How To Make Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner Easier
I’m only 26 years old, but I have quite a few Thanksgiving dinners under my soon-to-be loosened belt. I have never felt more neurotic than when you’ve got 15 people coming over to sit down at your beautifully decorated table and eat your perfectly moist turkey. Because I’ve had some major failures and setbacks, I wanted to make a list of all the things you need to make hosting Thanksgiving dinner easier.
Here’s what I think:
You don’t have to go out and spend a lot of money on Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, I try to keep my food costs down each year by closely watching the sales, using coupons, and grabbing items with long shelf-lives on clearance after the holiday rush. When it comes to décor, I grab new items like disposable tablecloths and other themed décor from the dollar store or get the nicer items like cloth tablecloths, centerpieces, and dinnerware on clearance. I do a lot of clearance shopping throughout the year to be able to have nice things when holidays roll around.
I found a few things that I feel like would make Thanksgiving dinner easier:
I’ll go ahead and generalize this: Most people have one oven. One box that is going to dedicate most of its time and size to the turkey. You’ll probably have a few more items to bake or keep warm – the homemade pumpkin pie is a given, right? Invest in a three tier oven rack that maximizes the space in your oven. Get three pies going at once or mix and match your Thanksgiving side dishes.
Oh and while you’re at it go ahead and get yourself some oven mitts. You’ll be using your oven more than ever for Thanksgiving, and there’s no need to look like a complete kitchen newbie especially when the in-laws are over.
Two things that you might not realize you need until you don’t have them are a simple pie server and a rolling pin. You’ve tried cutting yourself a piece of pie with a fork only to plop it into pieces on your plate. Stop scraping and start serving. Nothing screams I have my life together like serving your mother-in-law a piece of homemade Mrs. Smith’s pie for Thanksgiving. We can’t do it all okay!
Now, for the rolling pin. It’s one of those things that you don’t think you ever need and the people who have them just needed something extra decorative on their kitchen counter. Go get one. Right now. Order it online or get in your car to drive and get one. I never thought I needed a rolling pin until I wanted to make biscuits one day. No rolling pin. No problem. There I am rolling my dough with my husband’s big glass Voss Water bottle. Not my finest moment.
Here’s the most important items to have when hosting Thanksgiving dinner:
Roasting that always juicy Thanksgiving turkey is the most important part of your dinner. Forget the side dishes and desserts, your turkey is the main act and sure to be the superstar of your dinner. Besides wanting to be sure you get a moist turkey every time, there are a few items you need to have to ensure that you’re about to win Thanksgiving with your turkey.
Win Thanksgiving with these Turkey Items
Turkey Roasting Pan
Electric Carving Knife (or Manual Carving Knife if you prefer)
Cooking Thermometer (stop depending on the one that is pre-attached to your turkey!)
and Kitchen Scissors
Those toss away aluminum pans work great for your turkey, but after all the juices fill the bottom of the pan they lose their integrity. Don’t drop your just-out-of-the-oven turkey on the floor. Nothing scream party foul like a turkey down. See what I did there? Just trust me and get yourself a Turkey Roasting Pan for the occasion. You’ll thank me later.
Three of my five must haves are probably some of the cheapest items you’ll buy for your kitchen just for Thanksgiving. To help lock-in that moisture, invest in a box of Reynolds Oven Bags. The box I grab always has two bags in it just in case. Put your turkey in with a little flour to keep the bag from bursting and you’re good to go! You’ll depend on that turkey baster to spread the juices all over your bird to keep the flavors evenly distributed. Finally, a good pair of kitchen scissors can change your life. Use them to cut the ties off your turkey, cut up vegetables, trim homemade noodles, and really cut anything and everything you’re cooking with ease. Just be sure to thoroughly wash them between foods or invest in two pair!
Last but not least, serving your meal:
Go ahead and erase every beautiful Thanksgiving dinner setting you’ve ever seen out of your head. Stop kidding yourself. Grab the thickest paper plates you can find, a package of napkins, and some sturdy throw away silverware. I’ll leave it up to you whether or not you should get plastic cups. Psst. Get the cups.
Instead try to have some solid pieces to add to your serving game. You’ve already stepped it up with the pie server now think about the few little touches you could add to your table. You might like to get a nice serving platter to deliver your turkey on or a set of plates to serve the side dishes on. Plate of cubed cheese with cranberry garnish anyone? Or you could choose to keep it festive and invest in this harvest serving platter that’s perfect for Thanksgiving. And stop gathering up every mismatched spoon you have to serve your meal. Invest in a single set of serving spoons to make life a lot easier.
If you’re going to splurge on any of my recommendations for how to make hosting Thanksgiving dinner easier, you have to try this one:
Get a drink dispenser or two if you’re planning to serve more than one option for drinks. One of my favorites is the mason jar double drink dispenser with black stand. You can serve iced tea, sweet tea, water, lemonade, or even your favorite wines out of these glass containers. They come with chalkboard labels so you can let your guests know right away what their drink choices for the night will be.
While everything I shared should make hosting Thanksgiving dinner easier just know that being able to host a dinner for your family and friends is reward enough. Some years I was able to go all out making gourmet side dishes and offering every food under the sun it seemed like. Those were the expensive years. When we had my daughter, my budget dropped significantly. So we ate green beans from a can, instant potatoes, and a bag of the cheapest rolls I could find with our turkey.
Relax! As long as you keep the turkey out of the floor, you’ll have a successful Thanksgiving!
Check out my secret on How to Make Your Thanksgiving Turkey Moist with this Easy Recipe!
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