Thanksgiving is hands down one of the best foodie holidays all year, but it can also turn into one of the most stressful ones! Here are my tips on making the holiday as simple and stress-free as possible–and a few of my favorite recipes to add to your Thanksgiving menu!
- Plan ahead: Creating a timeline with a game plan of how and when you’ll cook each dish is the most surefire way to eliminate day-of stress.Williams Sonoma puts out a great expert Thanksgiving timeline every year!
- Order a cooked turkey: Since roasting a turkey is often the hardest part (There are so many questions! How long do you defrost it for? How do you season it? How do you slice it?!), don’t be afraid to order a pre-cooked bird from a local restaurant or supermarket, or for a smaller crowd buy pre-sliced turkey from a high quality store. Your guest won’t know the difference, I promise!
- Clean as you go: My mom taught me this one and I’ll never forget it. Wiping down counters, putting away ingredients, and keeping the trash and recycling empty as you cook makes clean up so much more manageable. Thanks, Mom!
- Make a double recipe of stuffing: It’s so popular that it’s always the first to go at our house! Be sure to use plenty of moisture so it keeps for those wonderful after-Thanksgiving leftovers.
- Know your audience: It’s always the worst when you make your favorite family recipe only to find out that your guest is allergic to gluten and everything else under the sun. Politely ask guests a week before if they have any allergies, or better yet, add a line to your e-invites to make sure you have your bases covered.
Chop in advance: If you really want to get ahead of the game, chop up veggies (hello, onions), herbs, and garnishes one day in advance. Herbs can be placed in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel.
- Add some blooms: Take a bloom from the centerpiece and put it in a bud vase in the guest bathroom. Want to make a big impact? A little filler, like eucalyptus, can help to give your arrangements an extra wow factor.
- Prep snacks: I don’t know about you, but cooking always makes me so hungry! like to prep some healthy snacks, like apple slices or chopped veggies, to stay satisfied while cooking all day so I don’t eat as much when the big meal is finally ready.
- Start a day early: Our family usually also makes a couple sides–like stuffing or yams–a day early, so that on Thanksgiving Day we only have to cook the turkey and a few of the lighter sides and can spend more time actually enjoying the day. The same goes for setting your table place settings.
- Include everyone: In my experience, everyone likes playing a small part if you ask them to. Set aside a few jobs, like chopping or opening the wine, for anyone who wants to help out.
Not sure how much food to make? Food 52 created this great go-to guide to help you determine how much you’ll need of each dish for the average guest. For drinks, most people recommend about 8 bottles of wine for 12 people.
Want some fresh recipe ideas? I ‘ve got you covered! Here are a few of my faves:
Header Image from The Everygirl: http://theeverygirl.com/7-delicious-recipes-to-wow-everyone-at-friendsgiving