Are you attempting a big dinner this holiday season, but you're nervous your first time out? There are a lot of things to prepare for Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner. So if you want to include a lot of traditional foods but keep it simple, this article will give you tips on how.

Things You'll Need:
•    A turkey breast
•    Canned cranberry sauce
•    Pies
•    Boxed stuffing mix
•    Squash
•    Potatoes
•    Bottled gravy
•    Serving bowls and utensils

How to Cook a Turkey by WeightCredit: Copyright 2011 AmberdawnStart Your Grocery Shopping.  Buy everything you need 2 days before so the food is fresh, but you have time to prepare. Decide on what you can take shortcuts on. A turkey breast is easier than a whole turkey, so if your family likes white meat, this may work out well for you! Cranberry sauce comes pre-made in cans. Store bought pies are tasty. Boxed stuffing mix is easy to make. Squash can be purchased already peeled and cubed. Some potatoes are sold in shrink-wrap so all you need to do is microwave it as is. Gravy is sold bottled.

Make a Cooking Schedule.  List times that everything needs to be cooked for. The turkey breast will probably take the longest. Plan on 20 minutes per pound. Follow the directions on the packaging to roast the turkey. Place some carrots, onions, and potatoes in the pan with the turkey breast to roast.

Start Boiling Water.  Set 3 pots of water to boil 45 minutes before the turkey is expected to be ready. If you have a lid on it, it should boil in 10. Put cubed squash in one, potatoes in a second, and stuffing mix (according to the directions) in the third. Boil the vegetables for about 15 minutes.

Set the Table. While the potatoes, squash, and stuffing are cooking, set the table. Knifes go on the right of the plates, and forks on the left. Make sure each guest has a napkin. Set out a bowl and spoon for the potatoes, squash, and stuffing to be served in. Set out a plate, knife, and fork for the turkey to be served with. Set out a plate and knife for the cranberry sauce. Set out a spoon for the gravy.

Prepare the Vegetables.  Drain the veggies. Mash butter in with each. Stir in milk with the potatoes. Sprinkle cinnamon in with the squash. Continue to prepare the stuffing according to the box's directions.
 
Finish Up. Heat the gravy in the microwave. Pour the drinks and set out the cranberry sauce 5 minutes before the turkey is scheduled to be done.
 
Serve. Scoop some stuffing, squash, and potatoes into serving bowls to place on the table. Bring out the turkey and bon appetite! For more tips on Thanksgiving and Christmas preparation, I've included resource links on this page. Happy holidays to you and your family.
 
Note:
•    If you are doing more side dishes than I've listed, after step 2 count how many burners you have, and how many you need. If you find that you don't have enough, you might want to cook the mashed potatoes or squash the night before and heat it in the microwave on the big day.

More Thanksgiving Tips:

How to prepare for Thanksgiving

How to cook a turkey by weight

How to decorate your home for Thanksgiving

How to Plan an Easy Traditional Holiday Dinner
Credit: Amberdawn 2011