It’s almost time for that wonderful day of the year where we all come together and enjoy a delicious dinner of turkey, stuffing (or dressing if you’re from the south), mashed potatoes, and homemade pies. Yep, as crazy as it seems Thanksgiving is literally less than two weeks away. If you’re starting to panic about getting prepared for the big day take a minute to breathe and read on to learn more about preparing for the holiday ahead of time. It might seem silly, but preparing certain parts of your meal ahead of time can save you hours of work the day of the holiday, so you can spend more time making memories with your family.
2 Weeks Out
With two weeks left until the holiday try preparing your cranberry sauce and pies ahead of time. Both of these delectable seasonal treats can be frozen until the holiday and can last up to a month in the freezer. Be sure to use the highest quality freezer wrap and freezer bags to avoid ruining the flavor. You can also make homemade broth ahead of time to be used to make the gravy for your mashed potatoes or save that as a part of your “day of” plans and use drippings from the turkey.
Another important task to accomplish is to confirm your guest list, plan your menu, and determine how you plan to set the table. If you’re planning on using fresh cut flowers or a custom floral arrangement be sure to place your order now. As you plan your menu take into consideration any guests with dietary restrictions. Do you have something to serve the family vegetarian or diabetic?
This is also a great time to clean out your freezer to make sure you have enough space for items you’re making ahead of time and for leftovers.
The Week Of
The week of Thanksgiving you want to pull your turkey out of the freezer and slowly thaw it in the fridge. Never thaw it on the counter or sink as doing so drastically increases your chances of being exposed to food borne illnesses and cross contamination. Remember it takes about 24 hours for 5 pounds of turkey to thaw, so plan accordingly. Two days before the holiday lay out the bread you plan to use to make your stuffing so it can thoroughly dry out. Be sure to organize your kitchen and make sure you have everything you need to cook your meal and store leftovers easily accessible.
You can also set your table ahead of time (be sure to place your glasses upside down to avoid dust from collecting in them) and add your table decorations. It not only saves time the day of Thanksgiving, but also adds to the festive mood.
Planning ahead for the holiday is a great way to save time and actually enjoy your family. Remember, the holiday is about family, friends, and being thankful for what you have. Don’t let it turn into a time of stress. Instead take a deep breath, plan ahead, and enjoy the moments.