Thanksgiving is almost here and some of us are starting to panic – so much to do, so little time. But relax, here are some of the best tips that we have found to take some stress out of your family dinner:
1. Sticky Notes – Yes,sticky notes can be the key to getting everything to the table piping hot and at the same time. Wednesday lay out all of your serving plates, bowls, and utensils. Choose and label the dishes as well as the utensils with a sticky note for every item on your menu. The earlier you do this, the sooner you realize which dish or utensils you still need, giving you plenty of time to find a substitue, call your Mom in a panic, or make a quick dash to the store. Come turkey day you’re all set and your kitchen helpers won’t need to ask some many distracting questions.
2. Don’t forget about your travelers – Offer nibbles for when guests first arrive. As stressed as you may be in the kitchen, sitting in DC traffic isn’t much fun either. Having appetizers laid out to take away the “grumpys” will keep everyone calm.
3. “What can I Bring?” – Surely at least one family member has offered to bring a dish and you are never sure what to say. Well, the best is dessert, because you can never have too many, and because it is unlikely to upset your soon-to-be well-planned timing. If not dessert, perhaps a salad or an appetizer that does not require re-heating.
4. “In the Bird” vs “Outside the Bird”– Stuffing cooked outside the turkey can be made ahead of time and easily adjusted for “oops”. If your stuffing is dryer than you want it to be, drizzle it with a little broth or melted butter. Too wet? Bake it uncovered and it won’t be anymore. When you cook the stuffing separately, you can make it a day ahead and adjust to your heart’s content.
If you haven’t been able to keep up with the week by week planner don’t fear. All is not lost. Here’s a rundown on what can be completed this coming week:
- Clean out your refrigerator and freezer
- Go shopping for your perishables
- Put turkey in the refrigerator to begin defrosting
- Iron linens, if necessary
- Polish silver, if necessary
- Prepare you “make ahead pie crusts” by Martha Stewart
- Print off all your recipes and and make sure you have all necessary ingredients
- Cut up bread for stuffing. Season as desired and place on a cookie sheet in a preheated oven (then turned off) overnight to dry. Store in plastic bag
- Chop up veggies, fruit, and herbs for the stuffing and seal in plastic zip-loc bag
- Prepare pies, cover and refrigerate
- Prepare “make-ahead” side dishes