Thanksgiving is great. don’t get me wrong. But to say it can be stressful for whoever’s hosting the dinner is an understatement. Timing everything to be ready at the same moment, realizing your fridge is a lot smaller than it looked yesterday, and that inevitable moment when you realize the ingredient you forgot to buy. The internet might not be able to help with all those things, but it sure is a great place to find tips and tricks that will make your life (and Thanksgiving dinner) a lot easier.
Flickr user InaFrenzy
1. Can’t Get Those Potatoes To Be Fluffy? Add Baking Powder.
Mashed potatoes are the real star of Thanksgiving, let’s be real. To get them as light and fluffy as possible, use an ingredient that is actually intended to make things light and fluffy: baking powder. You don’t need too much, just a pinch or so. You’ll be amazed.
2. Want Perfectly Shaped Biscuits? Use A Wine Glass.
The author of this post has literally done this a dozen times. You might not have the perfect cookie cutter on hand for cutting biscuit dough…but let’s face it, you probably have wine glasses handy. Just use the top of the glass to cut the perfect circle.
3. Don’t Freak Out On Me…But Make the Gravy Ahead Of Time
Nay, you cry! Gravy has to be made with the drippings from the cooked turkey! It’s the last step of dinner! Okay, but how many times has your family been standing around waiting while every other dish is already out on the table, while the poor sucker in the kitchen slaves over the perfect gravy? Just make it ahead of time using butter, broth and flour and spices. It’ll still taste fine.
4. Need To Cut Cold Butter? Use A Cheese Grater.
Many Thanksgiving recipes like pie or biscuits call for cold butter to be cut up and used in the dough. Cold butter is really hard to work with, so this year use a tool that is rarely broken out on Turkey Day: the cheese grater. You’ll slice up the butter nice and small, without getting your hands all greasy.
5. Cooler Full Of Ice = Instant Fridge Space
Fact: there is NEVER enough space in your fridge for everything you need for Thanksgiving, especially once the relatives arrive with all their weird dishes. Roll out that big cooler, stuff it full of ice, and bam, you’ve got more refrigerated square footage.
6. Use A Cheesecloth To Base Your Turkey
How many of you watch your turkey like a hawk and STILL manage to overcook it every time? There are many tricks out there that people swear by, but this one is real. Soak a cheesecloth in melted butter and drape it over the turkey before you cook it. That’s it. It’ll stay moist forever.
7. Freeze Your Pie Crusts IN The Pan
Sometimes the best laid pie crusts go awry. You put em in the pan and then they get a mind of their own and lose that perfect shape. So this year, after you lay the crust dough in the pan, stick the pan in the freezer to keep its shape.
8. Chop Your Veggies The Day Before
You know what sucks? Chopping a thousand onions and peppers and other veggies before you can even start cooking. Get ahead of yourself and chop everything the night before and put ’em in Tupperware. Leaves more time for wine.
9. Bake Your Stuffing in Muffin Tins
Stuffing is magic. Which means that when the stuffing in the corners of the pan gets burned to a crisp, you feel like you’ve lost a family member. So try something different this year. Put the stuffing in muffin tins, to make them single-serving and help them cook evenly.
10. Cook The Turkey The Day Before
If you’re someone who tends to freak out over cooking large pieces of meat crawling with bacteria…this one’s for you. Instead of stressing about getting the turkey (which requires the most amount of oven time of almost any Thanksgiving dish) to be done at the same time as everything else, throw it in your oven the night before. Cook it just as you normally would, and then just slice up the breast meat to decrease the amount of fridge space the bird takes up. Then seal it tight and stick it in the fridge. Warm it up as you’re finishing up the rest of the food the next day!
Do you have any other surefire tips and tricks to save Thanksgiving dinner? Tell us in the comments below!