Thanksgiving Survival Guide – 11 Tips for a Stress Free Turkey Dinner
Hosting Thanksgiving can seem like a daunting task: cleaning, cooking a huge turkey, side dishes, desserts and entertaining company! It can make any host feel a bit stressed. However, it’s important to remember what Thanksgiving is all about: family, friends and giving thanks.
Here are 11 tips that will help reduce stress this Thanksgiving.
1. Get a final head count 2 weeks out
Give your guests a deadline to RSVP and ask for a firm commitment about two weeks out. This way you can be well prepared for the day and you’ll know how many people to shop and cook for.
2. Make an agenda 1 week in advance
Do you want a buffet or a sit down meal? Figure out where you want guests to sit and if you have enough chairs. Decide what time you would like to serve the meal and plan the rest of the day around this main event.
3. Don’t do it all alone
Take some of the pressure off yourself. If your guests are willing to pitch in, talk to them about a dish they can bring. And if baking isn’t your thing, pick up some tasty desserts from your local bakery.
4. Make a menu 1 week in advance
Decide what to serve and keep dishes relatively simple. You don’t want to be overwhelmed by a dish with a lot of ingredients on the day of the holiday. Note what you’ll be serving from appetizers through dessert, what guests are bringing, and what times dishes should be started.
5. Make a grocery list and shop early
Buy non-perishables ahead of time and perishables a few days in advance. This will enable you to start cooking ahead of time.
6. Cook side dishes in advance
Many side dishes can be made ahead of time. You can cook them earlier in the week and warm them up on Thursday. To take the guesswork out of recipes, use an EatSmart Products Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale to measure out ingredients. The tare feature subtracts the weight of the container and previous ingredients so you can measure everything into one bowl. It saves on measuring cups and dishes, giving you some extra time.
7. Have a family member set the table in advance
The night before your helpers can put out dishes, napkins and flat wear. Do a quick walk through to make sure the house looks the way you want it to.
8. Have containers for leftovers
If you’re planning on sending people home with leftovers have inexpensive containers so that you can divvy food up. Don’t give out your favorite container because you might never see it again!
9. Know how long it will take to cook the turkey
If your turkey is frozen, it takes about 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey when defrosting the bird. Then, it takes about 13 minutes of cooking time for every pound of turkey. This is when using our EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Thermometer comes in handy. It gives you an accurate temperature reading in seconds, so you know when your turkey is ready to eat. As a bonus, the probe is thin so all of the juices stay in the turkey rather than running into the pan.
10. Set aside 30 minutes for yourself
Give yourself time to get ready and catch your breath. This way you won’t feel frazzled or exhausted when your guests arrive.
11. Enjoy your meal and give thanks
Sit down and enjoy the dinner you prepared with your family and friends. In the spirit of the holiday, you can invite everyone to name someone or something they are particularly grateful for this year.