Not everybody is a skilled cook, and even fewer can cook for a dozen of their closest friends and family members as they descend upon your house over the holidays.
Or in my case, you have a one month old daughter which means you never know how cooperative she'll that day so it's safer just to make other arrangements this year.
Here are some options for you to feed your holiday visitors without having to slave over the stove for 12 hours.
Generally, you pick up these meals 24 or 48 hours ahead. All of the food is cooked and all you have to do is heat it up.
Taylor's Market: For $185, the Land Park neighborhood market provides a meal for 8 to 10, including a 12 lb cooked Branigan turkey, 2 quarts of mashed potatoes, 2 quarts of stuffing, 1 pint of Taylor's Cranberry relish, 1 quart of gravy, 1 quart of green beans and a pie. When I ordered my family's Thanksgiving feast from Taylor's earlier this week, the butcher told me he thinks they'll sell about 100 this year. If it's good enough for 99 other neighborhood families, it's good enough for mine. (Menu not online. Order at the store.)
Selland's Market Cafe: Have a more modest sized gathering? Selland's features a traditional turkey dinner for four with turkey breast, stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce and soft rolls for $125. Want something different? Selland's also lets you build your own holiday meal package. Visit Sellands.com for more information.
Generally, this means the main protein (turkey, ham, etc.) is prepared and all you have to do is cook it. The rest of the sides require only heating up.
Empress Tavern: The new restaurant features an a la carte menu, where their main entrees are uncooked, but ready to roast, and all their sides are pre-cooked. A whole turkey (ready-to-roast free-range and organic turkey prepared with a 4 day juniper brine and stufed with aromatics for 8 to 10 people) will set you back $100, with a half turkey costing $50. Empress also offers honey ham for 4 to 6 people for $50. Assorted sides from rolls, chestnut stuffing, brussels sprouts, etc. are $20 each. Visit EmpressTavern.com to order.
Hawks Restaurant: The Granite Bay favorite will again serve ready to roast turkeys starting with a 10 pound brined Diestel Turkey for $80 all the way to a 20 lb Diestel Organic Heidi Turkey for $197. The restaurant also features an assortment of sauces and sides such as $10 for a pint of stuffing or $22 for a quart of country gravy. Visit HawksRestaurant.com for to order.
Les Baux: The East Sac bistro has a Thanksgiving Dinner menu online, but they don't indicate if the food is cooked or ready to roast. More info at http://www.lesbauxbakery.com/files/ThanksGivingDinner2015.pdf.
If none of those are what you're looking for, local supermarkets also have more affordable Thanksgiving options.
Sprouts: Turkey or Spiral Sliced Ham meals for 6 to 8 for $70, Boneless Rib Roast meal for 6 to 8 for $80 or a bonless turkey breast meal for two for $30.
Save Mart: Turkey or Spiral Ham dinners for 4 to 8 for $50.
Nugget: Small Turkey meal for 4 to 6 for $100, or large turkey dinner for 8 to 10 people for $170.
Raleys: Butterball Turkey Dinner for 6 to 8 for $60, Bourbon Maple Glazed Hame Dinner for 6 to 8 for $100 or a Diestel Turkey Dinner for 6 to 8 for $100.
Safeway: Turkey Dinner or Spiral Ham Dinner for 6 to 8 for $50.
Last word of advice. You pretty much have to order now. For example, the last day to order from Hawks is today. Taylor's orders are due mid-week. Selland's deadline is Friday. Empress is while supplies last.
Do you have a favorite place to order a Thanksgiving feast? Share it with others in the comments below.