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It's so fun to go back and re-read this article, and all the tips people have added over the past 4 years. :)

We are blessed to still be able to make and take Thanksgiving to my parents who are upstate, and we are still blessed to have two livings grown kids come for the day to enjoy everyone's company together. We have 6 hours together, and I refuse to spend the whole day in the kitchen, first cooking, then cleaning up. Making memories and eating well are the agenda for the day.

In August our daughter spent 8 days in the hospital with CV19, and last winter Mom had a stroke that has confused her thinking at times but not her sense of humor, so we are incredibly thankful to all be together again.

What we are serving seems almost (ALMOST) an afterthought, except that Mom keeps forgetting she doesn't have to worry about cooking, and keeps trying to order a turkey, etc.

We choose to find the humor in every situation because growing older happens to us all, IF we are lucky!

So this year we are having Cornish Game Turkeys (also known as rotisserie chickens, lol).

They're already perfectly sliced and resting in home-made bone broth in their serving tray in the freezer. That allowed me to use their carcasses to make some incredibly rich bone broth, which I used to make dressing, which is already in my freezer. We're forgoing the sweet potatoes (because we have home grown pumpkin pie) in favor of tender baby carrots, and my garden has fresh broccoli right now for broccoli salad, and we have collard greens growing fresh and getting sweeter with each frost they get. So we'll have collards for Thanksgiving too. We also have some fresh frozen corn from last summer's sweet corn, which is as close to fresh as you can get in November. What's better than fresh veg from the garden?

Maybe fresh pecans- we had a good harvest on our farm and the pecans are sweet and buttery, and I'm hoping for our best pecan pie yet.


But here's something I've learned about mashed potatoes... not everything on the table has to be fresh to be excellently good.

I ADORE smooth, creamy mashed potatoes. SO much.

But I don't need more to do as the whole feast is on me to get it on the table.

So, I can take two large family size packets of Idahoan Buttery Homestyle instant potatoes

(I know-- INSTANT POTATOES????? The SACRELIGE!) But trust me, I'm really picky about my mashed potatoes. And we made these last year and everyone RAVED about them. They never knew they were instant.

Anyhow, mashed potatoes for 6 people, Thanksgiving size portions:

2 family size packets of Idahoan Buttery Homestyle instant potatoes

1 cup dry milk powder- yes, dry milk

8 ounces cream cheese

1 stick butter

Water according to the package directions, heated to boiling according to directions

While your water boils...

Mix instant potatoes and milk powder well in a very large bowl.

Add cream cheese on top and cut it into pieces with your rubber spatula

Do the same with your butter

When water is boiling, pour 1/3 into potato cream cheese butter bowl and begin to mix.

Add 1/3 more, mixing to get rid of any lumps, then add the last 1/3 and mix well, ensuring no lumps remain. Adjust the thickness to suit your taste by adding fresh milk and mixing it in.

You can add more cream cheese and butter to your family's tastes.

That's it.

So fast, so incredibly delicious, your family won't know it's a shortcut unless you tell them, or they find your instant potato packages- even then, what are they going to believe?

Some silly packages or their own happy taste buds?

It's THANKSGIVING, how often do you eat mashed potatoes?

Give it a try, you just might fall in love with this little shortcut!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone- may yours be blessed with love and good memories and peace.

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Lori Designs

Very thorough, well-detailed, guide to prep for Thanksgiving. It didn't feel overwhelming and the accompanying photos added to the article. Great work!

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Wonderful article and great comments (I read them all!). Over the past thirty years, I have perfected my own system and changed out dishes as tastes change and individuals come and go. My problem is not the Thanksgiving dinner; it's the Wednesday before. We can't do an easy pizza or pasta night (hubby can't have gluten), so I'm always scrambling to figure out what to make after a long day of Thanksgiving day prep. I should have an easy go-to in the freezer, but never seem to. This should be added to the prep list. Thanks for all the great ideas, and I wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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