No one wants to be a sobbing mess around Thanksgiving, but emotions run high when the food doesn’t turn out quite like planned. We decided to put together a guide to help you enjoy this special time of year instead of over burdening yourself in the kitchen.
Choose a Menu You Can Pull Off
The most important part of planning a holiday menu is making sure you don’t over extend yourself. Stick to food you know how to prepare or easy recipes like the ones below. Trust me, you don’t want to try to be the next Martha Stuart all as once just to impress friends and family. It can end badly.
Also make sure you know exactly how many people your event is going to need to feed, whether or not the food will need to be transported, and whether it needs to be kept warm or cold. These details can help you make the best choices of food for whatever your holiday plans include.
This is the tried and true way to save money and make life a little less hectic around Thanksgiving. Stocking up on essential snacks and drinks way ahead of time will help avoid the jacked up prices closer to the big day.
In addition to stocking up, you can prepare a handful of our recipes and stash dough or prebaked goodies in the freezer until right before prep time. Check out our recipes below:
Tips for Thanksgiving Shopping
Keeping Thanksgiving sane is all about the shopping list. Write a meal plan and make a complete list of every single thing you will need a few weeks before. Then scour your pantry and see what you already have so you don’t double buy.
Remember, you want to do most of your shopping to avoid overpaying last minute. Only shop for fresh foods a couple days before Thanksgiving like fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy. This will give you a less stressful shopping experience.
Take a pen and cross off everything that goes into your basket. Don’t leave the store until you have anything. Like Santa, check it twice!
For those of you that like to coupon, make sure you aren’t getting roped into buying more than you need. Fifty cents off two may seem great, but do you really need that extra amount for your gathering?
Manage Fridge Space
Starting now, encourage your family to eat anything that isn’t for the big celebration day. Soups are a great way to use up leftovers, so consider making a batch a few days before Thanksgiving.
Depending on the size of your get-togethers, you might consider renting or borrowing a second fridge. Or plan and prep tubs, recycle bins, or plastic toy boxes as drink holders and fill them with ice late the night before. If you live where there is a ton of snow, use what nature gave you!
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
There is a reason executive chefs have sauce chefs and meat roasting chefs and pastry chefs. Even before this brigade system took over commercial kitchens, the kitchen was a social gathering where woman assembled to prepare meals together. All this to tell you that you shouldn’t feel bad about delegating dishes or tasks out to friends or family that are coming to your home for Thanksgiving. Even asking them to bring starters or snacks that can be eaten upon arrival will ease your preparation responsibilities and cut costs.
Studies show that people who chose to say or think positive things about their experiences will enjoy life more. Use this mental shift you can help keep your focus on what really matters. It’s called Thanksgiving after all.
Some examples of positive thinking:
• Each time you cross something off your shopping list, think, “One less thing to worry about” or “It feels great to get that taken care of.”
• As you prep and cook food, think about all the things you are grateful for including this meal and people to share it with.
• If you are religious, spend time before and throughout the special time silently praying in gratitude or awe at provision. Or chose instead to reflect on the good parts of the last year.
• A great Thanksgiving tradition is to share the things you are grateful for. Have everyone at the table take turns stating one. This can help everyone refocus on the good, and helps with digestion too!
As you can see, there are lots of ways to make this Thanksgiving easy going and enjoyable for everyone congregating at your place, especially you! With these tips, you’re sure to make memories instead of last-minute messes and laugh instead of stress.
What are some ways you prepare for Thanksgiving? Do you have a secret that helps you get everything done and still enjoy the day? Please share with us in the comments below!