I decided to take advantage of my at home status and start the Thanksgiving prep early. Monday night I diced the celery and onions for the two types of stuffing I was serving, put them in separate Ziploc bags and added the respective spices to each. Tuesday I made the cranberry sauce.
Wednesday I made banana bread for Thanksgiving morning breakfast (recipe will be posted on Monday), made the batter for cranberry bread and made the sweet potato souffle, doing everything but cooking it and adding the butter to the topping. As a result, when Thursday rolled around I had very little to do. Perfect.
Thursday morning I made the cranberry bread and the dough for an apple gallette and my brother-in-law made the rolls for Thanksgiving dinner and we all had breakfast. At 2:15 p.m. Dave put the Turkey – an all natural brined Turkey from Trader Joe’s – into the oven, using Alton Brown’s Good Eats recipe. And then, we pretty much had nothing to do for hours. It was a drastic change from my 8 hour in the kitchen cooking hell that was last Christmas.
Then I finished off the sausage-cranberry stuffing and the herbed stuffing – I had a lot of helpers for this part and our friends Pallavi and Ash arrived and I was on my third glass of sauvignon blanc soooo . . . I forgot to add the chicken stock to the stuffings – hello, Thanksgiving croutons!
At 5:30 pm the Turkey came out and the Sausage-Cranberry Stuffing (Croutons) and Sweet Potato Souffle went in. I then started making the sherried green beans.
When the green beans were done, it was time to make the apple gallette for dessert (thanks to Dave we also had pumpkin and chocolate-pecan pies). With help, it took a whopping 10 minutes. As the stuffing, corn and souffle came out of the oven, it slid in and cooked while we dined.
The result was an extremely relaxed Thanksgiving that gave us plenty of time to spend with friends and family.
I’m looking forward to putting a similar pre-planning attack into place for Christmas – we’ll see how it turns out 😉
What’s your strategy for making holiday cooking stress-free? Any favorite make ahead dishes?