Ack! Thanksgiving is right around the corner and you’ve only just started planning! How are you going to get it all done?!
Easy. You’re going to stop using exclamation points, read this list, and make it happen.
What is the most important thing — to you — this Thanksgiving? Is it using your grandmother’s turkey recipe? Is it all of your favorite side dishes? Is it an excuse to host family and friends? Pick one. You may still be able to have it all, but it’s important to know where you should focus, and where you can pare down.
Take the magical meal you’ve planned in your head and give a good dose of reality. No one likes a stressed-out host (or to be a stressed-out host). Now that you’ve determined what’s important, you can let the stuff at the bottom of the list go … to someone else.
Buy some prepared foods.
Who says you have to cook this whole meal yourself? Handle the tasks you most enjoy — and have time for — and call in an order for the rest. Pies, sides, breads, and drinks are easily outsourced. You can also tell your guests what to bring, which leads us to …
Make it a potluck.
Hands down, potlucks are amazing. Shared food, shared friends, shared dishes, shared workloads. Why aren’t we doing this more often? Like every week?
Fry your turkey.
Have you ever had fried turkey? It’s delicious, decidedly not greasy, and it’s so much faster than traditional roasting. The best part? With fire, propane, and plenty of outdoor time away from the clatter in the kitchen, it’s the perfect activity for dudes.
Make room in the fridge.
Use a large cooler to handle all the beverages, leaving you plenty of space in your fridge to cook ahead, maneuver around ingredients, and keep your cool.
Do a DIY Drink Station.
Bring the cooler next to a table and set up an area with drinks, glasses, and ice so that guests can help themselves while you scurry about.
Serve it buffet style.
While decidedly more casual than a seated and served affair, buffets minimize stress, keep the table clear, and establish a law-and-order about food distribution. They also offer the added benefit of being able to stretch your legs (exercise?) between servings.
Bring on the slow cooker.
Even if you have more than one oven, chances are you are going to have a lot of things cooking at once. Alleviate the stress by enlisting the help of the mighty slow cooker, which can cook and keep things warm until you are ready to eat. Now’s a great time to get an extra one if you don’t have a spare. (I have three.)
Ask for help.
This is the perfect time to phone a friend, gather troops to the kitchen, and rally the forces. It’s also a great time to before the event or (and?) treat yourself to one afterward, so you can fully enjoy it after the guests have left. With plenty of leftovers.
These are our favorite Thanksgiving time-savers. What are yours?