‘Tis the Time To Multitask

thanksgiving stress

If you’ve ever hosted a holiday dinner then you know how stressful it can be. It sounds so easy – roast a turkey, throw together some stuffing, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. Easy peasy, right?

That’s exactly what I thought the first time I hosted one. And boy, was I naive. Thanksgiving has to be the No. 1 multi-tasking challenge for any cook! There are so many steps involved and you never think it’s going to take as much time as it actually does. Even now, as many times as I’ve hosted our holiday dinners, I can find myself overwhelmed with all there is to do. It’s an all-day process with many steps involved before you reach that fulfilling moment when you’re setting those gorgeous dishes on the table. It’s definitely a matter of knowing how to multi-task in order to make the process easier and more enjoyable. (Keep reading to see how you can win $250 with your own multi-tasking story.)

 

Had I known all of this before my first holiday dinner it would have made things much easier. Sure, I was just Type A enough to have my excel spreadsheet all written out, down to the minute. But there were a few things I failed to add to my list, such as:

  • Always take the bag of organs out of the bird before you roast it. My mother-in-law was the one that found it and graciously took the bird from the table back to the kitchen for carving. Of course, I couldn’t resist telling everyone what had happened and we all had a good laugh. 
  • Make sure to remove the stickers from produce before roasting. My pears hadn’t actually made it into the oven but I was still mortified that I missed such a basic step. Washing them would be a good idea, too! 

Luckily, I learned how to multi-task a bit better after that dinner and allow myself some shortcuts. Now I make sure that at least half of my dinner is made ahead of time or even already prepared for me so that there’s not so much work to do the day of the big feast. I haven’t completely decided on my Thanksgiving menu yet (I almost always change it save for a couple of staples that always make an appearance) but I do know I’ll be serving my Carrot Souffle and some Simply Potatoes. My Carrot Souffle is the only dish that’s been on every holiday table since I’ve started cooking; Simply Potatoes is a much newer discovery but I’m completely addicted! They’re creamy, fluffy and the best part is that I no longer have to spend so much time putting my potatoes through a ricer, a time-consuming step that I’ve always dreaded. And as much as I hate to admit it, Simply Potatoes are just as good – and possibly even better – than any I’ve made myself. What I love about them is that they’re great right out of the package or I can add them to any of my recipes that call for potatoes. My favorite way to enjoy them (and if you’re a friend of mine, you’ve already heard me wax poetic about this so my apologies in advance for having to hear this one more time) is to put the mashed variety in a baking dish, drizzle with melted butter then sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, then broil until golden brown and crispy. TO. DIE. FOR!!

As I teased above: Simply Potatoes just launched a fun contest on its Facebook page today with a prize of a $250 Visa card to help with your holiday cooking this year! It only runs through November 15th and the winner will be announced the very next day! Just head over to their Facebook page, enter your name, email address and share your holiday multi-tasking story in 200 words or fewer. They’ll pick a winner at random and give them $250 to help cover those holiday costs!

Hope everyone had a great Halloween – cheers!

 

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    Being a woman, I hate to admit I am a complete disaster when it comes to multitasking. If cooking is one of the tasks involved, then I am in trouble – LOL.  I am usually a bit of a disaster in the kitchen, so have tried just sticking to a simple dish of potatoes today, and I followed your simple instructions of course (included the grated parmesan and the butter). And guess what! Total success! Hubby is still amazed :-) Thank you!

  2. Aleksa says

    I both look forward to and dread Thanksgiving dinner. I love to cook and love to share, so Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the season… but I also know that the coming holiday means that I will have absolutely no time to do anything but to shop, plan, and prepare for the big feast. I still ook forward to it though.

  3. Theresa says

    Simply Potatoes sounds like a great idea! I haven't seen it on the shelf, but I must admit that I haven't really looked for it either. I also hate ricing potatoes, and so over the years I've just drifted over to making potatoes au gratin instead.

  4. Clarise says

    I admire those that can make mashed potatoes from scratch! Mine seem to always come out lumpy. Simply potatoes sounds like a good idea, much faster and easier to clean up after.

  5. Mark says

    Carrot Souffle… I remember having some years ago at a wedding in NY and loving it thoroughly! Thanks for pointing me in the direction of your recipe, I will definitely try it sometime. My mother always brings maple glazed carrots out for dinner, so it will probably have to wait until after the holidays, but I'm sure your souffle is delicious.

  6. Kelly says

    I just dropped $75 on Thanksgiving groceries already, and that was only on desserts. $250 extra from Simply Potatoes could sure come in handy :)

  7. Rita says

    A spreadsheet, seriously? That *is* type A. Of course, it probably serves you better than my strategy… every year I wing it, and every year I'm thoroughly stressed out by the time I'm through cooking (always at the very last minute). I'm told the food comes out great, but I'm a mess!

    • says

      lol – I don't use one anymore but I definitely needed to in the beginning! Of course, it depends on how many dishes you're serving; if I'm serving just the typical turkey, potatoes, carrot souffle, stuffing, salad, app & dessert then I don't use anything anymore because that gets knocked out pretty quickly. If there's much more than that though then it helps to have a chart where you know the temp of your dishes, times, what can be made ahead and what absolutely has to be done at the last minute. I'm sure you food comes out delish! :-)

  8. Cameron says

    Yippee, a contest! I would love to enter. Thanks for the giveaway, we could all use some extra cash this season!

  9. Sophia says

    Even with multitasking, there are only so many hours in the day for me as I usually work through the holiday season. So, we do holidays pot-luck style in my family. I'll make the bird, my uncle brings a ham, my mother some veggies, etc. We all love to cook, so I won't steal anyone else's fun, and they won't leave me with all the work :)

  10. Kawila says

    Simply potatoes sounds great. I love shepards pie, but never wanted to go through the trouble of mashing potatoes for the dish. This will definitely make the dish much simpler to prepare.

  11. Grace says

    Simply Potatoes looks like a very easy side dish. I've always resisted buying mashed potato store bought potatoes, but perhaps I'm just being ridiculous at this point. If they come out as good as yours, they'll definitely come out better than mine :)

  12. Tricia says

    Ok, I took your advice and picked up some Simply Potatoes! They're in the oven now with some butter and parmesan as you recommended, and they smell fantastic…

  13. Maria says

    Simply Potatoes are the best! I see they make sweet potatoes too, which is really exciting. My family loves sweet potatoes.

  14. Brianne says

    Even though I love cooking, an entire Thanksgiving feast would be an overload for me! We usually head to my mother's house for the holiday, and I just bring a cake or two, and she somehow manages to get everything else!

  15. Tim says

    I was excited to hear of a decent store bough mashed potato (I've been disappointed a few times) but it looks like Simply Potatoes isn't available in stores near me yet. Hopefully it will catch on around here, it sounds delicious.

  16. Corrine says

    I keep most of my cooking simple on Thanksgiving. The star of the show isthe turkey, of course, but my sides are fairly simple and easy to prepare – stuffing, a salad, some steamed veggies. The deserts, which are really time consuming to make, can be done for the most part the night before.

  17. Addison says

    Hosting for a holiday like Thanksgiving is not easy and it
    is very tiring as well. This is the reason why I always choose to cook simple food
    until my daughter is old enough to help. LOL.

  18. Hebe says

    Thank you for sharing the tips! Multitasking is never easy
    especially when you mess a some step. It’s scary but it’s also an exciting thing to do. Once I get dinner ready I am always proud of myself.

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