If you are thinking of hosting a holiday gathering this year or you want to be responsible for your family’s Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, then now is the time to look at your skills and practice some things that can help you to make the best meal possible and appease as many people as possible.
Cooking for a large number of people is far different than a couple of immediate family members. You need to be ready and prepared and have all of your ducks in a row to help things go off without a hitch and result in an edible meal that will earn you compliments too.
The quality of your meal and how easy it is to come together is dependent on the prep you put in. The more you prep your meal and take the time to ensure you have all of your elements, cooking utensils, and equipment to hand, the smoother the process will be.
This can be getting ingredients chopped or defrosted ahead of time (turkey if frozen), it can be making sure you have everything you need to make the meal, such as the right size baking tray, enough pots for the different foods, and managing your oven timings to ensure everything is cooked correctly.
Have a few practice runs making different parts of the meal to get a feel for what is involved and how they will take to cook.
Learn How To Cook A Turkey
Cooking a turkey isn’t as easy as putting it in the oven and leaving it to do its thing. The turkey is the centerpiece of your meal, and you need to know how to make it a showstopper for all the right reasons, not because you set the dish on fire or serve it raw.
Take your time to learn the intricacies of cooking a turkey, the timings for the size you are cooking, how to baste, and when and what not to do can help you to avoid potentially running the meal or making people ill from an incorrectly cooked turkey.
Make Side Dishes Ahead of Time
Even the best chefs don’t try to do it all at the same time. There is no way you can prepare everything at the same time. So look at the elements of your meal you are including and prepare as much ahead of time as possible. This can be your bread rolls, cranberry, this mac and cheese recipe, or anything you want to have. If it can be prepped ahead of the item, do it.
Use Aluminium Foil
If you need to cook multiple things in the same oven, you should use foil to help you keep foods moist and prevent them from burning or not cooking properly. Different foods will require different heating temperatures or timings, and utilizing one oven adds an extra element of complexity. Use aluminum foil to separate studies and compartmentalize your oven. Put the turkey in first, as this will take longer to cook. Put it on the lowest rack, and then you can use the higher ones for cooking your ashes for shorter periods.
Make A Schedule
Finally, to help things run smoothly, it can be a good idea to schedule your cooking ahead of time. Having practiced how long things take to cook and what needs to go in the oven, and then write it down and give yourself a schedule to follow so you don’t overlook anything and everything gets cooked when it needs to be. This can help you to make sure everything is under control when things get a bit busy.
Creating the perfect family Thanksgiving dinner for your immediate or extended family will be successful. But taking your time to plan out what you are doing, preparing food dishes ahead of time, and knowing exactly what needs to be done can give you a head start and ensure a smooth process come Thanksgiving.