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Originally published Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 5:00 AM

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Order now to outsource your Thanksgiving turkey

Simplify Thanksgiving by outsourcing the turkey — or even the whole meal. Here's a roundup of local options, and what they'll cost you.

Special to The Seattle Times

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Outsource = most over-used word of 2012, totally obnoxious in this headline MORE

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If you don't have time to cook Thanksgiving dinner or simply don't want the stress, you can simplify the holiday by letting the professionals do the work for you. Outsource the turkey and just concentrate on the sides, or take advantage of area markets' fully prepared holiday dinners that just need to be heated on the big day. We've researched Thanksgiving options at 12 Seattle-area retailers for a quick survey of what's available where, and for how much.

But act fast — you must place your order before Nov. 19 for the stores listed. It's suggested that you order sooner than later, because supplies may be limited in some cases. If you have questions, don't hesitate to call your preferred store.

Here are a few considerations to remember:

• While the meals will be precooked, they will have been chilled before pickup. You do need to allow up to several hours to heat up the turkey and side dishes, so plan accordingly.

• One of the perennial complaints about turkey is that it's dry, which is usually the result of overcooking. If you buy a precooked turkey, you have to be extra attentive when reheating so you don't dry out the meat even more.

• While side dishes can be reheated in a microwave, you might get better results refreshing sides on the stove or in the oven. Microwaves tend to heat unevenly and can make your dishes look and taste like leftovers.

• Because these items will be made en masse, they may or may not meet your flavor standards. So, you'll have to manage your expectations.

Albertsons

Locations

Order online or at your nearest store.

A classic turkey dinner for eight to 10 people is $49.99, and includes a 10- to 12-pound Butterball turkey, mashed potatoes, savory stuffing and turkey gravy. (Note: The Albertsons website suggests that this dinner will serve eight to ten, but the turkey is only 10-12 pounds, a bit small for that number, so it may not yield any leftovers.)

Ballard Market

1400 N.W. 56th St., Seattle

206-783-7922

Thanksgiving dinner for eight, $119.99, includes a 12- to 14-pound turkey, stuffing, butternut squash, green beans with almonds, mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberry sauce.

Central Market

Locations

Call the store to order. A 12- to 14-pound cooked roast turkey runs $49. Thanksgiving dinner for eight, $119.99, includes a 12- to 14-pound turkey, stuffing, butternut squash, green beans with almonds, mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberry-orange sauce.

Fred Meyer

Locations

Fred Meyer offers two sizes of pre-prepared Thanksgiving dinners. The Express turkey dinner for six to 10 costs $44.99 and includes a 10- to 13-pound Private Selection turkey, Wholesome@Home mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and dinner rolls. The Deluxe turkey dinner serves eight to 10, costs $69.99 and includes a 13- to 16-pound Private Selection turkey, Wholesome@Home mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, broccoli-rice-cheese casserole, sweet potato casserole, Wholesome@Home Cranberry Celebration, two pumpkin pies and dinner rolls.

Roasted turkeys are also available a la carte for $2.99 per pound, but they're not advertised, because the meal offers a better deal.

Haggen

Locations

Order online or at the store.

A 12- to 14-pound roasted Butterball turkey is $29.99. A turkey dinner, with the roasted Butterball turkey, cranberry stuffing, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, seasoned green beans and poultry gravy, is $64.99.

Honeybaked

Locations

A whole roasted or hickory-smoked turkey (10 to 13 pounds) is $40. Three pounds of turkey breast runs $23.

Metropolitan Market

Locations

Order online or at the store.

A 10- to 12-pound, all-natural, free-range Diestel turkey is $59.99. The holiday turkey dinner for six to eight is $129 and includes the Diestel all-natural, free-range turkey; cranberry-orange sauce; pumpkin pie; dinner rolls; turkey gravy; and choice of three side dishes (yams and cranberries, sage stuffing, green beans and carrots with garlic butter, or Yukon Gold mashed potatoes).

PCC Natural Market

Locations

Order online or at the store.

PCC offers roasted Diestel free-range turkey for $4.99 per pound, and roasted turkey meals for families of all sizes. $69 feeds two to four, $119 feeds six to 10 and $159 feeds 12 to 16. All meals include Diestel free-range turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, apple sage stuffing, cranberry sauce, The Essential Baking Company rolls and a choice of apple or pumpkin pie.

QFC

Locations

QFC offers two sizes of pre-prepared Thanksgiving dinners. The Express turkey dinner for six to 10 costs $44.99 and includes a 10- to 13-pound Private Selection turkey, Wholesome@Home mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and dinner rolls. The Deluxe turkey dinner serves eight to 10, costs $69.99 and includes a 13- to 16-pound Private Selection turkey, Wholesome@Home mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, broccoli-rice-cheese casserole, sweet potato casserole, Wholesome@Home Cranberry Celebration, two pumpkin pies and dinner rolls.

Roasted turkeys are also available a la carte for $2.99 per pound, but they're not advertised, because the meal offers a better deal.

Safeway

Locations

Turkey dinner for six to eight is $44.99, which includes turkey, stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls and pumpkin pie.

Top Food & Drug

Locations

A 12- to 14-pound roasted Butterball turkey is $29.99. Turkey dinner, which includes the roasted Butterball turkey, cranberry stuffing, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, seasoned green beans and poultry gravy, is $64.99.

Whole Foods

Locations

A 10- to 12-pound organic or nonorganic smoked turkey is $79.99; a 6- to 8-pound nonorganic turkey is $49.99.

Turkey dinner for eight is $149.99 for organic, $129.99 for nonorganic, and includes a 10- to 12-pound turkey, green beans with shallots and herbs, savory herb stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, classic cranberry relish, dinner rolls and pumpkin pie.

For a smaller crowd, a 3- to 4-pound turkey breast dinner serves up to four people for $99.99, and includes green beans with shallots and herbs, savory herb stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, classic cranberry relish, dinner rolls and pumpkin pie.

Hsiao-Ching Chou is the former food editor at the Seattle P-I and a freelance food writer.

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