Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving... OH AND CORNBREAD!

I never understood why people felt preparing a Thanksgiving meal was so stressful. I love it! But it may be because I am a planner and I have a strategy that works. Here are a few tips on how to make your meal prep more enjoyable: 1. Order your groceries online - Many places now let you order everything you need online and pick up when you want. Some will even deliver it straight to your home! We use Walmart's grocery pick-up now and then and it saves time and money (no spur-of-the-moment purchases). Some stores will charge a nominal fee for this service but I'm happy to pay it when it takes that stress out of my life around this busy time of year. 2. Print/copy all your recipes - I use recipes from websites and cookbooks. And though I prefer to save a tree and use my tablet to read recipes every other day of the year, I ALWAYS have them printed for Thanksgiving. If I use a recipe from a cookbook, I copy it. Why? Do you have the space to have multiple cookbooks open while your prepping and cooking? Do you want to be switching between tabs on your browser to get all those recipes? Having them printed saves space and hassle. 3. PREP, PREP, PREP! - There is NO reason to be doing all your cooking and baking the day of Thanksgiving! So many recipes can be partly or completely done prior to turkey day. Making pies? That can be done at least a day or two in advance. Making homemade stuffing? Slice, chop and prep all the ingredients a day or two before and store them in the fridge or pantry in food storage containers so all you have to do is mix and cook! 4. Set a schedule and stick to it - The day of Thanksgiving I have everything timed out and written down. If the recipe says it will take 1 hour in the oven once it's prepped I know it has to be prepped and ready for the oven AT LEAST one hour prior to dinner. Remember if your oven is going to be full of multiple side dishes you'll want to give yourself a little bit of extra cooking time. This year our dinner is at 1300 so I already know I'll be starting stuffing at 1000 and getting it into the oven at 1130. The green beans in the slow cooker will start at 1030. Sweet potatoes (already cooked, mashed and seasoned) will be put in a pan, finished off and placed in the oven at 1100, etc. It seems a little OCD but I don't have to wonder when things need to be started or put them in the oven. 5. Utilize other kitchen appliances other than your oven - Stop putting everything in the oven! If you think you'll just cook side dishes by rotating what's in the oven and keeping the rest warm, you'll go crazy. Use your slow cooker, pressure cooker (which can usually be used as a slow cooker as well) and stove top! Here's how we roll: Turkey goes in the deep fryer; Creamed corn - stove top; Green bean casserole - slow cooker; sweet potatoes and stuffing - oven. Everything comes out hot and on time! I hope these tips and tricks will make your Thanksgiving more enjoyable! Now time to a recipe that is super simple and easy to make the day before.... moist cornbread!

Cornbread Yield: 9 - 12 squares 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup cornmeal 1/4 granulated sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon granulated salt 1 can (14.75 ounces) creamed corn 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 egg 2 Tablespoons milk 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a 9" x 9" baking pan with non-stick spray. Set aside. 2. In a large bowl mix together flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk together to incorporate. Set aside. 3. In a small bowl mix together creamed corn, oil, egg and milk. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. 4. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Even out with rubber spatula. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. 5. Slice into 9 or 12 squares and serve warm. #thanksgiving #tipsandtricks #cook #cooking #stressfree #delicious #cornbread #bake #baking #recipe

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