Nope, no judgment from us, we want to help. We believe in working smarter and not harder, and sometimes, if it weren’t for the last minute, not much would get done.
My multigenerational family is always up for trying a recipe that is easy to moderate in difficulty. We have spent this fall season trying out all kinds of tasty fare.
Many of the cooking projects involved a three and eleven-year-old helping out. I only mention this to amplify the fact that all cooking is not hard or scary. It can actually be fun and relaxing, even when you are pressed for time. (Trust me…I didn’t even know how easy it was to make homemade whipped cream before I met my husband. I thought the only choice was Cool Whip or the aerosol stuff. I know, I know!)
We have created a list of recipes that are simple, elegant, and hard to mess up. You can take comfort in trying out some of these recipes and knowing the food will taste and look great. Your family and guests will think you spend a lot of time planning for Thanksgiving.
It’s all right if you want them to think that, but as I have mentioned before, the holiday season should not be filled with stress. Ask for help and support. What a great opportunity to spend quality time together – cooking and sharing a lovely meal.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with getting online or picking up the phone to make dinner reservations for Thanksgiving. (Just saying.)
Preparing the Thanksgiving meal just requires confidence. If you don’t have confidence start by acting like you do and follow the success tips below.
- Plan a menu but keep it simple.
- Simplify the meal by reducing the number of items prepared – this will help out when the oven gets full and additional items are waiting for space in the oven.
- If you are just starting now, you are too late for a frozen turkey. Pick something else that is simple (e.g. turkey breast or ham). Both are easy and only take a fraction of the time to prepare.
- Use an oven bag for turkeys. They work wonderfully – shorten the cooking time – and provides a nice juicy main course.
- Make desserts and cranberry sauce this evening.
- If you must have every possible side dish, either cook the turkey in an electric roast, fry the turkey or get some accessories for your oven to stack side dishes.
- Try at least one thing different on the menu – something that might not be considered traditional Thanksgiving faire.
- Involve everyone living in the house – tasks can be distributed to even the youngest kids, grandparents, men, and even guest staying overnight. Think of this as a sharing opportunity that all will appreciate. (Provide aprons!)
- If you are cooking a turkey – ignore the temperature from other recipes. Most side dishes require the same temperature or are forgiving if you use anything between 350°F and 425°F.
- Secret tip: use a ramekin to prepare a small sample for tasting especially if you prepare anything the day before – it pays to be the cook.