Preparing the Thanksgiving meal can be arduous and time-consuming even for the best of cooks but when you incorporate some of the same techniques the pros do you will find you can turn out an amazingly delicious meal in almost half the time. One fantastic time-saving device is the Ninja® 3-in-1 cooking system – it uses super-heated steam to roast or bake foods and it is also ideal for making tasty and nutritious one-pot meals; steam cooking is one way professional restaurant chefs produce top quality meals in minutes and with this system you can do the same thing at home.
Another way to save time and expedite meal preparation is by using frozen vegetables and fruits – there’s no need to do all the prep work required to make green beans when you can buy them bagged and ready to cook; frozen cranberries are ideally suited for whipping up a healthy and flavorful dish in minutes. Making mashed potatoes from scratch can take hours if you wash, peel, boil and then mash the potatoes by hand plus you have a lot of messy cleanup to deal with. Pick up some readymade mashed potatoes which can be boiled in a bag – cleanup is a snap.
Planning & Preparation
Many dishes can be made days or even weeks in advance of the holiday and this is a great way to enjoy homemade dishes without the added pressure of cooking to a deadline. Pies can be made and frozen; side dishes can also be prepared and frozen so that all you need do on Thanksgiving day is simply reheat the food, enjoy the aroma and savor the flavor. This is when planning is key – by shopping early and cooking ahead of time you can get great deals on popular ingredients and take advantage of seasonal specials.
Cooking ahead does require that you have extra pans, baking and serving dishes because you will be taking them out of your daily rotation when you cook and freeze foods in advance. This is when single use aluminum pans or similar disposable pans are especially useful plus they reduce the need to clean up baked on food and grimy pots and pans. Look for food storage ideas and holiday serving ware at bedbathandbeyond.com – they have a great selection.
The Perfect Table
Naturally you want your holiday table to be attractive and show off the bounty of the harvest. This is when you can actually use your copper cookware, good dishes and better serving utensils to play off the rich palette of autumnal colors. Incorporate gold or rust napkins and candles along with colorful gourds and greens for a seasonal table that will wow friends and family.