Thanksgiving can be a stressful time if you’re having a houseful of guests or just a few people. But planning ahead cannot only make it less stressful but leave you to spend more time with family and guests.
Here are some quick tips that can free up time on Thanksgiving Day!
First make a menu of what you are serving Thanksgiving Day. Then make a list of what you will need. Make sure to check your cabinets to see if you have some of the ingredients and if the expiration date is still good. After that make a list of what you need at the food store so you don’t have to go back or send someone to go for you who doesn’t really want to brave those endless checkout lines. Don’t forget to make sure you have enough storage containers or plastic bags for leftovers or to give some of your guests a piece of pie or some cookies to take with them.
Chop and slice beforehand!
Onions, celery, and garlic are three ingredients I use a good amount of on Thanksgiving. I chop or slice, and store them in containers in the fridge. I usually do it two days before the holiday. That goes for your veggies too. Peel and cut your potatoes the day before Thanksgiving, cover them with water and store them in the fridge. I rinse them the next day and add fresh water before setting them to cook. You can do the same to fresh green beans. Leave them whole or snap them according to preference and store them in a container covered in water in the fridge. I do the same with my turnips. Everyone loves stuffed mushrooms in the Madison household so a bunch needs to be made to feed everyone. Mom and I prepare them the night before and store them in the fridge covered with tin foil. Easy peasy to bake them the next day. If you’re doing roasted Brussel sprouts, cut them in half and store them in a container or sealed plastic bag. Prepping and preparing ahead saves time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day!
Casseroles can be made ahead and cooked the day of while some can be cooked ahead of time and reheated the day you use them. Here are some 30+ Thanksgiving Casseroles you might want to try.
Desserts can easily be made ahead of time and stored or bought to save time. Also if you have more pie leftovers than you think you will eat before they turn bad, cut individual slices and freeze them. A piece of apple pie and a cup of hot tea goes perfect on a chilly day. Mom loves to bake pies , favorites of the Madison family are apple, pumpkin, and pecan. Here’s 20 Brilliant Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas if you’re looking to try something new. Word of advice… don’t make a dessert or anything new for Thanksgiving without doing a trail run first. Make it beforehand and see how it goes. You might want to make changes to the recipe or it might be a dud in which case you avoided a holiday disaster.
Set your table the day before.
You don’t want to be running around the day of with all you have to do in the kitchen. It also helps to see if anything needs washing or if your short a few dishes. Don’t be afraid to mix and match dishware. My mom uses her mom’s good China mixed with pieces she has collected through the years that blends beautifully with it. So mix and match, your table will be eye-catching and eclectic. Also check that your serving bowls are ready for use so you don’t have to go searching for them.
Keep it simple!
Don’t overwhelm yourself! Keep your menu manageable and guests as well. You may be the one doing all the cooking but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. Make as much ahead of time as possible so all you have to do is set it to cook. Or ask guests to bring a dish so all the cooking is not left to you or the expense as well. Serving pre-nibbles before the big meal? Keep them simple… dips, crackers, cheese, fruit. You don’t want your guests too stuffed to eat the main course.
First and foremost enjoying the day with family and friends is what should be your top priority and you can accomplish that by keeping things simple and being prepped and prepared.