November 15, 2016

5 Time-saving Tips for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday full of family, friends, and food. It is something I always look forward too all year long, but totally stress about when it’s our turn to host. How to build a menu to please everyone at the table? How to coordinate cooking the whole meal in our oven? So much to think about! Over the years I’ve mastered a few time saving tips and here they are. I hope they help you too!

5 Timesaving Tips for Thanksgiving | The Naptime Chef

1) The War Room: A few weeks before Thanksgiving pour yourself a glass of wine and set up your war room. Jot down menu ideas, cooking times, ingredients lists and the like and meditate on them. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was any Thanksgiving menu that I know of. The more you plan ahead the easier time you’ll have as the holiday approaches. Pick up whatever groceries you can do. Frozen fruits and vegetables can certainly stay in the freezer, wines, beers, and any dry grain won’t spoil so stock up on them before the mad rush. Having your strategy formed and larder stocked will make it so much easier as you head into the holiday.

5 Timesaving Tips for Thanksgiving | The Naptime Chef

2) Frozen Produce: Frozen fruits and vegetables are your friend. Someone kindly froze them fresh at the farm so you can cook them in a microwave-friendly bag, or drop them straight into soups without having to worry about prepping from scratch. There is no better time saver than not having to waste time peeling and chopping. Stock up on all the frozen vegetables you’d like from now until Thanksgiving and you’ve already shaved a lot of time off your kitchen clock on actual Thanksgiving Day.

Green Beans & Bacon Casserole | The Naptime Chef

3) Make-Ahead and Reheat: I’ve learned the hard way that it simply isn’t possible to cook everything from scratch on Thanksgiving morning. Do yourself a favor and make at least half your meal food that can be made in advance and reheated, or something that doesn’t require any preparation at all. Here are a few of my favorites that fit into the make-ahead category:

5 Timesaving Tips for Thanksgiving | The Naptime Chef

4) Less is More: Unless you have a small army of helpers do not try and recreate the same feast spread you spotted in Martha Stewart Living last month. It is too much work and every one eats way too much food. When you are in the war room this month (see #1), widdle down your menu until you have curated a selection of dishes everyone loves. You can’t please everyone so don’t worry about that. As long as there is a little something for each guest you’ll be just fine.

5) Assign Jobs: Thanksgiving isn’t about you being a slave to your kitchen and devoting yourself to pleasing everyone except yourself. Assign rolls as soon as you know who will be at your table. There should be a sommelier/cocktail master, table-setter, server, and more. If you have guests you have helpers, don’t shy away from asking everyone to participate, especially if they have a particular strength. Your friend in the wine industry should be serving the wine! Remember, many hands make light work and you deserve to enjoy your holiday too.

(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cascadian Farm as part of our ongoing partnership. The photographs and opinions are wholly my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that support The Naptime Chef.)

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