There’s a lot of pressure on Thanksgiving dinner to be absolutely perfect. Even if your family is pretty easygoing, a turkey dinner is still a big deal by virtue of the fact you’re cooking a turkey. It takes hours of prep and cooking to make that delicious meal possible and while it’s totally worth it, there are some ways you can cut that time down to get to your satisfying food coma even faster. Er, we mean, so you can have more time for family.
1. Don’t cook the entire bird
Realistically, how many people are you cooking for? Do you ever use the whole bird? Yes, you want some leftovers (because nothing in the world is better than Thanksgiving leftovers) but you could probably get away with buying a turkey breast or two instead of the whole shebang. Not cooking the whole bird cuts down on defrost, prep and cooking time. Plus that means no removing the giblets or trussing or any of that super slimy stuff.
2. Don’t actually stuff your stuffing
A stuffed bird takes longer than an unstuffed bird to cook (and way longer than just a breast). Instead of sticking your hand up a turkey’s you-know-what, just cook your stuffing in a separate dish. In fact, turkeys should rest for about 20 minutes after they’re finished cooking; that’s the perfect amount of time for cooking your stuffing so it’s fresh when you’re ready to eat your bird.
3. Hack your mashed potatoes
Everyone has a mashed potato preference. Who knew that such a simple-seeming dish could be so divisive and take so many steps to prepare? Make things a little easier on yourself by cutting your potatoes before you boil them so they take less time to cook. Then, instead of using a manual masher or ricer to mash your taters, try an upright or handheld mixer with a whisk attachment. You’ll be able to whip up those beautiful clouds of potatoey goodness in no time.
4. Simplify your cranberry sauce
The simplest cranberry sauce is the kind you get in a can, but if that’s unheard of in your house, that’s understandable. One component in a lot of cranberry sauces is orange zest to give it a little zing. Rather than take the time to zest your orange, choose one with thin skin, cut it up and add the whole thing to the blender with your fresh cranberries. If you whiz it enough, we promise you won’t even notice that there’s some thin rind in there.
Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy all that free time you won’t need to spend in the kitchen.