Use This Cheat Sheet (and Brilliant Product) for a Stress-Free Friendsgiving
Ready to host your first Friendsgiving? You’ve come to the right place! Hosting a big holiday meal is no small task, but with the right approach, you can totally do this without breaking a sweat. We’re teaming up with HelloFresh to share tips, tricks, and resources for a drama-free Friendsgiving. With the help of these infographics, the brilliant and brand-new HelloFresh Thanksgiving Box, and tips from HelloFresh’s head chef, you’ll be well on your way to hosting a successful and tasty Turkey Day bash. Let’s get to it!
1. You’re gonna need some weirdly specific essentials on hand. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through party prep and realizing you’re short an essential item. Make sure you’ve got these commonly forgotten essentials on hand: a meat thermometer, enough seating and dishware for your guests, a wine bottle opener, a pie serving utensil, ice cubes, and heavy cream. But don’t sweat it if you need to run to the store for something last-minute — so it goes!
2. Try the first-ever HelloFresh Thanksgiving Box for the main event. When it comes to the menu, trust the pros. This year, HelloFresh is launching their first-ever Thanksgiving Box. They’ll send you everything you need — ingredients (including a whole turkey!), easy-to-follow recipes, a cooking timeline, even place cards — for a stress-free and delicious Friendsgiving. You’ll get the best of both worlds: the triumph of preparing the Thanksgiving meal yourself, with none of the guesswork or grocery shopping. Psst: Be sure to order this limited-time-only party-in-a-box by November 8!
3. Elect a co-host. Tag-team Turkey Day with a co-host to split the responsibilities. Trust us. Having someone there to run to the store for last-minute needs, as well as to entertain guests when you’re elbow-deep in stuffing ingredients, makes a world of a difference. Whether it be a SO, a sibling, or a BFF, this person will ensure that you, too, can enjoy the party you’re throwing.
4. Start prep four days before the party. Follow this handy timeline for a successfully stress-free soirée. By limiting the last-minute scramble, the event will feel much more approachable. Plus, that bird needs time to thaw in the fridge!
Pssst: Looking for an even more comprehensive prep plan? Check out HelloFresh’s day-of Thanksgiving timeline — it takes the guesswork out of day-of cooking by breaking down the proper order to prep and cook each recipe.
5. When it comes to the turkey, don’t take any shortcuts. Take it straight from a pro: Cooking a turkey is serious business. HelloFresh Head Chef and Recipe Developer Claudia Sidoti swears by these five cardinal rules:
- Make sure the bird is fully thawed. “Upon arrival, immediately place in the refrigerator. The general rule of thumb is that it takes one day per four pounds to thaw. (The colder the bird, the longer it will take to cook.) Also, allow the turkey to sit at room temperature for an hour before roasting.”
- A dry bird makes for a crispy bird. “Crispy skin is what Thanksgiving dreams are made of. Before seasoning the turkey, pat the inside and outside very well with paper towels. (You will likely use more than you think.)”
- Tuck the wings. “The wings are the least meaty part of the bird, and therefore will burn the quickest if exposed. Tuck them under the turkey to prevent this.”
- DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN! “The biggest Thanksgiving mistake is the constant re-opening of the oven — the temperature drops drastically every time this happens, increasing the cooking time. Use an oven light to check on the browning, if necessary. Avoid opening to check the temperature until the turkey has cooked for 1 hour and 45 minutes.”
- Give it a rest. “Once the bird has reached the appropriate temperature, let it rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. The temperature will actually increase an additional 10 to 15 degrees because the meat continues cooking.”
If you’re looking for even more turkey-cookin’ advice, check out this handy video made by the ever-helpful HelloFresh team.
6. Ask a guest to DJ. Either send around a collaborative music playlist a few days before or deem one guest to be the DJ for the evening. It’ll be one less thing on your plate, and we *all* have friends who love to take the musical reins. And on the topic of collaboration, be sure to let your guests help when they offer! You can still be a good host without having to do it all.
7. Have vegetarian guests? No sweat! “I love making a pasta dish for vegetarians and non-vegetarians too,” suggests Chef Claudia Sidoti. “Try a butternut squash agnolotti, mushroom and spinach lasagna, or cauliflower mac and cheese! All of these dishes can stand on their own as entrees or be made as side dishes.” Looking for a vegan dish? “A fall harvest salad complements any Thanksgiving holiday table,” she says. “Try mixed greens with roasted pears, cranberries, pecans, and a maple balsamic dressing.” Yummmm!
8. Get smart about your wine pairings. Save this nifty wine pairing guide for an easy breezy beverage plan. According to Chef Claudia Sidoti, these wines are ideal for pairing with classic Thanksgiving dishes. “Traditionally speaking, light to medium bodied, juicy, easy-going reds will pair best with dishes served at Thanksgiving. When it comes to white wine, richer whites that still have a core of balancing acidity are the way to go,” she suggests.
And while you’re ordering the HelloFresh Thanksgiving Box, why not join the HelloFresh Wine Club? HelloFresh is offering B+C readers a whopping 50 percent off — just use the code LIVEFORWINE when you check out. They’ll ship these tasty wines to you for a perfect pairing for the meal. Talk about effortlessly impressing your guests.
9. Have the guests take leftovers home. That is, if there are any leftovers ;) As much as we love eating Thanksgiving sandwiches on Black Friday, there are only so many consecutive days we enjoy that extra cranberry sauce. Pick up a stack of takeout boxes and have your guests leave the party with doggie bags. This will also ease the evening’s clean-up and open up some fridge real estate. Win, win, win.
There you have it! Cheat sheets, pro tips and all the encouragement you need to host a drama-free and delicious Friendsgiving. You’ve totally got this!
Are you hosting your first Friendsgiving this year? Tell us how it goes! Share pics and stories with us on Twitter by tagging @BritandCo.
Design: Rebecca Fong