iStock_000039914474_LargeThanksgiving is that time of the year when you get to spend time with your family. However, kitchen preparations, cooking and cleaning up eat up a lot of your time, making you miss out on the fun time you should be spending with the people close to you.

To avoid more kitchen time and ensure more bonding time, here are some kitchen shortcuts that will help you cut down on food preparation and cooking.

1. Prepare what you can in advance. You can prepare gravy, sauce, pies, cakes or any dessert ahead of time. Just stock them in your refrigerator so you can just reheat during Thanksgiving dinner. If you’re going to make pies, get pre-made crusts so you don’t have to spend hours measuring ingredients and rolling the dough.

2. Assign dishes. Lighten your kitchen load by assigning other dishes to your guests. Most of them are willing to bring some anyway. You can ask them to bring other meals or desserts.

3. Skip or limit the appetizer. You don’t want your guests to be full during mealtime so give them something light and healthy to nibble on. You can buy prepared veggie platter or fruit platter from the grocery store and leave it to your guests while you prepare the table.

4. Buy prepared veggies and meat. When you’re buying materials for cooking, choose cleaned, peeled and pre-cut vegetables and meat from the supermarket to save lots of prep time. Peeling and cutting veggies and meat takes up a lot of time so if you can buy ready to cook ingredients, that would save you time and effort.

5. Deep fry Turkey. Cooking your turkey in the oven takes up a lot of time. If you don’t have much time for preparation or you just want to cook your turkey faster, you can deep fry it and it will be done in under one hour. Not only do you save time, you also free up your oven for other dishes.

Remember that Thanksgiving should be all about spending time with family and friends and less work.