Be prepared for your big holiday meal with these 10 Essential Non-Food Holiday Kitchen Must Haves
We only have a few more days until Thanksgiving folks! There are so many things I am thankful for, mostly you!
You (hopefully) have your bird and the fixings for sides, but what about all the other stuff? How many times have you been set to cook that big meal for family and friends only to discovered you were missing an essential kitchen item?
I recently polled my blogger friends to see which kitchen items they felt were must-haves for you holiday meal. How many of these do you already have on hand?
~ Large roasting pan and rack ~
Having the correct vessel to cook your bird in is just as important as the bird itself. Obviously if you are deep-frying or preparing your turkey in a method other than the oven this is a little useless… but the idea is to make sure that no matter how you plan to cook your bird, have the necessary tools on hand for before, during and after the cooking process. I recommend buying them as a set, like this, so they fit together properly.
~ Meat thermometer ~
This is one of the best kitchen tools you can invest in, anytime of year. Whether it is your Thanksgiving turkey, Easter ham or ribs on grill during the summer accurately gauging the internal temp of your meat is crucial. Don’t be afraid to invest in a quality digital thermometer, it doesn’t have to break the bank but it will last longer and give you better results.
~ Sharp knives ~
You can’t carve that holiday bird with a dull knife. Not to mention you stand a higher risk of injury in the kitchen with dull knives. There are plenty of inexpensive sharpeners on the market that are great for home use. And at least once a year have your knives professionally sharpened. I take mine to a vendor at the farmers market and for less than $20 can have them all in tiptop shape.
~ Extra serving utensils ~
There is nothing worse than having someone grab the serving spoon out of the green bean casserole and digging into the mashed potatoes! I like to have at least 2 serving utensils per dish as well as a few extra on hand. People with food allergies and dietary restrictions will thank you.
~ Foil, parchment paper and cardboard ~
This is the one area where you can never have enough. Especially if you want to avoid that last-minute trip to the store on turkey day. For years I always underestimated how much foil I would need on the big day which inevitably led to cold side dishes and baked dishes that left more stuck to the pan than on my serving platters. About a month ahead of the holidays I look for coupons and stock up on these supplies. Cardboard is a great storage saver, you can place pieces between serving dishes and make them easier to stack.
~ Kitchen timer ~
This really goes hand in hand with the meat thermometer. Plus it is a kitchen tool you will use year round. You can go old school with an actual timer or look for a cool app like KitchenPad™ Timer that will help you with all your timing needs.
~ Cutting boards ~
I keep a variety on hand to avoid cross contamination. Flexible plastic ones are great for raw meat because they easily fit in the dishwasher. I also have a few specifically for cutting veggies, it keeps me from having transfer ingredients from countertop to stove top. A quality wooden cutting board is essential for keeping your countertops, knives and food prep in excellent condition. And for big-ticket items like your turkey invest in well conditioned carving board.
~ Leftover containers ~
We all think we have enough… until they leave and never come back. I like to buy inexpensive foil containers during the holidays so I don’t have to worry about them being returned. Plus they are great for re-heating, something your guests will appreciate the next day.
~ Wine opener ~
Because let’s be honest, wine is a critical part of holiday cooking for many of us. I use several different varietals in my recipes not to mention an extra glass for the cook! We usually pick one person to be in charge of opening the wine for the meal so it doesn’t get lost in the madness. We like a traditional bar style opener which are inexpensive so we have a few backups just in case one get lost. There are a wide range depending on your budget, but most like this one are pretty affordable.
~ A PLAN ~
This is by far the biggest essential you need for a successful holiday meal. Write it down, share it with the other people helping you cook. Write, rewrite it, tweak it… just have one! And I don’t just mean have your recipes on hand. Figure out the cooking times, determine what needs to go in the oven first, figure out your timing before the big day!
Have a happy and safe holiday! Best wishes from the casa crew.
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