I've prepared a number of holiday(Thanksgiving and Christmas meals) entirely by myself and I've picked up a number of tips and tricks along the way that make it much much easier.
- Brining - always, always brine your Turkey. If you buy a frozen turkey, about 4 days before you plan on putting your turkey in the oven, put it in a cooler filled with ice and a brine solution. The most basic brine solution is just salt and water. You can add whatever spices you want (google brine recipes). All the salt does is affect the the meats ability to absorb the liquid. You will never have a turkey with dry white meat on it again. Be sure to add ice over the 4 day thawing period, this will ensure the turkey stays fresh until you cook it.
- Do all your prep work for the meal during the week before - peel and cut up the potatoes for the mashed potatoes, pre-cook anything that is going into the stuffing, prepare all the pie fillings, DO ANYTHING THAT CAN BE DONE EARLY AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE
- freeze the bread you will use to make the stuffing - Yes, really. As easy as it is to tear up bread to be used for stuffing, it is a hell of a lot easier (and much faster) to grab 4 slices of frozen bread at a time and cube it with a large butcher knife. I discovered how easy this was the year I forgot to thaw out the bread before I was ready to make the stuffing and I've been thankful for that mistake ever since.
- pie crusts and cookie dough can be made up to a month ahead and frozen
Do you have any tips to make the holiday cooking easier? Please share them with us.