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!