Karen Sharp

Karen Sharp

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How To Reduce Stress According To Culinary Icon Ina Garten!

Close-Up Of Food Served On Table

Photo: Getty Images

Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to get together with family and host a lovely meal. Ina Garten, who has written several cookbooks and hosted many parties, shares how to keep calm and cook on.

"The first thing I do is I make a plan for the whole week," she tells USA TODAY. "So I decided what I can do on Monday, what I can do on Tuesday, what I can do on Wednesday."

When getting things ready for your meal, make sure to write a list of the ingredients you'll need:

  1. Start your meal planning starts with a pen

She advises you to write out all the dishes you plan to serve. Ensure to include appetizers, main dishes, sides, desserts, and drinks.

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2. Know what you can make in advance

Garten's plan includes deciding on make-ahead items and budgeting time to do so earlier in the week. Many dishes served on Thanksgiving can be made in advance and even reheated. 

"The cranberry sauce, if you're making it, you can make it on Monday and put it in the refrigerator," she says. The same goes for mashed potatoes and spinach gratin. Both dishes can be reheated easily..

3. Decide what you can buy instead of making

Consider what you can buy pre-made to save yourself time and effort. 

"(I can) actually go out and buy pecan pie that's totally delicious," she says. "And I don't have to make it. And I remind myself all the time, my friends aren't going to have more fun because I made it myself."

Garten says her guests have more fun if they know she's relaxed and happy rather than exhausted.

4. Find out what your guest can make

Once you know what you want to make and buy, consider what your company could bring.

"If I know a friend makes a really good apple pie, I'll ask them to bring it and then they feel like they're part of the team and that you trusted them to make a really good apple (pie)," she explains.
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5. Lastly, make a list of what to do on the day of

Having a breakout day-of plan is essential, too.

"Also I make a list for the day that at 11 o'clock I have to do something at 12 o'clock to do something else. And you know the turkey goes in the oven at a certain time and it comes out at a certain time," she says.

By knowing exactly what she needs to do when she needs to do it, Garten avoids feeling overwhelmed. "So it's not like 'Oh my God, how am I going to get this all done?' If you just follow your roadmap, you know it'll work."


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