Scrambling to throw together the perfect Thanksgiving? You’re not alone. Hosting can be stressful & expensive, from the meal planning to the lovely tablescape. This year, relax and enjoy the holidays with our budget-friendly, time-saving tips!

Let’s Eat

Make a list of who’s invited and decide what you’re serving in advance. Then, delegate your guests to bring a dish-to-pass so that all of the cooking doesn’t fall on you! Chef Alex has a couple of delicious and easy appetizer & dessert ideas for you to incorporate into this year’s Thanksgiving menu.

Butternut Squash & Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini w/ Balsamic Glaze                                                                                                                          


  • 1 ½ lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ¾ in. cubes (for a time saver use frozen butternut squash cubes)
  • 1 baguette loaf, sliced into ½ inch thick pieces
  • 8 oz. garlic & herb goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • Balsamic glaze (store-bought or make your own)
  • 4-5 tbsp. of olive oil (divided)
  • Sea salt and black pepper (to taste)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F
  2. While oven is preheating, toss the squash with 2 tbsp. of olive oil and season with sea salt & pepper
  3. Place seasoned squash on prepared baking sheet
  4. Bake squash 35-45 minutes or until lightly browned
  5. While squash is cooking, slice baguette and place in single layer on baking sheet
  6. Brush slices with olive oil and place in oven and bake until lightly toasted, about 5-7 minutes

To Assemble:

Spread each crostini with herbed goat cheese and top with a few pieces of roasted squash. Sprinkle with chopped dried cranberries and drizzle with the balsamic glaze. Enjoy!


Pumpkin Pie in a Jar 

What’s Thanksgiving without dessert, especially Thanksgiving classic like pumpkin pie! Making a pie from scratch can be time-consuming, and requires oven space. Give your oven a break, and instead, try a no-bake pumpkin pie in a jar!

Recipe yields: 5-6 small jars


“Pie” filling

  • Pumpkin Pie Filling
  • 15 oz. can Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 (5.1 oz.) package of Jell-O vanilla instant pudding
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • Whipped cream or whipped topping


Cookie crust layer

  • 3/4 cup chopped graham crackers
  • 3/4 cup chopped gingersnaps or vanilla wafers


  1. In a large bowl combine milk, instant pudding mix, and spices. Beat by hand with a whisk (or use a mixer with whisk attachment) for 2 minutes
  2. Gently fold in pumpkin puree and set aside
  3. Add 2 tbsp. of the graham cracker/cookie crumbs in the bottom of a small mason jar
  4. Top the crust with a layer of prepared pumpkin pudding filling mix
  5. Repeat layer twice as needed leaving room at the top.
  6. Top off the parfait with a layer of whipped cream
  7. Garnish the tops with extra gingersnaps or cookie crumbs & enjoy!


Let’s Decorate

Decorating your Thanksgiving table doesn’t have to expensive to be beautiful. By adding a couple of simple items you can set a gorgeous seasonal table that anyone would be thankful for.

Brown Kraft Paper

Don’t have a tablecloth and need a runner for the center of your table? Look no further than kraft paper! You can purchase rolls at your local craft store or Dollar Tree. Simply roll the kraft paper down the center of your table and cut at your desired length and you’re set! Set out markers so guests can write what they are thankful for and let the kids color with crayons!

Look to Nature

Take a cue from Mother Nature and look to your backyard for some colorful Thanksgiving decor inspiration. Use fresh foliage, branches, apples, leaves, pine-cones, and even your leftover Halloween pumpkins to decorate your tabletop. Acorns and pine-cones make great vase fillers and can even accent votive candles. Gourds, pumpkins, and branches with dried berries are easy to find and make a great focal point at the center of your dinner table. Dried leaves can be sprayed with gold paint to dress them up, or use them as a fun and playful alternative to place cards for your guests.

Kids Table

Keep the kids (or the kids at heart) entertained with this FREE Thanksgiving Activity Placemat from XO-LP!





Let’s Connect!

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