Hosting Thanksgiving? Read these tips.

Post by Paula Jahn, Co-Owner of Nourish Northwest, Registered Dietitian







I learned an important kitchen lesson last week: I took on too much while entertaining and failed to thoroughly read a recipe and its reviews. We had an Autumn harvest potluck for our staff and clients and I wanted to test two vegetarian shepherd’s pie recipes. One was a very involved recipe that had many (unnecessary) steps. It left me defeated, blistered and bitter. It started me thinking about this week’s holiday of kitchen chaos: Thanksgiving. Everyone who has hosted the feast tells stories of lumpy gravy, charred sweet potatoes, or forgotten essential steps like thawing the turkey–all usually ending in tears.

Lesson learned: Read the recipe.

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, there are some precautions you can take to stay ahead of the kitchen madness. It’s more work upfront, but you will be most thankful to yourself when you can enjoy the day with friends and family instead of slaving and stressing at the stove.

Read on for some tips on how to manage the chaos for the big day and keep you sane:

  • Write down a plan for the day, noting how long each dish takes, what can be made ahead, and what has to be made simultaneously. Map out a plan for things that have to be in the oven at different temperatures. We do this for our cooking classes and it is a tremendously helpful way to stay organized.
  • Many items can be made a day or more ahead.
    • Prepare the turkey for the oven by seasoning it. (Hold the stuffing for the day of).
    • Stuffing: Bread can be cut up and stored in a paper bag. Aromatics (onions, celery, mushrooms, garlic) can be cooked the day before and then tossed with the bread and baked on the day of.
    • Cranberry sauce can be made two or three days ahead.
    • Soup actually tastes better after a day in the refrigerator.
    • Chop vegetables, measure out spices, and grate cheese.
Do ahead essentials.

Also, remember, just because you’re hosting, doesn’t mean you have to make everything. Delegate!

Nourish Northwest wishes you a very happy, healthy and stress-free Thanksgiving.

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