Oh my gosh!!! Thanksgiving is almost here!!! Are you ready?
If you happen to be hosting or helping out with the spread on Turkey Day, take a deep breath and don't panic.
The notion of cooking so many dishes at once can be super stressful and overwhelming, but it's not really that bad! The trick is to figure out your menu and prep and cook as much as you can in the days leading up to the holiday, so that you're not swamped when the family arrives. In fact, there is a good deal of prep that you can do beforehand, so that you'll have more time to sit back and enjoy your company while everything heats up in the oven.
Not sure where to start? Check out this handy guide to take out some of the stress and make sure you're adequately prepared for the big day:
Making turkey and not sure where to start? Personally, I suggest dry-brining it, which is waaaay easier and less messy than using a traditional wet brine, and you get all the juiciness and flavor that you would with a wet brine. Plus you'll get a lovely crispy skin. Learn more here:
If you're still a little worried about drying out your turkey, I highly recommend using a turkey-sized oven bag to roast your bird, as it will retain tons of moisture and basically self-baste, making it pretty difficult to overcook. Rub some butter under the skin, add in all your favorite seasonings and aromatics and cook the turkey like so:
Not in the mood to fire up your oven? Grab your deep fryer and toss that turkey in! Heck, you can even batter and deep fry whole chunks of the cooked bird for something a little more wild. From green beans to cranberry sauce fritters, mashed potato bombs, stuffing and even pie, the limit does not exist when it comes to that vat of oil. Here's how to make all these dishes (and more!) in all their greasy goodness:
And you know what, maybe you're not into turkey at all. Maybe you don't eat meat and are looking for a few vegetarian sides for yourself, or you have a bunch of herbivore family members. Perhaps you all just happen to think turkey is a little overrated. That's totally fine! Make a few of these mains and sides, and nobody will give meat a second thought, trust me:
On to the sides! Stuffing/dressing is a big deal for most, since it's right up there with turkey in terms of iconic Thanksgiving dishes. Whether you want to go traditional or get a little wacky (beer-pretzel stuffing, anyone?), here's where you can get inspired:
And who can forget about those lovely, creamy mashed potatoes? Hopefully you didn't! If you find yourself swamped, go ahead and toss your taters in the slow cooker to save yourself active cooking time as well as valuable stove space. Here's how to get super creamy, easy mash in the Crock Pot.
If you want to get a bit creative with it, why not venture out of your comfort zone and add some unexpected yet tasty mix-ins, like bacon or veggies, or make your mash out of something else entirely, like cauliflower or sweet potatoes? Find some fun ideas here:
But what about dessert??
If you have traditional dessert lovers, here's how to make the four most popular Thanksgiving pies:
If you have pie lovers in the family but want switch things up a little, you can find the perfect recipe here:
Want to get really wild? Forget about holiday dessert conventions and serve something totally different! You can find some stupendously delicious, fun desserts here:
Now that you've done all the hard work feeding the legion of relatives, you can finally sit back, unwind and sip on something delightfully boozy. Here are some scrumptious cocktails you can make for you and your crew:
And of course, if you're doing it right, you'll have enough leftovers to power you through a few weeks, and you're going to want to get a little creative so you don't get tired of the same (delicious!) leftover sandwich over and over again. Keep things exciting with these fun ways to use up that turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce: