Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Dinner
Buying, prepping, cooking, serving and entertaining may seem a bit daunting but there are ways to simplify the Thanksgiving dinner so that you can sit back, relax and enjoy the holiday with loved ones. Whether it’s your first time preparing the feast or your umpteenth time, successful Thanksgiving dinners happen thanks to preparedness and organization. With Thanksgiving being a little less than a week away, now is as good of a time as any to begin planning for the big meal.
Plan the Menu
The most important part to preparing the feast is to know exactly what ingredients you need and making sure you have them on hand on the big day. Peruse cookbooks, jot down recipes, take inventory of what you have in your kitchen, make a list of the needed ingredients and head to the grocery store to buy all of the necessary ingredients.
Thaw the Turkey
What is the one dish that needs a lot of prep before it is showcased on the dining room table? The bird, of course. Since most people tend to buy frozen turkeys, it’s never a good idea to run to the store the day before Thanksgiving, buy a frozen turkey and throw it in the oven the next day. Frozen turkeys need time to thaw and this thawing process can take up to a few days. Once you are ready to begin thawing the turkey, take the bird out of the freezer and place in a pan, keeping the packaging wrap in place. Leave the bird in the refrigerator for approximately 24 hours for every 5 pound of turkey.
Thanksgiving is supposed to be all about spending time with family and friends; however, many of us end up spending the entire day in the kitchen. Almost all of the side dishes and desserts can be prepared the day before Thanksgiving. Be sure to get all of the baking out of the way and prepare casseroles and store them in the refrigerator until the day of Thanksgiving.
Create a Schedule
On the day of Thanksgiving, it’s important to know the cook times of each dish so that all of the dishes can be served fresh and warm. By creating a cook schedule, you’ll know exactly what is supposed to go into the oven and how much time it will take to cook. There is only so much space in an oven which is why it’s important to plan this schedule so that everything arrives to the table warm and ready to eat.
Enjoy the Feast
The theme of the day is enjoying time with family and friends and to express thankfulness and gratitude. By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy stress-free time in the kitchen and more time with loved ones.
Jen Tilley has an insatiable appetite for all things related to baking and cooking. She is the author, photographer and recipe developer on How To: Simplify, a blog that shares tips, tricks and recipes to simplify life in the kitchen. She enjoys sharing recipes that require very few ingredients and only a small amount of prep and cook time, all of which make time spent in the kitchen simple and enjoyable. Find her online at How To: Simplify and @HowToSimplify.