Let's face it, some things are better when someone else makes them.

Skip some of the cooking and make things a little less complicated on Turkey Day. Here's a list of desserts and side dishes that can be easily purchased ahead of time for a stellar Thanksgiving meal.

From Boston Market: creamed spinach, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes with gravy, and cornbread

It's not just about chicken at this national chain. The sides are particularly good, and they have a distinctly homemade taste and presentation to them. Their cornbread is on the sweet side, so it's best served on its own or with butter, instead of using it in a dressing.

As for the creamed spinach, don't knock it 'til you've tried it. You need something green on that plate!

From Cracker Barrel: hash brown casserole, macaroni and cheese, fried apples, pies, and cornbread

Simply put, Cracker Barrel has brown casserole can't be beat. Cheesy hash browns go well with any meal, so why not at Thanksgiving? Get generous take-and-bake versions of your favorite sides and leave the country cooking to the professionals.


From Kentucky Fried Chicken: mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans

Yes, they're unnaturally smooth, but KFC mashed potatoes are a perennial favorite. Add your own bacon crumbles or fried onions to the top of the braised green beans and just watch them disappear.


From The Honey Baked Ham Company: glazed ham, whole turkey breast, and scalloped potatoes

This is no secret: HBHC can produce a company-worthy ham that just needs time to come to room temperature before serving. Did you know you can also buy a whole roasted or smoked turkey breast, too? Do yourself a favor and pick yours up a couple of days early to avoid the inevitable traffic jam at your local store.

From Bob Evans: pies, pies, and more pies

You can't go wrong with a good diner pie. At Bob Evans, you don't have to stick to just traditional pumpkin or apple. Check out their chocolate peanut butter cup pie!


Don't think of it as cheating, just call it a little help on one of the busiest kitchen days of the year. We can all use a little assistance here and there, right?

Do you have a favorite purchased Thanksgiving dish that you get every year? Let us know in the comments!