With Thanksgiving day just around the corner you may be asking yourself why you agreed to host this year. Worst idea ever? Don’t sweat it! I’ve rounded up some tips and tricks to ease your stress level.
Being in charge of the turkey seems pretty intimidating. If you do research ahead of time it may just put some of your fears on the back burner. The number one rule I have is to not over think it. Sure, a fancy turkey you found on Pinterest might seem like a grand idea and everyone wants their guests to think they’re highly skilled in the kitchen.
Truth of the matter is sometimes simplicity goes a long way. Focus on the important factors such as moisture. Making a gorgeous Pinterest-worthy turkey is great and all but if it’s dry… you just killed the deal.
Prep: The Plan
Plan out how you want the day to go. Keep in mind things happen and you may get knocked off track, so make a plan but don’t freak out if the plan gets pushed back a little.
Make your grocery list ahead of time. Go through your recipes, see what you have on hand, and make that list! Walmart and Kroger offer online grocery shopping. Though it may seem like a crazy idea, I can’t tell you how much time and money I have saved by using these services but that’s another blog post in itself! Take advantage of this during the holidays so you can add things to your cart, compare coupons, and avoid the crowd. Trust me, you’ll thank me later!
Go ahead and pull out all the serving dishes and utensils you’ll plan on utilizing. Doing so will prevent you from spending thirty minutes trying to find grandma’s famous casserole dish for the stuffing. Don’t roll your eyes… you know you’ve been there!
Iron the table cloth and pre-set the table a day or two in advance. One more thing done, one less thing to stress about.
Clean out your fridge! A week prior clean out your refrigerator and try to refrain from filling it with anything that will be in the way. If you can do without it for a week, do it!
Prep: The Food
If you know you’re going to be making cold items such as cranberry sauce, make it a day in advance…or two! If you store it in the fridge already in the serving container it will be good to go. Cut and wash your veggies, blanch the beans, put butter on the serving dish, these are all things that can be done prior to Thanksgiving day.
Prepare a drink station. Having a drink station away from the food and away from your kitchen will save you from constantly running into people that are trying to get ice, looking for a cup, and getting a refill. You won’t have to stop in the middle of what you’re doing to try to fix each guest a drink and provide refills. They will be able to help themselves!
Clear off a space where you can pull out all of your dry goods you will need so you’re not having to worry about digging through the pantry. If you have room you can add the pots and pans as well.
If you have an abundance of containers at your disposal go ahead and pre-measure out ingredients. If something calls for 1/3 cup of sugar, grab the container and go. Yes, this takes time but a well planned out day is totally worth it!
Don’t wait until the last second to clean. Go ahead and deep clean the house the prior week so the week of it’s just simple touch ups. You’ll thank me later.
Know your limits! This goes along with keeping the turkey simple. Don’t bite off more than you can chew… no pun intended. 🙂
Give up some of the control. If someone offers to bring something but you’re dead set on a specific menu have them bring a dessert, drink, or appetizer. Appetizers are great for when you’re timeline is off track and you’re running behind. In this case don’t freak out, unless you’re a domestic queen/king it’s probably happened to everyone and more than once.
Don’t be scared to ask for help. There’s a reason no one else offered to host Thanksgiving, it’s stressful and they know it. This also goes along with the aforementioned, if someone offers help give up control and let them help you even if it’s stirring the macaroni and cheese.
Delegate a dishwasher. Seriously, in my household for as long as I can remember there has always been a delegated dishwasher and dish dryer. If you have someone clean the dishes as you go the clean up will be a cakewalk! (Which is pretty important when you’re in a food coma!)
One thing we always forget about in my family until it’s too late: the heat! Try turning down the heat an hour or two prior to guests arriving. With the kitchen in full working order and body heat from the guests the temperature can rise up pretty quickly. Body odor and food aromas don’t mix well, just saying.
I hope this post was helpful! If you have any additional tips & tricks to share with the rest of us, leave a comment!