Thanksgiving can be a very stressful time. Your home has to be spotless, the food has to be better than delicious, and there can be no family feuds…;) Quit doing the following things to make your Thanksgiving dinner go as smooth as possible:
You baste your turkey.
Basting is a very common tradition, but basting doesn’t actually result in a more moist turkey, because juices poured over top don’t penetrate the skin. To eat a bird that’s moist and flavorful, rub pats of butter (or herb butter) under and on top of the bird’s skin before roasting him.
You wash your potatoes individually in the sink.
Cooking potatoes can be a major time consumer if you’re cooking for a lot of loved ones. However, using your dishwasher gets the job done quickly! Just run your potatoes through rinse cycle (remember not to use soap, yuck!) and you’ll have some squeaky clean spuds. 🙂
You make stuffing in one big pan.
If you haven’t tried making stuffing-muffins yet, this is the year to do it. Simply make your stuffing in the cups on a muffin pan! They really help ensure that there’s enough stuffing to go around, help with portion control, and guarantee extra crispy-crunchy parts. Plus, they’re very cute!
You pull your bird out of the oven based on a timer.
Even after you have followed the recipe precisely, or calculated the cook-time based on the weight of your turkey, you should ALWAYS check for doneness with a thermometer. Sometimes a brown turkey can still be frozen inside. Doing a thermometer check is a great way to reassure guests and yourself that it’s cooked all the way so that no one gets sick.
Just for your information, a whole bird is safe to eat when the middle of the turkey, and the stuffing inside, has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, if your turkey comes with a pop-up thermometer, don’t use it! They don’t always pop until the turkey is overdone, and you could end up with dry meat. It’s best to stick with the old-fashioned thermometer.
You prep your veggies on Thanksgiving day.
Prep work, like dicing vegetables, sometimes takes longer than the recipe actually says it will. It’s also very difficult to chop veggies when there are so many other things going on in the kitchen on the big day. Save time and stress levels by chopping carrots, peppers, onion, celery, and garlic the night before. It’s easy to toss the fresh cut veggies into Tupperware containers for storage and put them into the fridge to use as needed on Thanksgiving day.
You buy a variety of wines and take individual requests.
Unfortunately, you will not please everyone. You’ll spend a lot of money and spend a ton of time prepping and/or refreshing drinks, and then you’ll likely be left with a bunch of half-finished wine bottles. One idea to do instead is to make one big-batch of a holiday drink. Everyone will love it, and you’ll get to save cash. Try the delicious apple pie on the rocks,or the sweet and smooth caramel apple cider to impress your family and friends that are 21 years or older.
You use raw garlic.
Many Thanksgiving recipes call for raw garlic, but instead add an extra layer of flavor to your stuffing, mashed potatoes, veggies, and more by swapping it for roasted garlic. Just roast a few heads the night before or the morning of Thanksgiving. A simple way to roast them would be to use your toaster oven. That way you won’t have to worry about fitting anything else into the oven. Plus, spreading pre-prepped roasted garlic over crostini is the perfect last-minute appetizer, in case your turkey needs to cook a bit longer.
You serve canned cranberry sauce.
Some people have an obsession with the jelly-like canned stuff and others serve it as a family tradition. Ignore this upcoming advice if you truly love the grocery-store version of canned cranberry sauce. However, if you have time, the real-deal cranberry sauce is very easy to make and so much better than store bought. Try out this homemade cranberry sauce recipe to see what all of the hype is about!
You store your pie fruit out on the counter or in the fridge.
If you need fruit to ripen faster before making your delicious pies, simply stick it in a paper bag a few days before. To speed up the process even more, add a banana to the bag along with your other unripe produce. The truth is, letting your fruit sit in a bowl by the window doesn’t do much good. 😦
You make whipped cream the old fashioned way.
It’s not necessary to dirty another mixing bowl or waste time making whipped cream with a whisk. All you have to do is pour your desired amount of heavy cream and sugar into a jar, make sure the lid is on very tight, and shake off some of the stress until you’ve got the perfect pie topper.
You serve regular roasted potatoes as an alternative to mashed.
Hasselback potatoes, or Accordion, should have been invented specifically for Thanksgiving. You can pour gravy over the top and each potato soaks up all that concentrated turkey flavor. You can also make them with sweet potatoes!
Now that you know some ideas to speed up your cooking time for Thanksgiving dinner, as well as the taste, remember food isn’t the most important thing during the holiday. Nothing beats a day spending time with your loved ones.
Happy turkey day. 🙂