Turkey Day in all its finest is fast approaching – including family coming in, lots of baking and cooking going on, and you attempting to make your house look like it just jumped off the pages of a magazine! Entertaining for Thanksgiving can be fun when we can show off with new and delicious dinner recipes, and start new traditions that are so loved by the family that they want to carry them on for years to come. We also, though, want time to visit with our family and friends, and not spend hours sweating in the kitchen trying to make everything perfect.
Food and Wine Magazine lists five strategies that I think would be very helpful in cutting time in the kitchen on the big day:
- Use the freezer – dishes can be made ahead and frozen for up to a week
- Use the refrigerator – prepare dips and salads at least one day in advance
- Use the grill – it can serve as a second oven or stovetop
- Use the stovetop – make side dishes that don’t compete with the oven for oven space
- Use the oven – since the turkey cools for 45 minutes, there’s time to make sides and desserts in the oven
“Gobble” Up The Thanksgiving Goodies
Still focusing on saving time so you can visit with the family, there are some excellent recipes, also from Food and Wine Magazine, in the “Procrastinator’s Thanksgiving Guide: 20-Minute Recipes To Make The Day Of”. Some of the mouth-watering dishes included in their list are chorizo-filled dates wrapped in bacon, Yukon gold potatoes with shallot butter, twice-baked sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallow, and maple-apple upside-down cake. Like I said – mouth-watering – right?
Maybe you aren’t the handiest of chefs in the kitchen. Don’t worry. Food and Wine Magazine has something for you too! They offer the “Thanksgiving Disaster Kit”. We’ve all had those turkey day blues attributed to lumpy gravy, gluey potatoes, or undercooked pie. Solutions to these and other “disasters” are addressed in this piece.
And don’t forget…our good friends at Butterball Turkey are always standing by to help if you have a turkey emergency or just a question about the best way to have your family “gobbling” up your cooking.
Entertaining For Thanksgiving: Decorating
As for decorating, we can’t all boast a Martha Stewart claim to fame, but there are some pretty simple ideas out there to make your home look really inviting when you are entertaining for Thanksgiving. HGTV has some great ideas for centerpieces and décor that are DIY and even some craft ideas for the kids.
Suggestions such as harvest inspired Thanksgiving tables, casual Thanksgiving brunch, and rustic fall table decorations are included. Many of the simplest (yet most beautiful) centerpieces use items you already own. You could place some fall flowers in an old pitcher passed down through the family instead of a vase, for example. Or, remember that old pumpkin sitting on your porch from Halloween… bring it inside, clean it up, and you have a beautiful fall setting.
Entertaining For Thanksgiving: Think Beyond Tradition
If you are even more in the mood of a work-free day, another fun idea is a pot-luck Thanksgiving. Each member of the family can bring their favorite dish, and leave you even more time to visit. This might break from tradition somewhat, but what fun to see what new things there would be for your taste buds to experience.
Another cool idea is asking friends over that may not have a place to be that day. Maybe their family lives too far away, or for one reason or another, they are just alone on the holiday. What a good feeling to include someone in this situation in your family gathering.
Entertaining doesn’t have to be a scary word at Thanksgiving. There are so many easy dishes and decorating projects out there that can allow us to enjoy the holiday along with the rest of our family and friends. So, relax and enjoy.
And, I would like to take this opportunity to say how thankful I am for all of my family, friends, and clients. I hope this holiday finds you with the ones you hold most dear.
photo credit: Happy Thanksgiving via photopin (license)