7 THANKSGIVING TIPS
In many households, Thanksgiving is a big family dinner. Whether or not a turkey is served, one of the toughest tasks is getting everything ready at the same time. One dish or another always takes longer to cook than planned leaving other dishes to get dry or cold. There are never enough chairs and more food than people. Aside from any family drama, getting the meal to the table is sometimes a matter of choreography. Those with experience know it can take years of practice to get it just right. These 7 Thanksgiving Tips will ensure the food gets to the table before when everyone else does.
Clean out your fridge a few days before Thanksgiving dinner. Make sure there is room for everything, especially those items that are served cold. If that means minimizing your shopping for a week and limiting your choices of salad dressings, the free space will be appreciated when the big day arrives.
Make Dishes Ahead
Make a list of the dishes you can make a day or so ahead of time. Not only will doing this free up space in your oven, but it will also reduce the number of tasks needing to be completed on Thanksgiving Day. Dishes that you can make ahead include:
- Relish trays
- Cranberry sauce
You do not have to do it all. Ask your guests to bring a dish to ease the pressure of serving everyone’s favorite. That includes some of the hot dishes. You can also delegate other tasks, too.
- Setting the table
- Making the mashed potatoes
- Filling glasses with ice
- Keeping an eye on the children
- Washing dirty prep dishes
Ask your guests to bring their own beverages to keep fridge space clear. Pack a cooler full of ice or make sure your ice machine is full. Not only will everyone get to enjoy their beverage of choice, but they’ll also be responsible for their own thirst.
Plan Cooking Time
Plan the cooking time for the main dish. Whether you’re serving turkey or not, it’s usually the main dish that is either finished cooking early or it’s the one you’re always waiting to be finished. If you double or triple a recipe, keep in mind that the cooking time may increase. When it comes to meats, cooking times vary based on weight and the type of meat. Visit foodsafety.gov offers a complete guide for all those yummy proteins that often grace our Thanksgiving Day tables.
While in most kitchens, the electric roaster may be the least utilized piece of equipment if you even have one. Those who have one are used to serving large groups of people or have discovered how convenient it is on the rare occasion when everyone gathers at their house. The most important reason to use an electric roaster on Thanksgiving Day is to free up your oven. You don’t have to be serving turkey and stuffing to appreciate this benefit, either. A roaster is large enough to cook just about any cut of meat allowing you to bake the other mouthwatering side dishes like dressing, yams, casseroles, and pies.
Another space-saving tool nearly everyone has is the slow cooker. Also known by the brand name Crockpot, the slow cooker has come a long way. They offer a variety of sizes allowing us to cook or warm everything from sauces to entire meals. Using a slow cooker does the same thing an electric roaster does for your Thanksgiving meal – frees up the oven for other baking. Use slow cookers for things like:
- Sweet potatoes
- Mashed potatoes
- Green bean casserole
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Cream corn
- Hot apple cider
Most slow cookers have removable inserts allowing for the dish to be placed in the oven. Use this option to quickly broil those dishes you want to have a golden crust. Then transport them right to the table when the turkey is ready to be carved. Or set the whole works up as a buffet.
Destress Thanksgiving preparation. A little planning and teamwork will bring the whole celebration with less fuss and more fun.
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