Food

27 Ways To Win Thanksgiving

Keeping gravy warm in a coffee thermos! Why didn't I think of that???

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1. Make your pies and freeze them unbaked.

thekitchn.com

For a fruit pie, you can make the whole pie then freeze it unbaked. Then on the day before Thanksgiving take it out of the freezer and "expect to bake a whole [frozen] pie for 20-45 minutes more than the recipe specifies, depending on the temperature of your freezer and the amount of filling," advises Anjali Prasertong on The Kitchn. (Directions here). For single crust custard pies like pumpkin or pecan, make the bottom crust, put it in the pie dish, wrap and freeze, then fill and bake the day before Thanksgiving. (Directions here from Martha Stewart).

5. Read the recipes you picked REALLY CAREFULLY to make sure you have the equipment you need...

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A big enough roasting pan? A rack for that pan? Food processor? Vegetable peeler?

7. Split your grocery shopping into two strategic trips.

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The first trip, which you should do a full week before Thanksgiving (before the supermarkets get crowded), is for nonperishables — canned things, flour and sugar, spices, paper towels, foil — anything on your list that doesn't need to be super fresh. Then make a second smaller and easier trip the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to just pick up things like salad greens, any fruit you still need, milk and cream, etc.

10. You can also make the pureé part of any casseroles in advance and freeze it.

kraftrecipes.com

Any time you bake and mash up a vegetable with dairy (ie make a purée) and use that as the base of a casserole, you can freeze that base. Thaw it in the fridge the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving so you can finish your casserole.

11. Plan your day-of cooking timeline in advance. Write it down and tape it somewhere easy to read / check off.

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To do this, get your recipes printed out then go through them and figure out what order everything needs to happen in.

14. Toast any nuts you need to toast; grate any cheese you need to grate.

Often salads, stuffings or casseroles call for nuts to be toasted before they're mixed in. This is a step you can get out of the way in advance then store in an airtight container for up to a week. Same goes for the grated cheese you need to sprinkle on top of a casserole or mix into a side dish.

17. Or just use it as an extra fridge.

foodnetwork.com

There is no room for that opened jar of artisanal jam or pickles in your fridge when Thanksgiving rolls around. Before you go grocery shopping, FoodNetwork.com recommends that you take all the nonessentials out of your fridge and store them in a cooler in the garage filled with ice packs.

20. You can even sauté your stuffing ingredients now.

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Let them cool, put them in a plastic bag, and put in the fridge. Then tomorrow you can heat them back up quickly and finish making your stuffing without all the pesky herb picking and chopping.

THE DAY OF THANKSGIVING

23. Use a slow cooker to keep your mashed potatoes warm.

foodnetwork.com

"To keep your spuds warm when every burner of your stovetop is in use, butter your slow-cooker insert, add a little heavy cream and spoon in the potatoes," advises foodnetwork.com. Set the temp to low and remember to give it a stir every 30 minutes.

25. Use your coffee thermos to keep your gravy warm.

foodnetwork.com

Another great tip from foodnetwork.com: Once you've finished making your gravy, just pour it into a thermos or two (this one made by Zojirushi keeps things so hot for so long it's actually kind of scary) and pour it into a gravy boat once the rest of the meal is on the table.

27. Revive dry turkey meat with a little warm stock.

foodnetwork.com

One of the best things you can do while you're cooking the day of Thanksgiving is have a pan of homemade turkey stock or storebought chicken stock on the back burner of your range — you can use it loosen up gravy, moisten sides, or, as foodnetwork.com suggests, revive overcooked turkey.