Besides the fact that an entire feast’s worth of grocery bags is too much for one woman to carry―or one trunk to hold―you’re more likely to forget a key ingredient or encounter ransacked shelves if you try to buy everything in one go at the last minute.
A month before Thanksgiving, make a master list of what you’ll need, then divide it into what’s perishable (dairy products, eggs, produce) and what’s not (canned goods, spices, baking ingredients). Buy everything that won’t spoil as far in advance as you can. Return for the turkey, the herbs, and the cheeses a few days before you begin cooking.
- Kate Merker taken from REAL SIMPLE mag.com
1 Week Before: Shop for Non-Perishables
Divide up your shopping list into perishables and nonperishables and get the latter out of the way now. Nonperishables include equipment, decor, paper goods and cleaning supplies – but could also include baking ingredients like flour, sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, canned pumpkin and cranberries. Wait until the day before Thanksgiving to buy fresh vegetables, seafood and bread. Take inventory of tableware, tablecloths and napkins in case you need to pick up anything extra, and make sure each recipe has a serving bowl or platter to be paired with.
Best Thanksgiving Desserts
1 Week Before: Prepare a Cooking Schedule and Create a Seating Plan
Being organized is the key to keeping stress at a minimum on turkey day. Review your recipes and create a day-by-day schedule for the week leading up to Thanksgiving as well as a day-of plan. Make place cards for your guests if you’ll be hosting a sit-down meal and figure out a seating plan.
Ideas for Fun Place Cards
1 Week Before: Plan Ahead for Leftovers
Make it easy on yourself (and guests) by having containers and bags at the ready. Leftovers will need to be wrapped up within a few hours of finishing your meal, so better to be prepared.
Food Safety: Storing Leftovers
1 Week Before: Pick Up Your Turkey
If you’ve ordered a turkey, now is the time to pick it up so you can be prepped to defrost it. If you haven’t planned for your turkey yet, purchase a frozen bird today so it will be able to defrost properly in the fridge.
50+ Turkey Recipes
3 Days Before: Defrost Your Turkey and Buy Perishable Ingredients
Thawing a frozen turkey takes time and patience. The best way is to thaw the bird in the coldest area of the fridge with a pan underneath to catch any drips (not on the counter). If you plan on brining (a simple, hands-off way to infuse your turkey with flavor), Anne Burrell’s recipe maximizes taste but minimizes prep with a no-cook apple cider brine. Now is also the time to brave the crowds and pick up any perishable items from the store.
Top 10 Turkey Tips
Anne’s Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey
2 Days Before: Make Cranberry Sauce, Pie Crusts and Pie
Try fresh cranberries instead of canned this year, and buy an extra bag when you’re in the produce aisle; they keep in your freezer for up to a year. Cranberry sauce can stay fresh in the fridge up to 2 weeks because of its high acidity, so make it now and refrigerate it in a jar or bowl covered in plastic wrap. If you didn’t freeze your pie crusts ahead of time, make them today and wrap the dough to store in the fridge. If you’ve prepped items and kept them in the freezer, take them out to defrost. This includes any pie crusts or stock you made in advance.
Top Cranberry Sauce Recipes
1 Day Before: Prepare Reheatable Side Dishes, Prep Ingredients, Bake Pies
Start to make sides that will reheat well, like casseroles or creamed onions. Prep garnishes, toppings, salad greens and stuffing ingredients. Cook soups and let cool before storing in the refrigerator if you didn’t freeze any options in advance. If your stuffing recipe calls for stale bread, cut the bread now and set the cubes on a baking sheet to dry out. You can go ahead and make your pies, especially Ree Drummond’s Pecan Pie that needs to cool overnight for a natural do-ahead dessert.
Ree Drummond’s Pecan Pie
50+ Traditional Side Dishes
Thanksgiving Day: Don’t Stress! Stick to a Day-Of Plan
Preheat your oven in the morning and get your turkey going. If you premade bread, let it defrost at room temperature. Put your wine or beer in the fridge to chill. While the turkey roasts, prepare your other side dishes since they can stand at room temperature for an hour or keep in the fridge. When the turkey is done, let it rest while you make the gravy, reheat side dishes and prep salads.
Tyler’s 5-Minute Salad
How to Make Perfect Gravy
The Day After: Use Your Leftovers
You can store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Try to reheat only what you’ll be serving right then rather than reheating the entire portion. It’s safe to heat it all up and then re-store what you don’t use, but it’s not ideal. Soup is a great way to get every penny’s worth from your bird
taken from FoodNetwork.com
Over 100 Thanksgiving Side Dish Receipes
What to do with Left over Thanksgiving Food
Some places where you can help out in the Cincinnati area
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