Sanity-Saving Thanksgiving Tips, Tricks & Hacks

Here are 10 tricks for tackling everything from "Yikes, who borrowed my fat separator?" to "Where am I going to put everything?" Let the holidays commence!
FNK_10WaysToSaveTimeMoneyAndEnergyThisThanksgivingOpener_H

FNK_10WaysToSaveTimeMoneyAndEnergyThisThanksgivingOpener_H

Chef Name: Food Network Kitchen Full Recipe Name: 10 Ways to Save Time, Money and Energy this Thanksgiving- Opener Talent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Networks Kitchen’s 10 Ways to Save Time, Money and Energy this Thanksgiving, as seen on Foodnetwork.com Project: Foodnetwork.com, Beat the Clock Dinners / Thanksgiving Show Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

This year is going to be different. You've decided on the menu two weeks before the big day, convinced your Aunt Charlotte that you really can live without her famous oyster green bean casserole and remembered to ask your sister to bring her big coffee urn. But no matter how well you plan, you know some problem is going to pop up. No biggie, we say. Here are Food Network Kitchen's  10 tricks for tackling everything from "Yikes, who borrowed my fat separator?" to "Where am I going to put everything?" Let the holidays commence!

FNK_IceChestAsFridge_H

FNK_IceChestAsFridge_H

Chef Name: Food Network Kitchen Full Recipe Name: Ice Chest as Fridge Talent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Networks Kitchen’s Ice Chest as Fridge, as seen on Foodnetwork.com Project: Foodnetwork.com, Beat the Clock Dinners / Thanksgiving Show Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Ice Chest as a Fridge

In the lead-up to the big feast, refrigerator real estate is precious. Clear out those space-hogging bottles of dressing and pickles, and stow them in the garage in a cooler filled with ice packs. Other genius plays with this wonder box: Use it to brine your turkey overnight (make sure to add plenty of ice). Or treat it like a warming drawer — it's insulated, after all. Line it with aluminum foil, add some folded towels and fill it with hot dishes as they come out of the oven. (Employ common sense here and don’t melt your cooler.)

FNK_AluminumFoilAsRoastingRack_H2

FNK_AluminumFoilAsRoastingRack_H2

Chef Name: Food Network Kitchen Full Recipe Name: Aluminum Foil as Roasting Rack Talent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Networks Kitchen’s Aluminum Foil as Roasting Rack, as seen on Foodnetwork.com Project: Foodnetwork.com, Beat the Clock Dinners / Thanksgiving Show Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Aluminum Foil as a Roasting Rack

The point of a rack is to hold your bird above the pan so heat can circulate evenly. Who says it has to be made of wire or cost a lot of money? If you don't have the store-bought variety, crumple some sheets of foil into thick ropes and wrap them in coils on the bottom of your pan. Or go biodegradable and place the bird on a bed of halved onions, carrots and celery.

FNK_SlowCookerAsMashedPotatoKeeper_H

FNK_SlowCookerAsMashedPotatoKeeper_H

Chef Name: Food Network Kitchen Full Recipe Name: Slow Cooker as Mashed Potato Keeper Talent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Networks Kitchen’s Slow Cooker as Mashed Potato Keeper, as seen on Foodnetwork.com Project: Foodnetwork.com, Beat the Clock Dinners / Thanksgiving Show Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Slow Cooker as Mashed Potato Keeper

The only thing worse than lumpy mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving is cold, gluey ones. To keep your spuds warm when every burner of your stovetop is in use, butter your slow-cooker insert, add a little heavy cream and spoon in the potatoes. Set the temp to low and stir every hour or so to keep your potatoes smooth and silky.

FNK_ThermosAsGravyWarmer_H

FNK_ThermosAsGravyWarmer_H

Chef Name: Food Network Kitchen Full Recipe Name: Thermos as Gravy Warmer Talent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Networks Kitchen’s Thermos as Gravy Warmer, as seen on Foodnetwork.com Project: Foodnetwork.com, Beat the Clock Dinners / Thanksgiving Show Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Thermos as a Gravy Warmer

If it works for minestrone, it'll work for your bourbon gravy. Decant to a gravy boat just before serving.

FNK_SaladBarAsSousChef_H

FNK_SaladBarAsSousChef_H

Chef Name: Food Network Kitchen Full Recipe Name: Salad Bar as Sous Chef Talent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Networks Kitchen’s Salad Bar as Sous Chef, as seen on Foodnetwork.com Project: Foodnetwork.com, Beat the Clock Dinners / Thanksgiving Show Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Salad Bar as a Sous Chef

Shave hours off your prep time by picking up ingredients from the supermarket salad bar that are already cleaned and ready to go — think chopped onions, trimmed beans, sliced bell peppers, hard-boiled eggs and even crumbled bacon.

Check out the full gallery for all 10 sanity-saving tips, tricks and hacks for Thursday's feast.

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