11/23/2014 10:24 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

10 Easy Recipes for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

I used to host elaborate Thanksgiving celebrations, where I'd cook and prepare for days on end, only to be completely exhausted by the time my guests arrived on Thanksgiving day. After one glass of wine, I'd be nodding off at the table, dreaming of my pillow! I finally wised up by simplifying my menu and recipes. From an addictive cocktail snack to a show-stopper dessert, here are my ten favorite easy and delicious recipes for Thanksgiving.

1. Sweet, Spicy & Salty Candied Pecans (aka Crack Nuts)


My husband calls these candied pecans "crack nuts" because they're wickedly addictive. They're perfect to serve with cocktails or just keep around the house over the holidays. The best part? You only need four simple ingredients to make them -- and if you start right now, you'll be done in 15 minutes. GET THE RECIPE

2. Super Simple Butternut Squash Soup


This has to be the easiest butternut squash soup recipe ever. You start with pre-cut squash from the supermarket, then you basically throw everything in a pot, simmer it, purée it and you're done. It's still everything you expect a classic butternut squash soup to be: silky, slightly sweet and full of flavor. GET THE RECIPE

3. The Easiest Roast Turkey You've Ever Made


Over the years, I've tried every method of cooking turkey. I've brined it, deep fried it, marinated it, injected it, buttered it, dry-rubbed it, butterflied it and stuffed it. I've tried Kosher turkeys, organic turkeys, free range turkeys and self-basting turkeys. After all this, my advice to you on Thanksgiving is to keep it simple! Make an easy roast turkey along with an over-the-top delicious gravy and some cranberry sauce to go with it. Focus your time and creativity on the side dishes and desserts because that's what everyone really looks forward to anyway. GET THE RECIPE

4. Easy Sausage & Herb Stuffing


This delicious sausage and herb stuffing relies on store bought stuffing cubes, which eliminates the step of slicing and drying out the bread. Believe me, when you are using a pound of sausage and an entire stick of butter, the bread does not matter much! The stuffing can be made in advance and reheated on Thanksgiving day. GET THE RECIPE

5. Cauliflower Purée with Thyme


Everyone loves mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving but the downside is that they can't be cooked ahead of time. Try this cauliflower purée instead -- it happens to taste remarkably like mashed potatoes but it's easier to make, healthier and perfect for making ahead of time. You won't even need any oven space to reheat it -- just put it in the microwave! GET THE RECIPE

6. French Green Beans with Shallots


How can a vegetable recipe with only one tablespoon of oil and three simple ingredients -- olive oil, green beans and shallots -- be so delicious? It's all in the technique, which combines slowly cooking shallots in olive oil to coax out their natural sweetness and simmering beans in a bit of water until tender. GET THE RECIPE

7. Sweet Potato Pecan Crisp


Say goodbye to that old marshmallow topping -- these sweet potatoes are mashed with butter and brown sugar, then baked with crunchy pecan streusel topping. Like most sweet potato dishes, it straddles the line between sweet and savory. It's "that dish," the one everyone reaches their fork into long after the meal is done. GET THE RECIPE

8. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar & Honey


These simple brussels sprouts are roasted in a high temperature oven until golden brown and crisp, then tossed with a touch of balsamic vinegar and honey. Be sure to make extra -- they're as addictive as french fries! GET THE RECIPE

9. Apple Pecan Crisp


Forget that fussy apple pie -- this apple crisp is so much easier to make and more delicious. Make it a day ahead of time and simply reheat it after dinner. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it's a wonderful and cozy Thanksgiving dessert. GET THE RECIPE

10. Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie


This pie might look complicated but I assure you, it's not hard to make! Take it from one reader who made it for a fall pie contest and won first prize: "I felt a little guilty because it was one of the easiest pies that I have ever made." GET THE RECIPE