Thanksgiving Cooking Hacks
I think the reason I am able to put everything together is because I had such a great teacher…my Mom. She made Thanksgiving dinner every year and I was her kitchen assistant. Each Thanksgiving morning, we chopped, mixed, and stuffed, all while watching the Macy’s Day parade. I guess by the time I went to college, I had been doing it so long, it was old hat for me. Thank you Mom!
- Do your grocery shopping several days in advance, so if you forget something, you have time to run back.
- Make a list before you go grocery shopping, so you do not forget unique items that you would not normally purchase.
- You will have a lot more dishes-make sure you have fresh kitchen towels available for drying.
- Make certain your oven is clean and ready to use.
- Make certain you are stocked up on dish and dishwasher detergent. There is nothing worse than having no dish soap when you make your kids do the dishes.
- If someone asks to help, let them. You cannot do it all yourself.
- If you have burn a pan, sprinkle it with baking soda and a few teaspoons of salt, then an inch or two of water and soak the pan overnight.
- Wear comfortable shoes while working in the kitchen. If you don’t, by the end of the day, your feet and legs will be so tired, you can barely stand.
- Polish copper pans with a touch of ketchup.
- Cleaning a turkey is a dirty job. Make sure you start with a very clean sink. Have bleach spray available to clean out your sink before, and after, cleaning the turkey. Salmonella is not your friend.
- Remember to take the giblet bags out of the turkey before cooking.
- If you burn the turkey a little, do not throw it out the back door. Just slice it-it will be okay.
- Make what you can in advance. I make my gravy a few days before and freeze.
- Make certain that the turkey is completely thawed. Under cooked turkey is gross! (This one I will admit to–it has happened to me, and I have been at others houses where they served rare/raw turkey. Blech!) Check it the night before. If it is still partially frozen, soak it in a salt brine for a few hours, and then refrigerate.
- Keep a fire extinguisher and/or baking soda available for kitchen disasters.
- Over salt the veggies? Throw a piece of potato in the water and it will absorb some of the salt.
- Put ice cream in a plastic baggie before you put it in the freezer, the ice cream will stay soft.
- Keep baggies, storage containers, and aluminum foil handy for leftovers.
- Has your champagne or sparkling wine gone flat? Throw a raisin in the bottle and the bubbles will come back.
- If the veggies on your veggie tray get limp, throw them in a bowl of ice water to bring back the crunch.
- Did you burn the gravy? Add a tiny bit of peanut butter, which will “soak” up the burnt flavor.
Kitchen Necessities Shopping List
√ Chicken or Turkey Stock
√ Chicken Seasoning
√ Yams or Sweet Potatoes
√ Brown Sugar
√ Cornstarch or Super-fine Flour (Wondra)
√ Herbs (Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Basil)
√ Heavy Cream
√ Balsamic Vinegar
√ Olive Oil
√ Bread Crumbs
√ Cooking Spray
√ Fresh or Frozen Vegetables
√ Cream Cheese
√ Sour Cream
√ Cream of _______ soup (Mushroom, Chicken etc)
√ Sweetened Condensed Milk
√ Club Soda
√ Coffee and Tea bags
√ Aluminum Foil
√ Plastic Wrap
√ Quart and Gallon size baggies
√ Cheese cloth
√ Kitchen Twine
√ Paper Towels
√ Meat Thermometer
√ Dish Detergent
√ Dishwasher detergent
√ Bleach spray
√ Clean sponges or wash clothes
√ Clean drying towels
√ Plates, silverware
√ Platters and bowls to hold food
√ Garbage bags
√ Matches or lighter
√ Fire Extinguisher
√ Hand cream (Your hands will be in water and will dry out quickly)
What did I forget?