Once you’ve hosted and cooked a full Thanksgiving dinner a few times you begin to learn what works best. Together we’ve collected our families’ tips for successful cooking during the holidays. And someday we’ll pass these on to our own families! We’re sharing our tips with you to add to your own growing list.
Our families’ tips:
• We always make a fruity punch for the holidays. Make it the night before so flavors can meld. Put some of the punch in a 3 cup plastic storage container and freeze. Put frozen punch in the middle of a large punch bowl and pour rest of punch over it. This will keep the punch cold for a long period of time without it becoming watery if you had used ice cubes (tried freezing the punch in ice cube trays but the cubes melted way too fast).
• We always add 1/2 cup of apple juice when making my syrup for the candied sweet potatoes. This adds a nice flavor. After baking and sweet potatoes are tender, shut the oven off and leave the sweet potatoes in for 1/2 hour, uncovered. This step really “candies” the dish.
• Our desserts are always homemade. When making my pie crust, we always add a tablespoon of cider vinegar to the ice water before sprinkling it on the dough to form a ball. This makes the dough crispy and flaky. You can make this dough the night before & refrigerate.
• We normally stick to traditional Thanksgiving dishes and add one new menu item. It’s nice to have the familiarity of the traditional cuisine but it’s also fun to try something new and different. Some of the new dishes might become a new family tradition while some might just reflect a current food trend.
• To save time, we always measure, chop, and organize all ingredients before we start any recipe. This way you’ll know you have everything before you begin and won’t fumble around while in the middle of cooking a recipe.
• Lay pieces of Butterball turkey bacon over the turkey to enhance the flavor. The bacon also adds to the turkey’s visual appeal.
• Put mashed potatoes in a long serving dish and grate parmesan cheese on top. Right before you’re ready to serve, heat them under the broiler for 30 seconds for a nice, crispy top.
What’s your favorite family tradition?