15 Turkey Day Time Savers

15 of the Best Thanksgiving Day Time Savers

Thanksgiving should be about spending time with your family, not your oven. So to help you cut down on the time spent in the kitchen, here are a few of my Thanksgiving Day time savers:

1. Making mashed potatoes? Use Yukon Gold potatoes and leave the skin on. Then use your apple slicer to cut them so they cook faster! Just like with apples, you’ll want to make sure you cut an end off so it sits flat on your board.

potatoes01-lg2. If your children (or significant other) insist on skinless mashed potatoes, boil them whole and the skin will rub off. Just stick them in an ice bath and let them cool down first! Second-degree burns do not make for a fun Thanksgiving.

3. Don’t waste time fighting for fridge space. Clear out the dressings and condiments and store them in an ice-filled cooler in the garage.

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4. Put your gravy in a thermos so it’s off your stove and out of the way but still stays warm. Pour into a gravy boat just before serving.

639px-Thermos5. Weigh the cost of prep time versus the cost of buying pre-cut and cleaned ingredients from your grocery store’s salad bar. Sometimes the cost of letting someone else do it is worth it!

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6. Print out your recipes! Don’t risk destroying your tablet as you swipe through various recipes. Print out what you need and use painter’s tape to secure to cabinet at eye-level. Better yet, tape them up in the order you plan to cook and use post-it notes in between if there’s something that needs to be done prior to starting a recipe (like preheating the oven or boiling water).

7. Did your bird cook just a little too long? Moisten your turkey meat slices by drizzling a bit of warm chicken broth over them.

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8. Have a houseful of guests coming that love to “help”? Have tasks planned ahead of time for those that just insist on assisting. Child-wrangling, table setting, hors d’oeuvres serving, and wine glass filling are all great options to keep people busy and out of your way.

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9. Microwave your sweet potatoes to save time and stove top space. Just poke with a fork a few times and microwave 5-7 minutes. For a quick and delicious dessert option, you can then slice open, top with marshmallows, and stick in your broiler for 30 seconds.

10. Ginger makes for a great addition to many different dishes. Peel it quickly and easily by using a spoon.

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11. Put your crockpots to use (borrow if you need to)! Figure out how much space you’ll need for prep work and then use whatever you have left to lay out those crockpots. There’s countless delicious dishes you can make, such as apple crumble, rosemary acorn squash, or even the turkey itself!

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12. Wear latex gloves to mix by hand without getting yourself and your sink covered in food. This is especially great for creaming together butter and sugar if you’re making cookies.

13. Forget to take your butter out prior to sitting down to dinner? Heat up a drinking glass by running warm water over it or by putting it in the microwave for a few seconds then place it upside-down, over the butter. The butter soften quickly and will now be the right consistency to easily cut and spread.

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14. Want your house to smell great without the fear of someone knocking over a candle? Have a pot of hot water, orange peels, and cinnamon sticks simmering throughout the morning before you start cooking.

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15. If you plan to bake cookies, bake them ahead of time and keep them moist with apples! Store them in Tupperware along with an apple wedge and the cookies will draw in moisture from the apple, ensuring they taste fresh from the oven once your guests arrive. If you are storing them for more than 24 hours, replace the wedge as needed.

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I hope you are able to enjoy some extra time with your family this week!

While you’re at it – be sure to call first dibs on my latest time and money management freebies by signing up for my weekly e-mail list!

14 Comments

  • Laurie Stone Reply

    Amber, I’ve been doing Thanksgiving for over 30 years and I learned something. Love the gravy in the thermos idea, plus not peeling Yukon Gold potatoes (why didn’t I know that?) I’m printing this out and saving for November.

    • thriftyguardian Reply

      Woohoo! Glad to share the knowledge!

  • Skipah Reply

    This list might have saved and argument or 20 with my ex wife when the holidays rolled around :).

    • thriftyguardian Reply

      Heh yeah, entertaining can definitely be stressful, no matter the holiday!!

  • Jennifer Reply

    Great suggestions. I’ve pinned for Thanksgiving time.

    • thriftyguardian Reply

      Awesome, thank you! 🙂

  • Molly Stevens Reply

    Ok, I love the thermos idea for the gravy except I don’t own a thermos. But if I did I would totally do this. I learned so much reading this, Amber. The only thing I knew was how to peel ginger with a spoon, but you have some great ideas here. I am going to start implementing the recipes taped at eye level immediately since I routinely print recipes now for the reasons you have noted, plus my tablet is so old it keeps reloading the page and I am frustrated enough trying to follow a recipe! Great ideas.

  • sue Reply

    Thanksgiving is such a big holiday in the US (I live in Australia and we don’t have this holiday). It is such a shame when the host/hostess are so busy in the kitchen that they miss out on all the fun. These are great ideas not just for Thanksgiving but any Festive get together.

  • Rosemond Reply

    Great tips, I so hate cooking and so Thanksgiving is always stressful for me. Great tips, I’d never heard of the apple trick before!

  • Lee Reply

    I LOVE the butter-softening idea! How/where do you come up with all this???

  • sue Reply

    Any special occasion can be stressful so these tips are very useful not just for Thanksgiving. Thanks!

  • Carol Reply

    Pinning and sharing/ What great tips these are!

  • Silly Mummy Reply

    We don’t have Thanksgiving, but this is exactly what I do for Christmas – I plan all the ways I can save time and organise so making the dinner doesn’t take over the day.

  • Rosemond Reply

    i am so saving these tips, I’m not cooking this year but might be for Xmas!

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