Thanksgiving has been called the Super Bowl for cooks, and for good reason—it’s an important holiday that lets home cooks put their skills to the test and wow their guests. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving can also mean big stress for the host. But running around like a headless turkey isn’t much fun for you or your guests. Learn how you can host a streamlined and simplified Thanksgiving from prep to cleaning so that you can enjoy everything the day has to offer without the hassle.
Taking the time to create a detailed plan that includes shortcuts without shortchanges can ensure your holiday is memorable for all the right reasons. Include your menu, the necessary ingredients, a food prep and cooking schedule, ideas for decorations and planned activities.
Prepare ingredients in advance.
Chop the celery and cube the bread for the dressing, make and freeze the dough for the rolls and get your turkey out and thawing according to the USDA’s safe thawing guidelines. Then you’ll only need to mix and cook on the big day. Items like pies, cranberry sauces, relishes and flavored butters can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated until the big reveal.
Simplify your entire day.
Offering an enormous Thanksgiving spread for Thanksgiving can be fun, but that can backfire when you end up with four different types of potatoes, three breads and a half-dozen different desserts. Trim your menu to keep the stress and the inevitable leftovers under control. Focus on serving family favorites with a few new twists, and plan to send some leftovers home with guests so that you have less on your own plate.
If your brother or cousin asks if you need help, say, “Yes!” Even if you’re not willing to turn over the reins of your cooking to others, they can still pitch in some candles, extra supplies, a nice bottle of wine or assist with prep work or the post-meal cleanup.
Clean as you go.
Reduce your to-do list by washing up dishes as you use them rather than later in the day. This helps keep your sink empty, your mind free of worries and the mess you’ll have to deal at the end of the day limited.
While we often focus on the turkey and its trimmings, Thanksgiving is really about spending time with those you love. By planning your day in detail, preparing as much ahead of time as you can, simplifying and delegating, you can actually relax and enjoy the holiday with family and friends.
Remember a safe Thanksgiving is a happy Thanksgiving, so follow our safety tips part one and part two. American Home Shield has even more great tips to help you have a manageable and simplified Thanksgiving.