If you’re slightly lazy or totally overwhelmed, pay attention: these are 6 easy kitchen hacks you need to get you through Thanksgiving with your wits in tact.
1. Don’t even bother peeling your potatoes before mashing them. When you make mashed potatoes, about half the time drama is the act of peeling them. There are 2 easy solutions for this: either use red bliss potatoes and smash ’em whole after boiling, or use regular Idaho potatoes, boil them with skin on, and then peel the skin by massaging the spuds. Boom, 15 minutes of your life saved.
2. Flufflier mashed potatoes (now that you’ve peeled them with ease). You can’t rely on potatoes to fluff themselves, but if you add a dash of baking powder to your concoction while it’s still hot, you’ll see the fluff-to-potato ration seriously increase. Your guests will wonder if they’re eating little potato-flavored bits of heaven. 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder for 6-8 large, already boiled potatoes is all you’ll need.
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3. Break out the slow cooker. Slow cookers aren’t just for chili, and some models like this one by Bella come with a searing option to give that cooked-on-the-stove flavor. Start by removing the inner pan, placing it over an open flame (gas stoves are the best), throwing in turkey parts, some olive oil, and chopped onion till there’s a golden brown sear on it all. Transfer to the slow cooker the night before the feast, add whole shallots, garlic cloves, juice of fresh lemons, salt and pepper and let it simmer on low for 10-16 hours till you’re ready to serve. Even the cleanup is easier with this, my favorite of all Thanksgiving kitchen hacks.
4. Spruce up the drippings. Whether you roast in a regular pan or use a slow cooker, all you need is about 3/4 of a cup of turkey drippings/juices, some soy sauce, and some white flour. Simply combine 2 tablespoons of white flour with 2 tablespoons of margarine or coconut oil till a thick, golden paste forms. Slowly whisk in pan drippings and a teaspoon of soy sauce for the best gravy of your life (and everyone will want your recipe).
5. Keep everyone out of the kitchen with a DIY cocktail bar. Is there anything worse than having your tiny kitchen overcrowded with all your guests trying to “help” and sample the goods? Absolutely not, so keep them out of your way and totally busy with a DIY vodka cocktail bar. Arrange 4-5 bottles of your favorite vodkas and a variety of pre-chopping garnishes and toppings (you can do this 1-2 days in advance). Stoli Cranberry is a personal favorite in my house, and I’ve been known to leave fresh cranberries, tangerine wedges, and sliced jalapenos for guests to muddle themselves for perfect, artisan-level cocktails.
6. Revive your turkey breast with some broth. It happens way too often– you carve the turkey, lay the breast slices out perfectly, and before your guests actually waddle over to the table and sit nicely the meat is dry. Instead of slopping on so much gravy you can’t even enjoy the meat, the easy kitchen hack is to heat a few ounces of chicken broth or hot water with bullion, and spoon it over the meat in question. You’ll recirculate moisture and all that poultry flavor right back into the meat without changing the texture or hiding the flavor.
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BAKING POWDER?! WHO KNEW!!!
so smart — thanks for these!
Great tips. I HATE peeling potatoes, so using red bliss is a good suggestion (we all love those).
love the baking powder tip, going to use it on Thursday
Love the idea of adding soy sauce. Always good to think of new flavors!