7 TIPS FOR HOSTING A DAIRY FREE THANKSGIVING
Hosting a Thanksgiving feast can feel like a feat in and of itself, let alone hosting one that’s dairy free. If you’ve taken on the task of hosting Thanksgiving this year and are starting to feel the heat, don’t stress! Our friend Melissa, the dairy free blogger behind all things delicious at Simply Whisked, is here with some tips that will help you stay cool in the kitchen.
TIP #1: MAKE ANYTHING YOU CAN AHEAD OF TIME
Even if you’re not making full meals ahead of time to reheat later, get a head start on all the prep work that goes into any Thanksgiving recipe. Measure everything out and chop up ingredients the night before to cut down the time it takes to prepare a meal on Thanksgiving Day. This will make your morning go much more smoothly!
TIP #2: CREATE A TIMELINE
To stay on time and keep track of all of the recipes you have going, make a cooking schedule for the stove top, oven and slow cooker. This way, you won’t forget a dish and everything will come out just in time for guests to dig in and enjoy a perfectly delicious (and warm) meal.
TIP #3: DON’T STRESS ABOUT GOING DAIRY FREE
I remember our first dairy free Thanksgiving. We were living in France at the time and had just had our first child. My parents joined us for the occasion. Since we weren’t in the states, we didn’t have all the traditional Thanksgiving fixings, but I did end up making a few dairy free versions of our favorite recipes. That year, I was thankful Thanksgiving dinner didn’t turn out to be a disaster. No one felt left out and my husband left the table feeling fully satisfied.
If you’re new to this whole dairy free thing, you may be thinking — how on earth am I going to pull this off? But please, don’t worry. I was a food blogger for two-and-a-half years when I found out my husband had a dairy allergy. Since then, I’ve been on a mission to help make adjusting to dairy free life easy for other people by showing them how simple it can be to make everyday recipes the entire family will enjoy.
It’s a lot easier than you might think! There’s a substitute for pretty much everything, meaning there’s not many meals you can’t turn into a dairy free dish with a little planning and preparation. Be sure to check out my Guide to Dairy Free Substitutes before going shopping and check out my blog for a full list of dairy free Thanksgiving recipes, including:
- Dairy free homemade stuffing
- Dairy free sweet potato casserole
- Dairy free green bean casserole
- Dairy free pumpkin pie
TIP #4: ASK ABOUT ALLERGIES
Before preparing your menu, ask your guests if anyone has any dietary allergies and be sure to ask the person with the allergy what they cannot have. Having this understanding early on will allow you to know what you cannot use for the dishes you prepare for them.
TIP #5: CREATE AN ALLERGY FRIENDLY KITCHEN
If you’re planning on serving dairy and non-dairy meals at Thanksgiving, I would recommend making everything that is non-dairy prior to anything that has dairy to avoid any cross-contamination between dishes. Don’t forget to use different serving utensils!
TIP #6: MAKE EACH GUEST A COMPLETE MEAL
Every person that comes to your house for Thanksgiving should have enough options to choose from that they can enjoy a full meal! Not everything you’re making has to be dairy free, but each guest should have at least one main dish and two sides they can eat. This will go a long way toward making them feel welcome, and leave feeling full.
TIP #7: DON’T FORGET ABOUT DESSERT
In my family, pie and ice cream is a big hit. Whether you’re a fan of pecan, apple or pumpkin, there’s one thing we all can agree on: Everything tastes better with ice cream.
Thanks to Hudsonville ice Cream, any Thanksgiving dessert can be made complete with a scoop of their Dairy Free flavors. I’m a big fan of pairing their Dairy Free Chocolate with pecan pie. If apple happens to be your favorite, consider topping your dessert with their new Caramel Cookie Dough flavor. I tried this combination as part of my Fried Cinnamon Apples recipe and it was absolutely delicious.