Thanksgiving is right around the corner and that means it’s time to start planning for the big day. Preparing a meal can be stressful regardless of whether it’s for a few friends or a large gathering, so we’ve rounded up seven important tips to help your Thanksgiving meal run smoothly. All these tasks can all be done in advance, leaving you more time to catch your breath between now and when your guests arrive.
1. Take inventory
Make sure you have all of the cookware and kitchen tools needed to cook the menu you have planned. Broke your pie dish? Only have a dessert thermometer? Now is the time to grab the items that will help your meal succeed.
2. Make a prep list
Cooking a turkey, side dishes, and dessert can be hard to balance regardless of the size of your kitchen. Figure out in advance what recipes can be made ahead, which ones will take the longest to cook, and what dishes can share the oven space.
3. Make ahead and freeze
There are many dishes that can be prepared in advance and will freeze well. Cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, and sweet potato casserole are all good options to make ahead.
4. Thaw the bird
If you have a frozen turkey, make sure you leave ample time to thaw it. The rule of thumb is for every four pounds in weight, the turkey must thaw one day.
5. Utilize a cooler
Fridge space is prime real estate during Thanksgiving, but purchasing a cooler can help. Fill one with ice and you now have a space to temporarily store all the random jellies and condiments from your fridge that you can’t seem to part with, leaving you more space in the fridge to stock up on menu essentials.
6. Ask for help outside of the kitchen
Try not to overcrowd your kitchen by having guests help with tasks such as serving drinks, hanging coats, and entertaining children. If space allows, set up the drink station away from the kitchen.
7. Keep food warm
If the turkey takes too long to cook, don’t fret. Slow cookers, thermoses and microwaves are all great options for keeping dishes warm until you’re ready to enjoy.