Gobble, gobble, Foodies! Thanksgiving is right around the corner and the heat in the kitchen is on. The stress of preparing the perfect family dinner doesn’t have to weigh down your holiday. Follow these few easy steps and you’ll be enjoying a glass of wine with your guests instead of slaving over a hot stove!
1. Prep, Prep, Prep, and cook side dishes ahead of time! Whether sides like mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, homemade sweet bourbon cranberry sauce (recipe follows!), or macaroni and cheese grace your dining room table, they don’t have to crowd your cooking style Thanksgiving day. Prep these dishes early the day before and bake them or heat through day-of. It will save you time, dishes, and counter space when family members are finding their way into the kitchen.
2. Use citrus to keep turkey moist and greens and vegetables vibrant. One of my favorite kitchen “tools,” lemons, oranges, and limes work for you. Place wedges under your bird and inside the turkey cavity or juice and zest for a finishing touch over simple steamed vegetables and salad.
3. Get creative with leftovers! I always like stocking up on quart and gallon size bags to send guests home with leftovers but I always make sure to save some for myself too! Get creative with your leftovers. My husbands specialty? Stuffing omelets for breakfast the next day. It’s a great way to keep the festivities going for family who stay over.
4. Delegate chores for your guests and don’t feel guilty! Wash as you go. Don’t let dishes pile up. Have little ones help set the table. Get Grandpa Bob to bartend. After all of your planning, shopping, and time spent cooking, they’ll be happy to help and even more happy when they take the first bite of your hard work.
5. Pick the perfect wine. Red or wine, chose a wine that you enjoy and your guests will enjoy it. Even better? Taste test inexpensive versions in the weeks before, that way, you know you love it and you can suggest it as an affordable bottle to your friends and family. As a fun extra, take on the role as critic and write a brief description of each for guests (think describe flavor notes and include region, which you can find on the label). Display them in cute mini frames on your “bar.”
Sweet Bourbon Cranberry Sauce
While many families are torn between the classic canned gelatin stuff and its chunky homemade brother, this simple recipe will be sure to have your guests wondering what’s the secret ingredient!
1 bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup of apple or orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
In a small saucepan combine all ingredients. Simmer stirring frequently until the cranberries burst and the cranberry sauce thickens, about 25 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!
The key to hosting any holiday is to remember to breath. The reality is, your guests are more forgiving than you think and as long as the conversation is rolling and you’re together, it was a success. So this year, enjoy a little more, stress a little less, and relax…there’s always stuffing omelets to fall back on 🙂
From a grateful wife, blessed new-mom, and fellow foodie, Eat Well and Happy Thanksgiving,
Stephanie a.k.a. The Foodetarian