Be a First Time Host with the Most

10 tips to make your first Thanksgiving dinner the talk of the table

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is no easy task – especially if you've never done it before. Luckily, SHOP ’n SAVE has you covered with tips sure to fill your table with smiles and empty plates.

  1. Plan, plan, plan. Having a solid plan for the big day will help you control craziness in your kitchen. A few weeks out you should have your menu finalized and shopping lists made. Make sure to match up your shopping lists with our weekly circular. There are plenty of items you can pick up in advance so you don't have to make one massive shopping trip. Also, try building a timeline for cooking. You'll need to manage when each dish is being prepped and cooked to make sure you aren't double booking your stovetop, microwave or oven.
  2. Helping Hands. If a guest asks to bring something – be specific. Tell them the dish that you would like them to prepare – not just a side dish or dessert. This will help you stay on top of your meal planning.
  3. Double Duty for Dishes. Save some space by cooking side dishes in pans that can also be used as serving dishes.
  4. Don't Overdo It. Avoid the temptation to cook everything from scratch. Your first Thanksgiving is not the time to try making homemade piecrust or baking dinner rolls. Pick up a few staples at SHOP ’n SAVE to lessen your stress.
  5. Practice Makes Perfect. If this is your first time preparing a turkey you are bound to be a little nervous. About a week before the big day practice roasting a chicken or Cornish game hen. The process is very similar and you'll up your confidence for Thanksgiving Day. It's also a great way to practice your carving skills.
  6. Post Up Your Recipes. Print out each of your recipes and tape them to your cabinet doors. This will save you valuable counter space and provide hands-free access to the information you need.
  7. Set Up Saves Time. The night before Thanksgiving set your dining room (and other tables if you have a big crowd). Setting the table the night before saves time and keeps you from being rushed on the presentation of your table.
  8. Patience Pays Off. After your turkey is done roasting let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour at room temperature. This allows the juices to settle and makes the meat more flavorful.
  9. Superb Slicing. The table is full of your delicious dishes and the turkey looks perfect. Finish the job with the perfect carving job. Start by cutting through the joint between the leg and the body to remove the leg. This makes carving easier. The best cuts? Long horizontal slices into the breast of the turkey.
  10. Put the Happy in Thanksgiving. It's your first time cooking and it isn't going to be perfect. A slightly over cooked turkey or soggy stuffing shouldn't ruin your holiday. Laugh off any mistakes you make and remember that the day is about giving thanks for all the good things in life.

Follow these tips and the whole table will be begging you to host next year!

Happy Thanksgiving from SHOP ’n SAVE!