Help for timing Thanksgiving dishes so that everyting is served hot?
I usually have more help cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Anyone have tricks or suggestions to make sure evrything comes out hot at the same time? I will need to cook some veggie dishes last minute (green beans, etc) and will have made some things earlier in the day (mashed potatoes, wild rice, cornbread) that will need to be reheated. How does everyone do it? Thanks.
One thought - don't cook too many dishes. If you've got an oven and 4 burners, you should be able to make it work.
There were some mentions in other threads about items that can be kept warm in crock pots -so check that out.
I second the "don't cook too many dishes" recommendation! (Nobody will go hungry if there's one or two side starches instead of five)
Another great strategy is to make sure that a certain number of your sides work at room temperature, so you don't have to worry about everything being hot.
The other key, at least for me, is to have mostly sides that can be done ahead, and then heated in the oven while the turkey is resting (which is a while anyway) It sounds like you're doing this anyway. If you have a microwave, that's also a great help (for example, if you don't like your mashed potatoes reheated in the oven) I usually make sure everything can be reheated in the oven except the potatoes and gravy, nuke those, and it's no problem to have them all hot when the turkey's ready for carving.
I always have a very detailed Thanksgiving checklist/to do list. It has the menu on it, and under each item it has specific tasks that need to be done, and (and this is the key) what time each of them need to be done, and at what temperature (if they're in the oven). I schedule what time dinner will be served, then count backwards, figuring out that the turkey will come out of the oven 30 to 40 minutes before dinner, the sides can go in then, when I should do any stove top items, etc. It also helps if you are a little relaxed about oven temp -- if I have two sides that need to be in the oven at the same time, and they cook at different temps, I just find a happy medium and put one on a top rack and one on a bottom. The checklist has saved me many a Thanksgiving.
Absolutely! A printed out plan is the way to go. Mine begins with the shopping list and ends with the dishes and serving implements required for each dish. That way that last half hour that makes all the difference goes smoothly.
Also run your dishwasher a few times during the prep to keep your workspace uncluttered and tools always ready.
It's really pretty easy. The turkey tastes best after it has sit out for half an hour before carving, to stick all the sides (some precooked, others not) in the oven when you take the turkey out, finish up the stovetop stuff, and voila!
Try cooking the turkey on the grill. It comes out great and makes the oven available for cooking and warming. Or serve a lot of booze and no one will notice if the food is cold !