Holiday dinners can be intimidating — that's an undeniable fact. With so many loved ones in one place, making a meal that will please everyone and come out smoothly seems like it would take a miracle. However, you can rest assured that even with the potential for family drama, your Thanksgiving dinner will be perfect. Having a few clever culinary tricks up your sleeve can make all the difference between a stressful race to the dinner table and an organized path to the feast. From how to troubleshoot watery pies, thicken runny gravy and even make a gluten-free stuffing, these recipes will help you out of any jam you may find yourself in come Turkey Day.
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Free Up Space on the Stove With Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes
If you're worried that your range will be as crowded with pots and pans as your living room is with in-laws, then this recipe for blue cheese and bacon mashed potatoes made in a slow cooker is just what you need. Toss some cubed potatoes in a crock pot with a little vegetable stock, cook them on high for four hours and mix in bacon and blue cheese. Delicious and efficient.
Throw Together a Wow-Worthy Vegetable Side
When your entire family packs into the kitchen like sardines, it is easy to forget a few things — like starting that green bean casserole you envisioned. No need to hyperventilate, because this recipe for prosciutto wrapped green bean bundles only takes 20 minutes to make and looks so lovely, no one will even question if it was what you planned to make all along.
Gobble Up Gluten-Free Stuffing
Stuffing is one of the cornerstones of Thanksgiving dinner, and a gluten-free stuffing recipe will ensure that no guest will have to skip out on this staple. With some simple ingredients like gluten-free cornbread mix, bacon and fresh herbs, even the most discerning taste buds won't be able to tell this stuffing from its gluten-rich alternative.
Thicken Gravy to the Perfect Consistency
Juggling what feels like a million dishes at once is super easy, you know, when you're a professional chef. But for home cooks, sometimes things don't come out all gravy — including the gravy. If you find your gravy is on the thin side, a few easy steps like a couple pats of butter, some flour and broth is all you need to thicken it up.
Don’t Worry About Fowl Play
If the worst has happened — gasp, your turkey didn't defrost in time — take a deep breath and remember that a seven-pound roast chicken is a fantastic alternative to turkey, and can be made in a lot less time. You still got this.
Make Canned Gravy Your Own With a Few Additions
Sometimes there just isn't enough time to make gravy from scratch, but you can still add a few personal touches to the canned version. Here are four ways to pump up flavor with ingredients you probably already have on hand, no roux required.
Troubleshoot All of Your Watery Problem Pies
Pumpkin pies are a must at Thanksgiving dinner, and while they don't have a lot of ingredients, they can be tricky to make. If your pumpkin pie requires gills to eat, don't just throw it out and drown your sorrows. Troubleshoot your watery pie first, and make the necessary adjustments.
Create Apple Pie Artwork for Dessert
Battling a picky eater is a challenge no one likes to face, and after a long day and a large meal, everyone should have a little something sweet without a battle. Stop confection complainers with these gorgeous blooming flower apple pies. The delicate floral pattern of the apple slices and the adorable mini size will fit small hands and sooth even the loudest grumbles.
Mix Up Homemade Whipped Cream to Top Everything
If dessert really isn't your thing, don't get agitated, just get whipping cream. A dollop of freshly whipped cream atop a store-bought dessert will give it homemade flavor without the homespun stress. Simply whip together heavy whipping cream, a dash of vanilla and some powdered sugar and your purchased pies will have that handcrafted taste without you ever having to roll out a pie crust.
Forget Faulty Pies and Make Mug Cakes
Don't let catastrophic pie failure get you down, just get even…better desserts at the touch of a button. This microwaved carrot cake mug cake is the perfect dessert to throw together if all your pies turn out crumby or your oven spontaneously combusts. Individually served and packed full of yummy flavors like cinnamon, vanilla and walnuts, these creative carrot cakes might just steal the show.