10 Last-Minute Thanksgiving Hacks For Store-Bought Goods

Photo: Courtesy of Harry & David.
If you've ever felt the sheer panic that ensues when your watch (in slow motion) as your perfectly cooked Thanksgiving dish falls to the floor, you know how important it is to have a plan B. For those of us who probably plan ahead this year, or want to be extra-prepared when something inevitably goes wrong, there's always a solution. So for all the last-minute holiday planners out there, it's inevitably time to take a deep breath and embrace the wise words of Ina Garten: store-bought will be just fine. And just because we may have to go the pre-made grocery route for this month's holiday feast, for one reason or another, doesn't mean we still can't add in some extra festive flair to spruce things up.
Ahead we've not only lined up ten classic Thanksgiving products that you can easily pick up at your nearest grocery store, but we've also included the simple tips and tricks to make them taste homemade. From jazzing up store-bought pies, ready-to-bake rolls, canned cranberry sauces, bags of frozen green beans, to much more — plan B for Turkey Day may end up being even better than our plan A. Scroll on and take note of these ten last-minute, pre-made fixes that will still achieve a respectable degree of Thanksgiving success.
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Store-Bought Pumpkin Pie
1. Top with a homemade whipped cream. (Whip heavy cream, vanilla, and sugar in a bowl until it reaches your desired consistency.) For an extra festive flavor addition throw in a dash of bourbon, Grand Marnier, or brandy.

2. Top with sugar-glazed nuts (sauté pecans, butter, and cinnamon sugar in a pan).
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Ready-To-Bake Rolls
1. Before baking, brush with melted butter and sprinkle on flaky salt and chopped rosemary or flaky salt and sesame seeds.

2. Before baking, brush with olive oil and sprinkle on freshly grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
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Frozen Green Beans
For dressed up basic green beans, add in roughly chopped crispy bacon and sautéed onions or shallots — for an extra flavor punch, sauté the onions/shallots in bacon grease.
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Canned Whole Cranberry Sauce
Spice up canned cranberry sauce by mixing in lemon, orange zest, and freshly chopped ginger.
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Store-Bought Pie Crusts
1. Make an easy appetizer by wrapping a brie wedge, a sprinkle of brown sugar, a handful of pecans, and dried cranberries in pie crust and baking at 350°F in preheated oven until crust is golden brown.

2. For a last minute sweet treat, slice pie crust into bite-sized strips, brush with melted butter, sprinkle on cinnamon sugar mix, and bake according package instructions.
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Dress up your table butter by mixing in freshly chopped herbs and citrus zest (chopped rosemary and lemon zest) in softened spread.
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Boxed Mashed Potatoes
1. Add an extra layer of creaminess and flavor tang by substituting buttermilk in for half of called for liquid according to package instructions; or use chicken broth instead of water.

2. Roast a head of garlic in the oven with olive oil and salt until caramelized and golden, then mash and add to the mix for a boast of savory flavor.

3. Dress up presentation when serving by topping with a giant slab of butter, flaky salt, and freshly chopped parsley.
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Bag Of Whole Cranberries
1. Freeze whole cranberries in ice cube tray filled with water or tonic water for dressing up cocktails.

2. Freeze whole cranberries in Prosecco-filled ice cube tray for a festive addition to dessert drinks.

3. Drop frozen whole cranberries into champagne flutes or cocktail tumblers pre-pouring for chilled and colorful serving presentation.
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Store-Bought Eggnog
Dress up supermarket eggnog mix with a splash of booze (bourbon, dark rum, brandy) and top with freshly grated nutmeg for a quick dessert cocktail.
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Store-Bought Stuffing Mix
Use chicken broth instead of water per package instructions and include add-ins: cooked sausage, diced apples, dried cranberries, sautéed onions and celery, and freshly chopped herbs.
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produced by Christina Dun; edited by Christina Dun.
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