Watch Cooking Channel

Don’t Forget: Thanksgiving Reminders

Cranberry Sauce - Michael Chiarello

Cranberry Sauce: The Perfect Make-Ahead Dish

Thanksgiving is 3 days away! If you want to avoid a 4 a.m. wake-up call alongside your turkey, dressing and sweet potato cupcakes, a little planning and preparation can go a long way. We’ve got the digital equivalent of the string-around-the-finger — here’s what you can and should do ahead of time to make Turkey Day a breeze.

In the Kitchen

Three Words: Thaw. The. Turkey. It’s just not the same to plop a rock-hard turkey on the holiday table — if you’re turkey is frozen, start thawing it now. Thaw it in the fridge, not on the counter, not in the microwave — if it spends longer than 2 hours at room temperature, bacteria can start to take over your bird. It takes about a day for every 5 pounds of your bird. Not enough room in the fridge? Fill a cooler with ice and thaw it there.

Turkey-Day Timeline. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a double-oven kitchen, planning the menu so everything gets its time in the oven can take some maneuvering. Pick dishes that taste great hot or at room temperature, or choose things that can cook or reheat while the turkey rests. (Get ideas from our Thanksgiving recipe collection.)

Recipe Read-Through. Whether you’re tossing the Thanksgiving script this year or sticking to family classics, the last thing you want to see on Turkey Day is a surprise 3-hour cook time…30 minutes before dinnertime. Plus, who wants to explain to Great Aunt Thelma why the sausage stuffing didn’t make it to the table? Know thy recipes, and know them well.

Get Started Now. Don’t wait till Thanksgiving morning to get started — cook what you can now to save oven space and, oh yeah, your sanity. Here’s what you can make ahead of time:

  • Cranberry sauce. Make your favorite version up to a week ahead and store in the fridge.
  • Giblet stock. Pull that pack of giblets out of the turkey and turn them into stock. Simmer with onion, carrots, celery and herbs like rosemary and thyme.
  • Pies and crust. Make pie crust, roll and press into a pie shell, then store in the freezer till ready to use. No need to thaw before using — just add a few minutes to the cook time.  Make pumpkin pie up to 3 days ahead, and fruit pies a day ahead.  
  • Cheesecakes. You can make and freeze cheesecakes up to three months ahead — try this sweet-potato one today.  
  • Cocktail prep. If you’re serving a cocktail, make a batch of simple syrup or even the whole drink and chill until the big day.  
  • Vegetable prep. Wash salad greens and trim green beans the day before your feast.  
  • Cornbread for stuffing. Make cornbread up to 2 days before you make your stuffing, but at least 1 day before so it has time to dry out.  
  • Assemble casseroles, like green bean and sweet potato, and store in the fridge.  You can also make stuffing a day ahead.

At the Store

Sure, the great pumpkin shortage of 2009 is over, but you should still stock up ahead of time to avoid Thanksgiving grocery store mayhem. Check off your grocery list ASAP, and also fill your cart with these all-purpose ingredients that can help out in a holiday crisis:

  • Chicken and vegetable stock. Even if you have your own stock on hand, pick up some extra just in case: you can use it to make gravy, keep the turkey moist, revive dried-out stuffing and more.  
  • Heavy cream. Hey, it’s a holiday, after all. Use it to add richness to mashed potatoes, vegetable purees or soups, or make whipped cream to accompany (or cover up) the dessert course.
  • Puff pastry. This ingredient is perfect for putting together a last-minute appetizer: Try brie en croute, savory palmiers or cheese crisps.
  • A back-up vegetable. If your dog scarfs the mashed potatoes or you burn the sweet potato casserole, it’s great to have a back-up that can be ready in minutes, like trimmed green beans or baby carrots.

How do you plan ahead for Thanksgiving?

Still planning? Get last-minute ideas, from starters to sweets, at our Thanksgiving Headquarters.

Tags:

Comments (2611)

  1. 2002guidepoker posted 07/18/2011

    Hi there would you mind letting me know which webhost you're working with? I've loaded your blog in 3 different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most. Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a fair price? Kudos, I appreciate it!

  2. 456pokerguideonline posted 07/19/2011

    Woah! I'm really enjoying the template/theme of this website. It's simple, yet effective. A lot of times it's challenging to get that "perfect balance" between usability and appearance. I must say you have done a great job with this. Also, the blog loads extremely quick for me on Safari. Superb Blog!

  3. ways to invest posted 08/04/2011

    Firstly, permit me to commend your lucidity on this subject. I am not professional on this topic, but after reading your article, my understanding has created well. Please allow me to snap up your nourish remain in contact with any long term updates. Accomplished career and can lengthen it on to friends and my followers.

  4. Terminology Supplements posted 08/17/2011

    Check this out……

    [...] that is the end of this article. Here you’ll find some sites that we think you’ll appreciate, just click the links over[...]………

  5. juegos posted 10/19/2012

    juegos…

    You made some respectable points there. I seemed on the internet for the difficulty and found most individuals will go together with together with your website….

  6. [...] Your Visit To The Market Head Into The City Centre To Trendy Ingram Street In The Merchant City!Don’t Forget: Thanksgiving Reminders .recentcomments a{display:inline !important;padding:0 !important;margin:0 [...]

  7. wedding dresses posted 11/10/2012

    evening dresses…

    I saw this really great post today….

  8. German posted 11/13/2012

    …Recent Blogroll Additions…

    [...] What host are you using? Can I am getting your associate link on your host? I want site loaded up as fast as yours lol[...]…

  9. bgdfgdfgdfgdf posted 11/21/2012

    Title…

    [...]check below, are some totally unrelated sites to ours, having said that, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]…

  10. kizi posted 11/24/2012

    kizi…

    One important thing is that when you are searching for a student loan you may find that you will need a cosigner. There are many situations where this is true because you may find that you do not have a past credit history so the lender will require th…

  11. haccp zachodniopomorskie posted 11/25/2012

    Title…

    [...]here are some hyperlinks to web-sites that we link to due to the fact we feel they’re really worth visiting[...]…

  12. Technology news posted 11/25/2012

    Title…

    [...]Every once inside a although we pick out blogs that we read. Listed beneath would be the newest websites that we select [...]…

  13. lecteur carte vitale posted 11/25/2012

    Title…

    [...]just beneath, are several completely not associated sites to ours, nonetheless, they may be certainly really worth going over[...]…

  14. Remote Control posted 11/25/2012

    Title…

    [...]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a number of unrelated information, nonetheless actually really worth taking a appear, whoa did one particular find out about Mid East has got much more problerms at the same time [...]…

  15. ecologia posted 11/26/2012

    Title…

    [...]we prefer to honor numerous other world-wide-web internet sites on the web, even when they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Below are some webpages really worth checking out[...]…

  16. mold inspection services posted 11/26/2012

    Title…

    [...]usually posts some very exciting stuff like this. If you are new to this site[...]…

  17. Title…

    [...]Every once inside a although we pick out blogs that we study. Listed beneath would be the newest web sites that we choose [...]…

  18. Dumpster posted 11/26/2012

    Title…

    [...]here are some links to web sites that we link to because we feel they are worth visiting[...]…

  19. weight loss diet posted 11/27/2012

    Title…

    [...]Here is a good Blog You might Come across Intriguing that we Encourage You[...]…

  20. free annual credit report gov posted 11/27/2012

    Title…

    [...]we like to honor numerous other world-wide-web internet sites on the web, even though they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages really worth checking out[...]…

  21. target baby registry posted 11/27/2012

    Title…

    [...]below you will locate the link to some websites that we feel you’ll want to visit[...]…

  22. Youtube Make Money posted 11/27/2012

    Title…

    [...]Every as soon as in a whilst we pick blogs that we study. Listed beneath are the latest sites that we decide on [...]…

  23. babys r us registry posted 11/27/2012

    Title…

    [...]check below, are some entirely unrelated internet websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]…

  24. how to make money posted 11/28/2012

    Title…

    [...]the time to study or pay a visit to the material or websites we’ve linked to beneath the[...]…

  25. cell service affiliates posted 11/28/2012

    Title…

    [...]although web-sites we backlink to beneath are considerably not associated to ours, we really feel they’re essentially worth a go via, so possess a look[...]…

  26. Organo Gold Scam posted 11/28/2012

    Title…

    [...]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a handful of unrelated data, nevertheless truly really worth taking a look, whoa did one discover about Mid East has got extra problerms at the same time [...]…

  27. cheapest car insurance quotes posted 11/28/2012

    Title…

    [...]that is the end of this report. Here you’ll locate some sites that we assume you’ll appreciate, just click the links over[...]…

  28. Medical Practice Marketing posted 11/29/2012

    Title…

    [...]one of our guests a short while ago suggested the following website[...]…

  29. pc games posted 11/29/2012

    Title…

    [...]that is the finish of this post. Here you will find some web sites that we think you’ll appreciate, just click the links over[...]…

  30. boardman Chiropractic posted 11/29/2012

    Title…

    [...]although sites we backlink to beneath are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are essentially worth a go as a result of, so possess a look[...]…

  31. hair loss treatment for women posted 11/29/2012

    Title…

    [...]please take a look at the web-sites we comply with, including this one particular, because it represents our picks from the web[...]…

  32. texas driver education posted 11/29/2012

    Title…

    [...]just beneath, are quite a few absolutely not associated web pages to ours, on the other hand, they are certainly worth going over[...]…

  33. Marketing a Medical Practice posted 11/29/2012

    Title…

    [...]very handful of web sites that take place to become detailed beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly properly worth checking out[...]…

  34. More Info posted 11/30/2012

    Title…

    [...]here are some links to sites that we link to simply because we believe they may be really worth visiting[...]…

  35. UV Flight posted 11/30/2012

    Title…

    [...]usually posts some extremely exciting stuff like this. If you are new to this site[...]…

  36. vakantiehuisjes oostenrijk posted 12/01/2012

    Title…

    [...]one of our guests not too long ago recommended the following website[...]…

  37. jackson 5ive information posted 12/01/2012

    Title…

    [...]very handful of web sites that come about to be in depth below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well really worth checking out[...]…

  38. who are banners broker posted 12/01/2012

    Title…

    [...]Sites of interest we’ve a link to[...]…

  39. Lexington Law posted 12/02/2012

    Title…

    [...]please pay a visit to the internet sites we follow, which includes this 1, because it represents our picks through the web[...]…

  40. ED drugs from Canada posted 12/02/2012

    Title…

    [...]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine some unrelated information, nonetheless really worth taking a appear, whoa did one find out about Mid East has got extra problerms also [...]…

  41. [...] To Enjoy Right NowMore On US Tuition-Free CollegesTHE STRANGERSimple Side Dishes:Mexican RiceDon’t Forget: Thanksgiving Reminders .recentcomments a{display:inline !important;padding:0 !important;margin:0 [...]

  42. red hill law group posted 12/03/2012

    Title…

    [...]please stop by the web sites we follow, such as this a single, as it represents our picks through the web[...]…

  43. downloads posted 12/03/2012

    Title…

    This is my Excerpt…

  44. online traffic posted 12/03/2012

    Title…

    [...]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a handful of unrelated information, nonetheless definitely worth taking a search, whoa did one discover about Mid East has got a lot more problerms also [...]…

  45. cartier love bracelet replica posted 12/04/2012

    Title…

    [...]here are some links to web pages that we link to for the reason that we think they are worth visiting[...]…

  46. eco products posted 12/04/2012

    Title…

    [...]although web-sites we backlink to below are considerably not associated to ours, we really feel they are basically worth a go via, so possess a look[...]…

  47. biz opportunities posted 12/04/2012

    Title…

    [...]usually posts some pretty fascinating stuff like this. If you are new to this site[...]…

  48. mold testing services posted 12/04/2012

    Title…

    [...]Here is a great Blog You might Uncover Fascinating that we Encourage You[...]…

  49. lida satis posted 12/04/2012

    Title…

    [...]please stop by the sites we adhere to, like this 1, as it represents our picks from the web[...]…

  50. alexa mulberry bag replica posted 12/04/2012

    Title…

    [...]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I like but do not get a great deal of link enjoy from[...]…

Post a New Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

c