Hosting your first Thanksgiving is a rite of passage that needn’t be nerve-wracking—the trick is planning ahead, and Betty’s here to help every step of the way.

Tips + Tricks
Delegate tasks. The key to the success of any feast meal is having a repertoire you can master, so assign some side dishes and dessert to guests while you focus on the main trio: turkey, gravy and stuffing. If you’re feeling confident, add one or two other dishes.

Practice makes perfect. If you have an eager “test kitchen” at home and some time to spare, try out a couple of recipes on your family or friends before the main event. You’ll be more confident when Thanksgiving arrives and you’ll know what works and what doesn’t.

Take shortcuts. Not everything has to be made from scratch. After all, Betty is the queen of shortcuts! Save yourself some trouble and supplement with delicious Pillsbury Original Crescents and clamshell salad greens. Purchase all non-perishables in the weeks before the holiday to avoid last-minute runs to the store.

Think about crowd control. Too many guests and not enough room at the table? Serve your feast buffet-style—a more casual and space-saving arrangement. Set out simple snacks right away—cheese and crackers, a veggie platter—so hovering types stay out of the kitchen.

Add a twist. Amp up your wholesome meal by offering a signature cocktail. Display the recipe on a card or in a frame so guests can mix up a round themselves.