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Preparations for your big Thanksgiving meal are right around the corner, so this week, we’re welcoming Natalie from Natalie in the City to share her favorite kitchen gadgets and cooking tips to make dinner prep a breeze this holiday.
Thanksgiving can be a stressful time where even top chefs are scrambling to cook, craft and perfect their version of a holiday feast. But this Thanksgiving, I wanted to make sure nothing stood in my way of enjoying the holiday, while putting my own personal touch and twist on some traditional Thanksgiving side dishes and desserts. And just because I’ll be working in the kitchen doesn’t mean my prep tools can’t look as good as my meal!
Before getting started, I knew that my kitchen needed a plan. So I took a trip to Meijer to stock up on ingredients, kitchen gadgets and appliances to put me on the right track. Some of my must-grab items were Kitchen Aid mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, a whisk, a potato peeler and a wire masher. I also picked up a Nordic Ware baking pan, a Farberware paring knife, Pyrex bowls, an adorable kitchen timer and a silicon basting brush.
I was immediately drawn to the Kitchen Aid mixing bowls because they have a pour spout—which my old set of mixing bowls didn’t—and I could not resist the gorgeous purple, pink, and teal colors. Once I had my mixing bowls, I decided to keep the color schemes similar—since I totally have to have cute kitchen gadgets. Another up-side to color coordination is that I can find all of these gadgets in my crowded kitchen cabinets!
Now that my kitchen is prepped with all the essentials, I’m excited to share three of my favorite holiday recipes that will make prepping Thanksgiving meal a breeze.
First up is an appetizer that is both festive and very easy to master: pumpkin biscuits.
Start with Pillsbury crescent rounds or warm-and-serve dinner rolls, and use a pairing knife to cut six slices around the dough, making sure to leave the center intact. I loved the pink color of this paring knife, since having brightly-colored kitchen gadgets motivates me to cook and bake more, and it makes the holiday cooking experience a fun one!
Brush the dough with butter using a brush with longer, silicon bristles that are perfect for applying a thicker layer of butter, which means you’ll get that flaky texture when these come out of the oven. Poke half of a pecan into the center of the roll and place into the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
I usually leave the Turkey or main dish to the master chef of the house, and I handle the appetizers and desserts. One of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes is sweet potato mash with cinnamon maple syrup pecan sauce.
Bake two sweet potatoes until soft (usually an hour or longer). Once done, mash the potatoes in a mixing bowl and add a half tablespoon of brown sugar and two tablespoons of melted butter before stirring together. A heavy-duty KitchenAid masher is perfect for creating that fluffy, airy texture you want in your potatoes.
To make the sauce, heat a half cup of maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon in a pan until the syrup begins to boil. Then add the pecans and whisk for 30 seconds. To finish, drizzle the sauce onto the mashed potatoes and top with a dash of whipped cream.
When the holidays roll around, I love to make personal-sized or individual dishes for each person, and these personal chicken potpies are my go-to.
Start by lining a ramekin bowl that you can bake the potpies in with refrigerated piecrust and brush the crust with melted butter. Then, mix together a can of cream of potato, shredded chicken, cheddar cheese, frozen vegetables, and a dash of garlic and paprika in a mixing bowl.
Add a few scoops of the mixture into your potpie bowls and top it with another layer of crust. Press the top layer of crust to the bottom layer with a fork and brush more melted butter on top. Bake at 375° F for 45 minutes or until crust is golden-brown.
When it comes to pies, I can only speak to my potpie baking abilities, but dessert pie is a whole other story—I’ve never mastered it. Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving dinner, though. I am always the first one to say, “Are we ready for pie?!” Which is usually met with, “I am too full!” So I created a little recipe hack that even the fullest guests couldn’t deny, and a recipe that I couldn’t mess up: Pumpkin pie bites.
I picked up this pre-made pumpkin pie from Meijer and used the Wilton Comfort Grip Cookie Cutters to create mini pumpkin pies. Add a dash of whipped cream and cinnamon, and dessert is served!
With these recipes and kitchen gadgets – including my personal MVP, the timer – by your side, you can master any recipe this Thanksgiving! Happy holidays and happy cooking! For exact recipes and instructions, click here.
Natalie is the fashionista behind Natalie in the City, a fun lifestyle blog full of her adventures in plus size fashion, city life, and being a “fashionista.” Follower her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.