Thanksgiving SOS Part 2

Happy Friday! Just under two weeks until Thanksgiving and I’m all fired up and ready to share the last three tips from my Thanksgiving email series. If you missed the first three tips, you can go back and check them out HERE.

Step 4: Make Ahead What You Can

If you are hosting, the best thing you can do for yourself is figure out what dishes you can get a head start on before Thanksgiving so you are not dashing about throwing things together and so you can provide some oven space for those dishes others are bringing. Below are a few of my favorite things to make ahead.

If you are planning to serve from scratch bread or rolls, make those now and get them out of the way! Most breads freeze beautifully and then only need a quick thaw and a bit of time in the oven to reheat on Thanksgiving. I’ll be serving up slices of my Basic French Bread which only require about 10 minutes in the oven and come out just as amazing as the day I baked them:)

Check your recipes and see what side dishes can be made or prepped ahead of time. If you make the classic green bean casserole, that can be mixed together (less the onion topping) and stored in the refrigerator until it’s go time. That can be mixed up a few days out, put into a baking dish and stowed away ready to go, needing only the fried onion and some heat. Making a sweet potato casserole? This one can be assembled and set in the refrigerator a day ahead. If you don’t love the idea of butter and cream sitting, then just simply cooking and mashing the sweet potatoes up a day or two in advance will save you loads of time come Thanksgiving.

What’s Thanksgiving without pies? If you have any time at all this year, make them from scratch beforehand. Oh my gosh the taste of pie that you rolled and filled yourself has to be one of the best tastes out there. Make these gems up to 2 days before and do your best to keep hands and forks out until Thanksgiving!

Here are my favorite pies for the big day and my no fail pie crust recipe:

Fall's Best Apple Pie

Fresh Pumpkin Pie

Go-To Pie Crust

And full disclosure, instead of an apple pie last year I made an apple crisp, yes it's just that good and it's easier than pie. It may actually be better than pie...or maybe not:) Either way check it out yourself;)

Best Apple Crisp

Step 5: Time for the Main Dish!

You have room, you have sides, you have pies, and you have a turkey. Now here’s the big question. Will the turkey be thawed by early Thanksgiving day so it can be cooked? Pro tip, the answer to that question needs to be yes! Depending on the size of the turkey and if it was frozen, it will need up to 4 days in the refrigerator to thaw. I don’t recommend putting it out on the counter as when things get crazy in life, it is too easy to forget about the bird and it would be a major bummer if your turkey spoiled while trying to thaw it:( Submerging it a sink full of cool water the day before will thaw it out over time, but this step takes some work on your part and you do need to be hands on and change out the water pretty frequently.

While the turkey is working in the oven, sit down with a coffee and make out a tentative schedule for the big day itself. Include who is bringing what, if they will need kitchen/counter/oven/stove space, what you need to do and a bit of extra time and space for the unexpected. Because let’s face it, the universe loves nothing more than to mess up a perfect schedule so have a general outline and be flexible!

Step 6: Enjoy The Day!

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And this is where I will leave you.

My Thanksgiving wish for you and the main takeaway from my hosting tips is that you will get a chance to relax a little and see. See the people at your table. See the smiles on their faces as they gather at your home, lounge on your furniture, hog your TV and just settle in for a long and satisfying feast. See that by being willing to plan, open your doors, roll up your sleeves and cook your heart out you will reap great memories and rewards. And it only cost you just a little bit of your sanity!

On Thanksgiving, and every holiday where you are blessed with people around, just try and embrace the mess, be fine with those two relatives that just can’t get along, with the one child who will not stop yelling, with the dog who begs for scraps despite knowing better and just be. Be grateful for those who can be at your table, for those that cannot be for whatever reason, and just be grateful for all that you have and all those who you hold close and who hold you close.

And most of be grateful to me for providing you a plan of action to get there! Just kidding! Though if any of you decide you are all about planning, you are welcome to swing by with a cooked turkey and some sides. I love to cook but I also love a meal I didn’t cook;)

Thank you for coming along with me and thank you for visiting my site.