thanksgiving Side Dishes
You probably won't find large Jell-O salads already made (I've seen only
small tubs of prepared Jell-O salad at the market), but making them is a snap.
If you're making a layered salad (see recipe below) your biggest challenge is
having to wait a few hours before you make the second layer (the first layer
needs time to gel in the refrigerator).
When making your favorite Jell-O salads, there are a few easy things you can
do to lighten them up:
- Use sugar-free Jell-O for at least one of the layers.
- For recipes that call for mayo, use
light or low-fat mayonnaise.
- For recipes that call for cream cheese, use light cream cheese instead
(fat-free cream cheese may not go over as well with all your guests).
- For recipes that call for Cool Whip, use light Cool Whip.