- Keep it simple! I remember the first Thanksgiving meal I cooked as a new wife. I wanted so much to impress Dave and my visiting family members by making exotic side dishes to accompany our Thanksgiving turkey. Unfortunately, my culinary skills did not match up to my high expectations. The Thai beef dish I attempted to make went horribly wrong and stunk up the entire apartment! After I stopped gagging, I ended up throwing away the beef and the pot it was cooked in! I learned a valuable lesson - keep it simple. Most people expect the basics on Thanksgiving, turkey or ham, rice or potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, rolls and something sweet. So stick to the basics!
- Make a plan. Once you've determined what dishes you're going to prepare for Thanksgiving, look at your meal plan and see if anything can be made ahead of time. The day before Thanksgiving, I'll be making my pies, baking cornbread for the stuffing, roasting butternut squash and preparing the dough for my dinner rolls. On Thanksgiving morning, I'll make a schedule for the dishes. Traditionally, our family eats Thanksgiving "dinner" around early afternoon instead of in the evening. Working back from the time I wish to have the turkey on the table, I'll plan the start of my other dishes so everything will be done about the same time. Or as close as possible!
- Use more than just your oven. Unless you're fortunate enough to have more than one in your kitchen, your only oven will be tied up with the turkey on Thankgsiving. To keep your meal plan on track, don't forget about the other tools in your kitchen. For my Thanksgiving meal, I'll be making my cornbread stuffing in my crockpot, cooking veggies in my steamer and baking rolls in my toaster convection oven.
I hope these tips help your Thanksgiving preparations go smoothly!