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Thanksgiving is the time to spend time with family and friends and give thanks for the wonderful people in our lives and all the benefits we enjoy on this day and all year long. We all want to cook a great meal for our guests to show them how much we care, but we definitely can’t enjoy their company if we’re slaving away in the kitchen! With these Thanksgiving Hacks, you’ll learn how to throw an amazing Thanksgiving dinner without the hassle, so you can get out of the kitchen and visit with your guests!
For more brilliant Thanksgiving Hacks, check out the following:
Thanksgiving Hacks That Will Make Your Life So Much Easier
Having your recipes and cookbooks strewn all over the kitchen is going to hinder, not help, productivity. To help streamline the cooking process, tape your recipes at eye level. This way, you can reference your recipes easily without having to search all over the kitchen to see where you left them last. Plus, taping recipes up high will reduce the risk of food stains on your printouts or favorite cookbooks. Covering your pages with clear plastic sheet protectors offers even more protection against food splatters, so you can save your printouts for next year! Check out this lovely DIY Recipe Binder to store your recipe printouts. These binders also make great gifts!
PREP AHEAD OF TIME
Certain tasks can be done before Turkey Day, so you don’t have to rush so much to get everything done. Check out Early Thanksgiving Prep Ideas to Make the Holiday So Much Easier for a breakdown of tasks you can perform before Thanksgiving to make your holiday amazingly easier!
ALL NATURAL DIY HOME FRAGRANCE
I try to keep my home as all natural as possible. This means I never use conventional fragrance products, which contain known carcinogens and other dangerous chemicals. Of course, this includes common household products like Febreze, Glade PlugIns and sprays, and most scented candles on the market.
So what should you do to make your house smell fresh and festive for your guests? You can buy safe, all natural fragrance products like essential oils and diffusers and wax warmers and melts (to learn more about the essential oil diffusers I use, check out this post), or you can do this quick and easy DIY trick. Simply boil a mixture of natural materials like cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract, apple peels, orange rinds, and whole cloves in water. The scents from these all natural ingredients will fill your home and last for hours. Just make sure to do this early in the day before you need to use the stovetop for Thanksgiving dinner. If you don’t want to make up your own scent mixture, check out this tutorial that will show you exactly what to do.
PREP THE TURKEY
This article claims icing down turkey breast before cooking results in a moister bird! We will definitely be trying this incredibly easy hack this year!
Holiday dinners are all about time and oven management. If you’re like most of us and have only one oven, you may be stressing about getting all your sides baked in time for dinner. This is why the overnight turkey cooking method is so nice – when the turkey is cooked early, you don’t have to worry about oven space.
However, even if you don’t use this overnight method, you still shouldn’t stress too much about baking your sides. Just keep your menu simple. You can easily bake a few sides, such as green bean casserole, candied yams, and rolls, after the turkey comes out of the oven. A large turkey should stay warm for about an hour after removing it from the oven. To help your turkey stay warm, place a piece of foil loosely over the bird to both keep some heat in while not further steaming the turkey.
You can also simplify this process by prepping side dishes ahead of time so that all you have to do is take the prepped baking dish out of the fridge and pop it in the oven.
TABLE SETTING ETIQUETTE
No matter your hosting style, Emily Post has you covered with this Thanksgiving Table Setting Guide.
SET UP A BUFFET
Keep that gorgeous Thanksgiving centerpiece on the table and avoid cluttering the table with hot dishes. Streamline dinner by letting guests get up to serve themselves at this handy buffet table.
SIMPLIFY HOLIDAY DRINKS
Buying everyone’s favorite drinks (especially alcohol!) can get incredibly expensive. Plus, it’s just more to buy, which adds to your holiday stress. Pick a couple special drinks you think most guests will like. You can offer at least one non-alcoholic and one alcoholic (if you serve alcohol at Thanksgiving) beverage option. Then, let your guests know ahead of time what you’ll be offering and that they can bring their favorite drinks if they would like. If you don’t want to spend money on alcohol at all, it’s perfectly fine to tell your guests it’s BYOB. Just be sure to offer some non-alcoholic options, including water, Perrier, holiday punch, coffee – whatever you’d like.
KEEP GUESTS HAPPY
Guests with hungry, rumbly tummies are no fun. Make the wait for dinner less uncomfortable for you and your guests with a fancy cheese platter or some cute turkey platters the kids will love!
MASHED POTATO HACK
Not much is worse than cold potatoes! Keep mashed potatoes warm in a slow cooker while you finish preparing the rest of the meal. Mashed potatoes not fluffy enough? Just add a dash of baking powder, which reacts with the mashed potatoes to form air pockets to make them super light and fluffy.
MEASURING CUP FAT SEPARATOR
My mom taught me this cool little trick. When making gravy, you want to skim as much fat from the drippings as possible, so you don’t have greasy gravy. To do this, my mother always put the drippings in a glass measuring cup and popped it in the freezer until the fat started to solidify on the top and she could skim it off easily. You could also avoid this step altogether – at least on the holiday. Keep scrolling to learn why you may want to make your gravy ahead of time this year.
THERMOS GRAVY WARMER
If your gravy is heated and ready well before dinnertime, pop it in a Thermos to keep it warm while the rest of the meal is prepared. When you’re ready to serve the gravy, simply pour it into a gravy boat, and you’re all set!
CHICKEN BROTH FOR DRY TURKEY
Even the best cook can dry out a turkey – it’s so easy to do! If this happens to you, don’t worry. Simply pour chicken broth over the turkey to moisten and add flavor to overcooked meat. You can also do this to warm turkey pieces that have cooled to room temperature.
GRATE YOUR BUTTER
Nothing’s worse than forgetting to take your butter out of the fridge or freezer to soften for baking, especially when cooking on a busy holiday when the timing of your dishes needs to be just right. Softening butter in the microwave almost always makes it too soft. With this amazing hack, you just grate your butter, which allows it to soften really quickly, and you’ll be ready to bake in no time! Grating is also great (see what I did there?) for biscuit recipes that can benefit from using cold butter. Get the details at the link below.
From The Kitchn
INGENIUS BISCUIT CUTTER
Don’t have a biscuit cutter in your kitchen, but want to make fresh, homemade biscuits for the holiday? Check out this ingenious hack using a wine glass!
From South by Southeast
SOFTEN BUTTER IN NO TIME
Need softened butter right away for homemade biscuits or rolls? I have a butter softening setting on my microwave that works pretty well, but it sometimes melts my butter and even the microwave is prime real estate on Turkey Day! Soften butter way faster without the risk of melting it with this easy hack. Microwave a glass with a little water in it, discard the water, and dry the glass. Invert the glass over the stick of butter. In a few minutes, your butter is softened.
Putting all the stuffing in the turkey will make most of your stuffing soft and moist. If you like the crunchy parts of this side dish, consider baking in muffin tins to increase crunch. Check out the instructions at the link below, along with an awesome Pancetta + Sage Stuffing recipe!
From A Cozy Kitchen
Space in the refrigerator is prime real estate this time of year. Create more cool space with a cooler filled with ice. This is especially great to keep drinks cold. Plus, you can keep coolers filled with drinks outside the kitchen for easy access for your guests.
If all your dishes aren’t ready at the same time, you can also use coolers without the ice to keep food warm. Just be sure to protect the plastic from melting with plenty of pot holders!
COOL YOUR BEER IN MINUTES
Are you and your guests ready to watch football, but you forgot to chill the beers?! What a disaster! Actually, there’s an awesome hack for that – simply wrap a wet towel around each beer, and pop them in the fridge. They’ll be ice cold in about 15 minutes!
KEEP KIDS ENTERTAINED
Give kids their own table with a creative DIY Kraft Paper Table Runner they can draw on and color to keep them entertained during dinner!
From Dawn Nicole Designs
LEFTOVER STATION [FREE PRINTABLES]
Are you worried your Thanksgiving leftovers will go to waste? Set up a leftover station to send your guests home with their favorite holiday foods in style with these super cute and creative free printables!
These Thanksgiving Hacks are a great way to help you streamline holiday hosting prep, so you can get out of the kitchen, unwind, and mingle with friends and family, instead of slaving away all day in the kitchen!
Don’t forget to check out 10 Free + Low Cost Thanksgiving Supplies You Need for a Seamless Turkey Day and Early Thanksgiving Prep Ideas to Make the Holiday So Much Easier for even more invaluable Thanksgiving Hacks!
I would love to hear from you!
What do you think of this list of Thanksgiving Hacks? Are there any tips I’ve forgotten that would help the Sarah Blooms community? Please let me know in the comments below! If you try any of these hacks this year, please come back and tell me how they worked out for you.
More Thanksgiving Hacks: