A Guide to Having a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is one of those days when everyone’s looking forward to a delicious homecooked meal and of course football. But just because it’s a huge day, it doesn’t mean that you have to go crazy on the day of Thanksgiving. So here are some tips that you can use to help you save time.

Make a Menu & List

The first thing you should do to get ready for thanksgiving is to make a menu and a list. If you are having people bring dishes, write their name next to what they are bringing so that you know it’s covered.

For instance, your menu might look something like:

  • Mashed potatoes – mom
  • Green beans – Steve
  • Pie – Dad
  • Sweet potatoes – us
  • Turkey – us
  • Cranberry sauce – Joan

Then, when you know what you have to buy, make a list, something like:

  • Turkey
  • Bread
  • Yeast
  • Rolls
  • Beer

Having a menu and a list of what you have to buy is helpful. Once you have bought the things that you need on your list, you want to cross it off. This way, you will know that you have purchased it and that it’s already in the freezer, fridge, cupboard.

It’s also helpful to put the nonperishable items in a specific place so that you know where they are. Also, if you make things ahead of time, make sure that you are labeling the items that are for Thanksgiving so they don’t get eaten or used beforehand.

 

Prepare Your Turkey to be Roasted

You can’t cook it now. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make things a lot easier on yourself, based on how you are planning to prepare your bird. If you are going to dry brine or brine the turkey, this can be done anytime you want between 1-3 days before Thanksgiving. Or if you are going to simple rub it with your compound butter before you roast it, you can make the butter ahead of time and store it in your fridge for 7 days or 3 months in your freezer.

Make Your Potatoes Beforehand

The dairy that you’re using in your mashed potatoes is full fat. This will coat and protect your potatoes in your freezer. This means that you can make them ahead of time. Simply make your mashed potatoes just like you would normally and don’t skimp on your cream and butter. Then freeze them in a container or bag. 1-2 days before Thanksgiving, defrost them in your refrigerator. They can be reheated in a number of ways, including your microwave, slow cooker, oven or stove top.

Even though your reheated version might be a bit waterier than your original, putting some cream cheese or sour cream in them is going to make this problem disappear.

Gravy Even if You Don’t Roast Your Turkey

A lot of people love using gravy on things other than their turkey. You can even make it if you don’t roast the turkey. You can even just roast a few pieces to get the drippings and homemade stock for making your gravy. Then freeze it. Frozen turkey gravy you can thaw in your fridge the night before and reheat it some low heat. Use a whisk to smooth out separation.

Do Your Cranberry Sauce Ahead of Time

This is another item that can be made beforehand. Since it has a lot of sugar in it, it’s basically a fast jam you can freeze or keep in your fridge for a long time. There’s going to be no consistency change when you make it beforehand and its taste will benefit from allowing the flavors to mingle and mix. If its frozen, simply allow it to thaw overnight in your fridge. You can do it in the slow cooker if you are looking for a completely hands-off way of making it.

Making Stuffing – Bake Your Bread & Toast Nuts

Does the recipe call for cornbread or a certain bread for the stuffing? This is something you should take care of ahead of time and put it into your freezer. You also want to tackle toasted nuts or homemade stock for your stuffing. You can tuck your stock in your freezer if you make it far in advance or you can put it in your fridge for three or so days before it’s needed. Toasted nuts should be stored in your freezer or fridge so that they are fresh.

Prepare Your Green Bean Casserole or Garnishes

Similar to your stuffing, think of your components in the green beans that you can make ahead of time. Breadcrumbs or almonds you can toast them and freeze them. If your roster for your side dishes includes the classic casserole, you can even assemble it without putting the crispy onions on top. Simply wrap them tightly and store them in your fridge for as many as 3 days. Top them with your fried onions prior to baking.

Puree & Freeze Your Squash, Pumpkin or Sweet Potato

Even though chunks of these won’t freeze well, purees will. You don’t need to coat them with fat, either, like you would a regular potato. Cook them, blend them and freeze the purees in containers or freezer bags for side dishes, pies and soups. You can defrost them and rewarm them like the mashed potatoes mentioned a couple of paragraphs up.

Ready Your Rolls for Baking

Dinner rolls that are handmade are a big treat and they will give your Thanksgiving meal a special touch. They are also a great thing to make ahead of time. Even though they can be baked through, frozen and reheated, there’s something to say for freezing them unbaked. You can bake them without having to thaw them and they are going to taste so fresh – just like the dough had been made that day.

Freeze Your Pie or Just the Crust

There are a lot of ways that pies are able to be tackled before the big day. Freeze your discs, roll your crusts out, put them into your pie dish and freeze it, or you can even freeze your entire unbaked pie. One of the best things about freezing the crust is that it will set it. This means that your crust isn’t as likely to be tough and soggy when you bake it.

Shake Up Your Dressing

With salads, it’s not possible to toss your salad ahead of time. However, there are a lot of other ways that you can save time so you’re not rushing around Thanksgiving Day. Make your dressings (without adding any fresh ingredients such as herbs and garlic until last minute), cut bread up and freeze the pieces for croutons, or candy or toast nuts.

We hope that you have found this to be useful. We have another helpful blog that teaches you some pumpkin recipes other than pie. Please keep coming back to our blog because we are always trying to give you seasonal and evergreen blogs that we think will be useful for you.

We are always adding new items to our store, so please keep coming back and see what we have to offer.