Some of you may have spent many years preparing your Thanksgiving meal. However there are those who are new, up and coming cooks, homemakers, wives and mothers who have yet to take on this task. This can be a rather daunting thing to face. If you have never so much as purchased a turkey, you may be wondering how on earth you are going to cook an entire meal! I am here to help you. I have some tips and tricks that will be helpful for you to consider when getting ready to make your Thanksgiving debut.
I am going to share an excerpt from my cookbook, Noreen's Kitchen Holiday Helper. These are some important time and stress saving tips and tricks that I always employ, year after year to make my holiday preparations much easier. I have often said that it matters not, if you are eating Pizza, Chinese food or a full blown, meal with turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings. What matters is that you are sharing the meal with people that you love. It does not matter how meager or grand your meal may be, you should give thanks for what you have and for those who you are sharing it with. You should always find room at your table for one more and revel in the day and those who are around you.
Here are my tips and tricks for a happy and stress free holiday meal:
The key to a successful holiday dinner is time management! If you follow these steps you will be able to get your dinner on the table with little stress, strain or hair pulling.
Make a menu plan. If you don’t do anything, do this! Stick to the plan and you can’t go wrong.
Get out all of your recipes and take an inventory of what ingredients you have on hand and what ingredients you will need.
Make a shopping list and do the shopping for your meal at least 5 days in advance if possible.
Make a schedule based on the recipes you choose to prepare. This will help you know what takes the longest and what takes the least amount of time. The hardest part of any meal is making everything ready at the same time.
Prep your ingredients you will need such as celery, onions and herbs one or two days before. Place them in zip top bags or plastic containers in your refrigerator so when you get ready to make a recipe that calls for those ingredients, you can just reach for them.
Cranberry sauce can be made up to 5 days before you need it, cook it, store it in an airtight container and when the day of your celebration arrives, take it out about 1 hour before serving.
Make all of your desserts a day before. This will free up oven space as well as save you time. Desserts take a bit more time and concentration. They require more precise measurements than roasting a turkey or mashing potatoes. Doing these a day before will help you manage your time on the day of your celebration.
If you will be using the “good” china for your holiday meal, take it out a week before, make sure you have all the service pieces you need, wash everything, use the dishwasher if you can. Anything you can do ahead of time will save you stress later.
Set your table the night before if you are able to. It saves a lot of trouble on a day when you will be doing a lot already.
On the day of your big meal. Start the day with a good breakfast. It will help you get off on the right foot.
Assign others to make sure everything gets done. For instance, give one of the kids the job of taking out the trash, wiping up the counters or making sure the pets stay out from underfoot.
Promise yourself to clean as you go and you will not be under a pile of dirty dishes. Fill one side of your sink with soapy water so you can quickly rinse out measuring cups and spoons that you may need to use again.
Use disposables like paper plates, bowls and aluminum pans for prep work, cooking and easy clean up. In the end, you will spend less time stressing and more time enjoying when you don’t have to go back to a stack of pots and pans to scrub after a giant meal.
Try to make sure the components of your meal are ready 1 hour before you are going to serve. Place the sliced turkey, the veggies, the sweet potatoes etc. in foil pans covered in a warm oven. If you choose to do this with mashed potatoes, just make sure you add a bit more milk because they will thicken up as they sit.
When you are ready to serve, plate up and lay out your spread. You won’t believe what a difference a little time management and thinking ahead can do for you!
So there you have it! An excerpt from my first cookbook, Noreen's Kitchen Holiday Helper. I hope this is some good information you can use and apply to preparing for your upcoming holiday events. Whether you are new to cooking the holiday meal or you are an old pro, hopefully there are some things here that can help your holiday be much more beautiful!
If you would like to get your own copy of my Holiday Helper cookbook or my Cocoa's Cookies and More, Galore cookbook, you can find them here: at Lulu.com
So sit down and start planning your Thanksgiving meal! The earlier you start, the easier it will be and the more you will be able to enjoy your family on that special day!
Till Next time, I'll see ya!
You can find my cookbooks here: