On the hunt for some Thanksgiving Day hacks? You’ve come to the right place!
You can save time on Thanksgiving Day preparations (and any holiday) by implementing a few of these quick tips that I myself use every year. After all, the holidays should be about spending time with your family, not your oven.
Thanksgiving Prep Tips
Cook sweet potatoes quickly
Microwave your sweet potatoes to save time and stove top space. Just poke with a fork a few times, wrap in a wet (not soaked) paper towel, 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.
Make mashed potatoes faster
Use Yukon Gold potatoes and leave the skin on. Then turn the potato vertical and use your apple slicer to cut them beforehand 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.
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.
And with potatoes, comes the gravy!
Okay to be honest – I really hate gravy. Lookin’ at me, you can tell there’s not much I won’t eat, but gravy? Mmm nope! That said, I know most folks love it, so if your family feels gravy is a must, put it in a thermos so it’s off your stove and out of the way but still stays warm. Then you can pour into a gravy boat just before serving.
Make room in the fridge
Clear out the dressings and condiments and store them in an ice-filled cooler in the garage. This will also help ensure they don’t get lost in the crowded fridge when it’s finally time to eat!
Pre-Cut Veggies VS Cutting Them Yourself
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! This can go for a lot of different parts of your meal, not just veggies.
Like Niki from Toots Mom is Tired says: “I always bring something store bought to the family Thanksgiving dinners. Someone has to bring the Hawaiian rolls. That person is me. I’ve also been known to pick up pies, cookies, and veggie trays. I like homemade food, but I’m aware of my own limits (skill-wise and time-wise) when it comes to cooking.”
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).
Sarah from IHeartFrugal.com knows what I mean – “When I’m cooking, I always make a detailed meal planning list. This saves me from having to run back to the store where I will waste time and spend more by throwing unnecessary items in my cart. I also have some make-ahead recipes I whip up the day before so I can concentrate on cooking the turkey the day of. Cooking can be a lot of work, but if you are prepared you will save time and money!”
Fix overcooked turkey
Did your bird cook just a little too long? Moisten your turkey meat slices by drizzling a bit of warm chicken broth over them prior to serving.
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. While it might a bit more prep work, having a fun but easy craft ready is also a nice way to keep everyone occupied while you finish up the prep work.
Put your slow cookers 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 and it’s so nice to just set it and forget it. Check out this Black Friday hack to see how I score slow cookers every year for FREE!
Skip the Mixer
This one comes from Tony of Fit2Father.com – “Wear latex gloves to mix by hand without getting yourself and your sink covered in food (plus bare hands in food is pretty gross!)” This is especially great for easily creaming together butter and sugar if you’re making cookies.
Soften butter easily
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.
Don’t forget dessert!
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 daily.
Thanksgiving Day shouldn’t be a time of chaos, so hopefully with these quick tips you’re able to enjoy the day and spend time with the ones you love.
If you have any of your own time saver hacks, please be sure to comment with ’em below!