Here on my blog, I strive to share simple, everyday tips and tricks that can help make your life a little bit easier. But sometimes, the tips that I want to share aren’t something I can write a whole blog post about! And since I simply cannot waste a good idea, I tuck them away to use at a later date. Today I’ll be sharing some of those tips and tricks with you in a very special Thanksgiving edition of my ongoing series “Why Didn’t I Think Of That?”
And if you’d like to peruse all the past editions of the “Why Didn’t I Think Of That?” series, you can find them all linked at the bottom of this post! :-)
1. Bring A Cooler
Whether you’re being invited to Thanksgiving dinner or are hosting one yourself, your cooler can be a really useful tool to keep handy! Use it to keep your dish warm if you’re taking one to dinner. (Bringing a sauce? Put it in a thermos!) And after the meal is over, you can fill up your cooler with warm, soapy water to make extra space for soaking dirty dishes!
2. Hide Pie Cracks
I hate when my pies crack while they’re baking! So when my pumpkin pies come out of the oven with a cracked surface, I use an easy trick to hide the evidence! I simply slice the pie up before dinner, and top each piece with a big dollop of whipped cream. No one is any the wiser about my less-than-perfect pie, and it makes it easier to serve dessert too!
3. Cranberry Sauce Fix
Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving staple for a reason! There’s nothing better than tart and fruity sauce to balance out all those rich and savory flavors. But it can be hard to get the balance of sweetness and tartness just right. If your cranberry sauce is a bit too sweet, just add a splash of lemon juice to balance it out!
4. Ice Alternative For Drinks
If you’ll be serving sparkling wine or cider at your Thanksgiving gathering, make some frozen grapes ahead of time to use as ice cubes! They’ll keep your bubbly drinks cold without watering them down. Just place some washed grapes on a sheet tray and stick it in your freezer. Once the grapes are frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer bag to store until the big day.
5. Make-Ahead Casseroles
One way to save yourself time and stress on Thanksgiving is to assemble any casseroles ahead of time. You can assemble them up to a week in advance, then store them in your freezer. The day before Thanksgiving, put the frozen casseroles in your fridge to let them thaw overnight. (You can also cook them from frozen; just add 30-45 minutes to the cook time and make sure to keep an eye on them while they cook!)
6. Make-Ahead Pie Filling
In addition to casseroles, you can also make fruit pie fillings ahead of time! Just prepare your fruit filling, then scoop it into a lined pie plate and freeze it. Transfer the frozen pie filling to a freezer bag. Then on Thanksgiving, all you have to do is line a pie tin with your favorite crust, pop the frozen filling disc into it, and bake!
Get more details and instructions on how to freeze fruit pie fillings at the link below.
7. Prep For Success
Preparation is the key to making your Thanksgiving cooking run smoothly! Act as your own prep cook by chopping, dicing, or slicing all of your vegetables the day before. Put each ingredient in a separate storage container or bag, and label it so you know what it’s for. You can also measure out dry ingredients for baking projects in the same way.
8. Good Gravy!
Gravy purists, avert your eyes—because I’m about to suggest making your Thanksgiving gravy ahead of time. I know, to some it’s a cardinal sin. But it’s a great way to save time! Make it up to several days before Thanksgiving and freeze it. On the big day, just thaw it out, warm it up, and add some of the drippings from your electric roaster turkey for extra flavor. Easy!
9. Use A Checklist
Keep yourself on track by following my Thanksgiving checklist! You can download a printable copy for free at the link below. (You can also download a really handy cooking schedule there too!)
The “Why Didn’t I Think Of That?” Series
If you’ve missed any of the previous posts in this series, or want to revisit some of your old favorite tips, you’ve come to the right place! Just click the button below to view the full archive of past posts in the “Why Didn’t I Think Of That?” series.