Last Minute Thanksgiving Tips and Orange Sweet Potato Recipe
Today I’m sharing my last minute Thanksgiving tips so you can enjoy “the day”, plus this Orange Sweet Potato recipe.
This is the week when all the planning and cooking and final details come together! One side dish I’ll be making is my Orange Sweet Potato recipe. I love making sweet potatoes this way, because you can make the recipe the day before, and pop it in the oven 30 minutes before it’s time to sit down for dinner. The added orange flavor is DE-LIC-IOUS! This recipe is also a family favorite.
It’s also a much-dreaded week for the reluctant entertainer, who possibly doesn’t like to entertain, gets roped in to having the dinner in their home, hates to plan out the details, doesn’t like dealing with family drama, feels like she has to “do it all,” and basically hates the day that so many Americans love.
Or do we love the day?
I personally do love the day. I’ve learned to let go of my imperfections and embrace what I’m capable of pulling off. For our family, we will have a simple, traditional Thanksgiving dinner planned this year, with a few extra friends. The boys will be home for college, and we’ve been traveling a lot, so we’ve learned to simplify and love every minute of family-time that we can get. Holidays don’t always have to be elaborate or extravagant.
For those who need some last-minute entertaining tips, I hope these give you a bit of courage today!
Don’t over-do on the menu.
Start with a light and easy appetizer where your guests can just munch on a few bites. Then serve a fresh salad, that incorporates seasonal themes of harvest. I’ll be making a pear salad and sprinkling pomegranate seeds on top. Plan the rest of your menu according to the number of guests. If you are only serving 6, then you only need a couple of side dishes. If you are serving 24, then delegate a portion of the menu to your guests. It’s fun to get a smorgasbord of sides for everyone to choose from.
How do you know if the turkey is done?
Most turkeys come with a pop-up temperature button. Just follow directions! If not, first choice is to always use a thermometer and make sure it reaches 180F. Or, be sure to let it “rest” for 20 minutes or so before carving, to “seal” in the juices.
Center your meal around the turkey.
If you’re planning a sit-down dinner, make your turkey or main dish the star of the meal! You can even make the main dish your centerpiece, adding fresh leaves, pinecones, acorns, and candles around the table. Even if serving a buffet, you can place the turkey on something a little higher and still make it the main attraction. Just make sure it’s accessible for the guests to dig in and fill up their plates!
Serve dessert later!
Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without a selection of delicious desserts. But what we’ve found is that we are so stuffed right after the meal, we tend to get the dishes done, relax around the table, or even in a more comfortable part of the home, before it’s dessert time!
A Moment of thanks!
The beauty of hosting is that you can offer your guests to share a moment of thankfulness around the table, or at dessert time.
For me, Thanksgiving is such a beautiful day of giving thanks and appreciating loved ones around the table, I like to spread out the courses and make everyone stay for hours. Just kidding! However, as the hostess, have you ever noticed all the work you put in to a meal, and how it feels when everyone eats quickly, pounds down the desserts, and then leaves?
I can only imagine how many other women feel this way. So it’s good to have a plan, stick with your schedule, and hopefully your guests will comply and feel relaxed and have a beautiful turkey day!
What’s your secret (or tip) for having a beautiful turkey day?
Orange Sweet Potato Recipe
These can be prepared a day or two ahead of time. Cover with foil, bake right before serving.
- 6-8 medium sweet potatoes
- 1/4 cup whipping cream or half & half (or more, if needed)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar + 1/3 cup
- 1/4 cup melted butter + 1/4 cup
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 T. grated orange rind (optional)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup oats
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup pecan halves (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place potatoes on a foil-lined cookie sheet, and bake for approximately 1 hour (depending on size) or until soft.
- In the meantime, to make the topping, add 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, along with the oats and flour. Mix together and set aside.
- Remove potatoes from the oven and cool. Once cool, peel the potatoes, place in a bowl with the cream, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, cinnamon, salt, orange juice, and eggs. Add the orange rind is optional. Beat together with a hand mixer until lumps are removed. If needed, add more cream. (Easy clean up: Peel the potatoes, placing the skins back onto the foil. Gather the foil and skins together and toss.)
- Spray a 9×13 pan. Spread the sweet potatoes in the pan, adding the topping. If desired, add pecan halves to the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until bubbly.