Whatever holiday you celebrate, if you've got a crowd of people coming over for a meal, planning a holiday meal can be overwhelming. We put together some basic tips to help you manage stress and ensure a fun and stress-free gathering with your loved ones.
Let's start with a few simple things you can do before company arrives.
Sharpen Your Knives
It may seem counterintuitive, but kitchen wisdom says that sharp knives are less dangerous than dull ones. A dull blade requires much more force to cut through something, increasing the chance of a slip. On the other hand, a sharp knife can handle extra processing faster and more efficiently, making your work in the kitchen easier and more enjoyable. It is better to do that now, while you have the time.
How do you sharpen knives? The cost can vary greatly, but there are some great budget-friendly options, like a DIY solution or Ace Hardware's resharp program. Check out YouTube for videos like this one: Beginners Guide To Real Knife Sharpening like this or articlesThe Right Way to Sharpen a Knife at Home, According to Experts.
Stock Up at the Local Restaurant Supply Store
Whether its new pots and pans, a serving tray, or just a few glasses, your nearest restaurant supply store will have significantly better prices than most retail outlets. It's a handy way to save a buck.
Use a Supplementary Cooler
If you're having a potluck or are worried about fridge space, throw some ice in a cooler to free up the fridge. Condiments and drinks are both fantastic options for the cooler.
Now that you've done your due diligence ahead of time, let's move on to some day-of fixes that can save a holiday gathering from disaster.
Forgot to Pick Up a Roasting Rack?
No worries! You have two options. You can elevate whatever you're roasting on a thick, rolled-up piece of tin foil or (the option we like better) on a bed of halved onions, carrots, and celery.
Improvise a Pie Weight
If you're making your own pie crust (we'll circle back to this later), you don't need to go out and purchase a pie weight. Instead, poke holes in the base of your crust with a fork, lay down a layer of tin foil or parchment paper over your crust, and then fill it with dry beans or uncooked rice.
Turkey not Thawing?
Turkeys can take a long time to thaw, and life gets crazy, especially around the holidays. We totally understand. If you get a late start on thawing your turkey in the next couple of days, submerge it in cold water in a covered container, changing the water regularly.
If your bird is still frozen on turkey day, you may have to carve it up before it goes in the oven. Cut straight down the middle of the bird into eighths. Remember that white meat cooks faster than dark meat, so pull the breasts out before the legs. Cook the turkey until it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit internally.
Sub Cheesecloth for Bacon
Some folks use a butter-soaked cheesecloth to keep their turkey moist, but if you're feeling adventurous, you can use a layer of bacon strips. If this is new for you, we suggest giving it a test run before the big day.
Dry Turkey! Don't Worry!
The feared "dry turkey" haunts many a Thanksgiving. But don't worry! You can revive your dry meat by misting or sprinkling it with warm turkey or chicken broth as it rests. If the meat is bone dry, put it back in a baking dish, pour stock over it, and bake for ten minutes at 350. The warm broth will be absorbed into the meat, moistening it. This trick actually works with stuffing too!
It's OK if it's Not Made From Scratch
Pumpkin puree, for example, is excellent pre-made. You can make it yourself, but buying canned pumpkin puree saves hours of work and may save you money. It still counts as homemade.
Pie crusts are another example of how easier may be better. If you want to spend an hour and a half and go the extra mile to make a pie crust, we applaud you. But there's a lot to do, and the family likes pre-made just fine.
Occupy the Backseat Cooks
We've all experienced the one or two family members or friends who like to hover behind you in the kitchen. They probably mean well, it's just that they don't quite know that sometimes staying out of your way is the best way to help.
Our tip: Let them be helpful! Keep a couple bottles of wine for opening pre-dinner, and let this person be the bottle opener. If you have plans for cocktails, even better! Let this person be the bartender and stay out of your hair. If this person is a child, assign them some appetizers to hand out.
Stay calm and turkey on!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving from the Downtown Self Storage team!
KGW Toy Drive
The KGW Toy Drive is in full swing! Downtown Self Storage is thrilled to participate again in this 35-year-old tradition, helping thousands of local kids have a better Christmas. Drop off donations of new, unwrapped toys for kids of all ages at either Downtown Self Storage location.
As the holidays kick off and you need a place to store your holiday gear, Downtown Self Storage is here to help! We've been the Pearl District's storage solution for 30 years.
Rent a unit today and get 50% off your first three months!
Check out our specials online at www.downtownselfstorage.com.
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