Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and if you’re hosting, it probably seems like you have a neverending to-do list. We’ve got some easy to implement tips and tricks to lighten your load. This year, make sure you’re spending less time counting tasks and watching oven timers and more time counting your blessings and celebrating with family and friends.
let guests be the bartender
Getting stuck mixing drinks for guests can take up a lot of your time. Instead, set up a well-stocked bar cart, and let everyone else let out their inner mixologists. To nudge guests in the right direction, print-out recipes for simple cocktails or special Thanksgiving-themed drinks like cranberry or pumpkin spice mules. Here are the essentials you’ll need for your cart: liquors like tequila whiskey, gin and rum; mixers such as tonic water, fruit juices and simple syrup—this a great way to bring in festive seasonal flavors like apple and pumpkin; and garnishes like olives and fresh fruit. Oh, and don’t forget basics like ice, napkins and straws.
give the oven a break
When you’re assembling the big feast, stove and oven space is going to be at a premium. To ease some of the burden, prepare what you can in your microwave, slow cooker or pressure cooker. With the microwave, cook vegetables like potatoes, green beans, squash and carrots in minutes, or even use it to turn your turkey drippings into quick gravy. For a dessert option, go with mug cakes in autumnal flavors like gingerbread and pumpkin. Your pressure cooker is another quick way to get side dishes done, and a slow cooker gives you a hands-off option for things like mashed potatoes and stuffing. The best part? All these options will allow you to spend more time with your guests instead of being stuck hovering around the oven.
make it ahead
A great tip for cutting out stress on Thanksgiving is to go with make-ahead options. Even if finalizing the dish has to wait until Turkey Day, there is probably at least one step you can get a head start on. Pies or other desserts you won’t serve piping hot are good options to make the day before. You’ll also want to have your appetizers ready to go so you can satisfy hungry guests while they wait for the main event. Save time by having casseroles assembled and in the fridge the day before so all you have to do is slide them into the oven.