How to Make Thanksgiving Easy… (Easier)
For many, the Thanksgiving break is anything but. That’s doubly true when you’re hosting. But organizing and pre-making certain dishes can free you up to enjoy the holiday for what it should be – a time to savor good food & great company. Here are some simple steps to ensure that you’ll be able to spend Thanksgiving being thankful.
Clean Out the Fridge
Take a moment to think about all the extra stuff cluttering your fridge for no reason – including the cloves from last year’s ham. Before the pre pre pre jitters set in, toss out anything you don’t need, want, or plain just don’t have it in you to cook (better yet, donate it to a local food pantry).
Set the Table the Night Before
After spending so much time prepping, cooking and plating, the last thing you’ll want to do is shuttle plates, utensils & glassware into the dining room. If the pets and/or kids allow, do your place setting the night before so that when the time comes, the only thing that needs to be added to the table are the guests.
Whether it’s a roasting pan, ice, or an extra cooler filled with a roasting pan and ice… do your shopping yesterday. Last minute shopping is the one ingredient that makes everything worse.
Frequently forgotten essentials:
- Ice (so important we’re mentioning it twice)
- Paper towels
- Leftovers containers
- Aluminum foil
- Heavy cream
- Azteca Tortillas – a healthier alternative to snacking on chips: cut, bake, serve!
- or spruce up those leftover sandwiches!
Pre-Prepare What You Can
Your Salad: Prep Now, Assemble Later
Keeping the greens fresh is key. Wash the greens, pat them dry and then wrap them loosely in paper towels. Place the wrapped greens inside a plastic bag and store them in the crisper. They’ll be fresh and springy on Thanksgiving Day.
Fun fact: the full-fat dairy in mashed potatoes helps preserve them in the freezer! So, if you ever needed an excuse to go full-fat… Just make mashed potatoes as you normally would (don’t skimp on the butter & cream). Afterwards, freeze them. 1 or 2 days before Thanksgiving, defrost the potatoes in the fridge. On the big day, reheat and serve. Note: As you reheat the mashed potatoes, add a few dollops of sour cream or cream cheese to avoid excess wateriness.
Cranberry sauce actually tastes better the earlier you make it (more time for the flavors to mingle). Just store your sauce in the refrigerator (up to 3 days) or freezer. No adjustments needed. Looking for a cranberry sauce recipe?
Cranberry Orange Relish With Mint Leaves
Drippings are a hassle. Instead of adding another element to your Thanksgiving Day routine, roast a few turkey pieces beforehand. You’ll get a nice stock & drippings for gravy. Freeze it and then thaw overnight.
Green Bean Casserole
Think of the components in your green bean dish that can be made now —breadcrumbs can be toasted ahead & frozen. Everything else can be prepped (minus the crisp onion topping) and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Top with the fried onions before you bake.
Good luck, and Happy Thanksgiving! Check back here later this week for tips on leftovers!!