November 23, 2010

Tips, Tidbits & Tricks: Countdown to Thanksgiving

The countdown is on! These tips will help keep you sane on the big day.

- If you haven't done your shopping already, go soon! Stores get more and more crowded as the holiday approaches.

- Make dishes ahead of time. Good choices: mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, casseroles. You can even make the gravy ahead of time. Just warm over low heat, adding more stock if too thick.

- Have your side dishes ready to pop in the oven as soon as the turkey's out to rest. It can rest up to 30 minutes, giving you plenty of time to warm the potatoes through, bake off the rolls, and saute some green beans.

- Things always take longer than you think. So just know that going in, then try not to stress. A stressed-out hostess makes everyone else at the party tense and unhappy. So don't let that be you.

- Set up the table the night before. That way you aren't scrambling to find more wine glasses or serving pieces while you are cooking.

- Create a plan of attack. Make a list of all that you need to do, the time it takes, and work backwards.

- Keep things easy with store-bought appetizers. You'll free up time and counter space. Cheese and crackers, olives, and nuts are delicious paired with a Thanksgiving cocktail.

- Take butter out of the fridge early in the day so it can soften. Mmmmm....butter.

- If the turkey's browning too fast, simply cover the breast with aluminum foil.

- Fill the sink with hot, soapy water so cutlery and small dishes can soak once you finish the meal.

- Relax. Your Thanksgiving will be great! Especially if you brined your turkey and riced your potatoes.