Like many of my readers, today will be my prep day for tomorrows feast, because, like you, I’d like to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family and not be stuck in the kitchen all day. The key to enjoying tomorrow is preparing today.
My years as baker for retail bakeries have taught me to plan ahead. My mantra: “Prepare everything possible today to bake off fresh tomorrow”. There are major parts of the meal that can be completed today to make tomorrow easy. Most of these dishes are the “messiest”, so completing them today frees your kitchen from the mess tomorrow.
What to do today:
Mashed Potatoes – Peel, wash and cut potatoes. Boil until soft and mash. Stir in a couple of Tabl. Butter, a little cream cheese and a dollop of sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Place the mashed potatoes in a buttered casserole dish to be warmed tomorrow – sprinkle with a bit of paprika for color. Bake in oven approx. 1 hour to heat through tomorrow.
Corn Bread – make the batter, spread in the pan, refrigerate and bake off tomorrow.
Make Turkey Stock – Remove the giblets and neck from your turkey (seal turkey back up and place back in the refrigerator). Brown the giblets and neck on medium high heat on top of stove in a saucepan. Brown all sides. Stir in 2 Qts. water and add a couple stalks of celery, an onion, and poultry seasoning. Simmer for 2 hours to develop the flavor. Cool completely in a sink filled with COLD water. When completely cool, place in the refrigerator to use for for stuffing and gravy. When you are ready to use the stock, strain first. This stock will add more flavor to stuffing/dressing and the extra stock stirred into the browned roast turkey bits makes the best gravy when thickened with a bit of flour and cold water.
Saute’ celery and onions, cool and then refrigerate today to be added to the stuffing tomorrow.
Cranberry Salad – either cooked or raw this can be prepped today.
Trim and wash any Vegetables such as squash, beans
Desserts: Bake the pumpkin roll, fill and ice, Prepare pie/tart crusts and fillings, so tomorrow a.m., you can fill and bake and have fresh, warm pie! If you won’t have enough oven space, bake today.
I hope this guide will be helpful to you today and help you to have a wonderful, peaceful and enjoyable Thanksgiving tomorrow!