Thanksgiving is a great and festive holiday but it requires a lot of work. That work can make the day stressful, especially if you are doing all the work yourself.
One way to take some of the strain off of yourself is to do a bunch of the work beforehand! The Kitchn created a prep list of stuff that you can get ready in advance. There are ten big time saving tips, and here are three of my favorites.
Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, or Squash: Purée and Freeze
While chunks of these vegetables don't freeze well, purées do and they don't need to be coated with fat like regular potatoes. Cook, blend, and freeze these purées in freezer bags or containers for soups, pies, or side dishes. They can be defrosted and rewarmed just like mashed potatoes.
Cranberry Sauce: Get It Out of the Way
Cranberry sauce is another thing that can be made completely ahead of time. Since it contains a lot of sugar, it's essentially a quick jam that can be frozen or kept in the refrigerator for a while. They'll be no change in consistency by making it ahead, and the taste actually benefits from letting the flavors mix and mingle. If frozen, just thaw it in the fridge overnight.
Mashed Potatoes: Freeze Them or Embrace the Make-Ahead Casserole
The full-fat dairy in mashed potatoes actually coats and protects the spuds in the freezer, making them a great make-ahead choice. Just make mashed potatoes as you usually would, definitely not skimping on the butter and cream, and freeze them in a freezer bag or container. Defrost them in the fridge one to two days before Thanksgiving and then reheat them on the stove or in the oven, slow cooker, or microwave.
The reheated version may be a little more watery than the original, but a few dollops of sour cream or cream cheese stirred into them will quickly remedy that.
In addition to these tips, I’d recommend a few more steps for utensils and storage, like sharpening your knives, cleaning your silverware and china in advance, set your oven to self-clean, and clean out your fridge to make room for more treats and leftovers.
And it’s always good to brush up on the basics. Check out the video below on how to make a turkey.