Christmas is the most magical time of the year, but Thanksgiving is the most stressful time of the year. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be! Making a giant feast for your entire family and then some can even be a breeze. These simple hacks will make it so you can actually enjoy your cooking.
Your oven is prime Thanksgiving real estate. Leave it open for something that might need it more, like your pies, by cooking your turkey in a turkey roaster. Save space where you can!
2. Roast Your Turkey Upside Down And Flip It Halfway Through
This sounds a bit crazy, but bear with us. Cook your turkey upside down for the first half of it's baking time. Then, flip it so it's right side up. Your turkey will be juicier and it'll have a nice golden-brown skill all the way through. Who doesn't like a nice, even all-over tan?
It sounds like a weird sex act, but trust us, it's not. Spatchcock your turkey is basically butterflying it - you cut out the spine and flatten it so it cooks faster. If you ask your butcher, he'll know what to do, and he won't give you any judgements on the weird turkey stuff you're into. Nudge nudge.
Don't want to keep on going to your oven to check on your turkey to see if it's done? Who does? Get a meat thermometer that beeps when it's done, and you'll be saved a ton of time. Now you can use all the time you'd spend peering into the oven to fight with your family! Make some Thanksgiving memories!
5. Rub Bacon And Butter Under The Skin For A Better Flavor
Rubbing raw bacon and butter underneath the skin of your turkey will give it a smoky flavor and moisture. You can also rub underneath the skin with mayonnaise. It won't leave a mayo-ey flavor, but it will leave moist and crispy skin. It might also give you a heart attack, but hey. It's Thanksgiving. That's what this day is for!
Or you can just wrap the whole damn thing in bacon, because why not? It keeps the turkey from getting dry while cooking, plus it's bacon. You can never have too much bacon in your life! Thanksgiving is all about celebrating what you're thankful for, and isn't everyone thankful for bacon?
Your turkey just spend an entire day in a hot oven. It's tired. It needs a rest. Give it 20 minutes to just sit and collect itself before you move it to a new pan and serving it. Just don't cover it, because that will make the skin soggy. And, honestly, it's been through enough.
Add just a bit of mayonnaise to make your mashed potatoes extra-creamy. Don't do dairy? You can also use mayo to make your mashed potatoes dairy-free. Want to go vegan? Get vegan mayonnaise and you're good to go! Is there anything mayo can't do?
Ready to have your life change completely? Four words: Slow cooker mashed potatoes. Cook your potatoes in a slow cooker, then add your mashed potato ingredients when they're done (butter, onions, etc.). Mash them all up still inside the slow cooker, and voila! Less mess, better potatoes. Use this knowledge wisely!
Want to use your slow cooker for something else? Try slow cooker stuffing. It's easy, and will make you look good because you made something from scratch. And isn't that what also Thanksgiving is all about? Looking good while doing the least amount of work? You can impress your whole family with this recipe.
Move over, breadcrumbs! You can make turkey stuffing out of bagels. Breadcrumb stuffing can turn mushy, but bagel stuffing never will. Plus, you will score so many points for being creative and clever. You don't have to tell anyone you got the tip from us. This'll be our little secret. You're welcome!
Don't stress out about baking a turkey, plus making five sides from scratch, plus baking a thousand different pies, plus dealing with Aunt Martha getting stuck in snow on her way down from Boston. Make your desserts the day before, and that'll be one less thing off your plate the day of (both literally and figuratively). Plus you'll free up oven space for that turkey. The only risk you run is one of your deserts growing legs and wandering off, which honestly could happen.
Making a Thanksgiving dinner is like going into war. The more prepared you are, the less casualties you'll have. Think about making a side or two the day before. Less work = less stress = more time with your family. But if you're cooking to avoid spending time with your family, then maybe you shouldn't try to do as much as possible before hand?
Don't wait until the night before Thanksgiving to do your Thanksgiving shopping. You'll end up fighting with a mother of four over the last can of cranberry guaranteed. You can get your nonperishables well in advance, and avoid crying and coming home defeated. They're nonperishables. They won't go bad if you buy them two weeks out. That's the whole point!
You can also throw all these tips out the window and just make the whole damn thing a potluck. Let other people worry about the texture of their green beans. Just make sure to have a sign up and coordinate on what people are bringing. That way you won't end up with 32 different kinds of cut carrots.