The thought of cooking for a house full of relatives can feel overwhelming. Especially when Thanksgiving calls for meals beyond your usual spaghetti and taco rotation. But with these five tips, you can create a magazine-worthy meal without the stress.

Bake up the perfect pie. Pies can be one of the trickiest items on the menu. Whip up, roll out and freeze your crust in the days before so it holds up better in the oven. If it’s a filled pie that requires a baked crust, lay some parchment paper in the crust and fill with dried beans before baking so it doesn’t shrivel or pull apart. And line the crust edges with foil so they don’t burn.

Grab your thermos. Once your gravy is warmed up, pour it into a thermos just like you would coffee or soup and set it aside. When your meal is ready to roll, simply transfer it to a gravy boat. It’s still warm, and you’ve freed up a burner for your corn or green beans.

Mix up your mashed potatoes. Peeling potatoes for a crowd can take forever. Instead, keep the jackets on and boil your potatoes for 15 minutes. Once cooked, just rub the skin away. As you start mashing, add a dollop of sour cream and butter for flavor and creaminess and a bit of baking powder to pump up the fluffiness.

Turn up your turkey. Because white meat and dark meat cook at different rates, consider cooking the breast and legs separately to avoid the dreaded dry meat. To give your turkey a dark, shiny hue, brush on a little balsamic in the last minutes of roasting, and savor the admirations of your guests at the dinner table.

Celebrate the stuffing. Stuffing is often the highlight for many diners. Chop up a hearty day-old bread a couple of days before so it holds its shape under the gravy or broth. Bake it beside the bird instead of inside it to keep it from going mushy. And let your imagination run wild with unexpected flavors. Cranberries and apples complement sourdough; chorizo and chilis pump up cornbread.

The best hack is to let someone else handle some work for you. By allowing Annointed Hands to clean your house before the holidays, you can spend your time grocery shopping and preparing instead of scrubbing and dusting. To book your appointment, contact us today at 618-709-0238.