Rachael Ray shares expert cooking advice for Thanksgiving dinner: ‘It’s the wrong occasion to be nervous’

Rachael Ray shares expert cooking advice for Thanksgiving dinner: ‘It’s the wrong occasion to be nervous’

Cooking connoisseur Rachael Ray has shared her expert tips for concocting the best Thanksgiving dinner.

The 55-year-old food enthusiast is looking out for all her “lazy girl” followers this year, with Ray speaking to Insider about her best practice when crafting the holiday meal, and what not to do. When it comes to the menu, Ray recommends sticking with what you know how to make, rather than trying to follow the recipe for an unnecessary dish.

“I think that people get very nervous about holidays in general, and it’s the wrong occasion to be nervous,” the TV host told Insider at Burger Bash in New York City.

“You should make something that you’re very secure about, whether you’re bringing a side dish or you’re roasting the pheasant or the turkey or the goose or the pig,” she proclaimed. “Don’t try to make something you’ve never made before or with tons of ingredients.”

Hosting a family is stressful enough, and if you’re not welcoming people into your own home, there’s often a pressure to bring a unique dish. That being said, there really is no expectation for a Thanksgiving meal.

“There is nothing you can’t cook with a bit of stock, a little bit of olive oil, a hot oven, or a hot pot. There’s nothing you can’t purée. There’s nothing you can’t roast,” Ray assured.

The Food Network regular believes people often try too hard, which can lead to a negative atmosphere. “Make sure you know what it is you’re doing,” Ray continued. “Who wants to be uptight on a holiday? You have tons of people coming, different personalities in and out of the house.”

Though it seems like the food is a top priority, the company is more important. Ray believes a stressful cook doesn’t help anyone, and if you really want to avoid the mental pressure, you should wake up early and get a head start.

“You’re inevitably going to screw up if you don’t get up early,” Ray admitted. “You need to be in and out of the shower early. Just brush your teeth, get clean, make sure you smell okay, and then get to work. Seriously. Because inevitably things will go wrong.”

Stress is inevitable on the big day, and according to Ray: “Life’s going to happen. It’s going to get weird. So you have to be prepared to be calm. It’s your job to stay chill.”

In Ray’s household, leftovers are more than welcome. She prefers to turn the extra food into “curries, chilis, any kind of ragù”.

“Burritos, leftover stuffing in your waffle iron. You can also make a stuffing ball and drop it like a matzo ball into broth,” she added.

As listed on Food Network, Ray’s typical Thanksgiving menu includes an herb roasted turkey breast, “Apple and Onion Stuffin‘ Muffins,” “French Cut Green Beans with Almonds and Fried Onions,” and “Bourbon Pecan Smashed Sweet Potatoes” - all flavourful takes on standard dishes.

If you’re typically a last-minute shopper or are known to forget an ingredient or two, here’s a list of stores said to be open on the holiday this year.