If you've been the sole turkey baker for the past few years you are probably ready to start wondering if you can prepare for Thanksgiving ahead of time.
Don't get me wrong this is a time to be thankful for the past year. For life, for healthy, for the good and even the difficult times you have come through.
But cooking all that food. Sweating over that oven and stove year after year, only to have it eaten in a matter of minutes and then poof! All you have left are dirty dishes and memories.
So let's see if this year we can work less and enjoy more.
Let's start getting organized (my favorite word) so you can pull together your Thanksgiving meal with flair and ease.
Steps to Prepare Ahead for Thanksgiving
- Day off
- Easy Clean Up
Planning for THanksgiving
In order to prepare in advance you first need a game plan. You need to plot your plan of attack.
Use Planning Pages
First pick up a small notebook or a Thanksgiving Planner to start planning your Thanksgiving. Here you can plan when and where you will host Thanksgiving dinner. Maye you will host but it will be at someone else's home. Will it be in the early afternoon or evening? Who will be coming? Will it be potluck or will you be supplying all the dishes? Make categories such as Main Dish, Side Dishes, Dessert, Appetizers. Next to the categories either put who will be supplying the dish or if you are doing the whole meal the name of your recipes.
Menu: Will it be potluck or will you be supplying all the dishes? Make categories such as Main Dish, Side Dishes, Dessert, Appetizers. Next to the categories either put who will be supplying the dish or if you are doing the whole meal the name of your recipes. Review each recipe you are cooking thoroughly so there are no surprises when it comes time to cook.
Who is bringing the turkey? If you are supplying it make sure you have enough for the number of guests. I have heard it said that it is better to have two small turkeys than one big dry one.
If you are making the dessert check out these great make ahead ones from Taste of Home. I always have good success with Taste of Home recipes.
Ingredients: After you have read over your recipes it’s time to put together your shopping list. Have one for perishable items such as fruits, vegetables, meats and desserts, and another for non-perishables such as table decorations, and canned items. Take care of the non-perishables well in advance and put them away for safe keeping.
Pre-Thanksgiving Day: What items can you take care of the day before? If you have ironing such as table cloths and napkins get that done days before the dinner and put them away to be freshly kept until Thanksgiving. Store the tablecloth a on leftover wrapping paper roll until the day you need it. This will reduce or eliminate the amount of re-ironing you need to do to remove creases.
Set your dinner table in advance. Such as the night before. If this is impossible due to the kids and pets then set it several hours before your dinner. One less thing to do.
Foodwise: If you picked a dessert from the Taste of Home Make-Ahead-Thanksgiving desserts that’s one item.
If you make your own stuffing the bread needed for your recipe can be made a few days in advance. I make a cornbread, sourdough stuffing and make the bread days before.
Chopped vegetables can be done a day or two in advance. And cubed potatoes can be kept in cold water in the refrigerator to keep from turning brown.
The Day of: Be efficient while you are cooking in the kitchen, clean up after yourself as you go along and keep a sink full of hot soapy water and place dishes and utensils you’re finished with in there as you are cooking.
Put away an ingredient when you are done with it.
Your clean up after dinner will be a breeze.