woman cutting thanksgiving turkey

18 Ways to Win at Thanksgiving 2021

Thanksgiving is a month away and there are many things you can do to win at hosting this year!  I have some advice and Thanksgiving hacks to save you many headaches. Below are 18 things you should do to make this holiday much easier and smoother! Most of the tips are basically learning from my previous bad experiences.  And with practice and implementing some tips here, it’s much better. 

1. Defrost your Turkey on Time

If you buy a frozen Turkey it needs time to thaw out. One rule of thumb is that every 4 pounds are a 24hrs of defrosting. So if you get a 20-pound turkey you will need about a week.

2. Brine your Turkey in a cooler if there’s no room in the Fridge

In prepping ahead of time, you can brine Turkey early as well.  Unfortunately, Turkey takes up most of the space in the fridge. See if you can put the turkey in a cooler. You just will need to continuously fill in the ice.

3. Start shopping for Thanksgiving November 1rst

Shopping early is necessary to get everything you need. The shelves will start to empty the closer you get to Thanksgiving. I would start grabbing non-perishable items at the beginning of November.

4. Wash dishes as you cook

I don’t have the luxury of a dishwasher just yet but even if I did I would do this tip. Seeing all the dishes everywhere will just lead to chaos, so I wash as I go. Plus I need to reuse a lot of kitchen utensils for other dishes.

5. Get a Meat Thermometer

Nothing spoils a Turkey more than if it’s undercooked. Instead of playing the guessing game buy a meat thermometer. Remember the internal temp needs to be at 165 degrees for it to be fully cooked.

6. Set the table the day before Thanksgiving

Get out all your table settings the day before. All the placemats, dining ware, and silverware. Also, put out the name cards on the front of each plate. End with putting the centerpiece for the table.

7. Clean your house the weekend before

Weekends are meant for deep cleaning. You can get a lot of dirt and dust for a whole two days. It will be harder to clean the home the week of Thanksgiving with all the prep work. 

8. Use the slow cooker for one of your side dishes

You don’t just have to use the oven or stovetop. Set up one of your side dishes in the crockpot. Since the slow cooker takes a while make sure you start early with this dish. One side that does wonder is mashed potatoes, or nice and gooey mac and cheese.

9. Get disposable containers to store leftovers

There will be a ton of leftovers, well let’s hope. It’s best if you grab some disposable containers to store all the food before it goes bad. Use separate containers for each item and label the container.

10. Offer snacks and appetizers before Dinner

The young get hungry and restless so some snacks are good for time buying. Plus with all those smells in the air who wouldn’t have a rumbling tummy. Make sure they are small snacks so they won’t spoil anyone’s appetite. 

11. Keep the kids busy

Keep the kids busy with games and activities. Set up some boards games, or a gaming system. If you know there will be a lot of children, make sure items that are a hazard is put away.  Last-minute hope would be to turn on the TV, make sure there’s a kid’s show on. 

12. Make your Pies a week ahead then Freeze them

Pies believe it or not can be stored and frozen. Making the pies ahead of time means less oven time. You can easily thaw them out that morning and reheat them before dinner.

13. Make your Cranberry sauce early and service it chilled

Cranberry sauce tastes better cold. So consider making the cranberry sauce early so you can serve it chilled.

14. Add Recipes to your Menu that don’t require an Oven

Any cold salad that you can make to add to the menu would be great. Save yourself some oven time with cold recipes.  These can still be made ahead of time and stored cold for Thanksgiving.

15. Wash and Chop your Veggies the day before

Most Thanksgiving recipes require chopped ingredients. Save time on prep work by chopping everything you need and storing them in containers. Pull them out of the fridge when you’re ready to use them. 

16. Sharpen all your Knives

Nothing is worse when you cooking than dull knives. Make time to sharpen them at least the day before so cutting will be a breeze. 

17. Make sure you have all the Kitchen Utensils you need

IF you need certain utensils to complete recipes, I would buy them a week ahead. Go through your recipes and see what utensils you might be missing.

18. Try making this Thanksgiving year a Potluck.

Tired of hosting an entire meal. Having a Thanksgiving dinner that is a potluck is the solution.  Just make sure to confirm more than once what your guest is bringing. Make it clear to have it ready for Thanksgiving day. 

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