5 Items You Need to Pull Off a Perfect Thanksgiving

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner is a challenge for even the most experienced host, but there are a few gadgets that can make things easier. Here are 5 items you need to pull off a perfect Thanksgiving.

countertop-protectorSave Your Counters! The 3-Pc. Countertop Protector Set won’t let a burn come between you and your favorite pots and pans. You’re going to need every inch of counter space to put your sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie — with the Countertop Protector set, you can put hot pots and pans on the counter without putting it through the wear and tear of a big holiday meal.

microwave-cooking-setMagical Microwaving There’s only one of you and thirty dishes to make — you’re bound to look to your microwave for a little help. Make sure you’re cooking with the right containers — the 6-Pc. Microwave Cooking Set has the right container for just about anything you need to heat quickly to get everything done and on the table when the guests arrive for Thanksgiving dinner!

Lid-holdersHelping “Hand” You have stock simmering on one burner, another is keeping the gravy warm and the two remaining burners are reserved for cranberries and the butter for your pecan pie — they all don’t have to be covered at once, but you don’t have the space for the lid when it’s not covering the pot. The set of 4 Lid Holders gives an extra spot for your dripping hot lids when you don’t have an extra hand.

3-tier-cooling-rackCookies, Casseroles, Pie, Oh My! The 3-Tier Cooling Rack allows you to make use of vertical space for all your baked goods while they cool off when you don’t have extra counter space. It provides a safe place for fresh-from-the-oven goodies to cool, while allowing air to flow freely around them. This rack is made for big jobs — like Thanksgiving dinner — when you have a lot of hot stuff coming out of the oven and more stuff going in.

frosty-serverService with a Smile The Lighted Holiday Serving Stand is a festive piece for the dining room where it gets crowded — but with the 2-tiers for dinner and dessert plates and the built-in utensil holder, you’ll have plenty of room at the buffet for the Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings.

The Lakeside Collection has a variety gadgets and cookware to choose from — check out our housewares and dining section for more products to help you put together a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner.

7 Tips on Planning a Holiday Meal

Plan-DinnerHoliday meals are absolutely amazing to enjoy, but they can be a nightmare to plan if you go about it in a disorganized manner. Armed with these 7 handy tips, you can make your holiday meal a total breeze. Here at Lakeside, we believe that meals should be about enjoyment, quality family time, and memories. They should most certainly serve as a relief from the stress of meal preparation. These quick shortcuts can show you how.

1. Segment your grocery list

One of the first mistakes that many people make is that they plan incredible recipes and just make an incredibly ill-fated trip to the grocery store. Why is this so terrible you say? Well, when everyone else has the same exact idea you are dealing with the equivalent of a grocery store meets Black Friday kind of thing.  So how do you segment your list? After you decide exactly which recipes you’ll be preparing, divide up the ingredients you need based on the specific department it is in. For instance, make a produce section, a spices section, etc. and fill them in!

2. Bring a helper, but let the kids play at home

If you need to get things done quickly, you’re better of dividing and conquering. However, bringing your kids can be counterproductive as you may have to keep tabs on them depending on how young they are. Make sure your helper is on the same page as you and you are looking for separate items in separate sections (see tip 1) of the list.

3. Concentrate your efforts

Instead of going all out on wonderful sides, you should focus on the main dish. This may seem pretty obvious, but you would be amazed how many people actually take more time to plan out their side dishes more than their main dishes! Remember, more people are interested in the centerpiece dish than filling up on stuffing.

4. Use a bit of familiarity

The holidays can be wonderful at inspiring innovation, but make sure to cook at least one dish that you are familiar with and love to make. This will minimize the amount of stress, and excess time used in cooking new creations and experimental dishes. It is great to have a fallback in case something doesn’t turn the way you were hoping it would

5. Consider special needs

If someone is a diabetic or has special needs think about these things ahead of time when you are planning. It can be an absolute nightmare to put together special needs dishes on the spot. If you are in a pinch, it can be easier to cater a portion of the meal.

6. Presentation counts

All the preparation in the world can fall flat if you don’t put some time and effort into the presentation portion. If you are out of ideas, you can always use trusty holiday décor themes!

7. Keep portions in mind

If you are inviting a lot of guests over, you may actually have to make that recipe that serves ten people. Otherwise, try to be realistic about how much food you make. If you are in the habit of making extra, be sure it’s something you enjoy just in case you have a lot of leftovers.

Image Credit: paulweberphotography.com