When it comes to preparing and planning that perfect menu on Thanksgiving Day, timing can be everything! Here are some simple tips to help you plan ahead.
Start fresh. Clean out your fridge before the holidays to make room for any delicious leftovers.
List List List. Plan your menu ahead of time and write a list of everything that needs to be bought at the store. Look through and organize your recipes and see what items can be prepared simultaneously.
Note: you may want to stock up on some items a week ahead of time, such as potatoes, vegetables, cream and butter.
Chop and dice ahead. Vegetables can be chopped and cheese can be grated in advance. Store them in the fridge and make sure to label them according to each recipe.
Think “potluck.” Hold a potluck-style Thanksgiving dinner and assign a dish to each one of your guests.
Prepare sauces ahead. Pies and cranberry sauces can be prepared a couple of days in advance. Just make sure not to forget about them!
Dress your turkey early. Rinse, pat, salt and prepare the turkey as much as possible before it’s ready to cook in the oven.
Serve soup. A warm fall soup can be prepared beforehand. Many soups taste even better the next day.
Use a slow cooker. To help save time from stuffing a turkey, you can cook the stuffing in your slow cooker. Remember to dry your breadcrumbs overnight.
Ice on the Go. For those last minute outings, several fast food restaurants sell bags of ice, even through their drive-through service. Make sure to be mindful of holiday hours.
Order pre-sliced. If all else fails and you’re not in the mood to cook, some places offer pre-sliced ham or turkey. Make sure to call ahead of time. You can also buy a pre-cooked turkey from the grocery store.
Skip the basting. Some say that basting a turkey is not worth the hassle, because it just runs off the skin. If you’re short on time, lightly coat the skin with olive or vegetable oil before putting the turkey in the oven. It will help seal in the natural juices—and give it that fresh out-of-the-oven look.
Make a “special” dish. Find out ahead of time if anyone on your guest list has special diet needs. For those vegetarians, for instance, pre-plan a dish or two that might not require meat or chicken broth.
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Our free printable Recipe Cards Keep your recipes organized