Three Time Saving Holiday Entertaining Ideas

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Can you believe it is already almost Thanksgiving?! Now that we have had a cold snap here in Austin, it is finally feeling like Autumn. It’s about that time of the month to start planning out your holiday menu for Turkey Day! Here are a few tips and shortcuts to save time around the holidays so you have more time for cheersing with your loved ones.

1. Buy a few pre-made dishes to save yourself some time (and the mess!)

One tricky part of the holidays is planning how to make a number of dishes when you only have one oven! While crockpots can be one solution, an even simpler option is to buy some delicious sides already made from Whole Foods Market. This also makes accommodating specific dietary needs really easy as they have a number of vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan options. We had a preview of their fall side dishes this past week during our fall-themed dinner party and here are our top picks! You can preorder your holiday meal items at Whole Foods Market here.

Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts – These were a HUGE hit at our dinner party. The sprouts were perfectly roasted even though they were cooked ahead of time. They featured pumpkin seeds which provided some terrific texture, maple syrup for sweetness, and cayenne for a slight kick.

Pecan Cornbread Stuffing – Both of us did not grow up in Texas so the Southern twist on this dish was a lot of fun. The dressing was made with cornbread, corn kernels, and even pecans! What could be more Texan than that?!

Sweet Potato Crunch – This sweet potato bake reminded us of dessert. Creamy sweet potatoes were topped with a brown sugar crumble which made a delectable crust. Even people who skip their veggies will be asking for seconds.

Herb Roasted Turkey – We also picked up 3 pounds of their herb roasted turkey breast, which was our first time getting precooked turkey. We were FLOORED by how good this was. Honestly, we were only planning on writing about time-saving side dishes but this was so tasty Gavin named it as his favorite dish. So, if you REALLY want to save time, pick up their boneless premade turkey. You don’t have to deal with cutting around bones and even after feeding six people, we still had leftovers!

Additional dishes that we tried (and were also delish) were the creamy mashed potatoes and organic turkey gravy, green beans with crispy garlic and parsley, and organic cranberry orange sauce.

And this table décor? It’s all from Whole Foods Market too. This inexpensive Thanksgiving décor should give you some simple holiday decorating ideas. A colorful, yet neutral Cinderella Pumpkin anchored the table. Adding a few pops of Autumn-colored spidermums into a white bouquet help tie together the fall-theme with the white plate ware and candles. Scented pinecones and greenery from the bouquet were a total bargain and provided simple elegance to the place settings. Whole Foods Market also has other tips are recipes available on their website to check out as well.

2. Plan an easy welcome cocktail for guests

No matter how well you plan, once guests arrive you will likely need to spend some time in the kitchen to finalize your meal. Cocktails are always a great distraction for guests while you wrap up cooking and are filling serving dishes with your holiday spread. Here are a few simple ideas for you. Whip up a pot of mulled wine ahead of time. This is brilliant because as guests arrive all you need to do is ladle them up this warm and cozy seasonal treat. We have great mulled wine recipe on our blog that has been our go-to recipe for years. If you would prefer to serve a cold drink, our apple cider mimosa recipe is light, refreshing, and tastes like fall. As long as you have cider and sparkling wine on hand, it can easily be made as guest arrive. A holiday punch would also be a smart idea!

3. Plan your leftovers meals before the holiday  

Save time in terms of grocery store runs by planning some scrumptious recipes using your leftovers. Pick up everything that you need during your holiday shopping trip. Every single year we make some adorable mini smoked turkey pot pies. It’s genius because leftover pie dough acts as the crust and a few simple ingredients make the pot pie filling! We also have created some pretty massive paninis and even leftover frittatas in the morning (it sounds odd, but mixing in the stuffing, turkey, and potatoes with eggs makes a really tasty frittata breakfast dish!).

We wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving holiday. We have so much to be thankful for, including each and every one of you!

We’d like to thank Whole Foods Market for partnering with us to provide all the food and sponsoring our fall dinner party! All opinions, recommendations, and décor inspiration were our own.  We hope these tips were helpful in your holiday planning!

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