A stress free Thanksgiving - is such a thing possible? I'm told that it is. In fact, that's what I'm aiming for myself. In order to make Thanksgiving 2017 as stress free as possible, I've come up with a plan. And because I love you all so much, I'm going to share it with you. Here's what's worked (and hasn't worked) for me when it comes to creating the most stress free Thanksgiving possible.
9 Simple Steps to a Stress Free Thanksgiving
- Prep in Advance: Who wants to spend Thanksgiving day crying over onions? Prep your carrots, celery, garlic, onions, and anything else that needs to be chopped up to three days in advance.
- Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket: Did you know that smaller turkeys cook faster and stay juicier than large ones? If you're feeding a crowd, try cooking two smaller birds instead of one big one.
- Buy the Sides: One of my favorite things to do to make Thanksgiving stress-free is to buy some of my sides. My favorite bakery makes dinner rolls and pies much better than I do. Purchasing them instead of trying to make them myself is a no brainer - it saves time and mess and gives my guests a better experience.
- Go Potluck: Expecting a crowd? Make them work for their dinner! Assign everyone a side or dessert to bring with them. You provide the drinks and the turkey and let your guests do the rest. Easiest Thanksgiving ever.
- Go Slow: Slow cooker, that is. There are plenty of sides that you can make in a slow cooker, including stuffing, casseroles, and potatoes. The more slow cookers you can get going, the more time and space you'll have in your oven for the turkey. Here are some of my favorite slow cooker recipes.
- Have a Baking Day: You don't need to make everything the day of. Give yourself some breathing room by making your pies a day or two in advance. Assemble everything, pop it in the freezer, and pull them out when it's time to bake.
- Self-Service: You've got enough to worry about - do you really need to be pouring all your guests drinks too? Set up a drink station with glasses, ice, water, and other beverages out of the way of your cooking area. Your guests can drink what they like without having to ask you for a cup or a top off.
- Create a Clean-up Crew: Thanksgiving is all fun and games until everyone leaves and you're stuck with a kitchen overflowing with dishes. Avoid this holiday downer by delegating to a clean up crew. Ask a few guests if they'd be willing to work clean-up in exchange for first go at the turkey or a little extra pie to take home. Chances are good you'll find some very willing volunteers.
- Make Doggie Bags: A few leftovers are fine, but if your refrigerator is overflowing you'll be stuck eating turkey until Christmas. Make up doggie bags and hand them to your guests as they leave. Or, if you're me, stand in the doorway and refuse to let them go unless they take some sweet potato casserole off your hands. Either way, you'll have your fridge back in no time.