No doubt, you’ve heard how much I love cooking around the holidays. I like to make Thanksgiving dinner awesome and have my guests leaving thinking: “She sure is a Thanksgiving Hero!” That feeling of having made them all very happy is a big part of why I enjoy the cooking.
There’s no doubt in my mind that I would never cook again if the fun of everyone thinking I’m some kind of cooking-goddess died. To keep the good-juju flowing, I plan to start this year by going through, line-by-line, these 25 Thanksgiving Hacks. But being a true Thanksgiving Hero is so much more…
Making It Look Easy-Step 1 to Become a Thanksgiving Hero.
Not being frazzled and all: “Oh, My Gosh, Aunt Sally! I can’t get things done in time for dinner!” is priority 1 in being a Thanksgiving Hero. I have to be mindful of the time I spend cooking and make sure I’m focusing on the things I enjoy. To cut down on my cooking time and really make things as easy as possible, I have a secret weapon: HoneyBaked Ham. And I’m not just talking about their awesome hams. My standard Thanksgiving purchase is:
- Ham is a big hit in our family. I usually hit the Lewisville, TX store and score at least 8 lbs of bone-in ham (because its pretty), no matter the size of my party. I’d hate for one of my guests to bring a plus-1 and have anybody leave the table feeling less than full!
- Smoked Turkey, because, yeah, that’s what Thanksgiving is all about- but let’s be clear, I purchase a smoked turkey breast or whole smoked turkey whether or not I am having Thanksgiving with a large group or a small. I can’t stand the idea of me spending all that time cooking a turkey just for it to be ick. But with a smoked turkey from HoneyBaked Ham, you can never go wrong-they’re always cooked perfectly, and they taste awesome, too!
- Several Delicious Sides like their Cinnamon Apples, Sweet Potato Souffle, Mac-and-Cheese or Green Bean Casserole. I would otherwise spend hours making these simple sides and be totally exhausted when it came time to make the fun little things like Thanksgiving Cookies for the kids.
- Pie(s), depending on whether or not we’re going to be hosting Aunt Nita. She always brings the pies if she’s coming. Otherwise I pick up a cheesecake and at least two pies (Pecan and Pumpkin, please). That way we’re all miserably-full after dessert, as well as after dinner!
On a side note, from now until 1/11/15 you can enter to win a $25,000 HoneyBaked Kitchen Makeover when you buy a Ham and Turkey Breast bundle.
You should also check out this amazing limited time coupon for $8.00 off any Bone-in Ham and Turkey Breast or Boneless Ham and Turkey Breast from HoneyBaked Ham to help you make your holiday dinner easy and delicious! (This offer is valid only at the following locations: Rolling Meadows, Orland Park, Villa Park, Morton Grove, Naperville, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, Mesquite, Hurst, Lewisville, Houston, Austin, Spring, Clear Lake, Sugar Land, Indianapolis, Ferndale, Grand Rapids, Roseville, Birmingham, Troy, West Bloomfield, Livonia, Flint, Dearborn Heights, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Canton Township, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Mechanicsburg, Monroeville, San Antonio, Bellevue, and Lynnwood. For store addresses click here.)
Also, HoneyBaked Ham is giving away a $500 Gift Card! You can enter below!
Essential Sides Can Make or Break Any Thanksgiving Hero.
- Making the family staples, like my can be a little daunting, but they’re a STAPLE, so you can’t just not make them. So, rather than skipping it and upsetting Uncle Fred, get creative! Make it ahead and freeze it, or pull a posse of family together to make your essential sides, like my friend does with her Fruit Salad every year.
- Afraid to try making a tough side? Weeks before (and I mean weeks) the big day, try out new recipes and do a test-run. I tried this Texas Cornbread Dressing Recipe a week ago and loved it. So, then froze the rest so I can just defrost, heat and serve on Thanksgiving day!
- Let’s go back to those Several Delicious Sides I mentioned purchasing at my local HoneyBaked Ham store. Yeah, its really important to have sides you know your guests will love. If you can’t make cinnamon apples just right (because I am kinda like the WORST at this simple side for some reason), then don’t make them-buy them. You’ll be less stressed and your guests that much happier that they aren’t having to choke down burned apples with too little sugar (because that totally happened!).
- Get help. No, not like meds, it’s just a meal…get help like from Aunt Sally-she totally does a mean pea salad, right? Ask and she’ll probably fall all over herself that she’s getting to help the Thanksgiving Hero!
Set the Table like a Thanksgiving Hero.
- Get the fancy-plates out, use a tablecloth and start filling grandma’s crystal! Why else do we have the pretty dishes in the closet or china-cabinet? Use them now, and enjoy them. It’ll make the table beautiful and everyone feel special.
- Serve your side dishes in clean bowls and display your ham like it came out of a catalog by folding a couple of slices over and centering it on the table, next to the un-carved turkey. Trust me, this “little” step will make your guests think you catered and you’ll be smiling with relief!
- Make placecards-because that’s super-fancy and kinda cool. These Thanksgiving Printable Placecards make you look like you spent hours working on this simple, yet elegant design. But you don’t have to-just print and fold!
Every Hero Needs a Break-Even the Thanksgiving Variety!
Don’t let Thanksgiving be just about the dinner. Spend time with the kids in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, building-up your reservoir of good-feelings. Do some fun and silly family crafts-then take breaks in the marathon cooking-palooza to look at the crafts you’ve artfully displayed as a centerpiece or on the fridge. Remember-Thanksgiving is about being together as a family and you’re a part if that family, not some slave-o-cooking! Take a breather to enjoy yourself. You deserve it.
Thanks goes to HoneyBaked Ham for sponsoring this post!