Food & Recipes

16 Thanksgiving Shortcuts You Will Regret Not Using Come Turkey Day

Get ready to win Thanksgiving this year!

Throwing any large dinner party can be trying, but hosting Thanksgiving takes the stress from “I need a glass of wine” to “I need an I.V. of Pinot Grigio, stat.”

There is just so much pressure on Turkey Day—from the food to the décor to the ambiance. People have waited the whole year for this food coma, and everybody has their own set of expectations created by a lifetime of traditions.


We say: Let’s start a new tradition that doesn’t involve getting stressed out! Start by using these 16 ingenious Thanksgiving tips and tricks that will make your T-Day epic without requiring you to spend your November in a haze of planning and baking.

1. Print Out EVERY Recipe You Intend To Use

This goes for EVERY dish and drink—even a simple mixed drink recipe. The last thing you want to do on Thanksgiving is scroll hastily through your phone with flour-covered fingers as you try to remember how to make a dirty martini! Print out everything beforehand and hang it, along with the complete menu, at EYE LEVEL in your kitchen.

2. Don’t Wait Until Thanksgiving Day To Get Baking

You’re planning to wait until the morning of to start cranking out your pecan and pumpkin pies? What are you, a masochist? Bake your pies two to three days in advance. They will keep just fine in the fridge. Place them on the countertop on Thanksgiving morning to come to room temperature.


3. Do All Of Your Prep Work The Night Before

Cut the peppers. Dice the onions. Mince the garlic. Put it all in Pyrex or resealable bags. Not only will you save time chopping, you will save time cleaning all that up! And you will have clean countertops, cutting boards and knives ready to begin on T-Day. Better yet? Decide if there are recipes you can make a week or two in advance and then freeze.

dice onions celery photo
Photo by Didriks

4. Microwave Garlic Before Trying To Peel It

Stop fooling with sticky garlic all over your fingers. Microwave it for 15 seconds and the skin comes right off!

garlic photo
Photo by shrk

5. Set The Table The Night Before

This one’s a do-ahead no-brainer. If you are having a kids’ table, it’s a really cute idea to use butcher paper as the tablecloth and put some crayons in a pretty (non-breakable) cup or bowl. Kiddos can color to stay entertained between courses! (This also works for adults who are kids at heart and/or have had several glasses of wine.)

Food Network

6. Make Festive Pumpkin Vase Centerpieces

Pumpkins are discounted after Halloween, so make the most of those savings. Get a few small pumpkins that will work on your table(s). Cut them open. Scrape out all the goo. Swirl a little bleach inside. Let it dry. Fill with flowers. Charm guests. Save money. Rule the world. (Check out some other clever ways to use discounted Halloween items).

Bright Ideas Blog

7. Use Your Coolers

Break out any and all coolers you have. They have so many uses! First, it’s an easy way to keep drinks cool and out of the fridge, allowing you to save on valuable space and keep Uncle Bill out of your way while you’re in crunch mode.

Second, you can even use them to keep hot foods hot! Yep, just don’t put any ice in (obviously). Instead, just put the food in resealable containers and keep the cooler shut. Works well for things like macaroni and cheese, casseroles and any other dishes that hold their heat well or need to stay warm but not piping hot.

8. Wash Your Taters In The Dishwasher

No, really. Just lay them on the top rack and do a quick rinse cycle (no detergent, of course). Never waste time scrubbing a potato again.

potatoes photo
Photo by JeepersMedia