The food blogger and best-selling author is about to debut another cookbook, 'Grilling,' in May 2024
Hosting Thanksgiving — or even contributing a dish or two to the dinner table — can be fun, but it can also be stressful. Gaby Dalkin, a New York Times best-selling cookbook author and the creator behind the popular blog and Instagram account What’s Gaby Cooking, offered PEOPLE exclusive tips and tricks for a seamless Thanksgiving on behalf of the dishwasher detergent brand Finish Ultimate.
Below are Dalkin's tips and tricks for a smooth-sailing Thanksgiving feast.
Don’t be afraid to bring new recipes to the table.
While traditional dishes are always crowd-pleasers, Dalkin has new recipes to debut at this year’s feast — which makes for a fun way to change things up.
“I have a handful of new recipes this year, but my favorite one is my Ultimate Cheesy Herb Sourdough Stuffing. You could only serve me stuffing and I’d be happy — I don’t even need the turkey, stuffing is really all that matters in my world,” she tells PEOPLE.
“I also have a recipe for a Sweet Potato and Potato Gratin coming out, an incredible Pumpkin Fondue, and a Pecan Pie that’s sticky and delicious and will definitely make an appearance on the table this year,” she adds.
Her upcoming cookbook, Grilling, which debuts in May 2024, will also have some Thanksgiving-adjacent recipes, she says. So that is something to keep in mind for next year’s celebrations.
“We live in California, so obviously we grill all year round, but there are a ton of grilled salads and root vegetables that can easily translate to Thanksgiving,” she says. “For the most part, grilling cookbooks are dominated by men, so I’m really excited to be bringing my female-version of the grilling world to the public.”
Remember to grab cleaning essentials ahead of time, she says, or else Black Friday will be the longest day of the year.
“Preparation is great, so shopping ahead, setting the table and stocking up on cleaning supplies are key for me,” she says. “I make sure my cabinets are stocked with Finish Ultimate to make sure clean-up is smooth sailing!”
Those traveling should consider something that transports easily.
Although impressing your family members with a soufflé or galette is tempting, Dalkin recommends that travelers consider something a little more simple.
“For me, that would be a really big, beautiful salad with some veggie that you roasted ahead of time,” Dalkin explains. “You can assemble the salad ahead of time and keep a container of the dressing on the side and dress it once you get there.”
Prepare what you can ahead of time.
Not all ingredients should be chopped or blended ahead of time, but some components of a Thanksgiving meal can — and should — be prepped ahead.
“For [salads], dressings can usually be made three to four days ahead of time,” Dalkin says.
For the Sourdough Stuffing, you can cube and toast the bread a couple days ahead of time or leave it out so it gets a little stale and reconstitute it with chicken stock.”
“Mashed potatoes can also be done ahead and reheated in a crockpot or slow cooker — I’m all about planning ahead because Thanksgiving is madness, especially if you’re hosting more than four people,” she adds.
But, don’t prepare ahead anything that can wilt, congeal, or get soggy.
“My biggest no-no would be to prep ahead anything that can wilt, like dressing a salad too early. Anything with cheese I would also recommend baking or making to order right before you serve it because cheese has a tendency to congeal, and you want to make sure it’s hot and bubbly and gooey when you serve it,” she explains.
“There are a lot of elements of the stuffing you can prep in advance," she adds, "but bake it right before you serve it just to make sure it has maximum flavor and holds up to the recipe."
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