Hack your holiday: Chef Geoffrey Zakarian shares hassle-free Thanksgiving cooking tips

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The coronavirus pandemic has changed everything imaginable this year, and that includes Thanksgiving, even if some classic holiday traditions may be continuing as planned.

With the CDC updating its guidance for the holiday, urging that Americans do not travel to visit relatives or other loved ones, many families are forced to take on the Thanksgiving dinner all on their own, and perhaps for the first time.

Renowned chef Geoffrey Zakarian, host of "The Kitchen" on Food Network, and seen in other TV series "Iron Chef America" and "Chopped", joined Good Morning America to share his best advice to make the holiday dinner prep as hassle-free as possible.

Zakarian recommended that everything except the green vegetables be prepared in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, to slowly divide and conquer the cooking headaches. The turkey should be taken out to thaw at the beginning of the week.

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"The rule of thumb is five pounds equals one day, so if it's a 10 pound turkey, two days," said Zakarian. "15 for three days and so on and so forth."

Chef Zakarian also suggested making your cranberry sauce sooner rather than later, and keeping it in the freezer in the days leading up to Thanksgiving for it to retain its flavor. For an added twist, Zakarian said to add a splash of orange juice to the cranberry sauce, with some hints of ginger and cinnamon.

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