Make Your Thanksgiving Meal in 2 Hours
Even seasoned cooks can be daunted by the challenge of a holiday meal. There’s much to be done, guests are milling around the house (and your kitchen), and let’s be honest, there’s pressure on you to perform. Not to mention you may be working through the day before the meal, giving you little time to prep.
All of these stresses can make you want to put the kibosh on hosting holidays at your home, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We’ve come up with a foolproof plan to get a Thanksgiving meal on the table in 2 hours. Yes, we said 2 hours, and no, we aren’t crazy.
It starts with a little planning, scaling down the number of sides, and most importantly, a turkey on the smaller side. We chose a 9 pounder but up to 10 pounds would work. We also limited the sides to gravy, cranberry sauce, green beans, and sweet potatoes. You could throw in some store bought rolls or other pre-made items if you need more, but we felt satisfied and full after our meal.
Keep reading for our stress-free and quick Thanksgiving. And remember, it’s not really about the food, it’s about the people you’re sharing it with.
Green beans with balsamic vinaigrette and pecans
Honey-glazed sweet potatoes
Turkey roasted with herb butter
Pumpkin panna cotta with Biscotti crumble
Any successful dinner party or holiday meal starts with planning. You should start your plan a few days before the meal so you can shop accordingly and aren’t panicked the day before.
3 days before Plan your menu and create your grocery list.
2 days before Grocery shop and make your meal game plan.
1 day before Set the table. Lay out all serving utensils and bowls; label accordingly.
Day of Get cooking!
Next, set a game plan. See below for ours:
10:00am Preheat oven and boil water for sweet potatoes.
10:05am Prep and place turkey in the oven. Set a timer for 1 hour.
10:15am Make panna cotta, set in freezer, and set timer for 30 minutes.
10:30am Start the gravy by sautéing turkey bits in butter. Prep vegetables in the meantime and add to pan.
10:45am Make the cranberry sauce. Check sweet potatoes for doneness; set aside to cool. Set panna cotta in the refrigerator.
11:00am Finish the gravy. Set aside on low heat.
11:05am Check turkey and turn halfway. Cover with foil if browning too quickly.
11:15am Make the sweet potato glaze. Set aside on low heat.
11:25am Peel and slice sweet potatoes. Place in serving dish.
11:35am Start water boiling for green beans. Make vinaigrette, boil beans, and dress with vinaigrette. Place in serving dish.
11:50am Remove turkey from the oven! Place gravy and cranberry sauce in serving dishes. Drizzle sweet potatoes with glaze.
12:00pm Carve turkey and eat!
Alright, it’s time to get cooking. See below for our recipes.
Turkey Roasted with Herb Butter
– 1 8-10 pound turkey
– 1/2 onion, quartered,
– 6 small peeled and washed carrots
– 2 celery stalks, quartered
– 1 lemon, quartered
– 1 stick (8 tablespoons butter)
– 2 tablespoons thyme, finely chopped
– 2 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped
– Kosher salt and pepper
Heat oven to 400°F. Remove neck, giblets, and other items from turkey cavity and replace with onion, carrots, celery, and lemon. Set neck, giblets, and other turkey bits to the side.
Place butter in a small bowl; mix in thyme and rosemary. Rub half of herbed butter all over and under turkey skin. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour and 45 minutes (or until a thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 170 degrees), rotating half way after 1 hour and brushing with remaining herbed butter. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before carving.
Honey-Glazed Sweet Potatoes
– 4 medium-size sweet potatoes (about 3 1/2 pounds)
– 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
– 2 tablespoons cornstarch
– 1/2 cup honey
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/2 cup orange juice
– Sea salt
Fill a large pot with water and heat until boiling. Add sweet potatoes and cook for 30 to 45 minutes, or until fork tender. Set aside until cool enough to touch.
In a small saucepan, mix together brown sugar and cornstarch; add the remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil. Continue boiling until mixture is thickened and bubbly.
Gently peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Place in serving dish and drizzle glaze over sweet potatoes.
Pumpkin Panna Cotta
– 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
– 1 1/2 packets unflavored gelatin
– 1 cup cream
– 1 cup pumpkin puree
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
– 6 Biscoff cookies
Pour 1/2 cup milk in a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over and let sit for 5 minutes to soften. Heat milk and gelatin mixture over low heat until gelatin dissolves; pour into a large mixing bowl.
Add remaining milk, cream, pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, and spices; whisk to combine. Divide evenly between 6 cups and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Move panna cottas to the refrigerator and let chill until your meal is finished (about 2.5 hours). Place Biscoff cookies in a small plastic bag and smash until crumbled; sprinkle over top of panna cottas.
– Turkey neck, liver, and giblets
– 6 tablespoons butter, divided
– 2 celery stalks, washed and finely chopped
– 6 small peeled and washed carrots, finely chopped
– 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
– 6 tablespoons flour
– 3 cups chicken broth
– 1 sprig thyme
– 1 sprig rosemary
– Salt and pepper
Place turkey neck, liver, giblets, and 2 tablespoons butter in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until meat is browned, then add vegetables and cook until translucent and tender. Remove meat and vegetables and set aside.
Add 4 tablespoons butter to the pan and heat until melted. Add 6 tablespoons flour and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on medium low heat until bubbly and fragrant. Slowly add chicken broth and whisk until smooth. Add meat and vegetables and simmer until turkey is done. Remove meat and vegetables with a slotted spoon, or puree vegetables into gravy using an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper.
– 2 cups of fresh cranberries
– Grated zest of 1 large orange
– Segments from 1 large orange, roughly chopped
– ¼ cup of orange juice
– 1/2 cup sugar
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently until cranberries “pop” and are tender. Remove from heat and set aside to cool before serving.
Green Beans with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Pecans
– 1 1/2 pounds green beans
– 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
– 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
– 1/4 olive oil
– 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
Cook beans in large pot of boiling water until tender, about 5 minutes; drain and set aside. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, mustard, and oil. Toss green beans with dressing and place in a serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Now put everything on the table and eat!
What are your favorite Thanksgiving dishes? Got any easy recipes we should try? Talk to us in the comments below.
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com