This story is part of and contains tips for optimizing the holiday season.
Thanksgiving dinner can be stressful even for seasoned experts. It's a complex task that requires planning both in the kitchen and outside the kitchen: how many guests do you have, diet restrictions, do you have other gatherings to attend, and do you have enough space at your table?
Avoid common cooking mistakes to prevent a Thanksgiving disaster. But remember, mistakes happen. Whether you drop the turkey or forget to cook the buns, Thanksgiving is all about spending time with loved ones. Stop worrying and enjoy the enjoyment!
Error # 1: Do not Plan
This is the most important advice of all. Thanksgiving can be hectic, especially when the family or friends come to you. Do yourself a favor and double or triple check if you have all the ingredients ready for the big day. Take out a pen and paper and plan each of your dishes. Be sure to select the dishes with different preparation times. You'll thank later if you just have to pull the cranberry sauce out of the fridge to serve.
Read more about Chowhound: A Guide for Beginners to Counter Thanksgiving Dinner
Advance planning covers many of the following areas. Continue defrosting and freeze. Make sure you have enough time to defrost.
Error # 2: Forgotten the Appetizers
If you're trying to roast the perfect turkey while preparing different side dishes, it's easy to forget about these appetizers. Reduce the pressure on yourself as your guests come to the table, and let them have some easy-to-prepare appetizers while you focus on the main event. Choose something light and light, such as stuffed peppers or pumpkin bites.
Mistake No. 3: Preparing Dinner Late
Thanksgiving feasts are usually served as dinners. Between running around to prepare, mingle and wait for more guests to arrive, sometimes the mealtime is postponed to the later hours. Avoid serving too late and tempting your group to lose time and give in to tryptophan-induced sleep immediately after dinner.
More about Chowhound: How do I organize Thanksgiving brunch?
Error # 4: serving all hot dishes
Of all the Thanksgiving disasters that could happen, one of the worst things about getting your guests sick. To reduce the likelihood, the USDA recommends cooking the stuffing outside the bird. So, cook your "stuffing" in a casserole. Try our recipe for apple and sage filling or our recipe for sausage currants.
Bug # 7: Do not lick the bird
In the rush of planning for the big day, this is an important step that can easily be missed. Brine is the key to avoiding a dry and tasteless turkey. Plan in advance what type of salt solution you want for your meal: a moist salt solution for juicier and tender meat or a dry salt solution for a crispier skin and more turkey flavor (and the benefit of not having to handle large volumes of fluid) , , If you want a moist brine, here are some hints:
Mistake # 8: Do not cook enough turkey (or cook too long!)
Get a meat thermometer! Even if you cooked 50 turkeys in your lifetime, you should check that the meat inside the bird's thigh is 25 ° C. Make sure the juices are clear too. Follow our guide to a simple turkey roast for tips.
Mistake No. 9: Carving turkey badly
Once you have served your perfectly roasted bird, the work is not over yet. You do not want a turkey being slaughtered in the wrong way to reduce your hours of preparing a perfectly prepared bird. Do not be ashamed to use a carving guide or outsource this task to the expertise of your uncle. But before you carve, let it rest! Transfer the turkey from the frying pan to a plate and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes while making your sauce.
Mistake # 10: Putting the gravy out of the pan
You can (and should) make a batch of gravy in advance, but you should definitely plan to use your turkey gravy on a big day for more gravy. It's easy and takes about 15 minutes, but do not throw away one of the most important ingredients: the dripping!
Mistake # 11: Do not cover the table in time
If you have energetic kids at your event, this may be a good job to keep them busy, or you can do it in the morning, if not the night before , Most importantly, do not let the food get cold (or burn) while you're walking at the last minute to line up the cutlery. We recommend creating a seating plan the night before and setting the table – especially if you have guests you may want to keep apart.
Read More: The Right Way to Create a Formal Table for Thanksgiving
Error # 12: Do not accept help
Hosting is not an easy task. You will walk around all day to make sure all your guests feel comfortable, happy and full. If you receive offers to add or clean dishes after the main event, do not hesitate to accept them. It's your holiday too. Confirm the posts with the guests a few days before the party so you can plan ahead in advance. If grandma's filling needs some space in the oven in the morning, make sure you have room.
Error # 13: Too ambitious
We recommend preserving the inventive dishes for your role as a contributor to a feast, not as a host. You no longer have to work for yourself by designing intricate and creative dishes to impress your guests – they're there for the tradition and your business! If you want to include a memorable meal that's a little out-of-the-box, practice the recipe a few times before the day comes. You will be able to discover the nuances of the dish before it is shared with all your loved ones. Similarly, you do not feel that you are preparing a dozen dishes and five cakes from scratch. Do not just let your guests bring along a few things, but also explore your business-bought options, such as Trader Joe Thanksgiving desserts.
For more Thanksgiving tips, hacks, and recipes, see our Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide and our Ultimate Guide to Friendsgiving.