Do you know what time it is? It’s almost Turkey time!
The holidays can be a stressful time of year if you don’t have a plan. Today we are going to talk about how to take away some of the stress related to the food preparation for Thanksgiving.
First of all, let’s talk turkey. The turkey is the item that takes the most thought and time, in both preparation and cooking. Anything you can do to simplify getting the turkey done will take hours off your plate. Here are a few ideas to simplify the process-
● Thaw the turkey in the fridge up to 6 days ahead, depending on weight.
● Consider buying a fresh turkey from the butcher to avoid having to take up so much frig space to thaw a frozen one.
● Don’t buy a turkey that’s too big. Choose one that will just meet your needs with however many leftovers you want. A larger turkey needs more space to thaw and more time to cook.
● Consider a different meat. Ham, chicken, steak…nobody says you have to cook a gigantic turkey for Thanksgiving!
Once you have the turkey (or other meat) squared away, it’s time to think about the rest of the food. I know you want to serve all your favorites. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to sit down to a table loaded with mashed potatoes, gravy, macaroni and cheese, candied yams, buttery rolls, delicious veggies, and all the yummy desserts you associate with Thanksgiving? I know I do!
There are several ways you can make serving your family’s favorite dishes easier on you.
● Choose dishes that can be made ahead. Set a schedule for yourself to begin to prep these dishes several days in advance.
● Make out your grocery lists at least a week ahead so you have all the ingredients when you get ready to begin cooking.
● Make as many of these dishes ahead as possible, by cooking a dish or two in the evening while you cook supper or on the weekend.
● Enlist the kids to help you. They can peel veggies, chop items for salads, place cooked foods in containers, and help with clean-up.
Before and After
Now that you have your turkey thawing in the frig, or you have a fresh one ready to pick up, and your sides are made and waiting to be reheated, you can move on to appetizers and desserts. A lot of the same things we’ve already said can apply to these two things too.
● Make as many items as possible ahead of time. Bake your pies, make your appetizers, prepare your drinks, be sure you have plenty of ice.
● Fill your serving dishes with half of what you’ve made and only refill when empty to avoid food waste.
● Use all the colors of the rainbow!
● Set appetizer trays around your home to keep people out of the kitchen (unless you’re a cook that wants everybody in there with you.)
● Serve appetizers that are best at room temperature to save frig space.
Whether you have a lot of family and friends coming over or it’s just your immediate family, be sure to ask for help! Serving food to a crowd is a lot of work, and you shouldn’t be doing it alone.
● Ask guests to contribute a dessert or drink to the meal.
● Get the kids involved. Make their favorite appetizers and they’ll be glad to help!
● If a guest offers to wash dishes or help set out food, say yes! Never refuse help.
● Send leftovers home with your guests so you don’t have to find frig space for all that food.
If you follow one or all of these suggestions, you should be able to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner as much as your guests do. There is no reason you should be sweating in the kitchen while everyone else is enjoying their holiday.
Be sure to comment below and tell me ways that you make your holiday easier and more enjoyable! I love to hear your ideas!!