Keep Calm and Friendsgiving On with 3 Thanksgiving Potluck Tips

By: Alyse Whitney

Photo by: Emmer Schmidt

Emmer Schmidt

They say that you make your own family with close friends, and that's never more apparent than during the holidays. Whether you can't get home for Mom's down-home cooking this year or you're just greedy for more turkey, celebrating Friendsgiving with a lively potluck should be your new favorite tradition.

If you're taking hosting duty, the most-important part of the celebrations is obviously the turkey, but don't forget the other essential details — like keeping the wine aflowin'. Check out some of our best tips, like how to master make-ahead shortcuts and how to keep the crowd's hunger at bay as the bird cooks, then get more Friendsgiving recipes and ideas here.

Think Small and Plan Ahead

There's no reason you should cook an entire 12-pound turkey for you and a few friends. A turkey breast feeds a lot more people than you'd think, and it's easy to prepare — Kelsey Nixon's Roast Turkey Breast takes two hours from start to finish. Chopping vegetables and making cranberry sauce a day or two before will also save your sanity.

Embrace Semihomemade Sides

MUSHROOM, KALE, AND HERB STUFFING: (Stuffing cubes) Cooking Channel Unsalted Butter, Cremini Mushrooms, Kosher Salt, Celery, Kale, Box Stuffing Mix, Sage, 8inch Square Baking Dish

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Hopefully your friends are bringing most of the sides — and you should definitely divide and conquer Thanksgiving favorites like mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. But for the ones you make, get some help from the store.  Mushroom, Kale and Herb Stuffing starts with a box, and a quick granola streusel transforms ready-made pumpkin pie.

Come On, Get Appy

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip; Alton Brown

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

While you're cooking up a storm and helping to reheat your friends' dishes, keep the vultures at bay with a great appetizer like Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Instead of circling around you in the kitchen looking for scraps, non-hangry friends will be more willing to disperse and assist with other setup. Oh, and having someone on drink duty will help, too, whether it's lots o'wine or a festive apple cider cocktail.

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