I love everything about Thanksgiving -- the tradition, family, food, football... But you know what I don't love? The cleanup when all is said and done.
You cook all day and have this amazing meal, and then you just really want to relax. But it's hard to relax when in the back of your mind all you can think is, "OMG, my kitchen looks like a war zone right now." Are you a messy cook, too?
So when Walmart asked me to talk to you all about Thanksgiving prep, I started thinking about what tools I could use to prep that would in turn make cleanup easier after our meal. I wandered around our store for awhile and came up with eight items that will make prep and cleanup a breeze without breaking the bank -- snag them all for under $24!
1. Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners, $1.96
These slow cooker liners are absolutely lifesavers for crockpot lovers like myself. I'm the type of person who will leave my liner filled with water in the sink for days, putting off the inevitable scrubbing that's necessary to get it clean. Using a slow cooker liner means you can just lift it out when the meal is over, and you're left with little to no additional work to get your slow cooker clean! They can get a little pricey for everyday use, but they're perfect for cutting down on the cleanup after parties and holidays.
2. Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil, $1.58
Aluminum foil is great for lining baking sheets for easy cleanup, as well as for wrapping up leftovers when the meal is done. It also serves to keep your pie crusts from over browning. Simply wrap strips of it around the crust edges while baking!
3. Reynolds Oven Bags, $2.78
Oven bags are another simple and easy way to cut down on your after-feast cleanup. As an added bonus, they also lock in flavor and moisture, making for tasty and juicy meats.
4. Rubbermaid Takealongs 10-pk., $4.24
Perfect for holding pre-chopped fruits, veggies, nuts, etc., these inexpensive Rubbermaid containers are also great for sending home leftovers with guests!
5. Mainstays Flexible Cutting Mats 3-pk., $4.64
Having a set of these flexible cutting mats makes all of the pre-Thanksgiving slicing and dicing so much easier. I can designate one color for raw meat, one for fruits and one for veggies. I own another set that I purchased at a high end specialty store that were significantly more expensive, but they are textured, which can make it incredibly hard to get them clean. I love the smooth surface on this Mainstays set, and I adore the price!
6. Hefty EZ Foil Multi Purpose Pans w/ Lids 2-pk., $2.98
7. Mainstays Giant Lasagna Pans w/ Lids 2-pk., $2.44
8. Hefty EZ Foil Heavy Duty SupeRoaster, $2.98
Aluminum pans are an essential around here for holiday meals. Not only do they make cleanup easy, but because they're uniform in size, it makes fitting a number of them in the oven super easy! I know some of you probably prefer to use other serving dishes for a prettier presentation, and that's fine -- it will still be a ton easier to wash them after the fact since none of the food will be baked on.
One thing to be aware of when using disposable aluminum pans is that you may need to adjust your cooking times slightly. Aluminum is not a great conductor of heat, so plan on adding some extra bake time to each dish, especially since you're likely doubling or even tripling recipes to fill them.
Which of these items will you be picking up to prep for your Thanksgiving meal? Do you have any other items that are must-haves for easy cleanup?