It’s almost time to make Thanksgiving dinner, but there’s no reason to panic! Just check out this list of Thanksgiving dinner hacks that will make your day run smoothly – and give you more time to enjoy the holiday rather than spend it all in the kitchen.
Make A List
Every year, the grocery store overflows with people who have had to come back a second time (or a third or fourth) because they forgot an item. Make a list of everything you will need for Thanksgiving dinner well in advance and get your shopping done early.
Use An Ice Chest
Even the biggest refrigerators overflow on Thanksgiving Day. Set up an ice chest in an out of the way location and use it to store bottles of relish, salad dressing, etc. That will clear more area for things you need to refrigerate as part of the Thanksgiving dinner.
Cold, lumpy mashed potatoes – ugh! Happens all the time at Thanksgiving, though. Save yourself from this issue by buttering the inside of your slow cooker, adding some heavy cream and then putting your mashed potatoes in there to keep warm on low heat. Just remember to stir them every hour or so.
When you baste, you’re kind of wasting time because liquid squirted over a turkey will not penetrate the skin. Instead, rub the skin with butter or seasoning, which will give the turkey the extra flavor you want.
Washing potatoes one after the other is a long, tedious job. But putting all your potatoes in the dishwasher and washing them on the rinse cycle is easy!
Peeling garlic is another long, boring chore that will make you wonder why people didn’t go crazy cooking Thanksgiving dinner before the invention of the microwave. Now, just put the garlic heads into the microwave for 20 seconds and then peel them.
Here’s another timesaver. Cut the skin of the potato around the middle, then boil them. After they boil and are run under cold water, the skin should peel off easily.
Muffins are awesome. Muffins are also much, much easier than making a big pan full of stuffing. Instead, bake “stuffing muffins” in a muffin pan. It gives your guests individual servings and stretches the stuffing by keeping everyone from putting more on their plate than they can eat.
Use a Thermometer
Don’t try to guess if the turkey is ready or just simply time how long it should cook using some complicated “weight to heat to cook time” ratio. Simply invest in a good thermometer and cook your bird to perfection.
Cook in Advance
One of the biggest secrets of any cook is to prepare dishes before time and then refrigerate or freeze them. This trick works for a pie, dinner rolls and gravy, among other dishes.
Chop In Advance, Too
All that vegetable dicing? It’s going to take forever with the controlled chaos that is the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day. Give yourself a break and dice all the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and peppers the day before.
You put your coffee into a thermos to keep it warm, so why not the gravy? It’s the perfect place to keep it after it’s heated up. Just transfer it to a gravy boat for dinner.
Hydrate The Turkey
Dry turkey is a common problem for Thanksgiving dinner cooks since, well, forever. Have some chicken broth handy to heat and pour over the turkey. That will hydrate it and make it more flavorful.
Try cutting your baked potatoes into thin wedges that you can coat with gravy that they will soak up, making them even more delicious (and a great alternative for people who don’t want to eat mashed potatoes).
Enjoy Your Family and Friends
This is the best hack of all! If you prepare many of the dishes in advance and follow these tips, you shouldn’t spend all Thanksgiving Day working on the meal. Take the time to enjoy your friends, family and Thanksgiving dinner. That’s the best part of the holiday!