It’s that time a year again. Time to talk turkey. If you are hosting Thanksgiving, you are probably in the midst of planning your menus, writing your grocery list and thinking about how you want to style your table. Below I will share my tips, tricks and go-to ideas to help create a stress-free holiday.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. One reason is because it’s centered around being together with family and friends. There is food and tradition involved with a little football thrown in so in my book, it is a winner. I thought I would share how I put together my Thanksgiving menu, and all that goes with it to create a smooth holiday that doesn’t make you feel like you’re running around like a turkey with your head cut off.
I am a big sides person. I like a variety of sides that complements the turkey, but also can be reheated over the next couple of days when I don’t feel like cooking. A pro catering tip for you is you can take side dishes that you bake and keep them warm by putting them it in a cooler. Really? Yes you can! Put foil over it and place it in a cooler and it will keep it at temp for a few hours. This is great for home and transporting to someone else’s home.
Here are the things that I have to have on my Thanksgiving table for sides.
There are a few tips about cooking turkey that I want to share with you.
The first thing you need to do is create your menu. Then break out your grocery list and decide what you can purchase in the upcoming week and what needs to be purchased the week of Thanksgiving. I highly suggest ordering a fresh turkey ahead of time so you’re guaranteed the size you need. Fresh turkeys to me are the best. I do not love a butterball turkey. Butterball turkeys injected with saline to create the “moist” texture and I like to control the flavor of my food.
Once you have your grocery list ready to go the next thing is to create your timeline.
Creating your timeline starts with things that you can make beforehand and possibly stick in the freezer like corn bread for stuffing or pie dough for crust. Turkey stock is some thing I like to do the weekend before Thanksgiving. Also, my homemade cranberry sauce can be made up to four days before it’s going to be served. For the day of Thanksgiving create a timeline that works to balance your oven space. This will help everything runs smoothly and lessen anxiety.
I am a control freak. I am a type A person who wants everything done the way I want it done so it is very hard for me to ask for help. If you are the same way, I totally get it but trust me being able to ask for help will ease some stress. When you have folks over to your house, especially on a holiday, they want to help. They don’t want to feel useless. So, I suggest you find things that you can let go of and give assignments to others to do.
A couple days before Thanksgiving. Take out your serving dishes and utensils. Take sticky notes and write what you’re going to serve on each plate or in each bowl. Why bother? Let me explain. When everything is getting ready at the same time, and your mother-in-law is breathing down your neck, you can say “would you mind putting the potatoes in the bowl marked potatoes, please”? You won’t be pulling things out of your cabinet and franticly looking for the gravy ladle you haven’t used in a year while she said “well, I wish you were ready for today”. See? In control but letting others help can be of benefit to you.
Water and ice in the glasses. That’s something that a couple of kids could do for you. Have the pitchers for water out and ready to go and give them a job to do. They will feel a part of the preparations and that helps them feel valued.
If you forgot to buy something at the store, don’t worry about it. You’re the only one that knows your menu. As Julia Child say “no one will know” so just keep going. Let it go.
Relax! Pass the gravy that isn’t lumpy. Enjoy the day and be thankful it only comes once a year.