'Chopped' judge Maneet Chauhan's Thanksgiving dinner hacks that will save you time and money

Naomi Tomky
·5 min read

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Nashville chef and Chopped judge Maneet Chauhan relishes the chance to change up the Thanksgiving routine and help Americans stay home and stay safe to bring traditional elements of the feast to the table. Drawing on her Indian heritage and a few kitchen tricks, she adds big flavor to this year’s small celebrations and demonstrates her favorite shortcuts to cooking three Thanksgiving staples — turkey, green beans and pumpkin pie — without opening the oven.

Chauhan’s fun and easy recipes will help you spend less of this special time working hard in the kitchen and more of it eating incredible culinary creations.

For more delectable dishes, be sure to get Maneet Chauhan and Jody Eddy’s Chaat cookbook.

One Pot Tandoori turkey

One Pot Tandoori turkey
Maneet Chauhan's flavorful turkey recipe takes only 30 minutes to cook and uses just the breast and legs of the bird. (Photo: Yahoo Life)

Chauhan uses an Instant Pot-style pressure cooker to quickly cook her turkey tandoori-style. Her flavorful turkey recipe takes only 30 minutes to cook and uses just the breast and legs of the bird, making a smaller portion while still pleasing fans of both light and dark meat.

She skips brining the turkey and speeds up the marinade by scoring the meat, allowing the tandoori-spiced yogurt marinade to go all the way through to the bone. The recipe holds down on dishes, too, neatly sautéing the aromatics, cooking the turkey, and then making the gravy all in the same Instant Pot-style pressure cooker.

Ingredients and cooking tools

For the marinade:

For the gravy:

Directions

  1. Pat dry the turkey breasts and legs with paper towels and remove any excess moisture.

  2. Make small slits on the turkey.

  3. Mix marinade ingredients.

  4. Spread the marinade evenly on both sides of the turkey and marinate for 6 to 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to cook, remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 hour before so it comes to room temperature.

  5. Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode and heat ghee. Add onions and garlic and sauté for a few minutes.

  6. Add chicken broth. Then, place the turkey on the trivet and carefully put the trivet inside the Instant Pot.

  7. Close the lid and pressure cook for 30 minutes. Allow 10 minutes of natural pressure release and then open the Instant Pot. Carefully remove the turkey.

  8. Combine all-purpose flour and water and stir in to thicken the gravy. Bring it to a gentle boil.

  9. Serve the turkey with the hot gravy.

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Coconut almond sautéed green beans

To save time without sacrificing flavor on side dishes, Chauhan uses frozen green beans, adding them straight to the pan and cooking them until brown and blistering for tender-crisp texture. The shortcut recipe takes on that Thanksgiving taste when she pours her cranberry and almond butter mix over the beans, while the traditional topping of onion strings gets a creative twist from coconut flakes.

Coconut almond sautéed green beans
Maneet Chauhan's green beans recipe uses the traditional topping of onion strings and gets a creative twist from coconut flakes. (Photo: Yahoo Life)

Ingredients and cooking tools

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet (cast iron is best). When the skillet is very hot, add green beans. Stir occasionally, allowing green beans to brown and blister. Cook until tender-crisp, or 10-12 minutes.

  2. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Heat butter, add cranberries and almonds. Pour on top of the beans.

  4. Zest lemon and juice of 1 lemon.

  5. To finish, garnish with coconut flakes and onion strings.

No-bake pumpkin pecan pie

No-bake pumpkin pecan pie
This no-bake pumpkin pecan pie recipe by Maneet Chauhan shows how a few small, yet dazzling shortcakes can make cooking easier. (Photo: Yahoo Life)

Even for dessert, Chauhan skips the oven, using a graham cracker crust and candied pecans as a base for her cheesecake-style no-bake pumpkin pie that can easily be made a day ahead. Instant vanilla pudding makes it silky-smooth, and the standard pumpkin spice gets a subtle boost from a pinch of saffron, vanilla bean and green cardamom.

Her dazzling decorations of edible flowers, pomegranate seeds and pistachios show how a few small shortcuts make cooking easier so she can spend more time celebrating and serve a dish that’s truly stunning.

Ingredients and cooking tools

Optional garnish:

Directions

  1. Beat together the cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of milk, cardamom, saffron and sugar in a large bowl.

  2. Fold in 1/2 of the Cool Whip.

  3. Spread a layer of candied pecans on the base of the graham cracker crust.

  4. Pour the cream cheese mixture over it and spread in the graham crust.

  5. Whisk together 1 cup of milk, pumpkin, dry pudding mixes and spices until creamy. Spread over the cream cheese layer.

  6. Garish with the remaining Cool Whip, edible petals, pomegranate and pistachio dust.

  7. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Then, serve and eat.

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