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A perfect Thanksgiving in minutes

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Last-minute Thanksgiving

It's the week before Thanksgiving and you have yet to plan a thing. What to do? Don't panic, there is still time to create a stunning Thanksgiving meal that looks like it took weeks to plan. Here is our last-minute Thanksgiving guide, including quick cooking tips and simple recipes.

Quick Thanksgiving Gravy

Last minute Thanksgiving Tips

Planning is always the better route when it comes to any holiday occasion, but we have the perfect Thanksgiving plan for Turkey Day procrastination.

Last-minute turkey

If it's too late to even think about thawing a turkey, your best bet is to buy pieces of turkey like the breast or thighs, wings and drumsticks. You can quickly roast turkey pieces without having to wake up at the crack of dawn. Best yet, when your turkey is sliced up and smothered in gravy, no one will even know the difference!

Great Thanksgiving gravy -- fast

Sure, you'd like to serve a homemade gravy simmered on the stove, but you may not have sufficient turkey juices if you opt for turkey pieces instead of a whole roasted turkey. No problem: Buy a can or jar of turkey gravy and add someone turkey pieces and any of the turkey juices leftover from your roasted turkey pieces.

Snappy-fast Thanksgiving stuffing

Stuffing is quintessential to the Turkey Day meal but you don't need a whole turkey to stuff it in. Make stuffing on the stovetop: Simply combine stuffing mix with sautéed chopped onions, garlic and celery, and cook until soft, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Thanksgiving mashed potatoes in minutes

Mashed potatoes are another must-have at the Thanksgiving table, but you don't need to spend time peeling potatoes to impress your guests. Opt for boxed or frozen mashed potatoes and make them "gourmet" by mixing in shredded cheese, crisped bacon pieces, sour cream or freshly chopped herbs.

Thanksgiving green bean casserole alternative

Forgo the green bean casserole and simply sauté frozen green beans in butter and top with grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese, sprinkle with fresh herbs, or top with crunchy crushed pecans or almonds.

Semi-homemade Thanksgiving cranberry sauce

For a delicious cranberry sauce that looks -- and tastes -- homemade, combine canned cranberry sauce with lemon or orange zest, ginger, pecans, allspice, nutmeg or dried cherries.

Last-minute Thanksgiving desserts

The easiest route is to purchase pies at your supermarket or local bakery, but if you are set on having a homemade dessert, use pre-made crust and sweetened pumpkin pie filling from a can. For a special Turkey Day dessert, buy a pumpkin pie and serve it as a brulee: Line ramekins with the pie crust and spoon the baked pumpkin filling on top; sprinkle with sugar and broil for a few seconds to caramelize the sugar on top. If apples are your thing, you can bake a quick apple crisp from a box or just garnish a store-bought apple pie with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Thanksgiving may be the most deliciously anticipated holiday of the year, but you really don't have to spend all day cooking the Turkey Day meal. Here are a few last-minute Thanksgiving recipes to inspire you to stay home and feast even if you do suffer holiday procrastination.

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