Thanksgiving is a hectic day of prepping, cooking and more prepping and more cooking. To save your sanity, it is wise to make a few things ahead of time so you aren’t trying to shove the turkey, dressing, rolls and Granny’s pumpkin pie into the oven all at the same time. Talk about an accident waiting to happen; if the dressing spills over into the pie, nobody is going to be happy. Except maybe Instagram, they love Thanksgiving fails.
What’s the solution? You do what any self-respecting woman would do and make some things ahead of time. The question is, what works and what doesn’t?
Thanksgiving: What You Can Make Ahead of Time (And What You Can’t):
Let’s start with what you can make ahead:
1. Mashed Potatoes
Nothing goes with turkey better than mashed potatoes, with gravy, of course. You can make the potatoes a week in advance and freeze them until you are ready to reheat.
Make it a day or two ahead of time and keep refrigerated. Reheat while cooking the turkey.
Pies are perfect to make a few days ahead of time. Granted, it may be hard to keep the family out of them, so you may have to bribe them with something better. Unfortunately, we don’t know of anything better than Thanksgiving pies, which means you are on your own with that.
4. Sweet Potato Casserole
Like mashed potatoes, you can make this dish ahead of time and freeze until ready to reheat.
5. Cranberry Sauce
In our opinion, cranberry sauce gets better with age. Make it the day before, refrigerate and serve. Delicious!
Obviously you don’t want to make this a week in advance, but you can assemble your greens and your dressing, just store them separately until show time.
7. Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Make this a day or two before, just make sure you add a little liquid (melted butter — that’s a liquid, right? — or half and half), so it isn’t dry before you reheat.
What you can’t make ahead:
1. The Turkey
Some of you may totally disagree with us but, to us, roasting/baking/frying the turkey on Thanksgiving day is so nostalgic that we couldn’t bear making it ahead of time.
Gravy seems so unassuming, yet it is one of the most high maintenance things we make. Wait until turkey day for best results.
Cakes have a tendency to dry out so making them in advance puts you at risk for really dry cake. Make pie instead. They are better anyway.
Veggies can get mushy and it’s already hard enough to get people to eat vegetables on Thanksgiving day. They need to be in prime condition so they aren’t passed over.
5. Jell-o Mold Desserts
Please, don’t make this ahead of time OR on Thanksgiving day. Your family will thank you and so will we.
What do you make ahead?
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