Football, Turkey and Pie...Oh My!
As the beginning of the holiday season, Thanksgiving ushers in weeks of lavish meals and time with loved ones. However, if you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner, the prospect of preparing such a grand feast may seem overwhelming.
Don’t let the stress of party planning zap your holiday joy—here are a few time-saving hacks to simplify Thanksgiving:
- Compile a simple menu a few weeks in advance. While it may be tempting to use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to showcase your creative cooking skills, a meal of this magnitude is probably better suited for a simple menu. Regardless of whether you serve traditional Thanksgiving dishes, you can structure your menu to include one main dish, two or three sides, a salad or vegetable, and one dessert. A few weeks prior to the celebration, survey your guests about their preferences and any critical information, like food allergies. Using their responses, plan your menu, review recipes, and make your grocery list early on.
- Prepare as many dishes as possible in advance. If you are following a traditional Thanksgiving menu, you’ll probably find that nearly all dishes (besides the turkey) can be made in advance and heated on the day of your gathering. To avoid long stretches of time in the kitchen, stagger your cooking over the two days preceding Thanksgiving. Saved by the slow cooker. You may be surprised by how many Thanksgiving recipes can be made in the slow cooker, which saves time and reduces the number of dirty dishes. For example, a quick internet search reveals recipes for slow cooker cranberry sauce, gravy, and mashed potatoes.
- Alternatively, consider a potluck. If the idea of cooking a big meal for several guests still seems daunting, there is no shame in having a Thanksgiving potluck! In addition to saving you time, money, and stress, inviting each guest to bring a dish could yield an exciting variety of styles and flavors. The key to a successful potluck is to announce your plan early on so guests can begin planning what they will bring, and coordinate to ensure that all key dishes are provided.
- Buy precooked Turkey from Grocery Store. This is a great idea. These come out great by warming up and crisping. Also, in some cases it is good to have a back up turkey (dog gets first one, slips on to floor, unexpected guests come....just saying...it could happen). It is a real turkey!
- Give kids something to do. A list of chores is good. Offering appetizers, refreshments, taking out garbage, playing the piano, talk to Granny etc. One nice idea is preprint a Thanksgiving story and have them read it to the guests in turns where all the kids participate.
After Thanksgiving Dinner, your guests may be so happy and say they want to move to Arizona. Have them give me a call.
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