Melissa D’Arabian’s Top Tips for a Stress-Free and Affordable Thanksgiving (Part 2)

Melissa D’Arabian’s Top Tips for a Stress-Free and Affordable Thanksgiving (Part 2)

Food Network star Melissa D’Arabian has tons of Thanksgiving tips! With her “Ten Dollar Dinners" show on the Food Network, she is a pro when it comes to meal planning - especially Thanksgiving so we relished at the opportunity to hear her time and money saving tips!

Here are Melissa's final tips for a successful Thanksgiving:

View the first 5 tips here!

6.  If the kids help, put them in a safe area.
Create a spot for your kids.  Whether it’s at a counter or an island, let them have their own little setup where they can work.  Melissa also likes to have a zone for herself while she’s cooking that’s called the “hot zone.”  Nobody is allowed to be in the hot zone- not even her husband- while she’s cooking.  Creating a well-defined "hot zone" lets her have a safe place to set down knives or take something out of the oven.

7. Make as much as you can ahead of time.
You can make almost everything ahead except for the turkey and salad.  For example, you can make your mashed potatoes, dot them with a little butter, put them into a baking pan, and put them in the oven or microwave the day of Thanksgiving. 

8. Let your turkey take priority in the fridge.
“If you have a turkey and you don’t know where to thaw it out and it’s taking up too much space in your refrigerator, don’t put it into an ice chest or a cooler, because it’s really hard to manage exact temperatures in an ice chest or a cooler,” says Melissa.  Make room for your turkey in the refrigerator by taking other things from your fridge and putting them in the cooler or ice chest.  “You don’t really care if your ketchup is a few degrees off, but you do care if your turkey is a few degrees off.”

9. Be a wonderful host.
Melissa explained, “It’s far more important for people to feel welcome in my home than for them to walk away and say ‘I really want that recipe.’  I believe that the food is much more forgettable than the relationships.  So to me, as a hostess, I focus on what I can do to make people feel welcome.”  Try putting a little personalized note on each place card to make your guests feel special. “The most important thing that you’re serving is people feeling warm and welcome in your home.”

View Melissa's first 5 Thankgiving tips here!

For even more great budget cooking tips, be sure to watch "Ten Dollar Dinners" on the Food Network every Sunday at 12:30pm Eastern Time. Watch Melissa put together a tasty and affordable holiday meal on Sunday, December 5th at 12:30pm ET/PT!

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