Ah, the holidays. A time for family and friends to gather together and a small band of them to prepare a gigantic feast requiring all 4 (or 6) stove burners, both ovens, the toaster and a slow-cooker – and cheese ball recipes (or 3). Instead of stressing about the meal, plan to take time to work smarter and be thankful for these Thanksgiving tips.
23 Thanksgiving Hostess Tips for the Lazy
Don’t worry about being impressive: Let the cutlery, place mats, plates and cups mismatch; Thanksgiving is about family and food, not what the table looks like. If you want a centerpiece terribly bad, put the turkey on a lazy Susan—the turkey is the star of the meal anyway.
Leaf place markers: If you want a mix of casual and chic, head outside to the driveway and pick up some dried leaves. Use a sharpie or metallic sharpie to write your guests’ names on them and place them with their setting. For an added flare, see The Paper Mama’s version.
Keep an ice chest handy with refrigerator space being such a precious commodity during the holidays, use an ice chest to keep unused condiments and other small items cold while keeping refrigerator shelves open for holiday ingredients.
Lay out a cutting board with meat, cheese, and bread and let guests help themselves. You do not have to work too hard for a pre-course to the huge feast already in the works, and un-entertained guests can keep themselves busy cutting up snacks.
Make time for family by making your turkey in a slow cooker. You will not have to constantly watch it and it will turn out moist and delicious.
If you are hard-set to make your turkey in the oven, try an overnight turkey. Prepare the bird, then go to sleep. By 7 a.m., it should be ready to go!
Slide veggies alongside the turkey. If you have the turkey down, but are looking for an additional vegetable side, try combining all of the vegetables into one pan and roast them next to your turkey. Add some herbs and move on to other dishes that need fixin’.
Slow-cooker mashed potatoes, why not get multiple slow cookers working for you and try out this recipe? You can customize these mashed potatoes in so many different ways, or keep them plain and traditional to please the simple folk. Once they are done cooking, you can keep the slow cooker on “warm” while you finish preparing the feast.
More Time Savers
Potato-peel hack: Ok, the slow-cooker will save time mashing the potatoes, but the peeling can still take a lot of effort. Try this peeling hack to save your veggie peeler and some active-hostess time.
Who doesn’t love a recipe you can make ahead? If you love your mashed potatoes swimming in gravy, try out this make-ahead gravy to save time on Thanksgiving Day.
Finally, a couple hacks for gravy! If your gravy is too runny, add equal parts water and flour, bring the gravy to a boil and add bits of the paste until it is the desired consistency. If it is lumpy, use your blender to quickly puree the sauce.
This side is pretty simple as is, but check out this 4-ingredient classic recipe. Just mix, bake and top with fried onions!
Sometimes store-bought is necessary. Rolls can be tricky. Unless you have someone who makes really great dinner rolls, just buy store-bought. If you know someone who is great with bread baking, tell them that’s their ticket to Thanksgiving dinner and have them contribute to the meal.
If you don’t want to buy rolls, give overnight rolls a try along with the overnight turkey. It’s amazing what you can do in your sleep!
Working Smarter Not Harder, Even in the Kitchen
Maybe opt for something different. With 5 ingredients and 2 steps, this cranberry-orange sauce is sure to jazz up your table with minimal effort.
Cheat time with these amazing pecan pie cookies. If you don’t have enough time, or energy, to make yet another pie, give these yummy cookies a go. Half the time but still satisfying a thanksgiving tradition? We’ll take it!
Because a throw-together casserole is just as “divine.” This Sweet Potato Casserole recipe is a throw-together casserole with candied pecans on top; serve as a side or as dessert!
Well, this is different! This 3-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Pumpkin Pie is DELICIOUS, even if it looks different from it’s traditional counterpart. So try out this easy recipe, perfect for the lazy hostess!
Okay, This Will Work
If there are lots of cooks in the kitchen, make an impromptu rolling pin out of an empty wine bottle. Dish washing should be a chore for after dinner, not during the preparations.
S0, here’s a thought…try some NO-BAKE recipes! If you’re tired, in general, of baking or you want to change up the traditional menu, try this no bake pumpkin cheesecake. It requires some time, but not too much effort.
Use paint stirrers for even dough. While rolling out pie dough, roll the rolling pin across paint stirrers to quickly create even dough thickness.
Bonus tip: Make stew with all of your thanksgiving leftovers. Combine all kinds of leftovers into a Day-After Soup.
Whether you are the only one cooking Thanksgiving dinner, you have help, or you have too much help, these tips can aid your dinner preparations and make room for family time avoid holiday hostess misery.