3 Genius Thanksgiving Dinner Tips From Celebrity Chef Carla Hall

thanksgiving dinner

Wouldn't you love to have a celeb chef in your corner coaching you through the day while you cook Thanksgiving dinner? We would, too! Well, here's the closest we can come to granting that wish. We were lucky enough to chat with Carla Hall of The Chew, who gave us three brilliant tips for Thanksgiving dinner and dished about an exciting contest she's hosting.

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On the biggest mistake people make while cooking Thanksgiving dinner:

"They don't plan on how many dishes they can make in the oven balanced with dishes served at room temperature," Hall says. It's easy to get overwhelmed with the timing.

What to do? "The key is to balance your menu with dishes you serve hot and dishes you can serve at cooler temperatures," Hall says. Then you have fewer courses to worry about having on the stove or in the oven just before serving dinner.

Hall also recommends -- surprise! -- putting your slow cooker to work on sides like stuffing, mac and cheese, and even cheesecake. "It's such a great tool!"

More from The Stir: 10 Turkey Brine Tips for a Perfectly Juicy Thanksgiving Bird

On snacking before Thanksgiving dinner -- yea or nay?

"You kind of have to prep your stomach for Thanksgiving dinner," Hall jokes. She likes to have a little soup in a demitasse cup while she's cooking.

"It's really hard to have all of your friends and family over and they're starving and then it's stressful because there's this hovering around the kitchen," she says. "So just make something really light. Don't overdo it." For example, a veggie platter with dip, or what she calls "breads and spreads" like pesto, hummus, and the scrumptious-looking creamy Brussels sprout dip Hall just created for The Chew.

Don't serve a cheese plate, though. It's too heavy for right before the feast.

On the best way to serve Thanksgiving dips:

Hall hates this: "You always have that person who eats the toasted surface of the dip and they drag that whole cracker across the top." OMG! You know what she's talking about, right? So rude! It makes a big mess of your dish too soon as well.

She likes to preempt this by serving dips in little single-serving pots, and "then everyone has the chance to get that perfect bite."

On the finalist recipe for the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest:

As the host of the 47th annual Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest, Hall got to sample some amazing treats made by ordinary home bakers.

"One of the things that really impressed me about these recipes was their accessibility," Hall says. Each recipe involves seven or fewer ingredients and can be made in 30 minutes or less.

She especially liked the Creamy Corn-Filled Sweet Peppers by Jody Walker of Madison, Mississippi. "These poppers are perfect for a dinner party. You can have them prepped so you bake them in batches." That way you're serving them to your guests while they're hot. And by the way -- these sound like a great Thanksgiving appetizer, too.

The public gets to vote on who wins the $1 million prize from the Pillsbury Bake-Off, so check out the finalists and cast your vote!

Do you have any good tips of your own to share for making Thanksgiving dinner?

 

Image © Todd Warnock/Corbis

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