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5 steps for a stress-free Thanksgiving

By Carolyn Malcoun, November 2, 2009 - 10:45am

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5 steps for a stress-free Thanksgiving

For several years my husband and I have hosted a big pre-Thanksgiving bash for our friends. Until we started throwing these parties, I had done little but set the table for Thanksgiving dinner. I had never carved a turkey before or made gravy, and my pie-making skills were a joke. Now I have it down to a science.

Here are 5 steps to help you host a stress-free Thanksgiving:

1. Have a game plan. I used to make fun of my mom for all the lists she wrote before a party. A list of what she was making. A list of who was coming and what everyone was bringing. A grocery list. A list of what she would do when. As much as I hate to admit it, she was right. It’s so much less stressful when you have a plan. Get recipes, full Thanksgiving menus and day-by-day planners in EatingWell’s Complete Thanksgiving Guide.

2. Delegate. You don’t have to make everything. If you’re hosting, plan to make the turkey, then say, “Yes!” whenever someone offers to bring something. Keep track of what your guests plan to bring so you don’t have three bowls of mashed potatoes and no pumpkin pie (the horror!). If they need ideas, send them a link to these amazing Thanksgiving side dishes and dessert recipes.

3. Bake a delicious pie. It’s not hard! My husband has even mastered the fluted edge and he’s only baked two pies in his life.

4. Learn to carve a turkey… Here, print out this step-by-step turkey-carving guide and tape it to the kitchen cabinet closest to where you’ll be carving the turkey. The photos and step-by-step instructions are so helpful when you’re in the heat of the moment. Seriously.

5. …and make gravy that’s not lumpy. Print out this easy photo guide to making pan gravy and tape it to the kitchen cabinet closest to your stove. Making gravy is really easy but lumps are still a problem for even the best cooks. Having these pictures handy will be helpful on the big day!

What are your tips to make Thanksgiving less stressful? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Carolyn Malcoun, Healthy Cooking Blog

Carolyn Malcoun
Carolyn Malcoun combines her love of food and writing as a recipe contributor for EatingWell. Carolyn has a culinary arts degree from New England Culinary Institute and a degree in journalism from University of Wisconsin—Madison. Carolyn lives in Burlington, Vermont, and enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking and running in her free time.

Carolyn asks: What are your tips to make Thanksgiving less stressful?

Tell us what you think:

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