There are many things that have to be done for a full house on Thanksgiving Day. We’re sharing our tips and tricks that will take the stress out of cooking for the holiday.
Preparing Your Kitchen for a Full House
When was the last time that your oven was cleaned? I always try to clean mine 2 weeks before the big day; I wouldn’t want to overwork my oven the day before, only to have it fail on Thanksgiving. Other appliances that you should clean are the microwave, coffee maker and kitchen sink. I also would recommend emptying out your dishwasher as well as your refrigerator if your family is big on leftovers. It’s a good idea to have extra containers for guests who want to bring home anything. The most important tool that you will need to have ready for Thanksgiving is a clean countertop. Clear off the clutter and move the unused appliances out of the way. The less stuff that you have getting in the way, the more surfaces you will have to work on.
What to Make Ahead of the Big Day:
48 Hours Before: Remember to check your turkey’s weight so that you can determine how long it will need to thaw. The general rule is to allow 24 hours for every 4 pounds of turkey for thawing. When chopping your vegetables, make sure to dice them into small pieces. Remember, they are for stuffing, so you want them to be fairly small pieces. Speaking of stuffing, I always choose two or three similar but different kinds of bread for mine. I like to use standard white bread, a bakery French baguette and a few English muffins. The variety of bread creates different textures throughout the stuffing.
24 Hours Before: Most of your guests will not know the difference between a store-bought pie crust and a homemade one. If there is one time of the year to make your own pie crust, it IS Thanksgiving. I also know most guests won’t realize they aren’t homemade unless you tell them. Save yourself the hassle, roll out an already prepared crust, bake it and store in the fridge until ready to use. On the other hand, most of your guests will appreciate homemade mashed potatoes, and they can be made in so many different ways. Check out this recipe for Best Mashed Potatoes Ever. Now these are worth the time! And don’t forget to you’ll need one or two light appetizers for your early birds. How about some Good Ol’ Southern Deviled Eggs and My Aunt’s Veggie Dip? Just remember to keep the egg whites and yolks separate until tomorrow.
4 Hours Before: Preparing your turkey should not be a hassle. This helpful link will show you how to do it in less than five minutes! After you prepare it, seasoning it is a breeze with this Herb Butter Roasted Turkey recipe. Next, my favorite part: vegetables! With so many different salads out there, it’s hard to pick just one. My recommendation is to choose one that can be quickly and easily prepared, preferably with veggies that you will already have on hand for Thanksgiving. And, no matter how you make green beans, always make sure to wash them and other vegetables first.
1.5 Hours Before: Don’t forget that your table will need to be set. It’s probably best to ask one of the kids or another adult to do this. Oh, and don’t forget to have them set out drinks and those light appetizers you made the other day. Aren’t you glad that you got that done early? Remember to take out the cranberries and gravy so that they can finish thawing before you slowly warm them up. Also, if the stuffing finishes before the turkey does, cover it with foil to retain heat and moisture.
1/2 Hour Before: Bake the already prepared mashed and sweet potatoes in the oven, and remember to warm the gravy and rolls. If you plan on serving any special drinks with dinner such as a pinot noir or chardonnay, now is a good time to open them and set them on the table. Double check that everything is out there: salt and pepper, butter, salad dressing… And the most important rule of all, make sure to let the turkey sit for at least 15 minutes before carving. Bon appetit!
Turkey Tips that Every Cook Should Know
- How to Brine a Turkey (http://www.mrfood.com/How-To-Videos/How-to-Brine-a-Turkey)
- How to Prepare a Turkey (http://www.mrfood.com/How-To-Videos/How-To-Prepare-A-Turkey)
- How to Thaw a Turkey (http://www.mrfood.com/How-To-Videos/How-To-Thaw-A-Turkey)
- Tender Turkey Tips (http://www.mrfood.com/Turkey-Misc-Poultry/Tender-Turkey-Tips-2373)
What do you do to prepare for your Thanksgiving dinner?