CBS Local — Do you have the so-called “pleasure” of hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your house this year? Don’t fret. Here are some helpful resources for throwing a flawless (or, almost flawless) holiday shindig.

Short on side dishes? For last minute needs, specialty food stores like Whole Foods, Fairway, and Wegmans are quick stops for fresh, prepared foods and Thanksgiving fixings.

If you burn the turkey, you may fear your dinner party is a disaster. Not so.

According to Damian Sansonetti, executive chef at New York’s Bar Boulud, you can still salvage the bird. Simply cut the legs off, he says. To explain the legless turkey to your guests, you can tell them you were looking to cool the turkey quicker. The secret slip-up stays in the kitchen.

For more turkey emergencies, the Butterball turkey hotline has experts available to answer your questions: 1-800-BUTTERBALL (288-8372).

If your cooking skills aren’t primed for a Thanksgiving gathering just yet, you can choose to cater your entire event or order out for a pre-made feast. Dozens of restaurant chains will be open Thursday and offering special Thanksgiving dinner options for their customers.

For party-throwing tips, celebrity host and restaurateur Liza Utter has surefire ways to throw a festive, successful soiree.

Her first piece of advice: It’s not about perfection, it’s about connection.

“The best hosts are not the ones who have the perfect party, and oftentimes, those are the ones you want to get out of quickly, because they’re so perfect or so formal and structured,” Utter said.  “There’s not a whole lot of life to it.”

Another helpful hint: A hard cider-champagne cocktail makes for the ultimate Thanksgiving drink. Add a slice of apple to the concoction for a festive feel.

[H/T CBS New York]

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