Getting Thanksgiving dinner on the table is often a crash course in multitasking and requires exception choreography. You want everyone to be able to eat when hungry yet having everything be done cooking at the same time. Without a small army of helpers or an extra set of hands, how can you pull this off?
Turns out there are some off-beat ways that you can prep for dinner and get everything cooked simultaneously, using everyday items and appliances you likely already own. Here are three ideas on how to do that:
- Break out the slow cooker. Author Stephanie O'Dea has covered the slow cooking niche for a couple of years now, coming up with creative ways to make everything from play dough to pie in her slow cooker. Not surprisingly she has also conceived of ways that a slow cooker can work to your advantage when creating a holiday menu. She's even got ideas on how to cook a Thanksgiving turkey in her slow cooker.
- Use countertop appliances in new and different ways. Clearly you can make rice in a rice cooker. But did you know that you can use a rice cooker for many other things as well? When my kitchen was under renovation last year, I was writing a series of blog posts on "cooking without a kitchen." One post I wrote was about how I was able to make things like pasta in my rice cooker. (I even went on to give rice cookers by Suddenly Frugal Seal of Approval.) Turns out you can create traditional Thanksgiving menu items that do not involve rice in a rice cooker as well. One such menu item to make in a rice cooker is corn bread! In addition, I know people who use their George Foreman Grill to toast almonds for a holiday dish.
- Put your appliances to work for prep work. What do you do if your sink is full of dishes or your refrigerator is full of groceries, yet you need both for your holiday celebration? How about taking any vegetables that need washing, putting them in a mesh lingerie bag, and running them through a quick, cold cycle in your washing machine? Similarly, your top-loading washing machine, filled with cold water and ice, can become a makeshift beverage cooler. Finally, Real Simple magazine once suggested washing and steaming potatoes in the dishwasher (without detergent) to speed up the mashed-potato process.
What are some of the creative things you do to get Thanksgiving dinner on the table?
Other Articles on Thanksgiving Dinner:
Making Moist Thanksgiving Turkey
Planning Your Dinner and Decorations
Holiday Cooking Hotlines