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What I do to make preparing Thanksgiving dinner easier. What do you do?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Northern New Jersey
    Posts
    3,596

    What I do to make preparing Thanksgiving dinner easier. What do you do?

    It took me quite a few years to put this all together but this is what I do in preparation for holiday dinners so they are enjoyable for me as well as my guests.


    Well in advance, I make any cakes or bread, I cube the bread for the stuffing and make whatever goes into it and place in a plastic bag and freeze. I combine it the day before.. My onions to be creamed have been frozen and are from my garden. Turnip has been made and frozen as well. Both are a must have for my hubby.
    2 days before, I make the pies. I figure they are still good 3 days after the holiday so what not make them 2 days ahead.

    Set the dining room table 2 days in advance and cover with a plastic table cloth or sheet.

    The day before I peel and cut the potatoes to be mashed and cover with cold salted water and refrigerate. I make the cream sauce for the onions. Defrost and cook the onions. The day of, I reheat them both and combine.

    I take the time to put a little sticky note in each serving bowl as to what goes in the bowl.

    The last is something I have been recently doing and I wish I had thought of it years ago. I make the turkey the day before. Let it cool so it cuts easily. I put all the slices in a large pan and cover with chicken or turkey broth. I then can make the gravy and clean up the pan as well. It frees up the oven to keep the last minute items hot and I don't have to worry over the turkey. The only thing missing is the crispy skin but I can live with that.

    The day of I add other vegetables, and condiments.

    If it is cold enough outside I put the items in a cabinet in the garage or on my screened in porch. I also have a large cooler that I use if it is warm because it all won't fit in the fridge.
    I even make extra ice for cold drinks way ahead.

    I realize not everyone has access to freezer space .I have 2 large chest freezers and food preferences are different than mine and I also have a large dining room but there might be something here that might be helpful and maybe you would like to share ideas you have been doing also to make your holiday easier. I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    1,953
    Way too much work. I just make reservations


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,769
    What do you do?

    this

    “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” Emerson

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico USA
    Posts
    9,218
    My big thing was "clean up as you go!" or I'd never have managed to get it all done.

    I like the idea of cooking the turkey ahead, but my family would have been very disappointed not to see the whole big bird on the table.

    When he got older, my son and I cooked Thanksgiving dinner together and had a great time doing it. He's really a great cook. We had it down to quite the carefully choreographed thing as to who was doing what, who got the oven when, etc. Wonderful memories.

    Now everybody's scattered (or dead) and it's just my sister and me left here.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Near Mount Pilot
    Posts
    5,536
    I haven't cooked for a crowd in years but the only things that I did the day before were the cranberry sauce, the pies and prepped the bread for the stuffing.

    I always enjoyed getting into the kitchen at about 5:00 am on holidays to begin cooking alone.

    I did do a lot of planning in the days prior to a holiday to be sure of things like timing, serving dishes, pots and pans, stove burners, oven space, etc...

    I miss the condensation streaming down the windows, the clutter/chaos, the quiet appreciation that I felt when everybody dug in and all I could hear were the sounds of the knives and forks, the sad sweet moments after everyone left and I relaxed with the last lukewarm cup of coffee in the pot!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Connecticut USA
    Posts
    12,641
    Ruth, you have it down pat. You must have lots of time to enjoy your guests and your good dinner. Yes, creamed pearl onions and mashed rutabaga are a must for me, too!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    3,104
    Try to finagle getting invited to someone else's house.
    When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    509
    My family does a potluck, as we do for all get togethers. We all love to cook, so this keeps everyone happy. We do a round-robin emailing to nail down the menu, subject to last minute changes.

Please reply to this thread with any new information or opinions.

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