How To Keep Side Dishes Warm
A) If you are lucky enough to have a double oven, then just cover your casseroles with aluminum foil and place them in your second oven at 200°F. This will keep your side dishes warm for as long as they are left there.
B) If not, then just be sure to cover the side dishes when they are done cooking. Then, when the turkey is done and removed from the oven, turn OFF the oven and place the side dishes back into the oven. Your side dishes will remain warm there while you begin carving your turkey and finishing the gravy.
C) Or, you can also use a cooler or hot/cold bag to place your covered casseroles. Just be careful if you are using a plastic cooler that you don’t melt it – either line the cooler with some potholders or wrap a towel or blanket around your casseroles prior to placing the hot items inside.
D) Another alternative is to get out your other appliances. A crock pot on the low setting will keep things warm for hours. A rice cooker can be placed on warm to keep things like mashed potatoes out of sight and warm.
Note: Although pasta is not common at Thanksgiving, I should mention that these methods are not recommended for pasta dishes as the pasta will continue to cook when covered and may be quite mushy by the time it is served.
Part of the Solution
The most important thing that you can do when preparing Thanksgiving dinner is to make a schedule, or at least a list. Place every dish that you are making and/or serving on the schedule according to what part of it needs to be done when. You should even include times once your list is complete. Start with what time you would like to eat and then work backwards setting times to your tasks.
Believe me, the list will keep you sane. Even if you keep the same traditional menu each year the excitement (or chaos?) that can erupt from family and friends arriving can make you forget. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked in the refrigerator on the day after Thanksgiving and found untouched dishes that I had forgotten to serve.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving and remember to eat and drink responsibly!