Thanksgiving Made Easier
Thanksgiving is the most wonderful time of the year! It’s a day to spend with family and friends, eat great food, and enjoy some time off from work. But it can also be one of the biggest cooking days you’ll face all year.
If you’ll be having friends or family over for Thanksgiving, you may be wondering how you’re going to get it all done. As with anything, the key is a little planning and a few helpful tips and tricks.
- Make a menu: You definitely want to create a menu for Thanksgiving Day. (This is not a day to “wing” it.) If there are family classics that must be on the menu – start there. And then consider anyone who may have dietary restrictions – so they feel welcome, too. Finally, fill in all of the missing pieces.
- Now reevaluate your menu: Yes, now that you’ve made your menu – take a good, hard look at it – and pare it down. If it’s like every Thanksgiving – there’s way too much food on the menu – and you don’t want to be eating leftovers for weeks.
- Create a shopping list – and shop early: Make sure you make a list before you head to the store and stick with it. This will make sure that everything is there at your fingertips when needed, without any unnecessary extra trips or items hiding in the back of the fridge for months on end!
- And don’t wait until the last minute to do your shopping – or you could find yourself missing key ingredients.
- Use disposable pans when possible: If you don’t want to spend hours cleaning up afterward – then it’s time to break out the disposable pans. Pick up several different sizes depending on your needs – and get a few extras for leftovers!
- Enlist the help of others: Do you have family or friends asking what they can bring? Don’t say, “Nothing!” – instead, give them an assignment. If desserts are not your thing – ask someone else to make them. Don’t like making the macaroni and cheese? Give it to someone else to do! People love to feel included – and they won’t mind helping at all.
- Look for shortcuts: Guess what? Not everything has to be 100% made from scratch on Thanksgiving. You can take shortcuts – and it will all be okay! Perhaps a local bakery can make the pies or rolls. You might even use boxed stuffing! After all, Thanksgiving is about the time spent together – not the number of hours you spent in the kitchen.
- Give yourself plenty of time to cook: When you look at your menu, look at how long each recipe takes to prepare and when it needs to be done. Can you do certain things in advance – and reheat them on Thanksgiving? Or do they have to be prepared that day?
- Make enough so that you have leftovers: You are most likely not going to feel like cooking the next day – so make enough so you can enjoy it all over again on Friday. Hot or cold turkey sandwiches are always a hit. And, if you feel like it, you can dump the turkey and veggies in a pot with some stock and make a great soup.
- Ask for help with cleanup: When the meal is over, enlist everyone to help with cleanup. You should not have to do it alone. And the more hands that help – the faster it will all get done.
The best time of year is finally here, which means it’s time for some quality family time over delicious food. But you need to remember that this day also requires more work than most others. Use these tips to make Thanksgiving a little easier this year!