With T-day in t-minus 3 days, I thought I’d share some of my favorite prep tips that I plan on implementing again in my journey towards preparing the perfect meal for my family:
1. Make a plan!
Even if it’s something as simple as delegating out dishes, having a general layout will make things go a lot smoother. I start looking through old recipes as soon as two weeks before because I’m a nerd, but if you have a lot of hands in the kitchen, just tell them how many sides/desserts/appetizers you would like them to be responsible for and let it all flow naturally. I feel like delegating also brings on a more traditional feel because it gives the responsible person an opportunity to really bring their own flavor to the meal so to speak. Since I’m the one hosting, I have more responsibility as far as prepping the actual space, so I’ll even start cooking the day before. This brings me to my next tip:
2. Give yourself a lot of time.
There is nothing worse than placing too much stress on yourself to plan the perfect meal, especially when you’re the one hosting family. Since as a host you have a lot more on your plate than just bringing food at a certain time, why not give yourself as much time as possible to set things up? Here’s my ideal timeline I set up for myself:
Three days before: Clean out fridge/pantry and make sure all food storage and prep items are accounted for.
Two days before: Clean bathroom and living room, go shopping!
One day before: Make all pies/breads, chop veggies/mis en place, make appetizers, set table, clean living room.
Morning of: Get up bright and early, EAT BREAKFAST (nothing’s worse than a cranky cook!), prep turkey and oven, set out appetizers, make sides and get turkey in the oven. <—this step is varied in respect to when you need to actually get your bird in the oven. I was checking out a recipe that required you brine your bird for THREE DAYS.
Dinner time: Pull that bird and those sides out and CHOW DOWN.
3. My favorite turkey tip: Cook it upside down! That’s right, breasts to the pan. It keeps them way more moist…this is coming from my doing it on accident two times in a row. Haha…
—My second favorite turkey tip: No matter when directions say to take out your bird to de-frost (which you should obviously listen to), in order to get a nice crispy skin, set in the fridge uncovered (yep) overnight. It lets the skin dry out. No it won’t taste like fridge.
4. This will be a controversial tip I’m sure, but get your husband’s damn help! I see no flipping reason why you should be busting your ass solo while he watches football all day. Sure I don’t expect him to don an apron, but the day of I have him set out the appetizers (since he eats about 60% of them himself anyhow) and he does any and all emergency store runs. He’ll also help do cleaning and even prep if he’s in a good mood in the days leading up. Also, he’ll probably be on baby duty this year.
Do you have any exceptional turkey day tips you turn to during this holiday? Let me know!