Thanksgiving is upon us! And, if you aren't quite ready to host your family and friends for a Thanksgiving feast, we are here to help! To help prevent a Turkey Day disaster, follow these tips to prepare your kitchen ahead of time.
Make Room for Leftovers
It is finally time to go through the refrigerator and throw away that container of pasta you forgot about from last month. A big meal generally means lots of leftovers, so it is good practice to make sure you have room in your refrigerator to store leftovers. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to shove containers of food into an already stuffed fridge. Taking time to clean out and organize your fridge beforehand will make your life much easier on Thanksgiving Day.
Be Prepared to Send Leftovers with Guests
In addition to making room in your fridge, it is equally important to be stocked up on tupperware containers, aluminum foil, plastic wrap and zip-lock bags so you can send leftovers home with your guests.
Prep Your Utensils and Tools
Whether your guest list is small or large, be sure you have enough plates and utensils for everyone attending. If you are using plates and silverware that are used for special occasions, be sure to clean and/or polish them prior to guests arriving. In addition, be sure that your kitchen knives are sharp and ready for carving the turkey, and that you have all of the serving utensils you need for your meal.
Make a Meal Game Plan
When preparing a large meal, it is important to have a game plan beforehand so you can cook accordingly. Make a list of all of the dishes you will be making and what ingredients you need to purchase from the store. Make any dishes that can be made ahead of time to reduce the amount of work on Thanksgiving Day. Alternatively, if your Thanksgiving dinner is more of a potluck-style meal, be sure to know who is bringing what dish to reduce the chance of duplicates.
Thaw the Turkey
Everyone looks forward to eating turkey on Thanksgiving, but they don’t necessarily look forward to cooking it. Thawing your turkey takes a surprisingly long time, so be sure you aren't caught holding up dinner because your turkey is still half frozen. If you plan to put the turkey in cold water to thaw (never use hot water!), it can take around 30 minutes for each pound. If you plan on thawing it by placing the frozen turkey in the refrigerator, plan on one day per five pounds.
Having guests over for Thanksgiving always results in a ton of dishes that need to be washed. To avoid having to hand wash all of the dishes or having to leave them in the sink, be sure your dishwasher is empty and ready to load. It is also a good idea to use the self-cleaning function on your oven prior to Thanksgiving to make sure it is clean; having a clean oven results in your food cooking more evenly.
Clear Your Countertops
Before you start preparing your favorite dishes, it can be helpful to clear off your countertops so you can take advantage of as much space as possible. Put the toaster in the pantry, throw away those old grocery receipts that are piling up in the corner and finally put away the dishes you have had “air drying” for the past three days. Now you have room to prep your favorite dishes without feeling like you have no space.