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Pro Hacks To Save Your Thanksgiving Dinner

Plan and Prep in Advance for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Celebration:

Craft a seamless Thanksgiving experience by meticulously planning your menu well in advance and completing your shopping early. Prepare many dishes ahead of time, minimizing stress on Thanksgiving morning. Utilize that extra time to relax, catch the Macy’s Day Parade, or awwww-inspiring Westminster Dog Show.

All Head Chefs Must Know How To Delegate Tasks & Share the Joy.

Hosting doesn’t mean you have to shoulder all the responsibilities. Don’t hesitate to seek assistance from friends and family. Enlist Grandma for her world famous sweet potato pie. Aunt Linda is always saying how much better her green bean casserole is anyway, so just let her make it this year. Even your brother, who may not have gotten the cooking genes from grandma, can bring
perfectly paired wines to compliment all the wonderful food everyone else is contributing. Sharing the cooking duties not only eases the burden, but also fosters a more festive and laid-back atmosphere.

Craft Effortless Batch Cocktails for a Relaxing Celebration:

Free yourself from bartending duties all day by preparing a punch or batch cocktail in advance, allowing guests to serve themselves. Here are three stress-free cocktail ideas:

  • Autumn Spice Punch: A delightful blend of apple cider, spiced rum, and ginger beer.
  • Cranberry Mule: A holiday twist on the classic Moscow Mule with cranberry juice, vodka, and ginger beer.
  • Wassail: A warm, classic holiday favorite made with apple cider, spices, and a hint of citrus.

If cocktails aren’t your thing, or even that requires more effort than you have time for, pick up bottles of wine that pair perfectly with Thanksgiving sides. You know your brother was probably going to forget anyway, but you’ll still be thankful he gets “funkle” time with your kids while you sit back and sip the wine.

Lose The Lumps & Impress Your Guests With The Perfect Mashed Potatoes:

There’s a reason mashed potatoes are consistently ranked the best Thanksgiving side dish in more states than any other contending dish. Kids love them, grownups love them, even great grandma who seems to dislike just about everything these days, loves them. Ensure they keep on loving them by losing the lumps and serving velvety-smooth mashed potatoes this year.

The secret? Use a ricer. This often overlooked kitchen utensil is a mainstay for our chefs this time of year. Their other trick is to warm your milk and butter before incorporating them. Avoid mixing hot and cold elements in the pot, as this can yield less than ideal results.

Prioritize Food Safety for a Healthy Celebration:

Resist the temptation to leave food out all day and consider food safety. After 90 minutes, refrigerate or reheat any food that’s been sitting out to prevent potential bacterial growth. Ensuring food is kept at safe temperatures (40-140°F) is vital to avoid the risk of food poisoning.

After you’ve been doing dishes for what feels like hours (and might actually be hours if your family celebrations are anything like ours) keep food safety top of mind when planning how to store the leftovers.

In the Fridge:
  • Turkey: Cooked turkey is safe in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Stuffing and Casseroles: These dishes generally last 3-4 days.
  • Gravy: Consume within 1-2 days.
  • Mashed Potatoes: Best within 3-4 days.
  • Cranberry Sauce: Can last up to 10-14 days.
In the Freezer:
  • Turkey: Leftover turkey can be frozen for 2-6 months for best quality.
  • Stuffing: Freezing is not recommended as it may become mushy upon thawing.
  • Casseroles: Most casseroles freeze well; aim for 2-3 months for optimal quality.
  • Gravy: Freezing is possible but may result in a change in texture; use within 2-3 months.
  • Mashed Potatoes: These can be frozen, but the texture may change; aim for 10-12 months.
  • Cranberry Sauce: Freezing is possible for 1-2 months.

Optimize Fridge Space & Store Thanksgiving Leftovers Strategically:

As you’re planning what to do with thanksgiving leftovers, make use of a combination of reusable plastic bags & stackable locking glass containers to save space and the environment + minimize hassle. Once you bag ‘em, make sure you tag ‘em. In other words, don’t forget to write on each bag with what’s in it if you’re going to freeze anything or use painters tape for containers in the fridge.

Don’t Just Re-Serve the Leftovers, Rejuvenate Them:

You don’t have to be a gastrointestinal genius like our chefs to prepare leftover dishes that will have you contemplating if it’s even better the second time, just use their suggestions and, modify them based on what you have and pass them off as your 5-star culinary creations:

  • Shepherd’s Pie: Combine diced turkey, leftover vegetables, and gravy. Top with mashed potatoes, bake until golden, and enjoy a comforting shepherd’s pie.
  • Turkey and Cranberry Panini: Layer turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing between slices of bread for a delicious sandwich.
  • Mashed Potato Pancakes: Mix leftover mashed potatoes with egg and seasonings, then pan-fry for crispy potato pancakes.
  • Sweet Potato Casserole Parfait: Layer sweet potato casserole with yogurt and granola for a tasty breakfast parfait.

Embrace Imperfections for a Joyful Thanksgiving Gathering:

Release the stress and remember a quality Thanksgiving meal isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. If a recipe doesn’t turn out as planned or you run out of grandpa’s favorite side before he got his signature 3rd plate, it’s okay. What truly matters is spending quality time with loved ones, creating cherished memories, and embracing all that you have to be thankful for. Thanksgiving is not about achieving culinary perfection… at least not when you cook it yourself. If you use our last pro hack and let Rosemary & Rye do a Charleston Thanksgiving meal package for you, then forget what we said, it’s totally about culinary perfection but we’ll be the ones to stress about that.

Explore Convenient Thanksgiving Meal Alternatives:

Rosemary & Rye Catering is currently offering a Charleston Thanksgiving meal package for just $275, serving 6-8 people. This package includes our house salad, freshly baked dinner rolls with herb butter, an oven-ready brined whole turkey, braised apple and cranberry stuffing, bourbon-infused gravy, blistered tomato pie, garlic confit mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, and buckle cake for dessert. All items are picked up cold with reheating instructions, so you can simply warm and enjoy a hot, chef-prepared meal at your convenience. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you, but you can take all the credit if you want.

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