Thanksgiving elicits thoughts of tables filled with loved ones, plates piled high with food, and warm memories to last a lifetime. Besides the time spent with your friends and family, the highlight of the Thanksgiving holiday is that crispy, juicy, golden turkey that sits front and centre on your table. Do you sit up the night before Thanksgiving, wide-eyed and caffeine-fuelled as you obsessively Google how to prep and cook a turkey or search through hundreds of pins on Pinterest for the perfect recipe? This year, shut down the computer and relax with a glass of wine or sneak a piece of pie because with these tips, you won't have to worry about a thing.
Don't Set Yourself Up for Failure
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is putting the burden of a lavish feast completely on yourself. If you think you're going to be able to prepare six side dishes, a turkey, and two pies along with fresh, homemade buns, you're either drunk or crazy! You can ask your guests to bring a dish to share or you can stick with two or three sides and just make larger amounts of them. When you're scurrying around the kitchen and cooking a bunch of different things, something is bound to give and it's always better to serve a few quality dishes instead of a large amount of mush.
Start Things in Advance
Maybe it's as simple as cutting up vegetables the night before, but the more you can do ahead of time the easier your entire meal prep will be. Dishes like stuffing and rolls can be made the day before and just reheated without sacrificing their taste. You'll save even more time if the things you prepare ahead of time can just be loaded right into their baking dish so all you have to do is pop it into the oven.
Break Up the Turkey
Turkeys take so long to cook because you have 20 pounds of meat all connected with bone, tendons, and fat. This year, try cooking the breasts separately from the legs and wings. You'd be surprised at how quickly your cooking time speeds up when everything is in pieces. You can throw the legs in a slow cooker with herbs and garlic and you'll have sinfully tender dark meat that might turn even the snobbiest white meat purist to the dark side.
Order Your Dessert
That doesn't mean you have to choose from the sludge in the freezer section of your grocer. Instead, you can order your pie or cake from the local bakery and it might turn out better than your age-old sweet potato pie recipe ever did. You'll also be supporting a local business and that's never a bad thing.
Healthy Doesn't Have to Be a Dirty Word
Don't let the idea of a healthy Thanksgiving make you wrinkle your nose and imagine bland Tofurkey and steamed broccoli. You can still have your decadent meals without gorging on butter and fat laden foods. Just tweak a few things and you can indulge without the guilt.
- Throw out the turkey skin. Yes, we know, it's the absolute best part of the turkey. It's crispy and juicy and full of flavour, but it's also filled with calories and you just don't need them, okay?
- Don't save your hunger for Thanksgiving dinner. Lots of people skip breakfast and lunch so they have "more room" for dinner. Don't. You'll overeat and you'll have a hefty case of indigestion and misery. Eat a healthy breakfast and a light lunch, but for the love of all that is holy, eat before dinner.
- Portion out your dessert. You might be sorely tempted by that second slice of pie, but you know you can skip it. Pair your pie with a cup of good coffee and a splash of your favourite creamer, instead.
As you're slaving over a hot stove and wondering why you agreed to be this year's cook, remember it will all be worth it when you're munching on a morsel of tender turkey and dipping into a mound of fluffy potatoes. Happy Thanksgiving!
Photo credits: shutterstock.comPosted by Terry Paranych on