I plan to host Thanksgiving at some point, but I would be lying if I said that thinking about all the work that goes into the extravagant event doesn’t stress me out a bit. After all, there’s a whole lot to arrange, from sending out Thanksgiving cards to putting together the seating chart and making appetizers, drinks, side dishes, desserts, etc. When you’re trying to accomplish so much at once in the kitchen, it’s easy to forget about something or get overwhelmed. Keep this checklist on hand this Thanksgiving to ensure all of your kitchen duties go smoothly.
Write down your menu
Thanksgiving is unlike traditional everyday dinners in that there are many more dishes to make. From green bean casserole, roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes to turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, there’s a lot of food to prepare. Make the cooking process easier on yourself this year by writing down each and every appetizer, side dish and dessert on a piece of paper and posting it up on your cabinets. This will ensure that you don’t forget about the cookie dough chilling in the fridge or the turkey sitting in your freezer. As each item is prepared and put on the table, check it off of your list and move onto the next.
Label your dishes
Each part of the meal is served on a different piece of dinnerware. Instead of trying to remember what food goes on which serving piece on the day of Thanksgiving, label all of your dinnerware the night before. Keep in mind that not all of your plates, bowls, etc., have to match. However, large, plain white dinner plates are usually your best bet, as they fit both casual and formal occasions and can be used long after the Thanksgiving holiday has passed.
If you want to use a specific bowl for your mashed potatoes, label it as such using sticky notes so you don’t end up filling it with green bean casserole or fresh rolls instead. Go through the same process with all of your decorative platters, plates and bowls.
Clean out your fridge
When was the last time you cleaned out your fridge? If the answer is “I don’t remember,” it’s probably time to reorganize. Take out any food that’s expired or that you know you’re not going to eat to make room for your Thanksgiving dishes. On Thanksgiving Day, you don’t want to open your fridge only to find out there’s no room for the food you’ve prepared.
Stay organized as you go
Making a variety of dishes all at once in the kitchen can create a fairly big mess. The larger the mess grows, the harder it is to concentrate on what you’re doing and keep track of what you need. Here’s how to keep your kitchen clean as you cook your Thanksgiving dinner:
- Fill the sink with soapy water: Having a sink that’s filled with warm, soapy water gives you a place to store your dirty dishes and prevents any food from hardening onto their surface.
- Wipe up spills immediately: Have paper towels and wipes on hand so that if you spill something on your countertops, you can instantly clean it up. If you leave the spill for you to take care of later, you’re eliminating precious counter space that you need to prepare your meals.
- Put away ingredients: When you’re done using certain ingredients, put them back into the cabinets or fridge to get them out of the way. You may even want to give this job to someone in your family to help keep the kitchen clean as you cook.
Don’t hesitate to order in
Never be ashamed to order a side dish or dessert from a local gourmet restaurant. You don’t have to tell your guests that it’s not homemade, and you’ll have more time to focus on the turkey.