The leaves are falling, the air is crisp, and the days are darker, which can only mean one thing–Thanksgiving is upon us! While October has candy and December has gifts, November has its own claim to fame: Thanksgiving dinner. Whether it’s your first time or your 10th time, hosting Thanksgiving dinner can be very stressful and complicated, so here are five dinner prep tips you’ll be thankful for:
1. Set the Menu in Advance
Aside from the obvious star of the meal, it’s important that you decide on the rest of your menu ahead of time to allow for your guests’ preferences and any dietary restrictions. If you’re trying out new recipes, you’ll want the extra time to perfect them, and if you’re cooking your favorite dishes, you’ll need to stock up on ingredients before they sell out!
2. Do Your Due Diligence if it’s Pot Luck
Whether you requested it or your guests offered, if someone else is bringing food to your Thanksgiving meal, you need to be properly prepared. You should make sure it’s not a dish anyone else is bringing, check to see if anyone has allergies to be mindful of, and find out if it’s being precooked and reheated or if you need to make space and allot time to cook it.
3. Stick to Your Schedule
As many people eat Thanksgiving “dinner” earlier than their typical dinner, the day can seem much shorter–and much busier. That’s why it’s important to get any decorating and table setting done in advance so you can concentrate on your busy kitchen. Make a list of all your cooking times ahead of time and coordinate your schedule around them to ensure everything is ready for when your guests arrive.
4. Use All Your Appliances for More Cooking Options
All of your kitchen appliances will get a workout on Thanksgiving and it can be hard to get all of your dishes cooked in time when they’re in constant use. If your turkey is monopolizing the oven for over four hours, how are you going to roast your potatoes or make your favorite brussel sprouts? This is where your instant cooker, crockpot, air fryer, and other underused appliances can shine!
5. Precook and Freeze When Possible
While it would be nice to have all of your dishes made fresh and served immediately, sometimes it’s just not possible. Take a look at your menu and see what dishes will still retain their taste and texture if they’re prepared in advance, frozen, and reheated, like stuffing, dough for rolls, sweet potato casserole and more.
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