November 7, 2018
It’s finally time… Thanksgiving! A.k.a the time of year where everyone celebrates (mostly) by eating to their heart’s content! Or rather three times their stomach capacity. This year, we’ve gathered some of the most life-saving cooking hacks for anyone who stresses about Thanksgiving to the max if anything is done wrong. We will be mainly focusing on food hacks, specifically to make your life easier! (Hence why its called a hack!)
Ice Chest as a Fridge
In the lead-up to the big feast, refrigerator real estate is precious. Clear out those space-hogging bottles of dressing and pickles, and stow them in a cooler filled with ice packs out in the garage. Other genius plays with this wonder box: Use it to brine your turkey overnight (make sure to add plenty of ice). Or treat it like a warming drawer – it’s insulated, after all. Line it with aluminum foil, add some folded towels and fill it with hot dishes as they come out of the oven. (Employ common sense here and don’t melt your cooler.)
Pennies as Pie Weights
To prevent your pie shell from puffing up during par baking, experts recommend filling the bottom with pie weights, but you can also use dried beans, uncooked rice, gravel – even screws or pennies (just line the dough with foil first).
Aluminum Foil as a Roasting Rack
The point of a rack is to hold your bird above the pan so heat can circulate evenly. Who says it has to be made of wire or cost a lot of money? If you don’t have the store-bought variety, crumple some sheets of foil into thick ropes and wrap them in coils on the bottom of your pan. Or go biodegradable and place the bird on a bed of halved onions, carrots and celery.
Slow Cooker as Mashed Potato Keeper
The only thing worse than lumpy mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving is cold, gluey ones. To keep your spuds warm when every burner of your stovetop is in use, butter your slow-cooker insert, add a little heavy cream and spoon in the potatoes. Set the temp to low and stir every hour or so to keep your potatoes smooth and silky.
Measuring Cup as a Fat Separator
The secret to great gravy is skimmed – not greasy – pan drippings. If you’re without a fat separator, pour your drippings into a large heatproof measuring cup and pop it in the freezer. As the drippings cool, the fat will rise to the top and solidify, making it easy to skim off with a spoon.
Thermos as a Gravy Warmer
If it works for minestrone, it’ll work for your bourbon gravy. Decant to a gravy boat just before serving.
Salad Bar as a Sous Chef
Shave hours off your prep time by picking up ingredients from the supermarket salad bar that are already cleaned and ready to go – think chopped onions, trimmed beans, sliced bell peppers, hard-boiled eggs and even crumbled bacon.
Kitchen Cabinets as a Cookbook Stand
Minimize clutter in the kitchen, eliminate flipping back and forth, and protect that fancy computer tablet that you just know is going to get damaged in the cooking chaos, by making copies and printouts of the recipes you’ll be cooking for the feast. Then on game day, take a note from FN food stylists and tape them at eye level to the doors of your kitchen cabinets. They’ll be easy to read and follow, and you can make notes on the fly – and even arrange them in order of your cooking prep.
Chicken Broth as a Turkey Reviver
Overcooked the bird? Before you spirit that platter of dried-out breast meat to the table, drizzle it with a little warm chicken broth. It’ll help moisten the meat and add flavor. This is also a good trick for perking up slices that have gone from room temp to cold.
Corkscrew as a Guest Deflector
To keep well-meaning family and friends out of the kitchen during the final flurry of cooking, come up with a few tasks they can do to help. Opening the wine, filling water glasses (which you have placed outside of the kitchen), hanging coats and herding children will all be appreciated – and will guarantee you time to focus when you need it most.