Depending on your skill level in the kitchen, the prospect of cooking Thanksgiving dinner will conjure up one of two words in your mind: family or stress.
We can guarantee you'll be thinking of the former this year, because we've found 21 handy kitchen hacks that will make cooking your turkey (and everything else) a total breeze.
1. Store chopped potatoes in water
Mastering "prep" work is the easiest way to simplify your Thanksgiving cooking, You can store chopped spuds in a bowl of cold water in the fridge for hours. This trick also works for apples, or other kinds of chopped fruit.
2. Turn your stuffin' into muffins
3. Make dessert in your rice or slow cooker
When your stove and oven are all occupied, you can still make a tasty dessert ahead of time. There's no shortage of slow cooker desserts to try, and you can even make tasty rice dishes in your cooker.
4. Peel potatoes in a snap
Someone in your family is bound to look like Beetle Bailey on Thanksgiving, stuck peeling a giant pile of potatoes. Make it easier on them this year by boiling them whole. Then, dunk the potatoes in ice water. That will let you peel them with just your fingers.
5. Cut biscuit dough using a wine glass
Home cooks trying to make biscuits on Thanksgiving often find they don't have a plain, round cookie cutter. In a pinch, you can use a wine glass. Just keep flouring the rim so it won't stick, and make sure you only push down, don't twist the glass.
6. Cool your pie crust
When you're making a single crust pie (as in pecan, pumpkin, any kind without a top) you should consider popping your crust in the freezer while you make the filling.
Letting the crust cool for 20 minutes to an hour relaxes the gluten in your dough, keeping it from "shrinking" as it bakes.
7. Tape your recipes to the cabinet door
Let's be honest, counter space is at a premium today, and you don't want to struggle to read a recipe after you've spilled cranberry sauce on it. Tape them up somewhere safe, where you can easily check them as you need to.
8. Make a shield for your pie crust
Here's another handy baking tip: your crust tends to cook faster than your filling, resulting in those unsightly burnt edges. Keep your crust nice and golden brown by wrapping it in a tin foil shield.
Just make sure you cut out a space in the middle of the foil, so the rest of your pie can bake properly. Also, don't press the foil too snugly around the crust, give it a little space.
9. Guarantee a juicy turkey
There are a few schools of thought on how to keep your turkey from drying out, but these are the most popular methods.
- Soak a cheesecloth in melted butter and lay it over your turkey's breasts as it bakes. This way the bird will soak up the butter and stay juicy.
- Ice the breasts of your turkey for 15 minutes (using an ice pack or a bag of ice) before you throw it in the oven. White meat cooks a little faster than dark, but this should slow things down.
- If you're feeling daring, lattice-wrapping your bird in bacon strips keeps it very juicy, plus your turkey will have a smoky bacon flavor.
10. Don't forget to decorate
If you need a few ideas to make your home look fabulous for the holidays we have all the crafts you could ever need. But before the big day gets too close pick up some of these handy Thanksgiving accessories.
More advice, including how to make the perfect mashed potatoes, lies ahead...