ou’ve planned your menu. The dining room table is set. And in just four hours, a small army will be descending on your home ready to feast. No better time than for you to find out that your brother’s vegan girlfriend and her parents will also be joining. This year? No sweat. These six tips can help you turn any marathon cooking day into a total breeze, no matter what gets thrown your way.
Prepare a few dishes in advance of the big day. Save yourself the stress of trying to cook everything on Thanksgiving Day. There are plenty of recipes that can not only be made a day (or more) in advance, but they may even taste better being prepared in advance. Nothing says “I upped my game” more than making your own cranberry sauce or dinner rolls for your feast, instead of relying on the store-bought variety. The good news is these Thanksgiving staples can be prepared days in advance.
Tide over hungry guests with a few pre-dinner nibbles. Lure your hungry guests out of the kitchen and keep them sated but not too stuffed by preparing a few things for them to snack on. Spiced nuts are a great crowd-pleaser, they’re easy to make, and they’re light enough to not ruin anyone’s dinner. Another idea is to prepare an array of fall vegetable crostini or bite-sized gougères. Mmm fancy cheese puffs.
To some, it might sound impossible, but for many fearless chefs, whipping up an entire Thanksgiving feast with only one oven is the norm. So how do they do it? A huge time saver is to cook all of your desserts in advance. One less thing to cook on turkey day. Need to bake your sides? Consider doing a root vegetable medley that can all cook together or choose a temperature that suits all of your sides and bake them in the oven at the same time. Also consider no-cook sides or other appliances to stand in. A couscous salad or a couple microwaved frozen bags of corn can save the day. Want an even bigger competitive advantage? Upgrade your kitchen with an LG Oven Range with ProBake Convection™ and Easy Clean® and you’ll be turning out dishes like a pro. Thanks to its advanced convection technology, you can maximize your cooking time by baking multiple things at once and have them evenly cooked no matter the size. Best of all, it cleans up in a snap. In just 10 minutes your oven can go from “ick” to “ahh.”
They were cooked to perfection but you whipped them just a bit too long. How can you save a bowl full of starchy mashed potatoes? Change course and turn them into an even more decadent au-gratin side dish. Simply scoop the potatoes into a shallow baking dish, add a layer of shredded hard cheese (cheddar will do, or you can add a flair with some shaved Gruyere), then sprinkle on some breadcrumbs, and add a few pats of butter. Bake them in the oven until the top is golden brown and voilà, problem solved!
Never underestimate the power of prepared frozen foods. If you find yourself being thrown a curveball and you’re against the clock, reach for your freezer. Frozen veggie or pasta medleys are easy to prepare and can often be suitable for people with certain dietary restrictions or picky palates.
It’s happened to the best of us. We thought the pop-up thermometer was supposed to be foolproof. We covered the bird half-way through cooking with foil. We slathered the skin with globs of butter. And yet, somehow, it still managed to come out overcooked. Fear not! You have two ways of reviving your bird. Chicken or turkey stock, believe it or not, can help re-moisten dry meat. Ladle enough to just cover your sliced meat in a baking dish and pop it in the oven around 200ºF to let it all warm together. Your guests will be none the wiser. Alternatively, a dry bird is really lacking fat, as well as moisture, so you could always just head for the gravy, but go all out by adding a few pats of butter to really make it a decadent sauce.
The great thing about Thanksgiving is in the end, no matter what happens, we all still end up sharing a great meal with friends and family. And no burnt Brussels sprouts can ever take that away. What are your favorite Thanksgiving meal tips? How do you like to prepare for the big feast? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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