Best kitchen tools to help you prepare for Thanksgiving
There’s no doubt Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday of the year. I say it time and time again: the beauty of Thanksgiving is the fall weather, the gathering of friends and family, the feasting of food, the football, and the lack of gift-giving pressure (though my guide to great gifts for the home cook helps).
I’ve already blogged about classic Thanksgiving recipes and how following a Thanksgiving checklist helps make your holiday run smoother, so when I tried to come up with ideas as to what I should write about for this year’s Thanksgiving, I hit a roadblock. I thought about just sharing my menu for this year’s family Thanksgiving but then thought that was kinda boring. Then I figured I’d share with you what tools and appliances help me pull off the feast with less effort.
So here it is, a short list of my most useful and beloved kitchen tools that I not only use for holiday cooking, but all year round.
My Favorite Kitchen Tools for Thanksgiving Prep
1. iDevices Bluetooth kitchen thermometer for the roasted turkey
We usually fry the turkey or cook a sous vide turkey, but this year, the hubs and I wanted to do something new and different. And that new and different, at least for us, is to roast the turkey (just like everyone else on Turkey Day)! Except I’m going to make it with some Asian flair using soy sauce, ginger, and five-spice powder.
This Bluetooth thermometer from iDevices will help us keep tabs on the roasting bird with minimal fuss. Using an app on your phone, you’ll be able to see what temperature the meat is at and how much estimated cook time is left until it reaches your desired internal temperature (which is 150°F for breast and 165°F for thigh—spatchcocking the turkey will aid in attaining a perfect cook).
2. Food processor for the cheddar biscuits
My buttermilk biscuits are quick and easy, which makes them perfect for Thanksgiving when a bread dish is traditional but you’re swamped making the rest of the feast. A food processor makes the biscuit-making even easier. (Protip: Chill the food processor container in the freezer as you want your dough to remain as cold as possible to ensure maximum flakiness.)
3. KitchenAid stand mixer for the whipped potatoes
I like my potatoes smooth and creamy with a tinge of sour cream and chives or scallion. Thesewhipped potatoes are so tasty on their own that you don’t need gravy (although the flavor is simple enough that the potatoes can blend into the background as needed if your guests do prefer gravy with their taters).
To whip the potatoes to the perfect consistency, I use my trusty KitchenAid stand mixer in seafood green, but a potato masher from OXO can (almost) do the trick. (You’ll get more of a mashed potato consistency instead of whipped, but that’s what many prefer.) I personally use this potato masher to break up the boiled potatoes before putting them through the stand mixer.
4. Breville mini Smart Oven for the dressing
Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without stuffing. And because this is pretty much the only time of year I eat it, stuffing (or “dressing” as it’s called when it’s made outside of the bird) is perhaps my favorite Thanksgiving dish. When I first started cooking, I only knew how to follow the directions on the back of an instant stuffing mix. Then I started dressing up my stuffing mix by adding diced fruit, sausage, and extra veggies to the instant stuff. Now, I’ve graduated to making dressing from scratch, so I need this handy Breville toaster oven to dry out the bread cubes before turning it into dressing/stuffing on the stove. (As much as it’s technically incorrect, I still can’t get myself to call the stuff “dressing.”)
5. Corningware French Classic casserole dishes for the broccoli rice or green bean casserole
This year, I’m going back to my usual broccoli rice casserole since my family loves it so much. The best part about baking it in these clean white Corningware casserole dishes is it can go straight from the oven to the table. There’s no need to transfer it to a serving bowl—just be sure to place it on top of a trivet or potholder to protect your table.
6. Ice cream machine for the pumpkin ice cream
I used to make pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving in addition to my bro-in-law sometimes bringing pies. For my small family Thanksgiving with the in-laws, this is just too rich and too much. This year, I’m opting for pumpkin ice cream (similar to this persimmon ice cream) topped with graham cracker crumbles to lighten up the digestive load after a savory, comfort feast. I think the cold bite will be a welcome closer, especially since it’s recently warmed back up in Houston.
I make all my ice creams in this awesome Breville Smart Scoop ice cream machine which I was gifted by our sponsor after wrapping a season of Four Senses. I like how there’s a built-in compressor so I don’t have to freeze the bowl in advance (sometimes I just wanna make ice cream on a whim, you know?). The downside to this, though, is the Breville is a hefty thing, requiring a lot of space for storage and muscle to move about. This Cuisinart ice cream maker is perfectly suitable and one I had prior to acquiring the Breville.
7. Convert-O-Matic for getting your recipes in order
I just blogged about the hubs’s latest project, the Convert-O-Matic online conversion calculator, and you might find it helpful when trying to scale your sweet Creole corn for forty of your closest relatives coming for Thanksgiving. (Thank God that’s not me—the extensive guest list happens the next day when we’ll be hosting our 8th annual Friendsgiving potluck.)
8. Our Groceries app for shopping
I’ve blogged about the accessible Our Groceries app before, and I’ve since upgraded to the paid version to get rid of ads because I use it that much. It’s nice to sync the list I create to the hubs’s phone so he can scour the grocery aisles using the sharability option. Truthfully, I open this app multiple times a day because I not only create three different grocery lists on it (one for the regular supermarket, one for the Asian store, and one for Costco), I also use it to keep track of everything in my pantry and fridge; called “Pantry Inventory,” I use it to meal-plan (what does my kitchen have in stock?) and move staples to the grocery list when we run out (most of the time, it’s eggs or coffee).
And there you have it, my list of kitchen aids I can’t live without, especially during this time of year when feeding my family and friends is constantly on the brain.
Here’s to wishing you a happy Thanksgiving full of joy and comfort!