Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving

I wonder how many other cooks are stirring up good smells in their kitchen this morning in preparation for tomorrow?

This is the first year we have held a Thanksgiving meal at our house. Last year we were in North Carolina for Thanksgiving. A couple of my brothers have plans with their wives' family but usually my parents invite whoever does not have plans, to share Thanksgiving at their house. Since I have eight siblings, even if a few are missing, there is still enough for a table full.

This year Ed and I decided to host the meal here. My mom and sisters are bringing all the cold food which only leaves me with the hot food. With my energy level these days, I knew I could not hold a kitchen marathon. But with a little planning, I thought it would be very doable.

The first decision I made was to NOT look for any new recipes. I love to try new things, but that takes time - and then brings stress while wondering if the new recipe will turn out. There is a reason some of my mom's recipes are classics. I would stick with the recipes I have made dozens of times before.

On Monday I cleaned out my fridge. My goal was to make one recipe each day. Monday it was stuffing, Tuesday I made the mashed potatoes, and today I'll put together the green bean casserole. They will await in the fridge.

I began thawing the turkey on Monday. Tonight (Wednesday) I'll rub the turkey with a curry rub and begin the slow roasting overnight. I'll pull the turkey out of the oven about an hour before we eat to give time for the stuffing and green beans in the oven. The mashed potatoes will heat in the crock-pot. The only tasks for Thanksgiving Day will be to set the table, carve the turkey, and make the gravy.

If others were not bringing the dessert, I would have chosen something like pumpkin roll that I could have made and frozen last week. Or at least frozen the pie crusts ahead of time.

You probably already have your recipes planned, but if you want to check out mine, here is some links to my mom's classic Thanksgiving recipes.

Easy Roast Turkey
Curry Turkey Rub
Green Bean Supreme
Sweet Potato Casserole
Pumpkin Pie

And here is the make-ahead mashed potatoes that I made yesterday.

Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes

5 lb potatoes, peeled and cubed
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
garlic powder and onion powder if desired

Cook potatoes until tender. Drain, mash, and add warm milk until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and combine well. Cool and cover. Refrigerate and use within two weeks. Or seal tightly and freeze. To reheat, bake for 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees or in crock-pot for several hours.

I'd love to hear what you plan for Thanksgiving - especially how you reduce the last minute stress!


  1. Happy Thanksgiving to your family!

  2. We're doing the same here. Almost. I just made a sweet potato casserole and stuffing and peeled the potatoes for tomorrow. Next on my list is to set and decorate the thanksgiving table and get the rest of the house picked up! Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Happy thanksgiving! I really like your blog. You must be a wonderful person. In the Netherlands we don't have Thanksgiving. I enjoy reading (and making) your recipes. I found your blog while looking for pumpkin recipes.I used some of them. Thanks for blogging.

  4. I hope everyone's Thanksgiving Day was peaceful, fun and full of good food. I cook most things early too. But I have a nice old stove with a double oven and a warming tray so that helps with larger meals and not so much juggling of dishes.

    I appreciate the fact that I do not have to go to the grocer the week of a big holiday because I already have everything either in my freezer, pantry or root cellar. This gives me a few extra hours plus no hassle of crowds.


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