Thanksgiving is a great time for families – but it also can be nuts if you’re the designated cook. I mean, who wouldn’t benefit from a few Thanksgiving meal ideas, tricks and hacks while trying to juggle the bird with your brood?
So Metro Parent rolled up our sleeves and did some digging. In the process we discovered how to perfectly portion your stuffing, barbecue your gobbler and even how to keep your apples crisp and fresh. Pick up a tip or two for your next Turkey Day shebang.
And remember: If you live in Michigan and you’ve got a life hack that other parents just need to know, tell us about it. You could win $25 and a spot in an issue of Metro Parent.
1. No more brown apple splices
A wash of lemon juice can help neutralize that icky apple-slice oxidization issue, whether you’re chopping up Jonagolds for that perfect apple pie or setting some out with a fruit dip.
Or try Serious Eats’ tested-and-true approach: a 10-minute saltwater bath (use a half teaspoon of kosher salt – which is very mild – per cup of water).
From there, drain, rinse and eat whenever.
2. Stuffing muffins
It’s smart – not to mention, it’s just fun to say. Pack the famed Thanksgiving side dish into standard muffin tins, mounding it at the tops, and bake for perfect portions. Not to mention crispiness.
(Bonus tip: If you’re into the foods-disguised-as-other-foods thing, you won’t want to miss out on Metro Parent’s mashed potatoes ice cream recipe, too.)
3. Petite pumpkin pies
Props go out to the Baked in Arizona blog here. This mom of three takes a 2-inch biscuit cutter to a giant Costco (shhh, we won’t tell) pie and pops out cute circles. Crown each one with whipped cream and pumpkin spice; then, serve in cupcake wrappers.
4. DIY mini fridge
Got a cooler? Ice up the Igloo on Turkey Day to hold smaller items – or guests’ beverages – freeing up valuable refrigerator real estate. It’s one of those Thanksgiving meal ideas that works for any sort of family or kids party, really.
5. A new take on the turkey
You’re no turkey. So, if you’re feeling extra brave about the gobbler this year, consider a new method for a guaranteed crowd pleaser.
Some swear by slow cookers instead of the oven rigmarole. Wanna take it outside? Fire up the grill and give your turkey the summer treatment, like Serious Eats did. Or, if you’re super daring, try baking your turkey in a woven blanket of bacon.
Now, share your savvy
Got a great tip or trick? Submit your idea on the Metro Parent Tips & Tricks page. If we like your idea, your tip could earn you $25 and a spot in a future print issue of Metro Parent magazine (and, of course, here on our website).
This post was originally published in 2016 and is updated regularly.