What are some easy to prepare and delicious thanksgiving dishes to serve as sides with the turkey? This is my first time hosting thanksgiving and I want it to be perfect but don't have much time!
Since this is your first time hosting, consider it your initiation into a club of many fine folk who have come before you. You get to experience the challenge of getting all these different foods to come out finished at the same time. You also will learn how too small your oven is, how few burners you really have on your stove, and how limited your microwave really is in terms of cooking things properly. You will also get to experience the phenomenon of how on Thanksgiving, time drags on for everybody waiting to eat, but zips by for the person doing the cooking. Now, as you will most likely get some great side dish recipes from other posters, let me give you a huge time-saving tip instead:
You could have everything clicking along just fine, you've taken the turkey out of the oven and it's happily resting while you finish up the sides and make the gravy. This is where the nightmares happen and it all comes down to the wire. Any mistake in the gravy takes up precious time to fix (provided you only make fix-able mistakes) and could throw off all the other components of your otherwise perfect dinner. So the rolls burn, the mashed potatoes get cold, etc. etc. And you still have messed up gravy. I think we can all agree that if there's no gravy on Thanksgiving, you might as well just send everyone home, right? Anyhow, here's what you can do.
Make your gravy ahead of time. So, if real gravy comes from real turkey and you haven't made your turkey yet, how does that work? You go back to the grocery store and buy a few turkey wings. Roast them the day before Thanksgiving and use the pan drippings to make your gravy ahead of time. Refrigerate and warm up on Thanksgiving day. You can also just hold the "wing gravy" in the fridge as a safety net and go ahead and try the actual old school way first (especially if your mother-in-law is watching). This tip is also particularly helpful if you've brined your turkey and find the drippings are too salty for gravy.
Couple of other bonus items from this trick - you still have the pan drippings from the actual Thanksgiving turkey so you can make gravy from that (at your leisure) to use for leftovers. Also, those wonderful turkey wings you roasted the day before? Throw those in large zip lock freezer bags and use later for making soup stock.
Hope that helps and good luck with your first time hosting T-Day!
This isn't a big favorite of ours, but it's become a tradition in many homes
Juicy Thanksgiving Turkey
Other people asked questions on various topics, and are still waiting for answer. Would be great if you can take a sec and answer them