Are you ready for Thanksgiving? Gobble up these time-saving tips.
Stress less this Turkey Day with some help from the pros. Area chefs answer the question on every home cook’s mind: How do you make Thanksgiving easier?
“Thanksgiving dinner can be very overwhelming, especially if you are hosting a large crowd,” described Chris Welsh, executive chef and owner of The Secret Ingredient Personal Chef Service in Wayne. “I make it easier by prepping as much ahead of time as possible.”
Think pregame mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce. Or for a something new, try her cranberry green beans. They’re a snap! (Pun intended.) Now let’s talk turkey. “Make the turkey preparation easier by having a butcher cut your turkey into pieces,” she suggested. “Roast the dark and white meat separately.”
But what about stuffing? “You can even put stuffing underneath the pieces if you wish,” Welsh added. “The turkey will take less than half the time this way, and carving will be a ‘piece of cake.’”
Another time-saver: “If someone offers to bring something, let them,” urged Michael Falcone, chef-owner of Heart Food Truck. “Also use the CrockPot if needed or even your outdoor grill. Your grill has a lot of cooking surface that could be used for pans of vegetables.”
As for serving those sides, grab a notebook.
“When you get ideas to serve and how to cook, present and stage your food whether it’s appetizers, entrées or dessert, write them down,” advised Tim Smith, former founder, owner and executive chef at Twelves Grill & Cafe in West Grove. “Draw diagrams. Keep them for you to expand on and to help organize your cooking and entertaining accurately.”
He shared his recipe for crispy baked portobello fries with spicy sriracha aioli, a “nontraditional side dish that is great for the holidays.”
And speaking of sriracha, George Bieber, chefowner of Shorty’s Sunflower Cafe in Pottstown, combines it with maple syrup and bacon for a cauliflower dish that won’t disappoint.
However, to really make life easy this Thanksgiving, “order takeout,” he joked. “But if that isn’t an option, keep the menu simple: turkey, gravy, stuffing and just two of your favorite vegetables.”
And “save room for dessert.”
Instead of roasting a whole turkey, a butcher can cut it into pieces for faster cooking.
Executive chef Tim Smith shared his recipe for crispy baked portobello fries.
Crowded stovetop? Reach for a Crock-Pot or fire up the grill.
“Set your table a day or two beforehand,” says executive chef Chris Welsh.
Pick up some Spring Mill herb bread for a classic stuffing.
Cranberry sauce is another simple side to prepare in advance.
Make-ahead mashed potatoes help ease the lastminute rush.