Whether it’s your first time hosting Thanksgiving, or you’re just looking to up your turkey game, there’s a lot to plan when hosting a Thanksgiving dinner. First of all, relax. Holidays are about enjoyment and appreciation of the simple things, even when many Americans seem to forget it. We stress out all-day, every-day, so take a break on Thanksgiving and get back to the roots of what the holiday’s really about. Follow these six tip and you too can throw a stress-free Thanksgiving dinner party.
1. Ask For Help
The first Thanksgiving was a potluck, after all. Your Thanksgiving dinner will be much more enjoyable if you share the cooking duties. Traditionally, the host cooks the turkey, so if you’re cooking a bird, you might want to mentally prepare for that. If you’re inviting friends and family, consider outsourcing the side dishes. If it’s just you and your roommates, you might divide tasks between you.
2. Pre-Make When Possible
Things have a tendency of sneaking up on us when hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time. Making as many dishes ahead of time as possible is one way to eliminate the stress of the last-minute rush. Pies, stuffing, and cranberry sauce are just a few of the dishes which can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator.
3. Stick To The Classics
While it may be tempting to explore and experiment with some new recipes, when hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, most people look forward to traditional Thanksgiving dishes – turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and pumpkin pie. You can find here Sam’s detailed instructions for cooking your turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce.
4. Start Early On The Non-Food Prep
There’s lots to do when hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time. Your apartment will need to be cleaned. (Fortunately, deep cleaning is not essential to have a nice holiday meal.) You’ll also need to send out RSVPs, make sure you have enough dishes and silverware, tables, and chairs for everyone.
5. Remember To Thaw The Turkey
If you purchase your bird frozen, this is one of those steps that simply can’t be rushed. For a turkey to be thawed safely it’s recommended to allow 24 hours for every 4 – 5 pounds, if you’ll be thawing in the refrigerator. This means that you should be shopping for the turkey this weekend. If you get your turkey too late, you can thaw it under cold water, allowing roughly 30 minutes for every pound. Follow these instructions.
6. You Can Cook The Turkey in Your Slow Cooker
If you’re anticipating that your oven will be over-scheduled with all the side dishes, you can cook your turkey in a slow cooker. (Check online for recipes.) Just keep in mind that it will probably take a good 8 hours, so you need to get up early! Your turkey will be delicious but it will not have that beautiful brown skin you get by roasting in the oven, so great gravy is a must.
Are You Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner For The First Time?
Or are you an old pro just looking for some new tips? What are some questions you have, to have the best Thanksgiving dinner? What are you preparing? Let us know in the comments! We’re thankful you’re here!