Being home for the holidays is all about relaxing, making memories and sharing great meals together. However, if you are the one hosting the holiday at your house then being home for the holidays can mean lots of prepping , budget breaking shopping lists and what feels like a race against time to get it all done. Here are some of our favorite holiday entertaining hacks that you will be thankful you read before Turkey Day.
Make it a Team Event
Just because you are gracious enough to host Thanksgiving at your home doesn’t mean you need to take on the entire menu yourself. Delegate drinks, apps, sides and desserts to family and friends to cut down on work and on the cost of all the food and drinks. Your guests will be happy to help and proud to show off their culinary skills.
Save Space by Serving Dinner Buffet Style
A crowded table can leave your guests feeling claustrophobic. Aside from setting up a kid’s table, an easy way to free up space (for a few extra bottles of vino perhaps) is by serving dinner buffet style. Side note: Vegetarians and those with special dietary needs will thank you for this. We love this beautiful buffet display HGTV.
Go Double for Less Trouble
If you’re hosting a large party, The Washington Posts says go for two smaller birds instead of one. Two small turkeys will take about the same time to roast as one large turkey and you can have two different flavors. You can even roast two in one pan with this recipe from Rachael Ray.
No Ice? No Problem!
If you don’t have an ice machine you just need to plan ahead. SheKnows advises making ice in ice cubes and them emptying the cubes into large, freezer safe containers starting a few days before the event. By the time your party starts you will be all stocked up!
Follow this Alcohol Cheat Sheet to Avoid Buying Too Much (or *gasp* not enough)
The cost of alcohol, on top of all the other food you are buying, can really add up. Hostess with the Mostess Martha Stewart has come up with the following suggestions:
Wine: One bottle per two people per hour
Beer: Two per person per hour
Spirits: One bottle per five people per hour
Mixers: Three bottles per each bottle of alcohol
Ice: At least one pound per person per hour
Stop Crying During Onion Prep
Chances are at least one of your recipes will call for chopped, minced or diced onions. Dry those eyes and try some of these tear free tricks from Lifehacker.com.
1) Freeze the Onion: Put the onion in the freezer 15 minutes before cutting it.
2) Cut Under a Vent: Use your stove or microwave vent to redirect the odor away from your nose, mouth and eyes.
3). Wear Goggle: Looks ridiculous but works like a charm!
Use Your Slow Cooker to Save Time
“This seems completely counter-intuitive – slow cooking to save time? But using your crock pot for Thanksgiving frees up valuable space in your oven and allows you to space out your cooking more efficiently.” – Sunny Day Family Here are some amazing crockpot Thanksgiving recipes from Food Network.
Make Up for Lost Time By Cooking Your Bird in a Bag
If you waited too long to start the turkey don’t panic. Cooking your turkey in an oven bag seals in moisture and can cut cooking time by about 1/3 according to Diply. Learn how to cook your bird in a bag from Clever Housewife here.
Make Personal Sized Portions of Stuffing in a Cupcake Pan
Pass the stuffing could very well be the most popular phrase at the table on Thanksgiving. With this Stuffin Muffin trick passing the stuffing is easy and no one needs to fight for the crispy pieces. Check out this recipe from Serious Eats.
Put Your Dishwasher to Work
Is there a more thankless job on Thanksgiving than scrubbing potatoes? I think not. Heavenly Homemakers hacks this task by suggesting that you wash your potatoes in the dishwasher (sans soap of course!) Get the instructions here. Side Note: You can also steam your veggies in the dishwasher. Pop Sugar suggests “wrapping them in aluminum foil and throwing them in the dishwasher for a full cycle (including a complete dry cycle).”
Cook Your in Your Cooler (Yes, really!)
Have a massive amount of corn on the cob to cook? Instead of breaking out all of your pots consider cooking them in a cooler. This hack from YouTube user Donald Boling is pure genius. Pour boiling hot water, butter, salt and the corn into a clean cooler, close the lid and let it sit for 30 minutes. Voila, cooked corn!
Boil Potatoes Whole to Avoid Peeling
Nicked fingers and a ton of time is something any Thanksgiving hostess can relate to when it comes to potato prep. If you boil them whole then shock them in iced water the skin will slide right off! See the whole video from Chowhound.
Up Your Pie Crust Game in an Instant
Put that fork you were able to use on your crust down and say hello to your new best baking friend, Libbie Summers. In this video she shares 20 creative and easy “pie crimping” hacks using everything from a corkscrew to a pearl necklace that will make you look like a master chef.
BYOT (Bring Your Own Tupperware)
Hosting guests AND generously giving away leftovers…you are just too much! If your family is anything like mine then once you send someone home with Tupperware there is a 99% chance you won’t be seeing it again. If you aren’t quite ready to part with yours then you can tell your guests in advance to bring their own. If all else fails, freezer Ziploc bags work quite well.