I posted this last year and I stand behind every word.
The key to a low stress holiday is to plan ahead and do as much as you possibly can BEFORE the big day. It’s pretty much humanly impossible to do the entire Thanksgiving dinner in one day. Here is a handy list of things you could do NOW to reduce your work load later.
10. Order your turkey. Call your local natural food store, or meat market and order your fresh, free-range turkey. You don’t want to be stuck with a frozen-solid factory bird! Here is my recipe for classic roasted turkey.
9. Print or clip all the recipes you will need for the meal. Organize them into a folder or plastic sleeve. Highlight all the non-perishable items that could be bought ahead.
8. Shop for all the non-perishables. Today is a great day to go out and pick up all things that can be bought ahead like dry herbs and spices, canned items, and dry mixes, beverages, or even long-lasting produce like squash and potatoes. Crossing as much off your list as you can now will save time later. When you get home, don’t put it all away in your cupboards. Keep the items in a box in a closet or garage so that you don’t have to search for them among the Lucky Charms later.
7. Make your pie crust, roll it out into circles, and layer between sheets of parchment paper. Roll it up just like a store-bought crust, wrap in plastic and freeze. When you’re ready to make your pies, just thaw and unroll! If you have time, you can make whole pies, wrap them and freeze them. Instead of thawing and baking, bake them from frozen, just add extra baking time. Here is my pastry crust recipe. Here is my pumpkin pie recipe.
6. Make turkey stock with purchased turkey legs or wings. Freeze for use in gravy and stuffing. Here are my tips for making stock.
5. Make your cranberry sauce and store it in jars in the fridge. Here is my recipe for Simple Cranberry Orange Sauce.
4. Make your homemade rolls, wrap and freeze them unbaked. Here is a link to a great recipe for Parker House Rolls from Food Network
3. Wash and iron your good napkins and table cloth. To store your tablecloth without creases, lay it on top of a towel and roll it up. Keeping it in a roll will help keep the creases at bay.
2. Polish silverware (if you’re lucky enough to have silver or silverplate flatware), inspect your china and glassware for chips and cracks. Decide what serving pieces you will use and determine whether you might need to purchase any bowls, platters, or serving spoons. Do you have a gravy boat? If you’re hosting Thanksgiving you need one!
1. Call your family and guests to confirm that they will be joining you for dinner. Ask them to bring things like wine, beer, and pre-dinner snacks.