4 Ways to Keep Your Thanksgiving Stress-Free This Year

Despite all our best intentions, the week (and most definitely the day) leading up to the Thanksgiving feast always feels like a mad dash. Sure, we’d like a whole week of nothingness to prepare for hosting our family and friends, but that’s unfortunately not the reality. Those precious minutes to prep are few and far between pretty much always and this truth is heightened during the holiday season. We’ll take all the favors we can get this time of year to ensure Thanksgiving is as stress-free as possible. That’s why we lean on McCormick. The spice and herb brand has been a tried and true brand and an integral part of family traditions for over 130 years—they inspire cooks of all levels to make delectable food for their loved ones during Thanksgiving (and, for that matter, beyond!). The McCormick Flavor Maker app even helps you build a digital pantry and save recipes, offers cooking tips, and more.

McCormick executive chef Hadar Cohen Aviram let us in on a few secrets to hosting a show-stopping holiday meal without the stress, and let me tell you: They’re the key to ensuring this will be your best Thanksgiving yet.

1. Prioritize, Prep, Focus 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you have loads of dishes to make from scratch. Instead, prioritize the Thanksgiving dishes that are important to you, and opt for simple recipes and shortcuts for the rest. “Plan to invest most of your time in the two to three recipes that make or break the holiday for you and your family, and keep the rest simple and straightforward, without compromising on flavor,” Hadar suggests. “For example, take time to work on your turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, then use trusted, easy recipes for the rest. McCormick’s Candied Sweet Potato Casserole or Signature Pumpkin Pie is a delicious, easy recipe to have up your sleeve, and our timeless McCormick Turkey Gravy Seasoning Mix is a true and trusted time saver.”

2. Break Recipes Into Bite-Sized Tasks

“Work recipe steps into your day-to-day, at least three days in advance. I mean, who has three to four hours straight to work on anything these days?” says Hadar. By breaking up recipes into manageable mini-tasks, you can get through them with much less stress. You can peel and cook sweet potatoes, trim green beans, and measure out spices in advance. Hadar says, “To save even more time, use spice blends like McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice.”

3. Free Up Oven Space By Using Your Kitchen Appliances

Take some of the pressure off of your oven by putting your other kitchen appliances to work. “Your turkey will likely need all the space it can get in the oven, so this is the time to delegate! Reheat pre-baked casseroles in the toaster oven, air fry your Brussels sprouts, reheat your baked potatoes, or make Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce,” suggests Hadar.

For more tips and tricks you’ll rely on this Thanksgiving (and all season long), count on McCormick.

4. Use Your Time While the Bird Rests 

It’s important to let your roasted turkey rest for at least an hour before you carve it. “This will allow the moisture to be reabsorbed into the meat, ensuring a juicy and delicious bite,” says Hadar. Make use of this time (and a now-empty oven) by warming dinner rolls and brushing them with melted butter mixed with McCormick Whole Thyme Leaves or reheating any side dishes. “And always, always save the turkey drippings. We chefs call them liquid gold,” Hadar says. Use those drippings to make Turkey Gravy while the turkey rests (it won’t be long before you’ll finally get a chance to rest yourself!).

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