Southeast Dairy Association - holiday mac and cheese

November is preparing for the most wonderful time of the year, so why does Halloween bring holiday dread? Because once the costumes are put away and the candy dwindles, the pumpkins now signal the arrival of the holiday season. And with the celebration also brings plenty of work. Now, Thanksgiving isn’t coming, it’s already here. 

Even if you love Thanksgiving, you likely aren’t a fan of cooking a big meal for a big family. It’s a wonderful time to be together, but it requires lots of effort. Preparing for the big Thanksgiving meal takes lots of planning, time and dedication.  

Think about it (don’t worry, only for a short time). Unless you have some sharp elbows, all ingredients need to be bought the week before, which means you need to know who all is coming over so you can plan the menu and still have plenty for surprise guests. Meal prep needs to begin by Wednesday at the latest and is that big bird going to thaw in time?!  Once everything is in the oven, then comes the deep cleaning of everything you own, where no pet, spouse or child are safe if caught on the house’s main level before guests arrive. 

And you must keep track of everything. There are the picky eaters young and old that require even more options than what a normal Thanksgiving surely requires, but then you triple-check the allergy list as you prepare for each dish. You text confirmations with everyone about what—if any—food they are bringing to ensure the options go together. When they still aren’t sure two days before, you compile a last-minute shopping list. And then you’re ready until it’s time to cook. With the menu in front of you, all this food must be able to feed an army, but you know it will be gone in just over a week, if even that long. To your dismay, the stretchy pants are ready for you Thanksgiving night. 

Yes, the holiday that brings loved ones together to remember everything they are thankful for can also make you thankful that you don’t have to do this every week. 

Southeast Dairy Association - Microwave Yellow Squash Casserole

Make your Thanksgiving dinner less hectic this year by adding dairy to your grocery list. Whip up some easy-to-make sides like our Holiday Macaroni Cheese or Wholesome Stuffing. Throw together this microwavable Yellow Squash Casserole that you can make as everyone picks their seat. Or look for “easy” in the name, like our Easy Skillet Cream Corn with crumbled bacon, Easy Potatoes Au Gratin and Easy Green Bean Casserole. All that you need now is a crowd-pleasing turkey and a tasty pie for dessert. 

We can’t guarantee you’ll remember to remove the turkey innards or to turn the stovetop on, but putting your sides together doesn’t have to be a constant question of if it will get done in time. With less stress for your group meal, enjoy the parade that morning and be genuine with what you’re thankful for. If it’s our recipe section, we’ll be honored.