Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year or a seasoned veteran with a well-worn apron to prove it, preparing this great American meal can be a daunting task. Pulling it all off while actually finding time to enjoy the day with friends and family can seem like a tall order, but not with these helpful tips from The Kitchen. Take a look for ways to de-stress your holiday this year.
1. Recruit Your Guests
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially when guests offer. Feel free to outsource a few dishes your guests can make and bring over the day of. This takes some of the stress off you, and helps them feel included in the meal. Have a dish or course you dread making? Ask some of your guests to pitch in and lighten your load.
2. Make it Ahead
We can’t emphasize this enough! The key to a stress-free Thanksgiving is to make as much as you can in advance. Minimizing the prep work the day of will leave you feeling more relaxed and in control, plus you won’t have as many dirty dishes to clean before guests arrive. Many recipes can easily be mixed and prepped a day or two before and kept in the fridge so all you have to do it pop it in the oven. You get all the fresh-baked great taste without the stress (or the mess).
3. Stick to the Tried and True
Cut back on some anxiety of preparing a huge meal for a hungry crowd by sticking to the recipes you know and trust. Cooking the dishes you’re familiar with keeps it easy and helps avoid a total meltdown in the kitchen if the new recipe doesn’t go as planned.
4. Prep Non-Food Before
Try to get as much done in advance as possible, including all your decorating and table prep. The week of Thanksgiving, start pulling out your platters and labeling what dish will be served in each. This is especially helpful if you have extra help in the kitchen to pull everything together. The labels help everyone know what goes where. You can also set the table days in advance and get the centerpiece and place cards set so you can check it off your list and move on to the tastier prep work.
Don’t forget to do a quick check of your kitchen appliances to make sure they’re running efficiently, especially the ones you’ll use heavily like the oven, refrigerator and dishwasher.
5. Plan it out
The best way to eliminate stress on Thanksgiving is to have a plan and stick to it. Sit down several days before Thanksgiving and work backwards making a timeline for everything that needs to happen to pull your feast off without a hitch. Plan out everything you need to do from ironing the tablecloth to grocery shopping and carving the turkey. Have your list at hand the week of Thanksgiving and watch everything fall into place without breaking a sweat.
6. Relax and Be Thankful
Thanksgiving can be hectic, especially if you’re the host, but don’t forget the reason behind all the chaos. Take time this Thanksgiving to be thankful and enjoy time with friends and family.