NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

November 13, 2013

Fuss-free festivities

Save time and money with easy Thanksgiving recipes

Every year, Americans wrestle with yet another round of seemingly ever more complex Thanksgiving dilemmas.

Cranberry sauce — canned or DIY? Mashed potatoes with skins or without? And is a potato “ricer” really that much better than a masher? Make the gravy, or just fake it? What about dinner rolls? Will anyone notice if you serve store-bought? What if they are organic, whole-wheat store-bought rolls? Or maybe gluten-free?

And none of that even begins to address the many turkey-centric issues. Brine it or rub it with salt? Heirloom or free-range? Both? Roasted, smoked, fried or grilled? Stuffing in or on the side? Speaking of stuffing, is the bagged stuff OK or is it really vital to bake the bread in order to make the croutons to make the stuffing? And if you’re already baking, should you make the pies from scratch, too?

All of which can lead you to the most important question — Is the pizza joint open?

This year, might we suggest a little less overthinking? Boil some potatoes until they are tender, then smash them with anything handy. As long as you add gobs of butter and milk, they’ll be fine. As for the cranberry sauce, nobody will eat it anyway, so stick with the can. The rolls? Delegate and outsource. Tell relatives that if they want a seat at the table, come bearing buns. Now the dilemma is their problem.

For the turkey, the gravy and the pie problems, we have you covered with three ridiculously easy recipes that will ensure you have a fuss-free Thanksgiving. For the gravy, we fake it — with stunning results. For the turkey, we take a just-roast-the-stupid-thing-and-move-on approach. And our apple “pockets” take the pain out of pie baking.

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