10 helpful tips for hosting the best Thanksgiving no matter the size!

November 16, 2020

With Thanksgiving a little over a week away it’s time to start or for some to finalize the menu! I know this year our gatherings won’t be a large as they normally are and this will be the case for others worldwide but, that doesn’t mean you still can’t have an enjoyable day, just on the smaller scale.

This Thanksgiving 2020 will be the fourth one that I am hosting/cooking. Back in 2017 I remember saying to my dad, “hey, I would really like to be in charge of cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year” to which he replied “okay, good luck (smirking).” I will admit, it was a bit of an ambitious task, especially considering I had yet to ever taken on the responsibility of cooking a BIG meal. Well, as you can guess, it didn’t turn out great, just shy of a disaster. I had a bit of a issue managing my cooking times so things just ended up staying in the oven too long, but hey, at least you knew that the turkey was cooked well done! 🙂

Anyway, fast forward to Thanksgiving 2020 and I am about to take on the challenge again. Since my youth I have pick up a lot of helpful tips for cooking and baking and have matured quite a bit in the kitchen. And so, over the years I have compiled a list of must know hacks that will be life savers for all ya’ll cooking this Holiday season!

Even though our gatherings will be smaller this season that does not mean you still can’t have a specticular Thanksgiving, even if it’s just you and your partner/friend! 🙂

Tip #1: Plan your Menu

While this tip may seem like a no brainer, I know many people who have not done this and it can turn out to be a disaster. So, to get ahead of the problem make sure to plan out every detail of your menu from appetizers to nightcaps ensuring you leave no leaf unturned.

Tip #2: Start your shopping now

In a few days the Thanksgiving food rush is going to commence and once it does good luck finding many essential food items. Spices, rubs and even flours may start to go out of stock. To avoid this start your non-perishable food shopping now before the madness strikes to ensure you’ll have everything you need. Then 3-4 days before your party you can go back to buy the perishables.

grocery cart with item
Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Tip #3: Prep sides and desserts early

There’s no need to be adding fuel to the fire by making sides and desserts on Thanksgiving day when you can easily prep those the day before. They’ll stay good and fresh!

Desserts that are perfect to prep the day before are:

Tip #4: Crisp up your Holiday Turkey

If your Turkey is up to temperature but still doesn’t have that golden brown crispy skin- simply crank up the oven to 450F to crisp up the skin 1 2 3! Be sure to watch the bird though because it will brown quickly.

Tip #5: Prep on the stove instead of the oven

Certain dishes need to be cooked in the oven so there’s no way to get around those but you’d be surprised with what ones can be prepped on the stove. Do your research because you can easily save valuable oven space by making some dishes on top!

Some of my favorite oven recipes are

Tip #6: Keep a schedule of your cooking times

On Thanksgiving you will have many dishes going in and coming out of the oven so to be sure nothing gets over or undercooked tack a piece of paper to the fridge and write down the item name and it’s cooking time- when it went in and when it’s coming out.

sheet of paper put near assortment of fresh ingredients
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Tip #7: The perfect size turkey does not exis……(t)

Figuring 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person, to buy the right size simply add up all your turkey eating guests, add a few pounds on for bones and such and voila you’ve got your turkey weight.
Example: 8 people will require a 12 to 14-pound turkey.

Tip #8: Celebrate store bought

Buying store bought pie, dinner rolls or cookies is nothing to be ashamed of! Anything you can do to make your time in the kitchen more efficient, go for it! The last thing you want is to be swamped with tons of food to make and not enough time for it all. Embrace store bought!

Or, a step up from store bought is using mixes! One of my Holiday favorites is banana bread. Every season I make it multiple times a week and one of my favorite mixes to use is this one here. Everyone can make banana bread easy by using these gluten free & vegan banana bread mixes. No joke, they take less than 1 minute to prepare and in the oven they go! Your guests will fall in love with them! Check out my post here to get to know the awesome Go Nana’s brand and to save some $$$$ money $$$$$ with my code!

Tip #9: Food allergies

Dealing with food allergies during the Holidays can be difficult especially when it falls upon you (the cook) to accommodate everyone. As someone who first hand deals with many food allergies I know how you feel. Therefore, it’s best to let the professionals do all the work for you. Unless you feel 100% confident that you can ensure NO cross contamination when dealing with gluten-free, vegan. dairy-free, nut free…… allergies, ALWAYS go store bought. Certified gluten free, vegan, nut free, dairy free…. foods are the safest way to ensure your guest(s) will not have any problems with the meal. And don’t feel bad about not being able to make them the food from scratch because they too will feel more comfortable knowing their gluten free, nut free….. pie, cookies, ham…. is 100% safe for eating!

Tip #10: Have fun!

The most important tip I can give you is to have fun! Don’t stress over things that happen because 9 times out of 10 there will be a kitchen mishap, it’s just how the cookie crumbles. So you can either let it ruin your Thanksgiving or you can brush it off, find a way to fix it and get on with enjoying the day.

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Thank you so much for reading today’s post! Have a wonderful start to the week everyone. 🙂

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