Thanksgiving is just a couple of short days away, and if you're like us, you're now scrambling to purchase the fixings for your holiday meal.
Don't fret about not being able to defrost the turkey in time and whether the market will be out of yams. Just go to Trader Joe's, where the store restocks T-Day staples every single morning.
Trader Joe's is open today and tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. -- but it's closed Thanksgiving Day, so print out this page as a shopping guide, grab the car keys, and go!
10. Cornbread Stuffing
This box just needs butter and broth or water to make it good, but toss in some green apples and celery and make it great! $3.99.
9. Butternut Squash
Last year we bought a butternut squash and hacked at the poor thing for about an hour. This year, we bought this two-pound package of cubed goodness. For the easiest and most delicious side ever, simply place the cubes into an oiled pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Then toss, cover with foil, and place in the oven for 20 minutes. $4.99.
8. Pear Cinnamon Cider
Everyone has apple cider at dinner, but you're no conformist. Which is why you're serving pear cinnamon cider. Warm it in a slow cooker with pear slices and cinnamon sticks (we like to add a touch of bourbon or rum). Your entire house will smell like the holidays. Also good shaken with vodka for a spiced pear martini. $2.99.
7. Cranberry and Apple Goat Cheese
Don't know what to serve with cocktails? Just get these cranberry and apple goat cheese logs ($3.99 each) and a box of raisin-rosemary crackers ($3.99) and place them on a nice cutting board. Then take the credit for making them at home. After a few spiced pear martinis (see above), everyone will believe whatever you tell them. P.S.: These do double-duty as a quick and easy dessert.
6. Turkeyless Roast
So your sister turned vegan last month and she's coming to your house for dinner? Don't panic -- just pop this vegan roast in the oven. It comes stuffed with vegan stuffing and comes with its own gravy, so it's a meal in a box. For $9.99, it's an investment in keeping the peace this holiday season.
5. Sweet Potatoes
What other side dish is as simple to make? Just cut; add butter, cinnamon, and salt (or brown sugar); wrap in foil; and bake. These guys are smaller than the average sweet potato, which makes them perfect for individual, no-fuss portions. $1.69 for a two-pound bag.
4. Turkey Gravy
You cannot have too much gravy. It's the fix-all to every Thanksgiving meal. Turkey a tad dry? Gravy. Stuffing a little bland? Gravy. Don't like Brussels sprouts? Gravy. Uncle Bob starting a debate about Obamacare? That one calls for a cocktail.
But for nearly every other dilemma, just add gravy. Buy more than you think you need -- they're only $1.99 each.
3. Brussels Sprouts
We love Brussels sprouts. Plus, they're the "it" vegetable these days. Just pop the suckers off the stalk, cut in half, and sauté or bake with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and bacon. A stalk is $2.99, but if you're superlazy, pick up a package of seasoned, cut sprouts for the same price.
Whether you're entertaining at home or you're going to mom's, pick up this lovely and inexpensive bouquet. You've got an instant centerpiece that's so much classier than last year's paper turkey. $5.99.
1. The Turkey
Hmm, you're home from the market and you've got potatoes, butter, yams, a pie, and a few bottles of wine. But there's something missing. Something... something...
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SHOW ME HOW
You forgot the friggin' turkey! Don't panic. Just drive to Trader Joe's and pick one up. They're fresh, not frozen, birds that were fed a 100 percent vegetarian diet. The all-natural, antibiotic- and hormone-free turkeys cost $1.99 per pound or $2.49 per pound for kosher specimens for Thanksgivukkah. Fully cooked birds are also available for $3.69 per pound (just heat in the oven).