11 Thanksgiving Life Hacks to Make Your Holiday Easier
We all love Thanksgiving. It’s a great day to relax, eat, drink, watch football, and spend time with loved ones (and even not so loved ones). But if your the host of the holiday, it can be quite stressful. It’s a lot to worry about: Is the turkey cooked correctly? Are the mashed potatoes fluffy? Did the pies cook evenly? Where are those recipes?
It’s enough to make, even the most relaxed person, stress to the point of shaking
Well, we are here to help! Look no further than the Kerr team to make your Thanksgiving as Painless and flowing with ease as possible with these
11 Thanksgiving Life Hacks to Make Your Holiday Easier
This is step one. Before you cook anything, plan ahead and make your guests feel welcome. And just because you want things to look nice, doesn’t mean you have to break the bank.
|Use pine cones from the yard, cook them on a cooking sheet in the oven for about 20 minutes on 400 degrees, to remove undesirables that have made the pine cones their home, and arrange them on a simple serving tray, or surround a glass covered candle, as a center piece for your Thanksgiving table.|
|Set the mood for your guests by setting up your own candle design. Use a simple glass, or buy one from a local warehouse store for extremely cheap, it doesn’t have to be amazing, you’re not opening a bar, just lighting a candle. Put un-popped popcorn kernels on the sides of the glass to give it a cool feel. Wrap a bow around it for added charm.|
|Use a pumpkin as a wine cooler. If you decide to make pumpkin pie from scratch, don’t discard the pumpkin itself. Line the interior with plastic wrap, fill it with ice, then place a few bottles of wine, depending on the size of the pumpkin, to give your guests a cute twist on their drinks!|
One of the hardest parts of thanksgiving that you can’t fix is space. Your counter can only hold so many items before it is full of stuff. Don’t clutter it with big, or even small, cookbooks. You don’t have room for THAT!
Plan ahead. Print out recipes before, or copy them, and tape them to your cabinet doors. This will not only save space, but keep the recipe eye level, so you can refer to it with ease.
Aside from space, another thing we can’t help is time. You can’t make more of it, but you can manage it to perfection. One of those things you can do is prep your meal by cutting your vegetables either the day before or the night before and put them in plastic sandwich bags. Do it to a precise level by splitting them up into separate bags and label them with the dish they are for. We are not all Gordon Ramsey in the kitchen, and able to cut veggies and such in one fail swoop. Take your time, don’t hurt yourself, and save it for later. Your fingers will thank you.
4.) Clean Your Potatoes with a Dishwasher
Mashed potatoes are a staple at Thanksgiving. If you have a large group of people coming, make washing potatoes an ease by washing them in the dishwasher (no soap). This will not only make it easy to clean them, but it makes peeling them a breeze. Another tip to skin them, is boil the potatoes for a little bit, then throw them in ice water. The drastic change in temperature will shock the skin and make peeling a breeze.
5.) More Potatoes
As discussed earlier, potatoes are delicious, but so time consuming. Remove that task by cooking the potatoes in a slow cooker, or at the very least, keep them warm in a crock pot. You’ll have a whole other burner for gravy (or whatever). Also, use a little bit of baking powder, this will make the potatoes even fluffier.
6.) Use Your Coolers
Again, space is key to an organized meal. Don’t use up valuable real estate in your fridge on cans of soda, wine, water, or whatever. Use your coolers. This will keep the drinks cold, while keeping the guests out of your way and hot items off their shirts. Also, if you plan on making corn, a cooler can be used quite well to cook it. Though it keeps things quite cold, it can also keep things hot. Put the ears of corn at the bottom and boil a kettle of water. Then just dump the boiling water on the corn and let physics work.
7.) Use a Coffee Thermos to Keep Gravy Warm
Again, time is key! Make your gravy beforehand and use a typical coffee thermos to keep it warm. If it works for coffee, it’ll work for gravy. Plus everyone will be impressed, and you’ll look like a culinary MacGyver. (To be an extra wiz in the kitchen, add some soy sauce to the gravy. It really adds a great kick!)
8.) Make Pies Easy
Listen, we all love pie. But it can be a hassle. Here’s a couple easy tricks to help you:
|Make your pie shell early, then freeze it. It will save not only time, but the pie will maintain its shape better in the oven. This will free up time later on.|
|Weigh down your pie crust with rice, beans, or even loose change. Just wrap the crust in napkins, or plastic wrap, or even aluminum foil.|
|To give your pie the perfect riveting around the outside of the pie crust, use an old necklace to give that perfect indentation. I recommend an old necklace, so you don’t ruin your Sunday’s best.|
9.) Perfect Stuffing
To avoid a mess, use a cupcake tray to cook your stuffing. This, not only portions out the stuffing equally among your guests, but this gives it the perfect amount of browning to the stuffing, while it cooks in the oven.
10.) Use a Wine Glass to Cut Biscuits
Use an older wine glass to cut biscuits out of your dough. I’d say an older glass, just in case you put too much pressure and break the glass. But doing this will give your biscuits uniformity and make the cutting a breeze.
11.) The Turkey
The Turkey is the centerpiece of this meal. There are several ways that you can spruce up the turkey, or save it if your like me.
Take a Look:
Ice Down Your Turkey before cooking it to keep it from drying out. Believe it or not, this works. Cook the breast at a slightly lower temperature, this will solve the problem of the white meat cooking faster than the dark.
|Slow the cook the turkey overnight to save the oven space. Yes, you can. And yes, this will make your Thanksgiving feel infinitely easier. Pop the bird in the oven the evening before and wake up to a nearly completed Thanksgiving feast.||
|DIY Aluminum Foil Roasting Rack. The point of a rack is to hold your bird above the pan so heat can circulate evenly. Who says it has to be made of wire or cost a lot of money? If you don’t have the store-bought variety, crumple some sheets of foil into thick ropes and wrap them in coils on the bottom of your pan. Or go biodegradable and place the bird on a bed of halved onions, carrots and celery.|
|Use Chicken Broth as a Revive Your Turkey. Overcooked the bird? Before you spirit that platter of dried-out breast meat to the table, drizzle it with a little warm chicken broth. It’ll help moisten the meat and add flavor. This is also a good trick for perking up slices that have gone from room temp to cold.|
|Cook white meat and dark meat separately. Never, never let dry breast meat happen to you. Check out this helpful video that shows exactly how to break down a turkey into parts, then cook separately with recipes like Butter-Roasted Turkey Breast and Braised Turkey Thighs.|
Measuring Cup As a Fat Separator. The secret to great gravy is skimmed — not greasy — pan drippings. If you’re without a fat separator, pour your drippings into a large heatproof measuring cup and pop it in the freezer. As the drippings cool, the fat will rise to the top and solidify, making it easy to skim off with a spoon.
All that’s left is time to feast.
For Clean Up, the best advice I can give, clean as you go. It’ll save up so much more time and leave you more space to cook.
And, as Always:
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